Saving Faith: The Danger Of Christofascism In America

Saving Faith: The Danger Of Christofascism In America

Christianity is a faith of revolutionary love – the politics of American Christians don't reflect that.
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One of the great struggles that the Christian Church has faced for as long as it has existed as a major religion is the unholy marriage of religion and State authority. In the Middle Ages, Popes crowned kings and queens, pitting political powers against each other; the Eastern Orthodox Church in the Russian Empire stood by as pogroms killed and demolished Jewish communities. During the Second World War, the Vatican held a neutral stance on Nazi Germany despite aiding Jewish folks escape the regime in secret. In the United States, white Christians have often lashed out at black Christians, most notably the bombing of the MOVE organization (a radical black Christian commune who blended some Pan-African principles with a desire to return to hunter-gatherer society) in 1985, and our own Emmanuel AME in Charleston, South Carolina was brutally attacked by a Confederate-worshipping White supremacist.

What do all of these events have in common? One might suppose that Christianity is intrinsically reactionary, but the existence of liberation theologists, loving but fierce critics of our church (no matter the sect or particular line of doctrine), show that the oft-repeated anti-religion stance is a nebulous criticism at best. Christianity is predicated on the idea that the Palestinian Jew Yeshua of Nazareth was Divine, and as such, His teachings guide our lives, which center serving the poor and the marginalized, challenging, not catering to, empire. From this basic premise, some Christians have looked to political figures like Donald Trump, Barack Obama, Angela Merkel and Justin Trudeau, and see only false prophets who hold no hope of a better tomorrow for the marginalized under empire. Thus, our predecessors in the faith came to name the rot infecting our religion - Christofascism. The term was first coined by Dorothee Steffensky-Sölle, a leftist Christian theologian who used this portmanteau to describe her opposition to Christian fundamentalists of the variety with which we associate the Westboro Baptist Church here in the States. While her ideas on God are heterodox in most theological circles, her political naming of those Christians who have wed themselves to the image of an angry, vengeful God who despises black folk, immigrants, LGBT peoples, and aspires for the United States to be His instrument on Earth is a useful distinction.

Increasingly, many churches despair at the lack of Millennial attendance, but do not ask why their congregations are dwindling when the homeless in their community waste away, when Nazis claim public platforms, when black people are suffocated in their very existence, when they elected a President who serves the rich first and foremost. The Christian in America sees their neighbor suffering, and vainly thinks that such is not their business, that they are not responsible for growing fascism. In fact, the opposite is true – the majority of we Christians have allowed our faith to parlay with Nazi ideas and we have allied with White supremacy, imperialism, and capitalism. For a religion that claims to have come from a brown-skinned Man that owned little more than the clothes on his back and preached communal life where all that one owns should be available to both the stranger and the neighbor, we have fallen far indeed. Deny Christofascism. Deny it and speak its name, lest we be judged for what we failed to do.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube

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I Went To "The Bachelor" Auditions

And here's why you won’t be seeing me on TV.
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It’s finally time to admit my guilty pleasure: I have always been a huge fan of The Bachelor.

I can readily admit that I’ve been a part of Bachelor fantasy leagues, watch parties, solo watching — you name it, I’ve gone the whole nine yards. While I will admit that the show can be incredibly trashy at times, something about it makes me want to watch it that much more. So when I found out that The Bachelor was holding auditions in Houston, I had to investigate.

While I never had the intention of actually auditioning, there was no way I would miss an opportunity to spend some time people watching and check out the filming location of one of my favorite TV shows.

The casting location of The Bachelor, The Downtown Aquarium in Houston, was less than two blocks away from my office. I assumed that I would easily be able to spot the audition line, secretly hoping that the endless line of people would beg the question: what fish could draw THAT big of a crowd?

As I trekked around the tanks full of aquatic creatures in my bright pink dress and heels (feeling somewhat silly for being in such nice clothes in an aquarium and being really proud of myself for somewhat looking the part), I realized that these auditions would be a lot harder to find than I thought.

Finally, I followed the scent of hairspray leading me up the elevator to the third floor of the aquarium.

The doors slid open. I found myself at the end of a large line of 20-something-year-old men and women and I could feel all eyes on me, their next competitor. I watched as one woman pulled out her travel sized hair curler, someone practiced answering interview questions with a companion, and a man (who was definitely a little too old to be the next bachelor) trying out his own pick-up lines on some of the women standing next to him.

I walked to the end of the line (trying to maintain my nonchalant attitude — I don’t want to find love on a TV show). As I looked around, I realized that one woman had not taken her eyes off of me. She batted her fake eyelashes and looked at her friend, mumbling something about the *grumble mumble* “girl in the pink dress.”

I felt a wave of insecurity as I looked down at my body, immediately beginning to recognize the minor flaws in my appearance.

The string hanging off my dress, the bruise on my ankle, the smudge of mascara I was sure I had on the left corner of my eye. I could feel myself begin to sweat. These women were all so gorgeous. Everyone’s hair was perfectly in place, their eyeliner was done flawlessly, and most of them looked like they had just walked off the runway. Obviously, I stuck out like a sore thumb.

