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Waving a Bible Doesn't Make You a Christian

Donald Trump waves a Bible.
Donald Trump brandishes a Bible outside a Washington, DC church in June 2020. Does that make him a Christian?

On any average street corner, in an average city, you’re bound to find someone waving a Bible while shouting “The end is near!” The person is likely homeless and probably suffering from some form of mental illness. Nevertheless, they feel they have found salvation and want to share it with the world. They believe they are true Christians, and their earthly trials and tribulations will earn them a place of eternal happiness.

Put that same person in a suit, in a mega church, in front of a group of the faithful and you have a charlatan who is able to convince his followers that he knows the path to eternal salvation so long as you continue fork over the cash to finance his lavish lifestyle. He spouts selected passages of scripture designed to get you to believe that money is the root of all evil, and by donating to his cause, you will earn a place in heaven.

The goal of both is the same. They wave their Bibles to get your attention. Once they have it, they tell similar, inaccurate stories. They tell you, in their own words, that America is a Christian nation and that was the intent of the Founding Fathers. Now multiply these two by 50 million and you will have approximately the number of Evangelicals in America.

That’s around 100 million. That’s quite a sizable political force, each of them waving their Bibles, demanding the attention of both candidates and those already in office. And they tend to speak with one voice, which makes them a force to be reckoned with. Make no mistake, they want to turn America into a Christian theocracy, which makes them no different from the Taliban in Afghanistan or the mullahs in Iran.

Waving the Bible to Reshape Education

Religious groups are seeking to transform education in America. There are efforts to allow school prayer, to teach creationism alongside, or even instead of evolution and Texas is even attempting to force classrooms to post the Ten Commandments in each room as a sign of our Judeo-Christian heritage.

Meanwhile, they are banning books and even having teachers and administrators fired in attacks on the LBGTQ population and minorities. They claim educators are indoctrinating their students with something they call a woke ideology, or worse yet, they are grooming children so that they may become victims of sexual abuse.

Their solution is to allow greater parental involvement in educational issues. So much so, that it only takes the objection of a single parent for a book to be removed or a lesson to be banned. They were permitted to do so because, following the public outcry during COVID restrictions, many school board members either resigned or declined to run again, opening the door for these far-right thinkers to dominate local school boards, and by extension to reshape what can and cannot be taught in the classroom.

One of the first moves by these so-called defenders of the faith was to ban the teaching of certain lessons they viewed as making White students ashamed of their history. They latched on to a law school concept called Critical Race Theory and alleged it was being used in public school classrooms. This allowed them to invite parents and politicians to review material and have such removed because it was part of the Liberal Woke Agenda.

Republicans have been running on the pledge to eliminate Critical Race Theory from the classroom, which is an easy task because it was never there in the first place. It’s similar to the Catholic boast about St. Patrick. According to their version, St. Patrick was responsible for driving the snakes out of Ireland. Since none were actually there, they have him falsely taking credit for something he didn’t do in the first place.

The Promised Land

While not all Christians are White Supremacists, most of those who identify as White Supremacists embrace Christianity. They often justify their actions as asserting their God given rights. Cross burnings at KKK rallies were as much a sign of religious bigotry as they were intimidation.

Christians believe America is the Promised Land and are taking measures to create a nation that fits their agenda, even if it means taking away the rights of others. But, what about the original Promised Land, Israel? Christians are overwhelmingly pro-Israel, but could this be veiled antisemitism? The deadly Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville featured participants chanting alternately “You shall not replace us”, a nod to the Great Replacement conspiracy theory, with “Jews will not replace us “.

So, it’s possible their support for Israel is tethered to the condition that they remain in their place. Go back to where you came from is a familiar rant from White Supremacists. It’s also reminiscent of the Back to Africa movement that followed the Civil War, when organizations offered to send newly freed slaves back to their ancestral homes despite the fact most had been in this country for generations. It was a move meant to prevent Blacks from sullying America.

The American Promised Land they envision is one where voting rights are restricted, women’s healthcare is set back 50 years, immigration is banned, the LBGTQ population is forced back into the closet, restrict what can and cannot be taught in schools and religious bigotry is the norm. It’s essentially the vision depicted in the popular dystopian television series The Handmaid’s Tale.

When their preferred candidate lost in the 2020 presidential election, they immediately set out to restrict the right to vote with new regulations that would favor their choices while disenfranchising their opponents. These moves overwhelmingly hindered minorities who they viewed as being friendlier to Liberals.

Overturning Abortion Rights

In a series of questionable moves, Republicans were able to stack the Supreme Court with a Conservative majority, thus permitting the long treasured Christian dream of overturning abortion rights to become a reality. With the blessing of the religious right, many states quickly passed laws banning abortion except under certain conditions. One of these conditions, to protect the life of the mother, is so vaguely phrased that doctors are reluctant to perform this life-saving procedure for fear of legal consequences.

They are overwhelming Conservative, influenced not by the Constitution they swore to uphold, but by a powerful religious right that demanded these changes. Using a concept known as Constitutional Originalism, they reasoned that, since the Founding Fathers never mentioned abortion, the courts had overstepped their authority in declaring it legal. They also asserted that the courts had no right to impose rules that should be left to the individual states.

They fail to see their own hypocrisy as multiple lawmakers want to institute a national ban on abortion. This would be the same government overreach they used to overturn a woman’s right to abortion.

When Conservatives attempt to equate abortion with murder, you can’t help but notice the hypocrisy of the sight of them waving a Bible in one hand while holding a gun in the other. Of course, they will insist this is their constitutional right, but their argument falls flat when you point out no school children ever had to practice ducking under their desks to hide from an abortion.

Love Thy Neighbor

When it comes to immigration, those on the right are quick to ignore the “Love thy neighbor” part of the Ten Commandments. Instead, they blame immigrants for a majority of the country’s woes. Drug traffickers, vicious street gangs and even unemployment have been blamed on the alleged crisis at the border. The concept of Christian charity is severely lacking when it comes to those trying to enter the country from our Southern border.

With these as the key issues in the Republican platform, you have politicians declaring that America is a Christian nation, going counter to the wishes of the Founding Fathers. Despite taking oaths to defend the Constitution, some are even suggesting it be ignored in favor of using the Bible as the principle guiding document.

Finally, if a picture is worth a thousand words, there is one that speaks volumes. It’s the image of Donald Trump who ordered law enforcement to use tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse protesters so that he could have a photo op of himself standing in front of a church holding an upside down Bible.

Waving a Bible doesn’t make you a Christian.

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