Monday, February 12, 2007

Theocracy Now?

Email forwards continue to be the most invigorating source of response that will spill over here. Yes, I did make it into 2007 (for those that were worried). It's just been an especially busy start to the year what with group review, the impending arrival of Baby K, work, school, and being named a 2007 Fish Camp namesake (!!!).

Today I received a message with a link to the Diamond Rio video for "In God We Still Trust." A particular lyric stuck out because it was the subject of conversation ending our parish's annual Meatfare Sunday BBQ lunch. Diamond Rio puts it this way, "There's no separation...we're one nation under Him," after first describing the fact that God's name is on our "most important" monuments and on our money. I had already intended to post my thoughts deriving from the lunch conversation, which started by talking about Mitt Romney and his chances for garnering the GOP nod.

My position was that, Romney's Mormon background notwithstanding, we've seen enough evidence from neocons in positions of power and enough blind support for the current administration's consolidation of power to believe that there is a sizable contingent that wouldn't mind dismantling our government to establish a theocracy. Even if the Southern Baptist vote wouldn't swing for Romney (I'm not sure that it wouldn't, and that it would matter if it didn't), it's far less likely that the Baptists with whom I grew up would vote for a Catholic candidate than a Mormon one.

As if to prove my point, one young gentleman joined the conversation by indicating that ours is a Christian nation (at least that's what I thought he said). I started to talk about the economic reasons for emigration to the U.S. and the myth of a Christian agenda on the part of the founding fathers. He quickly interrupted and noted that he understood that we didn't start off that way, but that he hoped we would become a Christian nation. We discussed for a moment, the relative benefits of living in a system that promotes your particular moral and social code, and both agreed that there isn't a better system than what we enjoy now, whatever work might still need to be done. I further pointed out that his suggestion that we become a Christian nation and prohibit public practice of other religions (if acted upon) constitued treason and is the very thing that our armed forces are sworn to protect against. Amazingly, he thoughtfully agreed.

Before hearing Diamond Rio's song, I wasn't sure how representative this young man's position might be, but I'm afraid that we're worse off than I imagined. I'm afraid that since we've allowed our democratic participation to be commodified, people are treating it as a luxury. Though my experience with the U.S. military has helped bring me to a conclusion that all war and preparation for war is at odds with a Christian worldview, I think that mandatory military service would force people to become more invested in the process...and it would certainly cool the urge to surge.

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