Christian Gay-bashing and America as the New Israel

I often appreciate Fiddlrts’ excellent insight, and this week was no exception. In light of the publicity surrounding Fred Phelps’ passing, he reflects on the dynamics of Christian opposition to gays in America.

He finds important roots in the development of the idea of America as God’s chosen people and in other historical developments.

Fiddlrts comments:

In my opinion, much of the political insanity that has characterized the religious right over the last few decades can be directly traced to a belief that the United States is the new Israel, and that it can claim the political promises that God made to Israel in the Old Testament.

There is no doubt that we believe this. Count how many signs you have seen with 2 Chronicles 7:14. “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” This is a specific promise to Israel that doesn’t neatly fit with today’s situation unless you believe that the United States is now God’s “chosen people.” (And don’t tell me you think it means “Christians,” because then why do you expect God to bless America?) Although this idea dates at least to the Puritans, who sought to establish a “City on a Hill,” the modern Evangelical belief is heavily influenced by the Christian Reconstructionists, of whom more below.

Thus, because we associate the Kingdom of God with some sort of mythical America as a “Christian nation,” we spent our time, energy, and resources focusing on politics.

So here is what we seem to believe: In the past (take your pick when), America was a “Christian nation,” God’s chosen people. We were good, so we were blessed. Now, we feel America is in decline, because we are now not so good. We have to stop this decline, so we find a visible representation of how we have gotten worse and thus drawn God’s wrath on us. Hmm, how might we do that? What sin shall we pick?

We believe that homosexual sin is in an entirely different category from other sins. And, conveniently, it is one committed by a small minority.

Read the rest of Fiddlrts’ excellent post by clicking the link below:

Do We Really Believe God Hates Fags?

This entry was posted in favorite blogs, gays, judgment and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Christian Gay-bashing and America as the New Israel

  1. sheila0405 says:

    My baby sister and I talk about this all of the time. Thanks for addressing this very important issue. Looking forward to reading the post you linked to.

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  2. Marc says:

    New Israel is the Church, and it is not limited to one geographical location. The hubris of politicians and so called Christians who promote the nonsense that America is the New Israel are deluded by the evil one. Their pride and arrogance separates them from God. It is this same pride and arrogance that leads these people to judge and condemn others. 2 Chronicles 7:14 speaks of humility. I see very little humility among politicians and religious leaders.

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  3. Lynn says:

    Could the perspective that “many believe such a thing” be regional? My part of America is not like this.
    (Begin Quote 1): There is no doubt that we believe this. (End Quote 1)
    The use of “we” here is troubling. I don’t personally know any people who would be in that “we.”
    (Begin Quote 2)Count how many signs you have seen with 2 Chronicles 7:14.” (End Quote 2)
    I have not seen one.

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    • sheila0405 says:

      It’s largely a Protestant phenomena. The verses in 2 Chronicles, for example, have been absolutely iconic one in the churches in which I grew up. Each subsect of Christianity has something peculiar to itself, and these examples are very well known within the more conservative and independent Protestants denominations. As a child, I cut my teeth on this kind of theology.

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      • Lynn says:

        Thanks for explaining that Sheila. There are definitely different experiences being had across our country. The prominent religions of my region would not partake in any of this. For perspective, I looked at the religious affiliations for my county, which is similar to my entire state. The Lutheran groups might take more of the pie chart in some surrounding states, but the mix is not very different within a 6 state area. Catholic Church 59% Lutherans (all types combined) 28% Other 8% United Church of Christ 5%. This is why I’m so wide eyed reading the experiences you’ve all had. It doesn’t happen like that here. (Sorry I won’t disclose my state/location for privacy’s sake.)

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    • Lynn, I agree with Sheila. This is exceedingly common among the groups in which I was involved and of which I was aware. I notice your denominational breakdown: Catholic, Lutheran, UCC (Midwest?).

      In my area, it would be Baptist, Pentecostal, and then other evangelical/fundamentalist groups; BIG difference. The assumption of America as God’s chosen people, and the political activity based on that assumption, is pervasive here in the South. However, it is not unique to the South, as these groups all have a national presence. But you seem lucky to have missed it in your circles.

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    • fiddlrts says:

      If I might clarify here (and I think I do in my original post), the “we” refers to Evangelicals, not all Christians or even American Christians. The 2 Chronicles signs are largely regional, but I have been surprised how many I have seen in my home state of California, hardly a bastion of political conservatism.

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  4. Lynn says:

    Thanks for the further info, Tim. (Midwest / Great Lakes.) We sure are a varied group across the country. If you’ve ever heard Garrison Keillor talk about Lutheran’s in his state, although it is in a joking tone, then you have a good idea of the fairly calm, cool, and unexcited demeanor I’m used to encountering. (It’s actually a nice thing!)

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  5. Midwest–I thought so. This was the center of the American Lutheran Church before the big merger. I love Garrison Keillor and his depiction of the goings-on in the town where all the children were above average. He does do a good job with the Lutherans. I think it is a nice thing too.

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  6. Chas says:

    Being from UK, I can contribute nothing to the discussion on how the US sees itself, but there are some items of relevance to the topic from here. The first is to tell you of a recent comment from a minority member of a minority political party who said something along the lines of ‘recent flooding in England has been caused by God because UK has made gay weddings legal.’ Understandably, he was treated with universal derision, even by those who oppose gay weddings. God does not do destructive things, but He allows us to do destructive things that come back to affect us adversely. In the case of the flooding, this was largely caused by politicians focusing on the wrong things and wasting money on their pet projects, rather than properly addressing problems that had revealed themselves before. Therefore, instead of having proper drainage studies made and dredging out riverbeds and raising embankments (levees), we had extensive flooding in the Thames river basin and the Somerset Levels (once a marsh). So, to a certain extent, our actions bring back our errors onto our own heads. I believe that it is known in the US as ‘shooting yourself in the foot!’

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    • There too?

      I am continually amazed how natural disasters in the USA are so often attributed to God’s punishment for accommodating gays. This is the same as ancient reasoning that natural disasters are because we have not observed the commandments or maintained our sacrifices properly. They did not understand that natural disasters are–well–natural.

      There have been natural disasters aplenty throughout our history–they seem bigger today because our population is bigger and because we don’t read much about the disasters of our past.

      I like your comment that some disasters are due to human action or inaction. This was true of our devastating hurricane disaster in New Orleans some years ago.

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      • Chas says:

        What astonishes me about the New Orleans disaster is how so many buildings have been left just as they were after the hurricane struck. There seems to have been no attempt to rebuild them, but this may be a function of land ownership, or the fact that the population density in USA is so much lower than in UK. A man-made disaster that is developing here is the huge population growth that has occurred as a result of unlimited immigration from the last two rounds of new countries entering the European Union. This has caused a big problem in the areas of housing shortage, education facilities and national health service. The politicians did not realize that the number of immigrants would be so large, although many people warned in advance that it would be the case. People often seem to have the perception that they will be better off in a richer country, but it is a case of how prosperity is measured, financially or Spiritually. Better to be poor financially, but rich in Spirit.

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  7. Pingback: Walking the walk v/s talking the talk | The Stay-at-Home Feminist Mom

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