I walked over to the couches and sat down. For someone who for the most part spent most of the two hours each Monday night mocking the cast, I was shocked by how much pressure and tension I felt in the room.

A cop, stationed outside the audition room, looked over at me. After a brief explanation that I was just there to watch, he smiled and offered me a tour around the audition space. I watched the lines of beautiful people walk in and out of the space, realizing that each and every one of these contestants to-be was fixated on their own flaws rather than actually worrying about “love.”

Being with all these people, I can see why it’s so easy to get sucked into the fantasy. Reality TV sells because it’s different than real life. And really, what girl wouldn’t like a rose?

Why was I so intimidated by these people? Reality TV is actually the biggest oxymoron. In real life, one person doesn’t get to call all the shots. Every night isn’t going to be in a helicopter looking over the south of France. A real relationship depends on more than the first impression.

The best part of being in a relationship is the reality. The best part about yourself isn’t your high heels. It’s not the perfect dress or the great pick-up lines. It’s being with the person that you can be real with. While I will always be a fan of The Bachelor franchise, this was a nice dose of reality. I think I’ll stick to my cheap sushi dates and getting caught in the rain.

But for anyone who wants to be on The Bachelor, let me just tell you: Your mom was right. There really are a lot of fish in the sea. Or at least at the aquarium.

Cover Image Credit: The Cut

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I Started Building A Better Life On A Foundation Of Faith

"Faith is not believing that God can. It is knowing that God will." — Ben Stein

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I am going to start out by saying, I am not the kind of person to throw religion in your face and that is certainly not the point of this article. I am sure, however, that we can at least agree on the fact that we have all faced challenging situations in our lives, but we chose a positive path and came out a stronger and better person, right?

Well, my reasoning for that just so happens to be because I chose to live a life through faith and God.

I have been put to the test quite a few times in my life- I mean, haven't we all? In those moments of pain and what feels like massive suffering, I have always wondered, "Why? What did I do to deserve this?" In those times, it was hard to see an end, it was hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and above all, it was hard to trust and believe in anything. I have always believed in God, but I have never acted on faith. I never put full trust in Him or let Him take control. It wasn't too long ago that I was put to another one of life's harder tests, but this time, I handled things differently: I surrendered myself to God.

And as I am sitting here writing this, I think about how now I know I had to go through the pain in order to lead me down the path of living my life through God. This is exactly where He wants me to be.

The true pivotal moment where I began building my life on faith was soon after this painful and life-changing event, which lead me to go church. The message that they taught that day was about letting go. Out of all the possible things in the world they could have discussed, they discussed the topic of letting go and giving it to God. Something in me that day changed, and I knew at that moment, it changed me forever. During the sermon that day, they read aloud Proverbs 3:5-6; they read: "Trust in the lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths."

I now have that hanging up in my room.

I look at it, read it every day and I remind myself that whatever comes my way, to trust in the Lord with my entire being, knowing he will take care of me because I found true strength and power in letting go and letting God.

Sometimes we don't want to face the truth about ourselves. Sometimes we do not want to seek help because it means we will have to change, and change can sometimes be painful and unpredictable. And sometimes we find ourselves at a crossroads between good and evil, which I believe there is both inside all of us, but what defines you is which one you chose to act upon. I saw this post the other day and it read,

"A woman was talking to a girl and said, 'there are two wolves always fighting inside me. One is filled with anger, hate, jealousy, shame and lies. The other wolf is filled with love, joy, truth and peace. This battle rages inside of you and all people.' The girl thought for a moment and asked, 'Which wolf will win?' The woman answered, 'The one you feed.'"

It is such a powerful message and something I believe we all battle on a daily basis, especially when life throws us a curve-ball and puts us to the test. At that point, which one will you decide to feed?

I, personally, decided to feed the wolf-filled with love, joy, truth and peace. I can proudly say now, that I see the world differently, I see my life differently and most importantly, I see myself differently. Many people have been telling me recently how much I have changed, in all the good and positive ways. I smile at them knowing exactly how and why I have become a better and happier person. The day I gave myself to God, believe me, I was terrified but my pastor, Chad Moore, said, "Growth is on the other side of your fear, and if you refuse to move until the fear is gone, you will never move."

I have found strength, wisdom, courage, acceptance and clarity from Him.

I have put all my trust in Him,

He has made me fearless.

During my times of struggle, I still thank him when I feel weak, I still take steps of faith when I feel uncomfortable, and I know with that, God will continue to give me strength beyond my natural ability. He has taught me mercy, grace and to see the beauty in every situation. I always pray to have eyes that see the best in people, a heart that forgives the worst and a soul that never loses faith in God. During my journey thus far in self-discovery and saying 'yes' to following Jesus, I decided that it was time to not only wash away my sins but to wash away the old me; I am now getting baptized for the first time in my life on May 19, 2019. It is a beautiful thing to know and understand that someone will always be there no matter what and have such a true and unconditional love. I am blessed.

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