Eye Opening Book: ‘The Power Worshippers’

by on February 26, 2020 · 1 comment

in Election, Politics

By Thomas Ultican / Tultican / Feb. 20, 2020

Katherine Stewart’s The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism is a brilliant piece of investigative journalism. It shines a light on significant threats to American pluralism and representative democracy.

The religious rights amazing successes now influence every aspect of American life, from the White House to local governments, from schools to hospitals. Stewart documents the origins of “the Russia thing” and the evangelical embrace of Donald Trump. She clarifies that the Christian right is not fighting a culture war; it is a political war waged against the institutions of American democracy and freedom of conscience.

Trump is a Gift from God

Ralph Drollinger: “I started sending him my Bible studies when he was running his campaign and Trump has been writing notes back to me ever since, in a positive sense. He likes loyalty.”

Paula White about Trump: “It is God that raises up a king.”

Franklin Graham on Trump’s election: “God’s had intervened.”

David Barton called Trump: “God’s guy.”

Sarah Huckabee Sanders claimed God: “wanted Trump to become president.”

Ralph Reed stated: “There has never been anyone who has defended us and fought for us who we have loved more than Donald J. Trump.”

Rick Ridings said when he asked God how the nation will learn to change: “The Lord said, ‘It must play, the Trump card.’”

Ed Martin stated: “The Donald Trump administration has been a blessing on America like we’ve never seen.

These sentiments are expressed by leaders of Christian Nationalism throughout this book. If you don’t recognize some of the names, it is important to understand that they are having a large influence on education, social justice and foreign policy in America and beyond. Stewart brings them out of the shadows and illuminates their roles.

Public Education, Environmentalism and Social Welfare are Evil

Pastor D. James Kennedy asserted that children in Public Schools were being “brainwashed in Godless secularism.” In 2003, the DeVos family’s Christian Reformed Church warned that “not only does there exist a climate of hostility to the Christian Faith, the legitimate and laudable educational goal of multi-culturalism is often used as a cover to introduce pagan and New Age spiritualities such as deification of mother earth (Gaia) and to promote social causes such as environmentalism.” The report also claimed that “government schools” had “become aggressively and increasingly secular in the last forty years.”

In his sermon called “A Godly Education,” Kennedy exclaimed, “The infusion of an atheistic, amoral, evolutionary, socialistic, one-world, anti-American system of education in our public schools, has indeed become such that if it had been done by and enemy, it would be considered an act of war.” After denouncing Horace Mann as “a Unitarian,” Kennedy declared, “The modern, public education system was begun in an effort to deliver children from the Christian religion.”

Environmentalism is termed a “false religion.” Stewart quotes the young pastor who took her to a Christian political event in North Carolina, “It’s ten degrees hotter than normal, and these people don’t believe in climate science.” The conservative Christian Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation declares, “There is no convincing scientific evidence that human contribution to greenhouse gases is causing dangerous global warming.” The Christian Nationalist political organization Culture Impact Center has claimed that environmentalism is a “litany of the Green Dragon” and “one of the greatest threats to society and the church today.”

Many of the roots of Christian Nationalism can be trace to the antebellum period and theological theories supporting slavery. Calvinist philosopher R. J. Rushdoony was an admirer of these preachers and claimed that “some people are by nature slaves and will always be so.” Although some of his writing was uncomfortable for leaders in the nationalist movement, his ideas form a significant amount of the ideology embraced by today’s right wing Christian thinking. He was the first to claim the First Amendment aimed to establish freedom “not from religion, but for religion.”

Katherine Stewart explains Rushdoony’s perspective,

“The defeat of the orthodox side in the Civil War, Rushdoony realized, ‘paved the way for the rise of the unorthodox Social Gospel.’ The ‘Social Gospel,’ as Rushdoony understood it, is the mistaken belief that Christianity would have us use the power of government to reform society along lines that conform with Jesus’ teachings about loving thy neighbor. This unwanted fruit of defeat in the Civil War, Rushdoony came to think, blossomed into the next great enemy of Christian civilization. The enemy was, in a word, the New Deal.”

Rushdoony died in 2001. One of his contemporaries from the 1930’s, James W. Fifield Jr., thought he had the answer to Rushdoony’s concern. “To combat the horrors of the New Deal, Fifield proposed to energize the nation’s Protestant pastors.”  He felt the New Dealers were breaking the 8th commandment. When they used the power of government to tax the rich and give to the poor, it violated “God’s word: Thou shalt not steal.” Stewart says, “In Fifield’s mind, the Social Gospel was just another word for communism, and it had to be stopped.”

For the balance of this article, please go here.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Avatar E. Calvin Beisner March 23, 2020 at 2:56 pm

The author writes, “Stewart quotes the young pastor who took her to a Christian political event in North Carolina, ‘It’s ten degrees hotter than normal, and these people don’t believe in climate science.’ The conservative Christian Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation declares, ‘There is no convincing scientific evidence that human contribution to greenhouse gases is causing dangerous global warming.’”

First the misrepresentation: Rejecting dangerous (note that word within the quote) global warming isn’t rejecting global warming/climate change. The Cornwall Alliance has affirmed many times on its website that climate changes and that human activity contributes to climate change, possibly being the majority cause of warming since 1960 (which is essentially the position of the IPCC). What we’re skeptical of are claims that the scientific evidence is conclusive that human action has been the majority driver, particularly before 1960; that the warming is or in the foreseeable future will be dangerous, especially to the point of catastrophe; and that spending trillions of dollars (otherwise available to lift billions of people out of poverty) to curb it will have more good than harmful results.

Second the ignorance: On any given day there will be hundreds of locales around the world where the temperature is 10 degrees (or more) above “normal” (properly, average), and hundreds where it will be 10 degrees (or more) below “normal.” The temperature at any given place on any given day offers zero evidence for what’s happening globally and long term.

Reply

Leave a Comment

Older Article:

Newer Article: