As is my practice, I save topics until they reach a critical mass. And then I… Pontificate. (See the white smoke?) Since I’ve been traveling the past month, and out of the U.S., the results have been delayed. By now, however, there’s at least one meaty bit. Can’t save it any longer.
That “thing” was that our travels took us physically and psychically close to the mass shootings in Maine. The question we kept asking: how long does it take to drive from Lewiston, ME to Halifax, NS? (It’s 531 miles, so just over eight hours.) Small comfort. Lots of people in pain. Pain in both the past and present tense. So, at the risk of pissing off the 2nd Amendment folks… The Maine shooter should never have gotten an assault rifle. Ever. And here’s the really meaty bit…
“The Bill of Rights is NOT a suicide pact.”
Paraphrasing U.S. Justice Robert H. Jackson, Terminiello v. City of Chicago
Since I’ve gone there, I’ll keep going. Here’s another bit.
Do you have friends, relatives or acquaintances who insist that the U.S. is not a democracy? Who fervently contend that the U.S. is actually a republic? I do. Did you know this language is code? That it represents a core set of anti-democratic beliefs?
They [some Christians] believe in the rule of the virtuous, not in a “we the people” democracy where everyone is equally represented. What they’re actually committed to is a particular outcome where America’s laws and government and society correspond to God’s laws as they see it… Everything else is illegitimate… They want a return to 1950s America when White Christians were the unquestioned dominant force in the country.
Robert P. Jones, President, Public Religion Research Institute
Unfortunately, a wide number of the folks who take this view are also of the opinion that “American patriots may have to resort to violence in order to save the country.” It’s not just Republicans. Thirteen percent of Democrats feel this way. Compared, that is, to 33% of Republicans. What are they saving us from? Any form of knowledge or learning that “strays” from the narrow truths of the Bible. You know, science and all that. And civil rights, broadly construed. Plus, Non-Christians. Non-white-Christians. Jews are OK, but only in the sense that their return to Jerusalem hastens the advent of the “end times.”
That’s why many of these folks don’t give a rat’s ass about climate warming, or nuclear war or any such human-induced catastrophes. The sooner we get to the end times, the sooner we get to a “new heaven” and “new earth” to replace the old heaven and old earth. That’s where there is no more suffering or death. Where God comes to dwell with humanity in the New Jerusalem. It’s a view straight from the Book of Revelation, which conjures a doomsday vision replete with comic-book graphics. It ain’t pretty. Before you get the good stuff, you have to survive the Judgment, during which:
- The Dragon is released and goes out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the Earth… and gathers them for battle at the holy city. The Dragon makes war against the people of God, but is defeated.
- The Dragon is cast into the Lake of Fire with the Beast and the False Prophet.
- The Last Judgment arrives, when the wicked, along with Death and Hades, are cast into the Lake of Fire, which is the second death.
You’ll Love the Outcome
Then, after all this mishegoss, you get the new heaven and new earth. No need for the niceties of this fragile planet. It’s all going away anyway.
But, hey, let’s not dwell on some bit about the “distant” future. Just get ready for living in a country of true believers. These are people ready to fight to the end to get there. Some of them your so-called, buddy-buddy friends.
A Personal Bit
Thirty years ago I worked at Boeing, supporting a factory upgrade. It was a great job that brought me wonderful memories of my father, who had been a production manager at a manufacturing facility (dairy, not airplanes, but the similarities outweighed the differences). The folks who worked there were good people. Friendly, dedicated and highly skilled.
One day, apropos of nothing, one of the workers approached me. He asked: “Are you a Christian?” I said, “Yes. The Congregational church.” He raised his eyebrows. “Do you know that if you’re in that church, you’re going to Hell?” He gave me a half-vacant smile. I chuckled. “Nope,” I said. Then walked away.
There’s no use arguing. These people “know” the Truth, with a capital “T.” God help us.
Copyright Leland E. Hale (2023). All rights reserved.
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