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View Diary: Dominionism as a coercive religious movement (part 3) (31 comments)

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  •  Thanks for this honest discussion, dogemperor. (2+ / 0-)
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    moiv, Snakes on a White House

    I don't know when I've enjoyed a 1-on-1 so much around here! Please allow me to address your points -

    a) The middle class has financed the entirety of the social infrastructure in this country, one way or another, for the entirety of its existence. And for a large percentage of the middle class, funding their spiritual institution and community and charities has been a whopping (but ancient) 10% of what they've already paid taxes on. Even the Big Denominations have harbored charlatans and con-men in it for wealth and/or power, so the idea that the steel churches would harbor cons and criminals shouldn't surprise anybody. Even the middle class members who so often get fleeced.

    This is duty.

    b) Your experience is of a single church. I attended churches here and there all my life that can brag about way more members (tithe-payers) than attendees on any given Sunday, and claim way more adherence to dogmatic themes than members are willing and/or able to provide in real life. Church is a tradition in most families and communities. My father went through a dozen different denominations in just the first decade after retiring from the Navy (where there's just Jewish, Catholic and Protestant). Never assume those old guys in MIB garb in the back with their Bibles open to follow every word are "learning" something from the preacher instead of "policing" what the preacher has to say. In mainline denominations, pastors serve at the grace of the congregation, not the other way around. And any given denomination (non-charismatic) can be known to harbor a fairly wide spectrum of position on a number of tenets and attendant theology among the churches, and among individual parishoners.

    This is human nature.

    c) Yes, you're likely to get visited if you belong to a church or fraternal organization or bridge club where members care if you don't show up. Even if you're in the hospital they'll come. If your father just died, darned if they don't cook you inedible meat loaf or sickly-sweet cake! They'll answer your door and wash your dishes and talk to friends/relatives on your phone. I have never in my life found great fault (or reason to fear) because people I know in a social situation care that I stopped coming around. I just tell 'em why.

    This is sociology.

    d) Illegal electioneering is as old as elections. In any system where numbers count, people who care will strive to pad the numbers. All sides usually engage this tendency, so it generally works out in the end. As I said, all these people by all your best estimates aren't more than a third. Apply the further divisive thirds and it's not really that scary.

    More human nature at work.

    e) Tradition doesn't wield as much power as it once did. The steel churches are making waves (and lots of money), and often making the news. And if my neighbor wants to visit - or even enthusiastically join - the steel church down the road (or any other), I don't mind. He still knows me for who I am, our families get along just fine. He's not looking to steal my land or kill my children/grandchildren or make me his slave. He knows his grapes, though. I rely on his expertise quite a bit for my vineyard's problems, and he taught me how to make wine. I've taught him how to grow 5-alarm habaneros, and how to put up sauce (preserve) that sells for a bundle in the organic B&B/restaurant market.

    He'd feed and house us in a worst case scenario (and we lived through the blizzard of '93). We'd house and feed them too. Everyone I know in my neighborhood (rural and spread out) is very much the same. Save less than a handful of "bad seeds," we all know who they are, and simply don't count on them for shit. Tell our kids to stay the heck away from their property. But I'd bet that in a real pinch we'd let them in too.

    Traditional ethics runs deeper than you think.

    e) Time allotments are always about what people WANT to do, weighed against what they HAVE to do. And yep - you're right - church can (and is often designed to) monopolize your time. What are they taking you "away from?" 300+ expensive channels of garbage and hyper-sales pitches every 3 minutes, 24 hours a day? Or real, quality time with your spouse and children? For many of these people, church time IS family/non-TV time. Since school and work are each more than 8 hours out of a day, isn't more family/non-TV time better? Do you just disagree with their attentional focus? Why? And what ever could you do about it?

    Freedom of belief, freedom of choice. I don't begrudge it of my fellow citizens, even when I disagree.

    I do see and understand your concerns, I think. I'm trying, anyway! It's just that I've encountered a lot of reactionaries in my time (I'm old), and an awful lot of fearful, helpless people. I don't begrudge them their fantasies. It would be a cruel person who could do so. Even though we all know how to defend ourselves, and none of us is prone to eliminating guard, even if a lowered facade is reasonable.

    It's just that since I realized a third of people are hopeless, anything less than that doesn't much impress me. Reality right now in this particular time zone on this particular planet is that MORE than a third of those who in past history qualified as "middle class" are a single accident or illness away from bankruptcy, were they still allowed to declare such. Which they're mostly not. They they're poor, just like the tens of millions of other citizens who can't afford to eat and see a doctor at the same time.

    This is a great social wrong. You've taken worldwide estimates and applied them to America, without any constraints per reality. A good many of the people you target here are the targets and/or victims of that social wrong. It's all of a piece. I think distraction at this point - less than 6 weeks away from the most important election many of us will ever see - is unwarranted. These people aren't monsters, they're not mutants. They're our neighbors, our friends and acquaintances. Sometimes they're our family. We don't want war with them any more than they honestly want war with us. Enough blood is being spilled elsewhere to keep the vampires satiated - we've got to work on what we've got in common, not what differences we have.

    My own opinion, of course. I've enjoyed your series, and will keep reading. My older sister once belonged to a notorious radical organization because she was dating the ringleader in college. She tried to talk me into starting a high school chapter of the SDS in Muskogee, Oklahoma (I kid you not) way back in '69. When I was dating the captain of the HS debate team that included Mike Synar (the last honest man in Congress)...

    I asked her point-blank what would happen if she won. What comes next, what's the goal here? Oddly (to my mind), she didn't know, and appeared never to have thought of that before. How weird. As I shook my head to indicate I wasn't buying a word of it, I said...

    "Well, you can bet your bippy that SOMEBODY knows what comes next. I don't think I'll put my body on the line until I know exactly what it is - and approve of it."

    She came around (and has long since become a regular law-abiding member of society). Now she asks all the hard questions, and does rather well at it. We're not "special." People who are for any reason compelled to pay attention are going to bring their rational faculties to bear (minus the idiot third). Present your point, draw the requisite parallels, bring it home. Anything so fuzzy as religion needs way more factual, concrete documentation than just what some wacko preacher somewhere in Bumfuck, Joisey has to say today.

    If you're trying to incite civil war, that is.

    Satan himself had a 33% approval rating even as he was booted out of heaven.

    by Joy Busey on Wed Oct 04, 2006 at 05:14:45 PM PDT

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