Onward Christian Terrorists

“The attack on Washington?” Rayford said, craning his neck to talk to the officer. “Washington, D.C.?”

One prediction the Left Behind tag team of LaHaye and Jenkins got right – unintentionally, by the way –features in their 1996 installment, The Tribulation Force. (I’ll summarize the plot so you don’t waste your time). Our born-again hero has a growing awareness that he is working directly under the honest-to-goodness Anti-Christ. The antagonist, U.N. Secretary-General Nicolae Carpathia, having largely succeeded into hood-winking the religions of the world to unify, is well on his way to One World Government – starting with disarming America for world peace. The U.S. President is opposed, and enlists the well-armed “patriotic militia forces” to resist. Carpathia responds:

“If we accomplish what I have proposed, do you really think a bunch of zealots running around in the woods wearing fatigues and shooting off popguns will be a threat to the global community?” Yet, their President character whispers a warning to the righteous hero: stay away from Washington.

They could have been writing about January 6th, 2021. A collection of self-declared vigilante organizations – Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, Three Percenters and less-glorified street gangs – were leading the siege. And Franklin Graham can lie all he wants – it would be out-of-character for him not to – but evangelical Christians were among the mob forcing its way inside the House chambers. “We love you and we thank you, in Christ’s holy name we pray.” There may not be a self-styled ‘Christian’ militia, but armed Christians permeate these private armies. “God is not on the Democrats’ side,” said a rioter who kicked in Nancy Pelosi’s office door. “And if patriots have to kill 60 million of these communists, it is God’s will.”

Slowly, America is waking up to the fact that these are not just “a bunch of zealots running around in the woods wearing fatigues and shooting off popguns”. Especially, given that Donald “good people on both sides” Trump’s campaign underwrote the January 6 rally organizers to the tune of $2.7 million. “Be there, be wild,” the now-disgraced former President cheered.

I am a former National Guard officer – a JAG, to be specific. I took an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. I know a thing or two about militias under the Constitution.  I know enough about the so-called Anti-Klan laws – now codified as 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 – 1986 – to recognize a civil conspiracy to deprive individuals of their constitutional rights. I don’t think many evangelicals are involved; maybe it was the same in Klan days. But almost all Southern white folk supported the night-riding vigilantes. Evangelicals today should ask themselves, how much further down into the Tribulation Force do they want to sink? All its hateful malevolence is unfolding right before our eyes, and I’ll be blogging about it for the foreseeable future.

Oh, the Wicked Web We Weave…..

Bits and Pieces I’ve Been Thinking About:

Get Your Stories Straight:

When you try to manage a tangle of lies like a fraudulent election victory, sometimes your mouth gets ahead of your brain, and you forget which part of the truth you are trying to conceal.  Anyone who’s gotten their car repaired knows that the parts equal more than the whole. So it is with keeping track of all the little lies that keep the Big Lie going:

Donald Trump on November 15th: “He won because the Election was Rigged.” Donald Trump, about an hour later, trying to eradicate the morsel of truth he accidently said: “He only won in the eyes of the FAKE NEWS MEDIA. I concede NOTHING!”

Headline-seeking preacher Robert Jeffress, writing for Fox News on November 7th: “If President Biden succeeds, we all succeed.” Later that week, perhaps Jeffress heard the murmurings of his congregation, and put his money where his mouth is mouth where his money is. He must have realized how lonely it can get out ahead of his Dear Leader, and he backpedaled mightily:  “We do NOT have a ‘president-elect’ until electoral college votes December 14.”

The Bible is consistent on truth-telling; lying lips are an abomination to the Lord. I’m reminded of when God was paying attention to Sarah’s snicker and denial: “No! You did laugh.” If you want to be a credible voice, you can’t disavow yourself by pulling a Yogi Berra-ism: “I didn’t say everything I said.” Just like you can’t take your words back, integrity and reputation can’t exist amidst dishonesty and deceit.

Do As I Say, Not As I Do:

“Some believe such a tariff would place a practical limitation on religious freedom.” The CEO of the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association was protesting that proposed tariffs on China would effectively amount to a Bible tax on Christians and religious organizations. Large Christian publishing firms outsource printing of Bibles and other Christian titles to Chinese factories providing cheap socialist – perhaps even slave – labor. Some estimate over half of our Bibles are printed in China. Bibles that Christians in China are not allowed to possess. The Southern Baptists, for example, publicly attacked China for its human rights abuses, while its publishing arm has a deep relationship with China.What does that say about their Christian business principles?” What does it say about us? As believers living in the Land of the Free, flush with Shiny New Things – and Bibles – from China, we need to ask whether we raise concern for human rights only when it is convenient and good for the bottom line.

Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart:

Boy, did we screw up!” After decades of deep-pockets funding of right-wing causes, Charles Koch has made his peace with the culture wars. He promises working towards “a better way forward” and “break down the barriers holding people back.” Seems like a Scrooge-like transformation is underway.

My spiritual pain is unbearable. I keep having the same unsolved question: if my rifle took away people’s lives, then can it be that I… am guilty for people’s deaths, even if they were enemies?” In his twilight years, Mikhail Kalashnikov expressed regret for designing the AK-47. At age 91, he was baptized and thereafter called himself “a slave of God.”  Now a believer, he died repenting of the global killing machine he had created.