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O Holy Yikes!

 

With the Christmas season looming, it's time to talk about the evangelicals.

 

Found out recently from Mother Jones that Health and Human Services is rapidly becoming an arm of the evangelical churches. Most of it – no surprise here – involves women's health programs. They are, of course, firmly against abortion, which led Planned Parenthood to withdraw from federal assistance, and not all that fond of contraception, either. They are strongly promoting FABM (fertility-awareness based methods) , which is essentially an update on the old rhythm method promoted for decades by the Catholic Church. We all know how well that protocol works.

 

"Alex Azar, an anti-abortion, Orthodox Christian who considers Vice President Mike Pence a mentor, is the head of Trump's HHS. He has stocked the agency with like-minded lieutenants, and together they have reshaped HHS women's health programs to suit the agenda of evangelical Christian … activists who not only oppose abortion, but also most forms of birth control and comprehensive sex education."

 

What puzzles me the most is how in the world did we come to be governed by the evangelicals?  The floppy-Bible set has always been regarded as lying at the fringes of Christianity, yet now they are informing the policies of not only the president, but numerous federal agencies. Before you know it we'll all be required to juggle rattlesnakes to prove our loyalty to the Constitution.

 

This is no mere hyperbole. While they may be a minority in sheer numbers (but a very large minority), they are a vocal and coherent minority that regularly builds churches that will hold three to five-thousand worshippers in a sitting. Way too often, as well, their pastors are poorly-educated in general, and often self-taught in matters of scripture, this latter point of huge importance since their pronouncements are often said to be the word of God and, thus, unassailable.

 

Chief among those pronouncements is that the U.S. is a Christian nation and should, thus, be ruled by the principles of Christianity – Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, atheists, agnostics, and Wiccans be damned (literally). We need church attendance (Sunday morning and Wednesday evening), tithing (to get those churches built), prayer in schools, and being born again while accepting Jesus as our personal savior.

 

Smart cookie that I am, I don't often like to bring up matters of religion. I like to think it's personal, something between you and your ultimate presuppositions about things. But these folks have taken it out of the personal and right into the world of politics, and I will discuss politics. The evangelicals are Talibanic in their treatment of women both by restricting the rights of women to choose what to do about their own health, and by supporting a president who views women as objects of amusement and servitude. They are packing the courts with evangelical judges and now, in violation of the Constitution, they are using the pulpit as a vehicle for political discourse.

 

The whole point of the evangelical position, of course, is that you will articulate your beliefs to your fellow human so as to persuade them that they are on a dire path and that by following your righteousness they can be "saved." That's all well and good when the subject is some sanguine eternal tenure in a mystical good place. But when that righteousness includes who they vote for, who and how they love, what they do with their bodies, a mandatory tax on their money, how they dress, what they eat, with whom they can associate, heaping scorn upon those of different beliefs – we've gone well beyond embracing the message of a prophet claiming to be the son of a supreme entity.

 

Oh for the good old days when we were governed by the National Rifle Association.

 

G.K. Wuori © 2019

Photoillustration by the author from a Paul Rozycki photo