I am not so blasphemous as to hear “Jesus Christ” as an expletive after the statement, but I can definitely visualize the speaker’s expression of angry disgust and rebuke as in “How many times do I have to remind you?!!”
“My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight…but now is my kingdom not from hence…To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.” (John 18:36-37)
I wonder if, as Jesus was standing before Pilate, to whom had been delegated authority by the world’s most powerful ruler, he was thinking of that Samaritan hag offscouring of the earth who had heard his voice.
What does that make the Religious Right in America? A department of Rome’s government.
Remember, in ancient times every government was a theocracy. Kings literally embodied the head national god.
The first Mesopotamian ruler who declared himself divine was Naram-Sin of Akkad...sometime during the 23rd century BCE…This…coincides with the first world empire of the rulers of Akkad…It was also accompanied by certain changes in religion, in which the king proliferated the cult of the Ishtar…in her war-like aspect (‘ashtar annunitum) and began to refer to himself as the husband/warrior of Ishtar.
Some consider…the famous Hammurabi of Babylon (1792–1750 BCE) to have been divine.
This is consistent with the biblical account of the proliferation of hybrid god-humans ruling from city-states at this time in history.
According to Roman mythology, the gods had a hand in the founding of the city of Rome itself.Mars, god of war, and a [human woman] named Rhea Silvia were the parents of twin boys…Romulus killed his brother [Remus]…[and] went on to name the city after himself…
A new system of government emerged in Rome in the 6th century BCE, drawn from the Greeks, but different from their demo-cracy, or direct rule by the people. The kings were expelled and their leadership replaced by a “republic” / res publica: “thing of the people”, rule by representatives chosen by citizens entitled to vote.
The timing of this is with the biblical and historical records of destroying the demigods.
With this background information, we should recognize that the Romans weren’t expelling the rule of a human dynasty, they were expelling the supervision of a national divinity over humans via the god’s Prophet – Priest – King: Spokesman – Intercessor–Sovereign over Life and Death.
In other words, the Greek and Roman rulers were Humanists, assuming jurisdiction over determining right and wrong, rewards and punishments.
Cicero, the great Roman orator, became the core example for the Humanists...a turn back to the secular…a huge amount of classical Greek knowledge was now worked in…a new form of education, which the rich were adopting…
The Pontifex Maximus (which literally means “Greatest Pontiff”) was the high priest…the most important position in the ancient Roman religion…under the early Roman Republic, it gradually became politicized until, beginning with Emperor Augustus, it was subsumed into the Imperial office.
Religion was maintained in the public sphere, but here it also became humanistic. Instead of humans serving the god, humans struck deals with their god for their benefit. This kind of religion is always a good tool for influencing the masses.
The presence and influence of gods and goddesses were integral parts of life in the Roman state. The people of Rome built temples to their gods and observed rituals and festivals to honor and celerate them. Any favorable or unfavorable circumstances in Roman life could be attributed to the mood of certain gods, so people would likewise make offerings to the gods in thanks, or in an attempt to appease their tempers. Unlike many monotheistic religious or spiritual traditions [focused on morality], the Romans gods…chief concern was…tribute.
The demotion of deities from overlords to servants matches the current state of affairs (that’s a pun) in most of American Christianity today.
Wait! Is that a ROMAN EAGLE in the house of God??
Nations breaking away from the Holy Roman Empire found it convenient to reassert The Divine Right of Kings…
a monarch is subject to no earthly authority, deriving his right to rule directly from the will of God…The theory came to the fore in England under the reign of King James I (1603–25). King Louis XIV of France (1643–1715).
The Humanists fought back in the 14th – 17th centuries during the Resurrection of the republican form of government in Italy.
They gained enormous influence through the The American Revolution (1775–83), the French Revolution (1789), and the First French Republic of 1792-1804. The Napoleonic Wars ended the doctrine of the Divine Right of Kings.
It can’t be that difficult to understand that when republican governments reject universal standards of morality, the weak are set up for exploitation by the strong.
And the monster always rears its head in politicized national religion.
When investigating the identity of the Fourth Empire, we must go beyond extensive territory, a republican government in name only, and a Roman legacy of culture – language, calendar, architecture.
We must recognize the role of the ruler of the Roman Empire as the protector of the State religion.
The most powerful Roman religious leaders for a thousand years were the Pope at Rome, and the Sultan in Turkish Istanbul, with the heads of Protestant breakaway countries assuming this role, exemplified, but certainly not exclusively, by Henry VIII of England.
Defender of the Faith was a Roman Catholic title conferred on Henry VIII by Pope Leo X in 1521, later withdrawn but restored by Parliament and used ever since by English sovereigns.
Hitler’s Positive Christianity won him the most unlikely supporters. “Christians in Germany — Protestants even more than Catholics — not only cooperated with the Third Reich, a large percentage even celebrated it.“
What about in America where there is separation of Church and State?
Compare the world map of American forces defending democracy with the world map of Christian missionaries. Hello? The American Commander in Chief is the Defender of the Christian Faith.
today the United States sends more Christian missionaries abroad than any other country, experts say.
The United State sent out 127,000 of the world’s estimated 400,000 missionaries abroad in 2010, according to Todd Johnson, director of the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Massachusetts.
In distant second place is Brazil, which sent 34,000 missionaries abroad in 2010…
The role of missionaries has changed dramatically…and missionaries today tend to work independently or through organizations not affiliated with churches that traditionally ran missionary agencies. And their work may be focused on providing humanitarian aid rather than founding churches and winning converts…
After World War II, many newly independent countries declared moratoriums on western missionaries, and independent missionaries became more prevalent, said Dana Robert, author of “Christian Mission: How Christianity Became a World Religion.”
