“Judeo-christian values” — already tried that

(Note: hover over the green, underlined words for their definitions.)

I was listening to NPR the other day interviewing Trump supporters asking them why they support Trump. Several of the interviewees mentioned a time in the past like in the late fifties when we had “Ozzie and Harriet” and “Leave It to Beaver” …

Life was ordered, homogeneous, and harmonious because everyone was wanting the same thing for the same reasons based on the same belief system and the same worldview. So many Conservatives want a “return to a nation of judeo-christian values.”

I can understand that. When everyone believes the same thing the same way and they want all the same things, there’s no friction.

Well, there was, and is, friction. But any dissent is considered evil or rooted in psychological dysfunction or Satan, and treason or unpatriotic, and thus easily ostracized.

“Judeo-christian values” was the ingredient, or agent, of homogenization. It was the common frame of reference to judge who was in and who was out. Who was a saint and who was a deviant. It was only a mechanism.

Still, I get it — I get how agreement can result in unity. What I don’t get is the reference to judeo-christian values. Just because so many shared them, does not mean that was the source of Harmony.

Harmony at the expense of individual beliefs and Liberty is not stability. It is forced calm. It is a mechanical delusion, wherein as long as the machine is operating smoothly, we believe everything is fine.

I think we do need to find another unifying agent, something to aspire to beyond being “the devil you know.”  I don’t think that judeo-christian values is something we should return to, if in fact they had ever been in reality a source of love, goodness, and righteousness. They don’t get us more than the illusion of unity.

We were certainly not a nation of love and tolerance. Belief in Christ was used more as a weapon rather than a light. Fear, control, bearing false witness, and ostracism were the tools of choice.  “Values” were based in judgment, fear of punishment or reprisal, rejection, separation, and privation. Homogenized “christian” society demanded mindless or uncritical obedience.

And everything was white.  On the NPR program, they interviewed 60-something Black folk who only ever saw the nuclear white family. They actually marveled and hollered, “Look, there’s a negro on TV” when a “colored person” was featured.  Mixed couples were ostracized and harassed.  Women had their place, and it wasn’t in the boardroom.

Even depictions of Christ were/are white and very European-looking.

People who are calling for the return of Christian “values” über alles are pining for homogenization … forcing everyone to think the way they think and believe what they believe using the lowest bar available that they can immediately identify with.  They’re tired of “political correctness,” an evil that forces mindless consideration for the feelings of people different from you.  So much effort, and so much exposure of one’s bigotry.

I don’t think that unity of thinking and worldview is a bad thing. But forcing me to believe in your warped version of Christ is never going to happen. Your Christianity is nothing that I want to aspire to.

There has to be a better way than your “Way,” which allowed for Christian-justified segregation, slavery, lynching, lobotomies, and so forth.  All human evils polished with “it’s God’s will.”

…I believe that no man or group of men is good enough to be trusted with uncontrolled power over others. And the higher the pretensions of such power, the more dangerous I think it both to rulers and to the subjects. Hence Theocracy is the worst of all governments. If we must have a tyrant, a robber baron is far better than an inquisitor. The baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity at some point may be sated; and since he dimly knows he is doing wrong he may possibly repent. But the inquisitor who mistakes his own cruelty and lust of power and fear for the voice of Heaven will torment us infinitely more because he torments us with the approval of his own conscience and his better impulses appear to him as temptations.

And since Theocracy is the worst, the nearer any government approaches to Theocracy the worse it will be. A metaphysic held by the rulers with the force of a religion, is a bad sign. It forbids them, like the inquisitor, to admit any grain of truth or good in their opponents, it abrogates the ordinary rules of morality, and it gives a seemingly high, super-personal sanction to all the very ordinary human passions by which, like other men, the rulers will frequently be actuated. In a word, it forbids wholesome doubt. A political programme can never in reality be more than probably right. We never know all the facts about the present and we can only guess the future. To attach to a party programme — whose highest claim is to reasonable prudence — the sort of assent which we should reserve for demonstrable theorems, is a kind of intoxication.

~C.S. Lewis

As for religious rule, I’ll take my chances with Christ’s return to establish his kingdom before I accept the perversion of Grace offered by Christians in their supreme arrogance in thinking they can institutionalize righteousness and, most perversely of  all, in their own corrupt image.

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