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Rated: E · Book · Writing · #2044345
Writing about what I have been reading and encountering in the media.
#984139 added May 22, 2020 at 11:54pm
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Has Evangelical Christianity Become Sociopathic?
This was a post on Facebook today, 5/22/2020. The article, as you can see, was published in 2017. I went to Huff Post and searched to find it there, but the search was unsuccessful. Nevertheless, because I have been thinking about this, it became a stimulus for me to write my thinking down. I have no way to send this to the author, but if someone who reads this can tell me how, I would very much like to send it to him.

Tim Rymel, M.Ed., Contributor
Author | Educator | Dad
Has Evangelical Christianity Become Sociopathic?
05/11/2017 05:08 pm ET Updated May 11, 2017

Dear Mr. Rymel,
Thank you for your concerned ponderings on the state of Evangelical Christianity. I share your concern. I think about it a little differently.
I don’t think the “church” took over or invaded politics. I think politics started using religion and has done so all of my life, which from looking at your photo, is somewhat longer than yours. When Dwight D. Eisenhower was President, he signed into law the bill making “In God, we Trust” the motto of the US and adding the motto to all US currency, as well as adding “one nation under God” to the pledge of allegiance. This broke the barrier between church and state that is in the Constitution and that had stood 175 years. This was not the church. It was the politicians who voted and signed the bill into law. The church may have wanted it, but politicians do things for their own reasons and knew, as the made this law, what they were doing to weaken, probably end, protection of religion from the state.

The politicians saw a segment of America they thought they could manipulate. Christians did not see themselves as being used. They thought they were improving the country, bringing faith to the masses, etc. This is antithetical to Christianity. Using and being used is unhealthy for both sides. Faith does not come from money, advertising slogans or political manipulation and it doesn’t take a lot of reading in the Bible before you realize, Jesus made no effort to control the state, and when the state and religion alike tried to control him, they lost. They couldn’t even kill him.

Both the state and the Evangelical movement are very sick right now. Growing up in a church with the first name “Evangelical,” I was taught this meant reaching out, welcoming, loving unconditionally, and bringing the Love of Christ to my neighbors through my actions as well as teaching. Today’s Evangelicals draw ridged lines, like the Catholics of the middle ages, welcoming only those that will follow their rules. Jesus never did this.

Some politicians have lied, claiming Christian affiliation when they knew nothing of Christianity. The Christians that choose to believe those politicians are led by people participating in religion like the scribes and Pharisees to enhance their own riches and power. They are exclusionary, judgmental, and the love they share is very much conditional, as in your example of the mother who used the Bible to justify abandoning her son. She isn’t loyal to scripture. She shows no evidence of understanding scripture. She is the pawn of politicians like McConnell and Trump who have twisted the tenets of faith to their advantage and who use the issues of gay marriage and abortion to distract followers from the political activities that lead to the disenfranchisement of Christians everywhere.

Further, you may have noticed that the “Christians” causing all the trouble are more than 90% white and are often referred to as “white evangelical Christians.” The people who oppose integration started infiltrating and gaining power among those Christians by promoting the “white is right” ideology that emerged to support slavery. This tendency among White evangelicals has deep, deep roots in slavery and racism. The Bible was interpreted to support the separation of the races, even though Jesus and his apostles never made any “racial” distinctions. Christianity came to open and remove barriers, not to shut people into a box, or into slavery. In the long history of Christianity, the major gatherings to clarify and define the faith were not organized by the church, but instead, by the heads of state. From the very beginning, Christianity has had to resist the state and has not always succeeded. At first, the state tried to destroy Christianity, then to join and control from within. Hitler had a state church. He simply re-wrote the Bible and had his version taught to children to support his power, authority, and interpretation of what is "right."

Finally, these people call themselves Christians and call people who practice inclusivity based on the teachings of Jesus “secular humanists.” I have encountered many who had never even heard that the progressive movement in politics is firmly rooted in scripture. When that historical detail is presented to them, they argue with it, say it isn’t so, say “you have been brainwashed” and swear on their Papa’s grave they know for a fact that “liberals” hate them and wish all manner of evil upon them. They don’t question the origins of their own thinking. Do you question the origins of your thinking Tim Rymel? Do you think questioning is a path to a deeper faith? They seem to think questioning is the devil’s work.

Summary: Yes, there is something deeply troubled in Evangelical Christianity. A good part of it comes from being used by politicians to achieve their economic and power goals, and from evangelical unwillingness to question what they are being taught. They say we would all be better off if we just agreed with them and they will keep working at that until they make us all agree. This is neither Christian nor democratic. It is pathological and on the verge of destroying our country.

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