Friday, December 18, 2009

American Theocracy



I hope you watched the video from last night. It’s hard to talk about these things with religion and politics so wrapped up together. But that’s the problem, of course. The separation of Church and State is a good idea that most Americans embrace. But not all.

It’s tempting to give you a good look at the religious side of this story. But no matter how crazy you or I might think some of these people are, their religious practice is one of the freedoms our Constitution protects. So I’ll stick with the State side of things -- Senators DeMint and Brownback.

Both Senators are members of “The Family” (aka “The Fellowship”) and have lived at the now-famous C Street house owned by “The Family”. I can’t imagine two more diverse sources to cite as sources than the two I have chosen.

The C Street house

”In an interview conducted before the recent scandals, DeMint, a long-time resident of the C Street house, described how the weekly Bible studies have helped him grow in his faith during his time in Washington.“

That quote is from World, a conservative, Christian evangelical magazine. On the opposite end of the spectrum is this, from Rolling Stone:

God's Senator -- Who would Jesus vote for? Meet Sam Brownback

”They were striving, ultimately, for what Coe calls "Jesus plus nothing" -- a government led by Christ's will alone. In the future envisioned by Coe, everything -- sex and taxes, war and the price of oil -- will be decided upon not according to democracy or the church or even Scripture. The Bible itself is for the masses; in the Fellowship, Christ reveals a higher set of commands to the anointed few. It's a good old boy's club blessed by God. Brownback even lived with other cell members in a million-dollar, red-brick former convent at 133 C Street that was subsidized and operated by the Fellowship.“

That passage may sound vaguely familiar to those of you that read a book I reviewed --The Family -- by Jeff Sharlet. He wrote this article for Rolling Stone. And while we’re on the subject of books and familiar, the title of this blog is from the most influential book I’ve read about the subject: American Theocracy by Kevin Phillips.

(You can read more from Kevin Phillips here. Interesting stuff.)

I chose the title because that is the goal of people like DeMint and Brownback -- a theocracy. You might want to dismiss them as crackpots but they are United States Senators. Both have Presidential ambitions. And right now, they and their allies are preventing us from getting any form of universal health care -- or anything close to it.

You might want to check into these people for yourself. For all you know, they might believe in faith healing and believe we can eliminate health insurance all together. If you get sick, it’s just God’s will. But I’m betting they don’t. They might belong to a a cult that preaches “Jesus plus nothing” but I bet “nothing” includes health industry campaign donations.

Don Brown
December 18, 2009

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