“We must oppose the Christian Taliban. I say this as a Christian.”

Given my brief account of America’s original theocracy, let’s move on to the present day, shall we?

The title of this post is U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger’s response to remarks made by his House colleague, Lauren Boebert. (Boebert recently won her primary election with 65% of the vote). “I’m tired of this separation of church and state junk,” the would-be Constitutional expert/high school drop-out complained. “The church is supposed to direct the government”. We are about to get a very brutal real-world lesson in what it’s like to live in a country that doesn’t have that separation”, writes a constitutional law professor.

“We are a Christian nation, founded by Christians, and YES- we should legislate our faith on you. If you don’t like it, get out,” notes Lauren Witzke, who has endorsed making Trump king for life. (My daughter in Vancouver just applied for Canadian citizenship. It’s tempting to emigrate under her sponsorship. For the time being, I remain, and invite the Witzke-ite Christian Taliban of America to leave if you can’t tolerate a multi-faith, multi-cultural America).

Desires for a new American Theocracy are growing. And they’re not limited to Christian extremists. It pervades government, like Governor DeSantis’ “real history”.  Florida’s civics curriculum borrows heavily from David (Mister- history-which-wasn’t) Barton that it is a “misconception” that “the Founders desired a strict separation of church and state”. We see it in the Supreme Court’s religiously-motivated injection of conservative Christianity into law and governance. We see it in school districts whitewashing chattel slavery by calling it “involuntary relocation”.  Frederick Clarkson observes, “when Christian Right leaders talk about religious liberty, they often really mean theocratic supremacism of their own religious beliefs inscribed in government,” Writing in 1910, Emma Goldman observed: “The almost limitless capacity of Puritanism for evil is due to its entrenchment behind the State and the law. Pretending to safeguard the people against ‘immorality,’ it has impregnated the machinery of government and added to its usurpation of moral guardianship the legal censorship of our views, feelings, and even of our conduct.” Despite so much myth-making for the City On A Hill, Christian nationalists excise these unwelcome truths in crafting a New Israel origin narrative to propel their Biblical destiny of theocratic dominion.

“Do not fear theocracy,” Eric Metaxas assures. If “maniacal Christians took control of this country, they would make it safe for everybody else to be a part of this country.” The Christian re-monopolization of American spiritual and political power is happening today, and it doesn’t look anything as benign as Metaxas describes. Following Dobbs, Justice Thomas aimed his intrusive sights at contraception, same-sex marriage and other constitutional rights. Like David Barton with his historical eisegesis, Thomas runs roughshod over decades of stare decisis, claiming his predecessors were wrong. (Conveniently, they’re all dead now and unable to defend their rulings). We’ve seen enough to know there is plenty to fear from a Theocracy. We’re at the tip of the iceberg of cruelties.  Like a state’s draconian laws which deny an abortion to a 10 year-old who was raped, just waiting around until the fifth grader to die in childbirth. Because the “Biblical worldview” has decreed births through rape and incest are the “will of God”. The godly society this maniacal judge envisions will be helped along by his revanchism. No Metaxsas, theocracy would not make it safe for everybody else to be a part of this country.

“Insofar as there’s one God, and he has one son, and there is one way to salvation, and one way to the truth,” Nick (Nazi-Nick) Fuentes declared, “then that’s the way that the people running our society and writing the laws need to be and no other way” “If we are going to have one nation under God, which we must,” according to pardoned felon Mike Flynn, “we have to have one religion. One nation under God, and one religion under God.” The question then arises, whose Christianity should it be? Evangelicals would propose their brand. But whatever faith constitutes evangelicalism is a question with no definitive answer. Does it mean premillennialism, prosperity gospel, a seven day Creation, Sabbath-keeping, or even abstinence from alcohol? Unlike the Puritans who together fit their doctrine under one post-Anglican Calvinist umbrella, evangelicals comprise a constellation of orthodoxies loosely gathered under the rubric known as Bebbington. A framework so vague that many Catholics, Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses could qualify as evangelicals. Evangelical sub-tribes are like groups looking at the sky from different planets. Same stars, disagreeing viewpoints. It is fruitless to frame a specifically “true” American identity if founded on the shifting sands of one “true” evangelical Christian identity.

What sort of church do they see imposed? Perhaps we should take a cue from Founding Father, James Madison, who wrote: “Who does not see that the same authority which can establish Christianity, in exclusion of all other Religions, may establish with the same ease any particular sect of Christians, in exclusion of all other Sects?” Whose church? Who’s in charge? Maybe the Southern Baptists with 6 million members. Maybe the Roman Catholics with 60 million – and all reporting to one Holy Father.

“That there would be as many (or more) Roman Catholics in America than Protestants but they [Founding Fathers] did not set up this nation to prevent it. They intended the nation to be religiously pluralist.” These disparate and rival religious groups have managed a kumbaya work-around in the Christian Right, driven by a unifying political ideology rather than Christian orthodoxy or praxis that proclaims “My Kingdom is not of this world”.

Like the Puritans, the Christian Right began by espousing piety to God and wound up being the monster they preach against. Everyone sees this dangerous game of hypocrisy will end in common disaster, except they themselves. Theocracy is a chimera; look to the Puritans to see how a Utopia consumes others, and then itself. Perhaps we should all revisit Martin Niemoeller’s prophetic words:

First they came for the Communists

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Communist

Then they came for the Socialists

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Socialist

Then they came for the trade unionis

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a trade unionist

Then they came for the Jews

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Jew

Then they came for me

And there was no one left

To speak out for me

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