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The Rise of the Religious Right in the Republican Party

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If the Religious Right gains dominion over society, we will all have to deal with Satan because he plays such a dominant role in their belief system. Anyone who is not born-again is vulnerable to Satan, for they are lacking the protective shield of Christ. The world is clearly divided into "good" and "evil", "Christ" and "Satan." R.J. Rushdoony, the man who is considered the father of Reconstructionism called on his followers to "administer justice upon all disobedience in every area of life where we encounter it. To deny the cultural mandate is to deny Christ and to surrender the world to the devil." (The Institutes of Biblical Law, 1973)

Dr. Elaine Pagels, professor of History of Religion at Princeton University wrote a book titled The Origins of Satan. She explains in an interview with Ellen Kushner on WGBH, Boston Public Radio, what can happen when a society has a 'good vs. evil' world view:

"Every group and tribe has had ways of feeling superior to every other. I mean, every anthropologist knows that, but what's really different here is that you have a moral view - 'we are good, and you are evil.'

And what happens then," Pagels continues, "as was put into the mouth of Jesus in the Gospel of John: whoever kills you will think he's doing service to God. So that if a conflict between us and them turns into a moral conflict, so we're God's people, they are Satan's people, we can do anything we like with them. I think of that when I hear the term "ethnic cleansing." It's like there's dirt there. You know, it's a good thing to get rid of dirt."

Falwell sees "a day when God will unleash his wrath and judgment upon unbelievers. He will crush them beneath his thumb." (Nuclear War and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, 1983.) While Falwell himself does not seem like a violent man, at what point will violence toward "unbelievers" be seen as "doing service to God" by his followers?

In New York magazine, August, 1986, Robertson made the following statement: "The people who have come into institutions [today - 1986] are primarily termites. They are destroying institutions that have been built by Christians, whether it is universities, governments, our own traditions that we have. The termites are in charge now, and that is not the way it ought to be, and the time has come for a godly fumigation."

Supreme Court Justice Scalia writes: [Government] "is the minister of God with powers to 'revenge', execute wrath ..." Scalia hints in his article in First Things, May, 2002, that the death penalty should be expanded. Scalia's comments are particularly disturbing in the context of the Religious Right gaining dominion over society.

The Reverend Timothy LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, authors of the best selling Left Behind series, describe in Glorious Appearing, the latest book of their series, the violence that Jesus will show non-believers upon His return:

"Men and women soldiers and horses seemed to explode where they stood," Dr. LaHaye and Mr. Jenkins write. "It was as if the very words of the Lord had superheated their blood, causing it to burst through their veins and skin.'' The authors add, "Even as they struggled, their own flesh dissolved, their eyes melted and their tongues disintegrated."

At what point do Reconstructionists, who advocate the death penalty for unrepentant homosexuals, abortionists, and blasphemers convince others that it is time to eliminate those characterized as Satan? The goal of Reconstructionism is to do away with sin. How can you do away with sin without eliminating Satan?

Fred Clarkson notes

"the potential for bloodthirsty episodes on the order of the Salem witchcraft trials or the Spanish Inquisition is inadvertently revealed by Reconstructionist theologian Rev. Ray Sutton, who claims that the Reconstructed Biblical theocracies would be 'happy' places, to which people would flock because 'capital punishment is one of the best evangelistic tools of a society.'" (What is Christian Reconstructionism? The Public Eye)

From Nicholas Kristoff of the New York Times, July 17, 2004:

No, I don't think the readers of "Glorious Appearing" will ram planes into buildings. But we did imprison thousands of Muslims here and abroad after 9/11, and ordinary Americans joined in the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib in part because of a lack of empathy for the prisoners. It's harder to feel empathy for such people if we regard them as infidels and expect Jesus to dissolve their tongues and eyes any day now.

While this scenario seems extreme and impossible in our pluralistic, democratic society, if the Religious Right succeeds in dominating all of our major institutions including the Presidency, Congress, Courts and media, this country will become a very different kind of place. Historically, such forces tend to rise up and look for scapegoats when the economy is in trouble. In this century our democracy survived a major economic depression intact, but we didn't have such a large, politically organized culture focused on Satan at that time.

Capital crimes in a theocracy, Theocracy Alert, July 27, 2005


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Last updated: July, 2005