I Pulled Into Nazareth…

I Pulled Into Nazareth…

Certainly we can debate among ourselves about the relative merit or efficacy of our nation in the age of Trump, although at this point it isn’t much of a debate as it is a call to arms on social media, or in the cable news programs, at the Thanksgiving dinner table, or in the workplace, or wherever these types of discussions take place if one is courageous enough to try. In our evolved society that has put a man on the moon, found cures for diseases that once crippled humanity, and created a nuclear device that is capable of catastrophic destruction, our debate is functionally reduced to a screaming-into-the-void form of conduct among our fellows. There is a face-off against objective reality in the country. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness. As it turns out, when it comes to objective reality, or the empirical truth, I am somewhat of an absolutist. And as far as the evidence before me, it is the worst of times. It is the age of foolishness.

The truth that lies before the American people (generously leaving out the potential treason) is a landscape of political corruption, indisputable constitutional violations, moral turpitude and gross incompetence that has infected the political apparatus with a malignancy that is arguably unsurpassed in our national history. Yet despite the objective reality, the pursuit of justice is hindered not only by party loyalists, but by a block of people forming the constituency who is ready to defend them. I marvel at the incomprehensible defense of a man—a man so morally decrepit, so demonstrably inept, so obviously perpetrating of graft, so utterly despicable—by the faction of people who claim piety and virtue as tenets of their faith.

Our nation was founded, and our governing architecture was drafted, under the premise that we would be free to speak and worship as we deemed appropriate for ourselves. This freedom, while sacrosanct, empowers any form of religious thought to be protected as fruit of our democratic experiment. We are free to worship who, what and how we are compelled to. I suppose I am okay with that as long as your religion doesn’t peddle your wares too aggressively to me, and you keep your dogma out of my karma, so to speak. The Establishment Clause in the First Amendment to the Constitution does that. I won’t rail too hard on the fact that religious freedom run amok will yield cults and whack-jobs who can righteously flaunt the craziest shit in the name of that freedom (and enjoy freedom from taxation), but it does ratify one’s right to live way apart from objective reality, and that becomes a problem when religious ideology infiltrates government, without that Establishment Clause in full effect.

To Evangelical Christians, Trump is the anointed one

The Evangelical Christians in America support Trump in the high 70’s, despite the evidence before them that he is the very embodiment of a Sodomite and an idolater. I suppose with all of our freedoms, supporting a bad politician isn’t totally cataclysmic, but I’ve come across some extremely disturbing phenomena in the age of Trump that bears attention. Recently, a question was posed to a trough of Trump supporters, asking whether they supported his recent decision to bomb Syria. Respondents often replied that they didn’t know any of the facts, but he is our president so they naturally supported whatever he was doing. Another group of respondents took their answers a bit further by asserting that Trump is sent by Jesus, so their faith in him was unassailable no matter what he did. I’ve seen many forms of imagery conjured by the Trump faithful, like the one pictured. Blind patriotism and blind faith differ in some respects, but the blindness is a common denominator, and that has a pernicious effect on our nation’s ability to remain fluid in the face of the changing nature of events. New information becomes available all the time that influences our understanding of the world around us, and how we might react to it. Blind faith and blind patriotism chain us to a reality that is no longer objectively true. Worse, the threat against established paradigms elicit the defensive posture of entrenchment in obsolete concepts, creating the screaming-into-the-void type of discourse that is the inevitable result of a group of people tied inexorably to the kind of trump-ism that is bound up in their faith. Have a blessed day, libtard. Even worse, a system of beliefs that is held to be ordained as constitutionally protected is further fortified from the perceived attack by dreaded new information. Faith is itself a double-bind by its very nature. I am not here to argue against faith as one of the principle pillars of Christianity, but to suggest that blind faith in Trump is of grave concern. Seeing religious imagery that merely associates, or worse, conflates Trump with Christ is not only heretical in plain Christian terms, it is a dangerous slope to tread. Faith, by its nature, is not vulnerable to reason. Kings and despots require unquestioned authority, and it should be worrisome to anyone that Evangelicals are willing offer that to Trump, and I would think that it should alarm any Christian adherent that Christian conservatives are willing to couple Trump with their Lord and Savior.

Another thing that keeps me awake at night is the fact that the religious right, as they are constitutionally empowered to do, believe that the rapture is immanent, which makes any governance from politicians associated with the Christian right highly suspect.

Go down, Miss Moses, ain’t nothin’ you can say
It’s just old Luke, and Luke’s waiting on the judgment day

If you are not an evangelical, it is difficult to fully grasp that the rapture is as real to evangelicals as a Big Mac, and I believe they often confuse the end of days by human hands with the end of days by the second coming of Christ. American Christianity has a long history of embracing the eschatology, and Christians have anticipated the rapture with zeal, aided often by preachers promising it. While the Constitution was crafted to ensure that a great big, beautiful wall was erected between church and state, the infiltration of conservative Christians into the political sphere is ubiquitous and viral, and they are working to bring their beliefs to fruition by legislation in congress in addition to pulpits and pews. That they have found their savior in the presidency of Donald Trump is both mystifying and disturbing. Waiting for the rapture is a challenge of patience to any zealot craving the separation of filthy sinners from the saved. Trump offers up that division in his racism and his new nationalism. He feeds their constitutionally empowered prejudice and righteousness through his bluster. He promises their rapture with his nuclear arsenal pointed at the nations of infidels. It was the age of the savior, it was the age of the idol. Trump is ostensibly the golden calf, but they cannot see, for they are blind. Who will shine the light of truth upon them? In the tale of two realities, the truth matters.

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