And frankly, separation of Church and State is applied when it’s in the State’s interest, and doesn’t when it isn’t.
The Fellowship, also known as The Family and the International Foundation, is a U.S.-based religious and political organizationfounded in 1935 by Abraham Vereide. The stated purpose of The Fellowship is to provide a fellowship forum for decision makers to share in Bible studies, prayer meetings, worship of God, and to experience spiritual affirmation and support.
The Fellowship has been described as one of the most politically well-connected and most secretly-funded ministries in the United States. They shun publicity and its members share a vow of secrecy. The Fellowship’s former leader, the late Douglas Coe, and others have explained the organization’s desire for secrecy by…insisting they would not be able to tackle diplomatically sensitive missions if they drew public attention…
Fellowship member and Watergate conspirator Charles Colson described the group as a “veritable underground of Christ’s men all through the U.S. government…” “The Fellowship’s reach into governments around the world is almost impossible to overstate or even grasp,” says David Kuo, a former special assistant in George W. Bush’s [administration].
As a contender for sole ruler in the Roman Empire, Western European-rooted American Roman Empire has competed with Eastern European Russian Roman Empire on the basis of a religious crusade against atheist Communism.
American propaganda cast the Cold War as one of history’s great religious wars, between the godless and the God-fearing, between good and evil. It was a simplistic depiction that was supported and promoted in the highest echelons of government and by the leaders of America’s key institutions. During the course of the presidencies of Harry S. Truman and Dwight Eisenhower, U.S.-Soviet rivalry was transformed from a traditional great power struggle into a morality play…Truman made religion America’s ideological justification for abandoning America’s wartime cooperation with the Soviet Union. Eisenhower used religion to persuade the world that America was a force for good in the international arena. The resulting anti-communist crusade was to have profound consequences for Christian America…Over time it caused irrevocable alterations to America’s religious landscape. The anti-communist dynamic unleashed…anti-liberalism and was a factor in the rise of the Christian Right and the decline in America’s mainstream churches. In addition, the image of a godless and evil enemy dictated an irreconcilable conflict that precluded the very modes of diplomacy and discourse that might have helped avoid the worst excesses, costs, and consequences of the Cold War
The illicit affair between religion and government is key to understanding that God’s supposed people have placed the abomination that makes desolate in their houses of worship.
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers:
- for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness?
- and what communion hath light with darkness?
- And what concord hath Christ with Belial?
- or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
- And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols?
for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” (II Corinthians 6:14-18)
The battle for supreme authority between the heads of religion and state continue to be reflected in contemporary government with strategies ranging from
- eliminating religion’s political influence altogether via ideologies like Communisms,
- minimizig religion’s influence by media and propagandist dissemination of materialistic ideologies like evolution and consumerism,
- coopting religious leaders via carefully controlled influence sharing.
The Roman concept of religion had never been that of an…exclusive obligatory moral loyalty to an unseen and highly spiritual Being. It made the relation between man and the gods entirely objective and unmystical. But it had recognized decent regard for the formulas of the community religion as a political duty of all good citizens…
Recently, President Donald Trump appointed evangelical Christian leader Jerry Falwell Jr.to head the White House education reform task force…tapping Falwell Jr. as its leader may seem odd to some observers given that he is president of…a Christian university founded by his father, Jerry Falwell Sr., and not a top research university…
The emergence and popularity of the Moral Majority came at a time when there were growing efforts to establish the rights of women, people of color and the LGBTQ community. Moral Majority, thus, represented the conservative religious reaction to those efforts.
The Moral Majority drew primarily from white fundamentalist and evangelical Christians, although it also…mobilized a broader conservative religious and political coalition than just white conservative evangelicals…Ultimately, this broad coalition of conservatives – mostly white Christians – came to represent the “Religious Right.” It has had an enormous impact on both the Republican Party and on public policy more generally since its founding...
Political involvement was a shift for Falwell, who as a fundamentalist Christian avoided political organizing as a matter of religious conviction…from entanglements with the political world.
Thus, Falwell’s move into politics also entailed a shift in his theological perspective. He moved from a separatist stance that taught that God controls everything, including politics, to one that required human action to fulfill God’s intended destiny for America.
the purely Roman system had no body of priests corresponding to the Aaronic priesthood among the Hebrews, or to the orders of clergy in the Christian church. Its religious officials were merely political functionaries of state…The pontifex maximus himself, recognized head of the religious system of Rome, was no more a cleric than…King George V in his official relation to the Church of England…
Falwell died in 2007, and his efforts to combine his religious and political commitments seem to have fallen to his son, Jerry Falwell Jr., who as president of Liberty University has been outspoken in his support of Donald Trump. Trump, in turn, seems to have rewarded him for his support with the appointment to the education reform task force.
Falwell Jr. is as outspoken in his religiously glossed opinions on issues as was his father. Perhaps this is seen most famously in his support for Second Amendment rights, to the point of advocating that students at Liberty University carry guns. He even built a shooting range on campus.
as exemplified by the over 80 percent of white evangelicals who voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 election, the legacy of Falwell Sr. lives on – at least for the near term – making him a figure as important as Reagan for the Republican Party.
Whether Falwell Jr. will rise to the level of influence attained by his father remains to be seen. But, he has signaled his goals for the education task force, which are similar to the issues that motivated Falwell Sr. in the 1970s.