If God Tells You…

by Rosemary Gray-Snelgrove

A few months ago, when telling some ‘secular progressive’ friends about information I found startling in the book “Theocons”, they dismissed my enthusiasm for the discoveries and its pertinence to their lives both as residents of Canada and as non-religious people.  Simply not relevant.

I recently pointed out that Rick Santorum was a major Theocon supporter and contributed to their journal.  Still didn’t impress anybody, so I may have to follow this thread alone.  But I have a few more comments to make in this forum.

A Nation Under God

The motivating belief among Theocons (the theologically driven Conservatives) is that God calls them to bring the nation back to the beliefs of the founding fathers, by gaining political power and in various ways (through legislation, policy, budget priorities) bring people back to the God-centred action.  This is defined as fundamentally Christian belief, articulated most precisely by Roman Catholic teaching.

As described previously in this blog, the doctrine of “just war” has been reactivated, and America is called to assert its dominance among nations.  This is what God wants because the U.S. is a nation pledged to God.

Other basic goals – now familiar to all who follow the nightly news — include rolling back gay marriage and many gay rights, repealing laws permitting abortion, halting stem-cell research and use, altering gains on consensual euthanasia, removing funding from family planning and birth control meds, and returning women to the primary role in child care and managing the home.

Deep Motivation

If one lets this sink in, there is no need to wonder or shake our heads at the policies touted by Santorum or his southern competitors for the top Republican job.  If you truly believe that God, as Father, Judge, Mighty Planner, with the whole world in his hand, wants you to struggle politically toward fulfilling his wishes, you don’t think you have much choice.  There is a right way and it’s your job not just to uphold it but to promote and if necessary, fight for it.

Many of the Fox News commentators, in print and on screen, seem to sober observers like opportunistic buffoons.  But I’m realizing that many of them mean what they say.  They are convinced that the rest of us are going to hell, and perhaps dragging their children along.  “STOP!”, they shout.  They believe they have heard the word of God, received divine knowledge, and that God will lead them to victory if they march forward in faith and praise.  Onward Christian Soldiers.

What About The Rest of Us?

While other creeds (Jews and Muslims in particular) should be able to stay in the country (by virtue of the recognition by the well-informed that they come from the same family of God as Christians), their public and private behaviour would have to conform to the dictates of the Christian leadership.  There appears to be distain for the wider range of religious belief, but non-believers (secular progressives) are the most detested and feared.

Some infrastructure, to support the future rolling-out of religious laws and amendments to inadequate laws, was put in place during George W. Bush’s two terms.  Committees, boards, panels, were created and peopled by serious conservative thinkers.  They persist, in preparation for the day of victory.

Which is Worse?

I don’t know whether war with Iran or implementation of the Theocon social legislative agenda would bring the worse outcomes.  Either way, Canada is certainly not going be free of impacts.

A recent opinion blog (Brian Stewart, cbc.ca, March 14, 2012) contained some sorry statistics about the social results of the last several overseas wars conducted by the U.S.  As our Prime Minister continues to fail to speak out against talk of invading Iran, we should be aware of what war has cost our neighbour.

Apart from the bankrupting cost, and the maiming and death of combat, the following are reported:

  • 30% of returning soldiers develop serious mental problems within 3 to 4 months of coming home
  • 25% suffer from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)
  • As many as 300 suicides annually by veterans
  • Failed suicide attempts, over 1,500 a year
  • Sexual assault among troops – 19,000 military men and women assaulted by fellow soldiers in 2010
  • Domestic violence increased over 30% among military families between 2006 and 2011
  • Drug and alcohol abuse rates growing over the years of combat

A belief that God wants war, that it can be declared ‘just’ according to the religious principles of a country’s leaders, is not something we can lightly accept, even if we aren’t sure what we can do about it.  At least we can work to prevent our country’s leadership from buying in.

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9 Comments

Filed under A Bigger Circle, Rosemary's entries

9 responses to “If God Tells You…

  1. Rosemary, I do believe such theocons feel compelled to remodel society by their belief that their first and foremost calling is allegiance to God – and by virtue of that allegiance, they see themselves as protecting the gift that was given us all in our great free nations. However, as I read your blog (the bit about war notwithstanding), I came to realize that ardent atheists of our time as just as shrill in asserting an agenda as well – one that disregards what those who hold socially conservative views feel is sacred (e.g., right to life). And your comment that public behaviour would have to conform to Christian dictates under theocon leadership is actually true in reversal: people of faith already have to conform (and shut up about it) to what atheists deem appropriate for the public sphere (e.g., no evangelism in the public sector, no faith-based influence in public policy – that is, unless you’re at my son’s school and then it’s okay to influence curriculum based on religious beliefs as long as they’re not Christian – we seem terrified of Christianity in this city) such that those of us who do believe that we are called to uphold a standard based on God’s call must live in some kind of multiple personality situation – what we accept privately and what we must adhere to publicly. I think it would be far easier to be an atheist, as both your public and personal lives would jive.

  2. I heard the voice of God. She said two words to me in a dream. She said ‘peach pit’. I woke and wondered. I had no idea what it ment It was loud and clear the way it always is when it is true (for me).I cast about for weeks trying to figure out it’s meaning. I finally found out that the pit of the peach is poisonous. I mulled this over then it finally hit me………..it was the poison within myself that was causing all of the problems in my own life. I had to change me. So far I don’t think I have had much luck but that dream taught me a lesson which has stuck with me through all of my failings. It’s always about what we believe. So here is what I believe. Not to impress, not to argue or to deny others, just what I believe.
    Jesus told me to love my enemies, not much luck so far. Be known by my fruit, a little better there. Build on a good foundation, think I did that. Help the poor so far so good. Seek the kingdom within, always. And trust Him/Her? DONE! Healing…a little out of my league. Well that’s a start.

