Yesterday I witnessed a naturalization ceremony as my husband was sworn in as an American citizen. One thing that is happening in our country today is the steady infusion of new citizens who will not necessarily embrace exclusion, and who may become rather intractable when they realize that they are going to have a hard time voting in important elections this year.
A naturalization ceremony, in which people weep for joy and pose for photos with their families, proudly holding their certification of American citizenship, is quite a contrast with those who are trampling on American democracy in elected office. It ought to be a humiliating sight to the House of Representatives. But it is having quite another effect, I do believe. America has a growing number of citizens who are not about to go second class, and their numbers are growing every day.
It is another aspect of a phenomenon that is going on in the Church: the exodus of those who will not bother with a version of Christianity that sits on the sidelines. From time to time we hear some minister utter, "Tut, tut," and then they fall silent again. They are drowned out, in any event, by the un-Christian evangelicals who shriek in front of every microphone and camera that the LGBT population ought to be persecuted or even assaulted.
Today there was a story on the Internet about a group that thinks they are Christians and who are embarking on a hunger strike to protest marriage equality. None of them will sacrifice their lives for it, because their strike is going to go for forty days and then end. They missed out on Lent, though, which just concluded this past Easter Sunday; I would have thought they would get more publicity by jumping on the Lent bandwagon, but perhaps they don't observe it.
Meanwhile, the Barna Group issued another report showing another decline in belief and/or attendance as far as their target group, evangelicals, is concerned. While the churches empty out, the television preachers raise their voices as though they could make them carry far enough so that the people who no longer come to their churches could still hear them. But they do not. The American community is not as polarized as it could possibly be, the the divide is growing sharper every day and the number of people on the extreme right of politics and religion is shrinking because people are reaching the point at which they can no longer accept the propaganda.
It is now a matter of believing what you want to believe in the right-wing Church. They will produce proof texts out of context to prove that there is some kind of religion called Old-Testament Christianity. They will ignore scholarship and engage in fantastic rationalizations of atrocious stories in the Old Testament, such as the recent film about Noah. Filmmakers are really trying to portray a society in which everyone deserved to be wiped out in a catastrophe, which prompted Bill Maher (who never minces words) to declare that God seems more like a psychotic mass murderer than a Lord of love and justice.
Maher does not realize how right he is! There are people who think you can be intimidated into joining their churches because they can adduce many proof quotes about God's anger and vengefulness. And why not? That's the condition they are in! People who walk around pretending that they love God and Jesus when they actually are in terror of the Rapture or the Last Judgment or the lake of fire or eternity in torment are balancing that tightrope act--at the moment. But a whole lot of them are arriving at their breaking point. I sympathize--if I thought that God was really as he is portrayed by primitive religion, I would be an atheist trying to free my fellows from this irrational paranoia. And it would be the right thing to do. The travesty of Christianity that is being pushed because of the religious form of Obama Derangement Syndrome is like a cancer that can kill an entire human being even though it is only a small part of the body.
The evangelical Church is degenerating into hysteria. It is becoming obvious even to a casual observer that they have nothing except proof quotes and fear. Evangelicals are waking up on Sunday mornings and deciding not to go to their customary church, and either staying home and thinking about it, or staying home and chucking religion out of their lives with enthusiasm. And this is not just the fault of deranged preachers--it is the fault of the mainstream Church that is not standing up for Jesus, as the old hymn goes.
For more info: Senator Ted Cruz, one of the leading enemies of America, had a photo taken of himself and a colleague standing next to Cruz' newly-acquired tiger-skin rug, that apparently was made from what is left of a real tiger. This is a gesture towards the conservation community, coming as it did in Earth Week. Cruz has a mental age of eleven, and I suppose he thought it fitting to display a moth-eaten old tiger skin to spite those who would like to have tigers available for Cruz' grandchildren to look at in a zoo somewhere, after the idiotic poachers have killed all of those who live in the wild.
It prompted me to look something up. I found that Cruz was born in the Chinese Year of the Dog, and is not "a tiger." That brings me up short, though, because I am a dog lover and a disciple of Cesar Millan. For me to draw any comparison between Cruz and a dog is to insult the dog.