I first learned the term “Christianism” in a piece by Andrew Sullivan a few years ago. Christianism is a label well earned by Christianists (inaccurately labeled the “Christian Right” by mainstream media), who are religious fundamentalists in the US that advocate for a political agenda with dangerous theocratic leanings. Christianists now occupy influential political positions and possess unhindered access to all branches of the federal government, as well as numerous state and local governments. At the risk of sounding paranoid, this is cause for real concern.
Texas is a case study in just how Christianists, if left unchecked, will craft legislation that jeopardizes the freedoms we all enjoy. For example, Texas lawmakers are currently proposing legislation that would give adoption agencies the authority to discriminate at will. This bill, claim legislators, “protects religious freedoms” of private adoption agencies, many, of which, receive public funds. The truth is this bill is aimed at discriminating against LGBTQ couples who seek adoption. Further, it opens the door for more forms of bigotry behind the veil of “religious conviction.” This cruel from of governance does not come from “the Christian Right”; It is neither Christian nor right. This is but one of many efforts currently underway to legislate a “religion” that not does not reflect any of the tenets of Christianity. Rather, this kind of policymaking comes from Christianism (which is just another form of fundamentalism); it is dangerous and undermines our 1st amendment protection from an established religion.
We’re certainly not living in a theocracy, yet. But there’s definitely an unholy alliance between Christianists and the government that is supposed to protect the rights of all who live within these United States. It is important for people of faith and the media alike to identify what Christianism truly is; It is bad for the United States and for the global community. Whether what we’re witnessing is just he beginning of something or the last gasp of a dying breed doesn’t matter: We must resist all efforts of what looks like a theocracy in the making.
John went into the wilderness proclaiming:
“as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah, The voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth;and all flesh shall see the salvation of God. ’” (Luke 3, Year C, Advent 2)
Advent is the beginning of the Christian liturgical year. It is a time of anticipation and preparation for the coming of the Christ child. So, what does it mean to prepare the way of the Lord? What does it look like? Sound like?
- Does it look like a stockpile of guns and ammunition?
- Doe is look like the gift of a weapon, of any kind, under the Christmas tree?
- Does it look like a group of citizens standing outside a Mosque armed with assault weapons?
- Does it sound like a preacher calling for the deaths of Muslims?
- Does it sound like the empty prayers of politicians who stand before the public like whitewashed tombs but do nothing to stop the slaughter of the innocents?
- Does it sound like speech that is xenophobic, incites fear, and dehumanizes?
No. Those are the actions people who are preparing for violence and death.
Preparing the way for the Christ means, like John the Baptizer, proclaiming the Good News in the wilderness that is our world . . .
A wilderness that did not come from God
a jungle that has been caused by innumerable
human decisions that are
decisions that have created havoc on the lives of many. . .
It means proclaiming that Jesus is going to bring a total difference
and will only be realized when justice and integrity are victorious.
Then, and only then, will the whole of human kind will be saved.
“In the Wilderness,” by Joseph G. Donders, adapted.
For the Christian, welcoming the Christ child involves a different kind of preparation. It means being “cut to the bone ” ( Donders) and facing the reality of our world’s current condition. It means humbling ourselves and being open to the possibility of mercy, forgiveness, and peace.
People will prepare how they will in these times. But we must know the difference between the kind of preparation that leads to fear and death . . . and the preparation that leads to life.
Ideology, says Rohr, is merely having the answers before one even knows what the questions are. Read the rest of his insight here.