Once upon a time, in a land called Amerika . . .
It was a wild gamble, and one with consequences that were easily foreseeable. Back in the 1980’s a sudden shift in the political winds saw the Republican party actively courting Evangelic Christians. It was a ploy, a false woo, but the rewards offered were, seemingly, great for both sides. The politicians would get votes, and the Evangelics would have men in office, very rarely women, who would change the laws of the land to more reflect the values of those who voted in God’s name, Amen.
Abortion was the hot button issue. It didn’t matter, at all, that there were far greater issues facing the country. The Republicans farmed this issue, they mined it like it was gold, and it paid off, even though they never delivered on their promise to end abortion. They truly didn’t want to, because the Republicans believed in the sanctity of life, unless it was their sixteen year old daughter, or their mistress, who needed to get rid of a pregnancy. But to stand up in front of a crowd and call abortion murder was a sure way to get elected. And bring in money.
Republicans took a hit, and a pretty severe hit, when they became the party who opposed gay rights. Their efforts to criminalize sexual orientation backfired, and the Evangelics should have seen the future in this issue, but they did not. They should have realized that mixing politics and religion was an anathema to both the Constitution, and the free will of Christians, but they were blinded by the power their candidates held, and there were seduced by the amount of money that could be raised.
Once the Christian Church in America began to act as a Political Action Committee for the Republican Party, they left the path of righteousness. Instead of following the teachings of Christ, they began to following the whims of the men who used them like blind whores, offering change in abortions laws, and opposing gay marriage but emptying the coffers of the churches. Feeding the poor, clothing the needy, taking care of children, healing the sick, and all of the other actions of Jesus Christ were set aside in the name of doing the bidding of the Republican Party.
became the religion of those who sought personal wealth and power. Mega Churches sucked the tithes from the followers, and billionaires began to pop up in the pulpits. They preached against humanitarian actions in favor of political fervor.
Churches changed to media centers, replete with wide screen televisions, surround sound speakers, wifi, ATM’s in the lobby, Starbucks in the parking lot, and at some churches, pledges were taken from church members to donate a certain amount each month, to keep the parking lots paved, the air conditioners running at 65 degrees, and to keep the private jets in the heavens.
But Prosperity Christianity failed many people for many reasons. It failed the poor, it failed people of color, it failed the gay community, it failed anyone who didn’t speak English well, and it fail to address the hunger for a religion that fed the soul, not the bank accounts of the men who ran the churches.
When Trump was elected, it was a sign, a bright orange neon sign, that Christianity could be whored out for nothing more than the promise of oppressing of minorities, banning abortion, and setting the world right again, for theocracy. Trump enriched corporations and gutted environmental laws, trampled on the rights of anyone not white and male, and in the middle of a peaceful protest, he gassed people so he could stand in front of a church, a bible raised, both upside down, and backwards, for a photo op.
But even before Trump, people were leaving the church. People began responding “Spiritual not religious” to polls and surveys. Paganism began a comeback, with the promise of a more ecologically friendly, and earth based belief system. Trump’s high jacking of faith has had a scorched earth effect on the Evangelics. His crassness, his lies, his lack of a moral compass, and his disregard for civility has driven decent people away from the churches who advocated for his election.
I told you this would happen. I told you in the 1980’s that the separation of church and state protected both sided from one another. I said, many years ago, that once religion and politics mixed, it was like stirring manure with cookie dough. No matter how little is in the mix, it still ruins the end product. But now, there is more manure than cookie dough, and there is no way to get it back out again; there are far too many people in the church selling those cookies. And far too many people buying them.
Christianity as most of us once knew it, is dead. In its place is convenience store religion, something that is a little more expensive, but it doesn’t require much time, and there isn’t an expectation in the quality of the product. It’s a cheap plastic Jesus on the dashboard. It’s McDonald’s for the soul. It’s bad for the environment, for families, for the poor, for the downtrodden, and basically, anyone who once believed in the Redeemer.