Monday, November 08, 2004

Why (some) Evangelicals Scare Me

It's been a busy week of travel for OkiePundit so I apologize for the delay in explaining why, in my last post, I said evangelicals were a danger to a liberal democracy and perhaps the world. I should have said "most evangelicals" because I know quite a few who don't believe it is right to impose their religious beliefs on others. No, the evangelicals are not bad people - just the opposite. Most I know are very good people who do a lot of good for others. But when they start telling others how to live their lives I have a problem with that.

The danger I referred to regarded their objective (as I've heard them state over and over in church) to apply their interpretation of Biblical laws to the State and to infuse our foreign policy with Biblical intent. To be specific, I'm talking the whole agenda - the re-making of the United States as a "Christian nation" by putting school-sponsored Christian prayer into schools to facilitating Armageddon in the Middle East to hasten the second coming of Christ as prophesied in the Bible. I would say this is dangerous whether the proponents were Christian, Jewish, Islamic, Buddhist, or Wiccans. When we start believing we have an unquestioned hold on the truth and believing that we need to force everyone else to conform to our beliefs we are in the danger zone.

A few weeks ago I was listening to a church cell group leader talk about the inevitability of an Arab - Israel war that would bring Israel to its knees and Jesus back for the Rapture. He was telling us that the role the US was playing in the Middle East was (and this was President Bush's plan according to the cell leader) designed to prepare the way for Armageddon and the second coming. This is not the first time I've heard this kind of talk in evangelical circles. Many of these people are voting based on a perception that Rapture-facilitation is the unstated goal of President Bush. No, I don't think the President shares this belief - at least I hope not. But I'm beginning to believe that it might be possible for the evangelicals to eventually elect someone that might share such thinking and be anxious to act on it. It scares me.

No, I'm not anti-Christian or anti-religious at all. I grew up in Oklahoma at a time when I was subjected to forced recitation of Christian prayer over the school intercom and mandatory fundamentalist-run Bible lessons in my public school classroom. That's not what I want to happen to my children. Or to the children of believers in other faiths or to non-believers. Our ancestors came here to escape religious persecution - let's keep that in mind.

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