Soapbox Time

Sometimes I read something and I know immediately that I must write about it, but I’m so taken aback by what I’ve read that I sit at the computer and just stare at a blank Word page completely paralyzed and unable to convey”¦anything.

Such has been the case with Christian Exodus. Their mission statement taken from their website:

ChristianExodus.org is moving thousands of Christians to South Carolina to reestablish constitutionally limited government founded upon Christian principles. It is evident that the U.S. Constitution has been abandoned under our current federal system, and the efforts of Christian activism to restore our Godly republic have proven futile over the past three decades. The time has come for Christian Constitutionalists to protect our liberties in a State like South Carolina by interposing the State’s sovereign authority retained under the 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

They argue that the U.S. government has imposed laws which infringe on individual and states rights granted by the Constitution, and these laws specifically target and oppress Christians. They plan to move to South Carolina and systematically begin loading the state government with the right people, and by right I mean fundamentalist Christians, and eventually force the national government to recognize their sovereign rights as a Christian state, or secede from the Union.

I’m not makin’ that up. Go read their web page for yourself if you don’t believe me.

The scary part about all of this is that their plan sounds logical. They have worked up a successful looking strategy, relatively speaking. It sounds like it could really work, and frankly, I’m not so sure it wouldn’t be such a bad idea for them.

Let’s say for the sake of argument that all the bible-thumping, hell and damnation threatening, finger-pointing fundamentalists packed up and moved into one easily identifiable area. They could pass all the legislation they wanted supporting whatever bigoted ideas they foster and the rational and reasonable folks from all different religions, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Pastafarian, Atheist, etc, wouldn’t have to listen to them anymore. We could keep an eye on them, but we wouldn’t actually be forced to interact with them.

I’d even go so far as to say let’em secede if they want. Why not? They don’t support the notion of a melting pot which is an ideal this nation was supposedly built on, so let’em solidify into one big, festering mass of self-righteousness. We could impose trade restrictions and importation taxes on them, and so what if they charge us up the wazoo for exports. What does South Carolina have to offer anyway? Tobacco? Let’em keep that shit. If they want to collectively say “Screw you guys, we’re going home” then that’s fine by me.

We would watch them and their newly sovereign nation secure in the knowledge that religious states almost always fail, or at the very least corrode from within. Look at Pakistan after the partition in India. India went secular, and Pakistan became a religious state, and who made out better in that deal, huh? Or how about England during the rule of Charles I? The regicide pretty much dealt with the divine right of kings. Absolute monarchical rule granted by God? Nope. Constitutional monarchy works for us so much better, thanks.

Plus, it’s not like this hasn’t been tried here in the States. Anyone remember the Puritans? John Winthrop and Co. set out to show the world (England) how a pure Christian community could flourish and provide a godly environment to live and raise children, without the hierarchy and corruption of either the Anglican or the Catholic Church interfering. Read Winthrop’s “A Model of Christian Charity” and you’ll find many of the same lofty goals put forth by the Christian Exodus group. Unfortunately for Winthrop and his group they were immediately beset by rebellious citizens with conflicting ideological ideas. Roger Williams, Anne Hutchinson, and Cotton Mather all differed ideologically and theologically with Winthrop, and were eventually banished or excommunicated for their proselytizing.Their community was eventually assimilated by other more progressive and secular communities.

Look, I got no quarrel with religious folks in general, but when a group of people begin to judge others based on nothing more than a conflated sense of moral superiority then I sit up and pay attention. And I stand up and get involved when those same people not only seek to morally judge others but seek to pass legislation in accordance with their religious belief system. We don’t want folks like this running our government because objectively there is very little difference between their rhetoric and that of other extremist groups which we’re quick to denounce.

In analyzing the work of Karen Armstong, a former professor of mine noted that, “Because they [fundamentalists] fear that they and their way of life are going to be wiped off the earth, some people fortify their identities by a selective return to doctrines and beliefs that make sense of the world for them [emphasis mine]” (68).

We don’t need lawmakers constructing legislation based on fear of the future. We need laws to protect and guarantee the rights of the citizens of the state and the nation. And trust me; people like those in Christian Exodus are more interested in suppressing rights than guaranteeing them.

And I step off my soapbox now”¦

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