    If following rabid ankle biting right wing conservatives is required…pile the wood, get the ropes, light the match….cause here I am. Flexible but basically an unmoving liberal. OH SIGH!!!!!!!!!!!!
    With love
    Diana

  3. Juanita Rathbun

    I agree with your thoughts this week – and every week. It is amazing to me that our Monday morning Book Discussion group is spending so much time reading The Theocons – a book I had read a few years ago and recommended to the group. It gave me a whole new insight into the insidiousness of what is happening in the political world here in the US. I seem to be surrounded here by people who really “buy into ” this notion that America is exclusively a Christian country. The Republicans arecurrently passing laws to force people into their way of thinking about abortion, birth control etc. It is so real here that it is scary. It is important for all intelligent and rational people to wake up to the very present dangers inherent in these crazy ideas. Keep writing your most interesting blogs. Juanita

  4. I remember this woman who was hounded by some guy who insisted that God had told him they were to marry. The experience made her suspicious of both him and God.
    We have reason to be suspicious of anyone who claims to speak on God’s behalf, especially when it is to their own advantage.
    If Theocon politics were about those having two coats giving to those having none, an immigration policy that welcomes strangers, the elevating the interests of other nations above one’s own, and the response to acts of terrorism by turning the other cheek; they’d sound like Theo, a political Amen of the Sermon on the Mount.
    But Theocon politics are the very opposite of the Sermon on the Mount. So much so that one has good reason to be suspicious not only of the politics but of its god.

  5. I chose to speak for the right wing Christian (ostensibly) conservatives in the U.S. How scary is this! I will do this using my favourite medium, a story about me. How scary is that!
    The short version is this. I once worked at a house were there was a dog who didn’t seem to like me, to say the least. I did not at the time know the dogs ‘history’ From the first the dog growled and acted threatening. I was threatened so I shooed him into a room and shut the door. We both kept out distance. Each fearing something in the other.
    On the last day of work the owner of the house told me why the dog was that way with anyone other than the two of them. I will spare you the story, but it was nasty. Now, I had been attacked by a dog when I was little…with the obvious outcome. I took no guff from scary animals and reacted badly when confronted by their apparent aggressive natures.
    I think (though I may burn for this) that both sides are terrified. Each firmly believes that the other is trying to take over. Now in the case of the Theocons, they are, and I will ‘man the parapets’ if required but not happily.
    I smell the inquisition.
    Lets see what free speak gets me. In the middle. Wanting neither.
    Love
    Diana

  6. And just by the by. Why is it considered worthy to write a book, followed by many, after the fact, which we are to follow slavishly, about a so called saint, again after the fact, who had dreams, and heard God’s voice, then acted on it? But not if it’s just a person who’s dream voice changed their lives for the good.
    Did Jesus not say, all this you can do and more? I think so. So as usual I took Jesus at his word. By their fruits yea shall know them. Judgement is just a position based on weighing the evidence. My evidence is that the voice speaks rarely……….but always true.
    Just a thought.
    Sincerely
    Diana

  7. Robin Ethier

    Dear Rosie
    A most needed discussion presented in this blog. So far, I read fear on all sides, the Theocons who take a stand against their enemies and see they have many, those not in their camp pushed by fear to speak against the Theocon position,( much like myself), and then those who refuse to acknowledge the seriousness of the two main positions, perhaps choosing to cover their fear by simply turning their backs.
    I am afraid of what I’m seeing as I watch the Republican primaries and read about the Harper government, and now as I hear about the Theocons How can I not be taken over by fear !
    Perhaps that is too Liberal a position, to wish that fear can be resisted so as to allow rational thought and actions In Chris Hedges’ “Death of the Liberal Class” he claims it was this very inability to “confront the rise of the corporate state” that “bankrupted” liberalism. Liberals were afraid to appear confrontational, wanting to see themselves, as “open-minded” and thus able to work things out. Was this the cause of the downfall of liberalism, our striving for compromise our very weakness ?
    I was initially dismayed when I read Bob Rae’s reaction to the Harper ads against him Rae is going to react in kind. Is he a realist? Does one fight fire with fire? Do we respect the strong man? Is this the new Liberalism and is it about time? I feel better just thinking about standing up to what I see as injustice, unfairness, disrespect, and disregard for democracy. Is Rae setting a new course for Liberals It now feels that way
    Perhaps fear fades when we don’t simply react. Perhaps it fades when we first, test our own assumptions, admit to what we can and can’t accept, and then stand by our positions. If Rae can do it, so can we.
    So much to think on Thanks for waking us up

  8. I realized, very uncomfortably that I was doing exactly what the people I feared and disliked are doing. Making a rabid …if not rapid response based on fear and emotion.
    To all whom I have offended I extend a deep apology. I shall henceforth attempt to ‘preach’ what I actually practise, rather than practise preaching without a licence.
    Mea culpa mea culpa to all. I shall put myself in the corner for 30 minutes.
    Please forgive.
    Diana

  9. To be clear, I do not support Theocon philosophies and find the idea of legislated morality to be quite repugnant. What I’m saying is, we cannot sit here and snub our noses at the idea of someone deciding for us all collectively what is acceptable and what isn’t, without realizing that we are in exactly that situation already – it just so happens that because we (and here I’m speaking for the folks who tend to side with your points) agree with what’s been decided. But for someone who doesn’t think we’re being careful enough, who thinks the political decisions of today will bring about judgement, or perhaps less “fanatically” thinks, that laws about abortion, age of consent, pornography, etc. end up making voiceless victims, we have already done for him what we complain about Theocons trying to do to the liberal agenda – we have decided that he will live by these rules whether he likes it or not.

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