uno itinere non potest perveniri ad tam grande secretum -- Q. Aurelius Symmachus, 384 C.E.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Non-Political "Christian Unity"?

It now appears certain that Rick Perry, the secession-inclined governor of Texas, will run for president, with an announcement perhaps coming on Saturday. Of course, to many observers, this was made obvious when he announced his prayer event, "The Response," which captivated the blogosphere over the weekend, not only for the political theater sure to ensue, but also for the theological doublespeak that recurred throughout the event and the chatter leading up to it.

Indeed, Perry repeatedly said "The Response," despite being hosted by the American Family Association, was "not political," remarking at one point that
"(God’s) agenda is not a political agenda, His agenda is a salvation agenda." Yet he also remarked during prayer that "as a nation, we have forgotten who made us, who protects us, who blesses us."

Which of course raises the question, "how?" How indeed has our nation "forgotten who made us" or "who blesses us"? What policies has the country pursued against the will of God?

The answer to that, from the perspective of the people who organized and attended the event, is clear, as witnessed by a remark from a member of the AFA when he mentioned that the prayer rally was needed thanks to the marriage equality that New York had passed.

Were liberal Christians involved (and only Christians appeared to be welcome), they would likely have pointed to the wealth inequality rampant in our country and our increasingly devastating record on taking care of the poor. But of course, most of those in attendance instead envision that the country has "forgotten" God based on their (flawed and simplistic) narrative that sees the country in a postlapsarian decline ever since coercive prayer was removed from schools.

Which of course lays bare the sham that Perry's rally was to begin with. While simultaneously planning his presidential run and claiming the event wasn't political, Perry and his associates were busy spinning the revival as a "promotion of Christian unity." As one conservative tweeted during the event, Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council, which makes its No. 1 priority the fight against gay marriage, said, "How can you expect the nation to be one church under God when the church isn't one?" which prompted an "Amen," from said tweeter.

Of course, this vision of "Christian unity" is the same as this group's vision for "national unity," namely, the subscription to their brand of religious and political orthodoxy. They certainly have no plans to compromise any one portion of their ideological orthodoxy. Indeed, Perkins himself once called compromise "the companion of losers."

So then how do they envision Christian and national unity? Easy. Admit you've sinned by voting Democratic, by supporting the rights of your LGBT friends to live in peace, by supporting reproductive rights for women, by supporting the rights of your Muslim neighbors to build a mosque, by treating the Bible as anything other than a pure, straightforward and consistent handbook on every aspect of 21st century life.

In short, abandon all pretenses of free thought and subscribe wholly to the ideological narrative that everything was great in America before the advent of civil rights, women's rights, gay rights, rights of conscience -- minority rights of about any kind that obstruct the enforcement of said ideology.

And God, Perry, and the American Family Association will smile upon you, and bless this nation once more.

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