Christianity Is Dead

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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.

 

Power corrupts.

 

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.

 

Take Care,

Mike

Why Black Lives Do Not Matter

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If you don’t think racism in America began with slavery you either haven’t read much history, or you’re in total denial there is a problem. Black people were chosen as slaves because it would be impossible for them to hide among the native populations, which was being systematically destroyed, and it would be impossible for them to pretend they were part of the colonial people, most of which were oppressed financially, too. 

Slaves, and slavery, were symbols that people with money could own, control, whip, beat, torture, and use for their profit or amusement, other people. People without money saw this sort of behavior as something to aspire for in their own misery, that they too might one day be good enough to treat other people like this. This is the very soul of racism. This is it. Look at it. 

Racism in America is a form of elitism. It’s always been a way to show off how good you are as an American. Hate equals success. 

From the very beginning of this country, slaves were used not in the name of convenience or for needed works, but for profit. If we have learned nothing about capitalism, we have learned there is no concern higher than profit; not human life, not the health of the planet, not the welfare of the seas, and not even the air we breathe. So the lives of slaves were never a concern. Slaves equaled black people. From the very beginning, black lives did not matter. 

When this country separated from England, in violence and anger, freedom and liberty for all didn’t mean women could vote, and it did not break the chains of slavery. They could have, our Founding Father might have taken that step forward, but the profit made from the lives of people kept in chains and abject poverty did not matter. 

Seventy years later, when most northern states had abolished the practice, the southern states withdrew from the union rather than free the slaves. For the next five years a nation tore itself apart, with one side fighting to its very ruin rather than using waged labor and fair working practices to produce an income. This was more than mere predatory capitalism, oh no, in this the very heart of extreme racism began to beat, and beat very loudly. 

For the next one hundred years, black people were not allowed to vote, even in places where it might have been legal. There were separate schools, separate hospitals, separate waiting room, bathroom, drinking fountains, rail cars, housing, restaurants, movie theaters, and no black person would dare sit next to a white person anywhere, but especially the south. 

Separate but equal became the battle cry of the racist government and the racist citizens of America. 

In theory, things changed in the 1960’s. Martin Luther King’s campaign for equal right did much to elevate the rights of people of color, and there was more acceptance of black people in society. Overt signs of racism all but disappeared. Yet America was still very much a segregated society. White churches were white, and black churches were white. White neighborhoods were white, and “there’s goes the neighborhood” was the refrain when someone not white moved in next door. 

Still, the country crept forward. There were black men and black women as astronauts and judges, and even a man of color as President of the United States. This should have been cause for celebration, and it was, but it also revealed a society that was deeply divided, and that divide was fuel in the worst form of hatred that America ever called its own. 

It is no surprise, and certainly not a shock, that after the first President who was not white, came a demagogue, a person dedicated both to his own personal wealth and to division. A man who would stoop as low as he could, or thought possible, preached the gospel of division and hate, filled social media with insults, name calling, and race baiting. The dog whistle was music to the ears of the racists, who finally had one of their own in the White House. 

Racism did not die, it was not killed, but it became camouflaged. Fuel by encouragement from the highest office, who claimed some Neo Nazis were very fine people, a war against people of color that began in Jamestown, and continued for every year since, was fueled by the thought that America would be made white again. The same president that decried brown immigrants as animals and an infestation would certainly look the other way as people of color were murdered by rouge cops, who knew their actions would go unreported, and unchecked. 

Black lives do not matter because of the race baiting president in the White House, who uses race to divide, so there will be no unified people to fight against his policies of looting the taxpayers to enrich big business. 

Black lives do not matter because there is profit in having a class of oppressed people who are willing to work for minimum wage, or worse, infinitely worse, cannot defend themselves against mass incarceration for profit. 

Black lives do not matter because there is money to be made off their misery, just like there was in 1850, just like in 1950, and just like in 2020. 

Don’t hashtag “BlackLivesMatter” on social media, and then sit content with that as the total sum of your worth to a people who desperately need your help. 

The arrest of the four cops who murdered George Floyd is the beginning, the very first step, not the end of the race. 

Black Lives will not matter until there is a new president, and a new government, but most of all, Black Lives will not matter until the people in this country address mass incarceration, wealth inequality, opportunity and education disparity, and most of all, most desperately needed, an understanding of racism, and how it is still here. We white people have to do this. We white people have to understand our own demons, and we have to put them away, forever. 

Black Lives do not matter to white people, not yet, not nearly yet. 

But maybe we’re seeing something different now, with white people in the street, fighting, being gassed, getting hit with rubber bullets, and spilling their blood for equality. 

Get out there, White People. Get out there and fight. Get out there and say it, and mean it, and show your children, and show the candidates that you’re willing to bleed as well as talk. 

Then say “Black Lives Matter”

Because then, you’ll finally mean it, and it will finally be true, for everyone. 

Take Care,

Mike Firesmith.