Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Creepy Republican Operative and Christian Nationalist

David Lane
American Renewal Project/Vimeo
Wednesday, David Lane writes: If America Is to Survive, Pastors Must Do This One Thing Over the Next 30 Years. David Lane is a fiercely anti-LGBT Christian nationalist. If Lane had his way the United States would look something like Iran. Lane's wet dream is for most of our government officials to be Christian pastors:
If America is to survive, pastors will have to take their civic responsibility over the coming 30 years to a whole new level, when they move from meetinghouse to marketplace as the ekklesia, as formulated by Christ Jesus in Mark 16:18.

In that context, ekklesia means those pastors and the entire body of the faithful.

Needless to say, I have a slightly different point of view. If religious literalists would disappear from the American landscape, our collective IQ would increase considerably. The corresponding increase in intellectual curiosity would foster more innovation and ingenuity. Furthermore, take a deity out of the equation and critical thinking becomes purer and more likely to influence better decisions.

In other words, our survival as a nation would be better secured without those meddlesome pastors. They and David Lane are convinced that the only true wisdom was revealed by their god in Bronze Age chronicles and they wish to govern our nation accordingly.

Later on Lane describes exactly what he expects of the “ekklesia:”
It will require a fateful turn of events to get the spiritual leaven of the Word back into the culture in order to cure secular America. That, and unconditional obedience by His children, as described in 2 Chronicles 7:14, is the only hope for a spiritual resurrection of the United States. Anything less or else will fail or have no effect.
That unconditional obedience means that the faithful are not permitted to be critical thinkers. Despite the faux Christian nationalism that Lane preaches our founding fathers were abundantly clear that religion was a free choice. Lane thinks that we should not have those choices. It's David Lane — not Thomas Jefferson. Nor Madison. Nor Franklin and so on.

Lane is a bit like Trump in that he manufactures a crisis to suit his agenda:
As Christians make a stand against both the religious and political crisis generated by secularists and the withdrawal of the church over the last century, America's youth are about to learn something that can be learned in no other way: 1) liberty and independence cannot exist apart from God, and 2) their spiritual inheritance can only be gained by committed engagement.
Lane's enemy are people who are not obsessed with their religion. They are “secularists.” Lane is a classic cynic and manipulator. Claim that there is a crisis resulting from an enemy and people will take action or “engagement” against a perceived enemy.

Lane presses the point that his is a severe crisis with serious consequences:
Unless the church gets out of the church and into the marketplace, things are not going to end well. The challenge for Christians is to find believers whose faith includes voluntary abandonment of things cherished by men, in order to counter and halt the ostensibly unassailable authority of secularism.
Lane is looking for Christian activists and the marketplace means several things including the electoral process. Lane is unspecific about what people should give up and why doing so makes them more effective change agents. But we have a pretty good idea what changes Lane is seeking.

The quest for a theocracy is partisan politics in part. The Christian calculus is simple: Create or activate a religious conservative and a Republican voter is simultaneously forged. Eventually public policy would mirror scripture. It is a very unsettling proposition, particularly for LGBT people. Moreover, Lane never makes room for the fact that we are a religiously diverse society. Jews, Muslims, Buddhists and others would have to adapt to living by Christian principles.

Later on, he gets to another popular talking point to divide and conquer:
Two distinct religions are vying for control of the public square in America: secularism versus Christianity. Unable to coexist, one will ultimately go under due to the rise of the other.
I suppose that all other religions represent secularism. The simple truth is that we have been a secular society since our founding. Secular really means worldly without a bond to spiritualism. There are people of faith who lead secular lives. Secularism is most certainly not a religion as Lane claims.

David Lane exists because 40 years ago the Moral Majority existed. Lane's religious stridency and Christian nationalism fall apart under scrutiny because these things do not date back to our founding fathers. They date back to a 1979 political movement that Reagan cooperated with. Reagan even appointed Rev. Robert Billings to a senior position in the Department of Education which was a major victory for Jerry Falwell, the founder of the Moral Majority.

With rise of the Christian right they created a battle between good and evil whereby they were the only good people. Evil were those who did not share their political and religious views. Those supposedly evil people became David Lane's secularists. Lane perpetuates this pretextual strife to advance his agenda. Lane knows that the Moral Majority was a major factor in the elections of Ronald Reagan (twice) and George H.W. Bush.

David Lane is quite specific about his agenda:
The essence of the battle facing 21st-century America for that reason lies in reestablishing the authority of Scripture in the (earthly) culture. Religious secularism, a pagan religion and Christianity's chief competitor, can only thrive in the absence of a biblically literate (or well-informed) populace. Thus, one will easily perceive the baneful effect of the secularized 1963 Warren Supreme Court's removal of the Bible from culture, public education and higher learning.
Lane is suggesting that there was a time when scripture was authoritative. Now he is calling secular people pagans. Well informed, according to Lane, probably means conforming to the Charismatic Christian tradition. At its center is the presence of miracles (in spite of the fact that none have ever occurred). People who embrace this kind of religious extremism are not terribly persuasive. They might be able to endlessly quote passages from scripture but that does not equip them to participate in society.

Lane reaches a conclusion to this tirade:
Western civilization is at stake, unless secularism gets vanquished from America. It's time for Gideons and Rahabs to stand.
“Vanquished?” Are we all supposed to convert?

I blame Ronald Reagan. Reagan allowed the Christian crazies to influence national policy and the Republican Party platform. Reagan's “AIDS czar” was Gary Bauer, a Christian fundamentalist who ultimately became president of Family Research Council. Reagan allowed the conservative Christians to hijack the GOP. As long as I am at it, Reagan is also responsible for supply-side economics. GOPers decry supply-side but the latest tax scam was just that. It did not work. It never works but they keep at it. The promised trickle-down never seems to trickle at all.

Reagan is responsible for the presence of nutty people like David Lane. By the way, Lane was a supporter of Rev. Mark Harris, the North Carolina candidate for Congress who cheated (I think he knew all along what his campaign was doing). Morality seems to be a selective proposition.

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