IT CAN HAPPEN HERE
Walter Shurden's passionate speech to the Baptist Joint Committee for Relious Liberty:
They called it "German Nationalism," but it was really manic patriotism, a knee-jerk devotion to a fourth rate God, born of fear. And then many of the Christians took off and started calling themselves "German Christians." But all the pathos and the passion fell on the first rather than the second word. They were Germans who happened to be Christians rather than Christians who happened to be Germans. They proudly flung swastika across Christ's altar. Good people, Christian people, people like you are, got blinded by the darkness; they were fearful of the light. They no longer knew their real Fuehrer.
Let me be clear at the outset. I am not suggesting that we are on the lip of any kind of political totalitarianism in this country. I don't believe that.
I am suggesting, however, that there are "American Christians" for whom the adjective is more important than the noun.
I am suggesting that some Christian churches in our country have been transformed into political temples and some pastors have embraced the moniker of "patriot pastors."
I am suggesting that devoted theocrats have an eye on the machinery of national and state governments, and that they make no apology for it.
And I am suggesting that a skewed reading of our nation's history is sending forth armies of buck privates scurrying to wreck Jefferson's wall.
Let me tell you why I believe it can happen here, this idolatrous mixing of church and state.
It can happen here because "Generation Joshua" is loose in our country. Have you heard of "Generation Joshua?" It is an effort by Michael Farris, founder of Patrick Henry College, to turn Christian, home-schooled students into political foot soldiers to gain political power in order to subsume everything—entertainment, law, government, and education—under their right wing version of Christianity. Like Joshua of the Hebrew Bible, Generation Joshua's job is to possess the land, to conquer the land, or, in the words of the religious right, "to take back the land." And, according to Michael Harris, in the spring semester of 2004, Patrick Henry College had more interns in the White House than any other college in the nation.2 It can happen here because of a religious right-wing militancy.
It can happen here because by 2004 The Christian Coalition gave 42 out of 100 United States senators a rating of 100%. More than half of the senators received ratings of 83% by the militant Christian Coalition. It can happen here because sincere religious ideologues are rampant in our country, and they mean business.
I want to repeat it, slowly, so that it will sink in: ONE IN THREE HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS IN THIS REPUBLIC SAYS THAT THE FIRST AMENDMENT OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES GOES TOO FAR IN THE RIGHTS IT GUARANTEES TO YOU AS A CITIZEN!
The survey did not end there, however. It contained more surprises. More shocking still, only one-half of the students surveyed said that a newspaper should be allowed to publish freely without government approval of stories.3
My friends, we are talking about my grandchildren's future here! This is America's tomorrow speaking! One third of them want the freedoms of the First Amendment curbed. And one half of them want newspapers to secure government approval for their stories!! These are astonishing and inconceivable attitudes for high school students in the United States of America. This survey is a terrible, scary phone call in the middle of the night about what has happened and what is happening in our nation. It can happen here because of ignorance of our history.
Hat tip to Dr. Bruce.