Monday, August 07, 2006

Bad Theology, Meet Bad Civics

Yes; I'm cross. It's easy to get that way waiting with someone you care about who's hurting, in a way you can't do much to assuage. (My modest contribution to helping pass my friend's kidney stone is acting as Water Nazi, using whatever means necessary to get the daily two gallons of H20 prescribed by the doctor down my friend's throat. And meanwhile our bags are packed for heading up north...whenever. Whenever Mr. Stone makes his exit.)

Anyway, when I'm cross, a lot of things bug me. And something that got to bugging me today was reading a post on Beliefnet whose author -- whom I assume to be an American citizen -- was talking about praying "for our rulers." Excuse me? Our rulers? Last time I checked, wasn't the United States a democratic republic (at least on paper)? We don't have rulers. We vote people in to work for us, and if they don't do a good job we vote them out. I think we learned this back in grade-school civics class, from a book that showed Norman Rockwell's famous painting of a citizen speaking up at a New England town meeting. (Do they even have civics class anymore?)

On a related note, in another Beliefnet discussion about "sinful music" someone related the tale of a rebellious daughter whose life started going downhill after she began listening to music that, among other things, was "anti-government." My God -- anti-government music! Alert Homeland Security! Round up the usual suspects!

The dumbing down of Americans' understanding of/appreciation of democracy, and their confusion of nationalism with Christianity is frightening; and the cynical contribution of the Religious Right to this process is appalling.

I'm reminded of the Israelites in the time of the Judges, kvetching because they didn't have a king like the cultures around them. Be careful what you wish for, people.

7 comments:

P.S. (an after-thought) said...

Civics? Well, these days schools feel forced to teach to the test, not for understanding of depth. We will turn out like the Asian cultures, which which I have some experience. They push their students to learn facts and pass tests. But there may be no teaching of what is behind the facts. Data in, Data out.

I also fault the Religious Right, but I think it is wider in our society, that thinking and pondering and logical argumentation isn't being taught in many schools.

But in certain American sub groups, apparently thinking and doubthing are forbidden. I personally think that doubt can grow faith, but some see this as a threat. And so discussions are kept to things like how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. I have looked as a certain ask the pastor blog that is Lutheran and was appalled at the picky type questions. Yet the bigger questions didn't seem to be answered.

I heard a discussion on Public Radio awhile ago about research into what type of people become Democrats or Republicans. I can't quote the details, but there was a marked difference of mind set as what the person sees as the role of government, of course. But what really stuck with me was that the Republicans voters tended to see the leaders as a sort of father figure to be followed and believed. If there is a carry over to the link of some Christian groups with the Republican Party, it might follow that Christian sub groups that are told what to believe, period, may also fit better with the Republican Party.

Hey, like my pastor told me when I was upset after reading some LCMS blogs, "Why do you continue to read that stuff and get upset?" Ditto question to you regarding beliefnet.

Sister Mary Hasta said...

Been at the painting board too long, I was wondering why we should pray for rulers

revabi said...

indeed, I thought we fought the American revolution long ago, its in our blood and DNA to be that way, to question, to speak up and out, to have free mind and will. Uh are we robots now ruled by rulers?

Good post.

chartreuseova said...

Oh yes, the the confusion of nationalism with Chrisitianity is frightening to me too.

I picked up a book from our local library last night that is critical of much of what is happening in the world of politics and the Religious Right. I jokingly told my dh, "I suppose another ping (alarm) just went off in some office in D.C...and another red mark will be added next to our names/address"

Didn't those in political office used to be called civil servants and those who they served were citizens? These days I often feel more like a serf than a citizen.

Ooops there goes another PING!

Rainbow Pastor said...

Preach it, sisters!

LutherPunk said...

That is funny about the beliefnet forum. The anti-government/anti-establishment music I used to listen to with great frequency actually led me to seminary. Bands like Black Flag, Bad Brains, the Dirty Rotten Imbeciles, old Bad Religion...the music forced self-reflection. Sure, I ended up with a *couple* more tattoos than your average Lutheran minister, but it works.

Mata H said...

I think it is important to remember that what we are hearing from the radical right is based in fear. If I treat it as stupidity, I have no hope of changing it -- if I treat it as fear, maybe I have a chance.