The answer to the question is both yes and no and in the wrong way each time. The Left's most often made criticism about the Church is that it serves as an institution of indoctrination. The purpose of the indoctrination is to teach compliance to the dictates of the rich and powerful. Unfortunately, the Conservative Church as met the Left's expectations admirably.
But first, who am I referring to when I mention the Conservative Church? It consists of the majority of American Christian Fundamentalist Churches. Fundamentalist Churches are those that adhere to specific tenets of the Christian faith of the inerrancy of the Bible, the Virgin Birth, that Jesus died for the sins of believers, Jesus' resurrection and His second coming. But as I write about the Conservative Church, I am sad that I must write about friends and brothers and sisters in the faith.
How does the Conservative Church exceed the Left's expectations? It does so by how it keeps the peace. It does so by what it says to those who are under the whip of the rich and powerful as well as what it refrains from saying to those who use this whip. The Conservative Church has two messages for those who live under this whip for it speaks to two distinct groups: the minions and the victims. To the minions, the Conservative Church says this, "well done thou good and faithful servants, enjoy now the prosperity that has been promised to you." However, unlike the heavenly reward that true believers will receive, this reward consists of an abundant life here to which every good minion feels entitled. After all, the good minion has faithfully followed the orders of the proper authority figures and has thus earned a reward. And living faithfully and being rewarded provides the best witness to others on how to have it all in life in a sanctified way.
Who are these minions? Minions are those who are comfortable with the way things are. They are content because they have a decent income from either investments and/or employment. And since they themselves have benefitted from the system, they see no need to change it. Therefore these minions either work to continue the reign of the rich and powerful or they remain silent. They do not even consider the most minimal efforts one can take to change things, like voting for third party candidates. Their vision is severely myopic and this has blinded them to the suffering of others as well as made their hearts cold and their minds dull.
Minions may also include those in law enforcement and the military who blindly follow orders because, they feel, it is not their place to step back and look at the big picture. Thus, they enforce the rule of the rich and powerful. Law enforcement agencies do this on a domestic level while the military expands the rule of its rich and powerful sponsors over new turf. This criticism is difficult to make because of the kinds of risks that those in both law enforcement and the military face when doing jobs that are necessary. They deserve appreciation and respect for that. But any group that offers near blind allegiance pretends that use of their services is never abused.
To those receiving the whip, such as those who have received the brunt of today's economic distress, the Conservative Church offers an interesting message of support. Here, the Conservative Church offers to teach these abuse victims how to become Spiritual Spartans. And one becomes a Spiritual Spartan by first believing the Gospel and then by learning to be content in all things, that is to suck it up or take a lap, and finally by yielding unquestioning obedience to the authorities, that is be good little children so one is not spanked. The goal of the Christian Church here is to get Spiritual Spartans to behave like the minions despite the wealth disparity.
The Conservative Church goes on to explain that being a Spiritual Spartan is the precedent set by leaders in the early Church, particularly Paul. Paul neither resisted the injustice visited up him by the Roman authorities nor did he teach others to do so. Paul is the apostle who told all to be submissive to the governing authorities, he told wives to be submissive to their husbands and children to be submissive to their parents, and he told slaves to cheerfully serve their owners and not to seek their own freedom. And, the Conservative Church reasons that if it was good enough for Paul, it must be good enough for the rest of us. In addition, the victims should never forget the heavenly reward that awaits them should they remain faithful Spiritual Spartans. And this focus on heavenly rewards is designed to make these Spiritual Spartans as myopic as the minions have become.
And though there is some truth in what the Conservative Church preaches to its flock, whether they be minions or Spiritual Spartans, not only do they leave out the context from their Biblical teachings, it keeps a disturbing silence when relating to wealth and power. This is where the Conservative Church refrains from disturbing the peace in the wrong way. It refrains from preaching a Gospel of Repentance to their benefactors--benefactors because the Conservative Church lives on the donations that come from the rich and powerful and their minions.
But by faithfully maintaining the status quo, the Conservative Church also becomes complicit in the sins and the violence being practiced. And by enabling the rich and powerful's oppression of others, the Conservative Church is disturbing the peace in the wrong way. The Conservative Church refrains from challenging America's use of wars and proxy leaders and by so doing it shows a reluctance to learn from the past. Certainly, it is aware of some past abuses, such as America's past support for leaders like Saddam Hussein, the Shah of Iran, or Pinochet; but it steadfastly prefers to maintain a disconnect in contrast to experiencing a shameful but healing sense of regret. So in the name of the minigod Patriotism, it supports troops and the havoc they cause.
Likewise, the Conservative Church supports violence on local dissenters and others. An extreme example of this support could be seen in the words one conservative church goer told me as I told him of a protest I participated in in D.C. He said that just as Jesus used violence to expel the moneychangers, he would have used a baseball bat on protesters like myself. But such an example does not characterize the Conservative Church. Rather, they lend explicit or implicit approval of whatever tactics are used by law enforcement on dissenters. In fact, it supports even harsh law enforcement on all others than themselves. In short, we could say that when the Conservative Church disturbs the peace, it does so through surrogates who wear uniforms.
The answer to the question of whether the Conservative Church is disturbing the peace depends on whose peace. For, as of late, the Conservative Church refuses to disturb the peace of the rich and powerful regardless of their sins. But by offering unconditional support to the same group, the Conservative Church vicariously disturbs the peace of all others. So for all its complaining about today's godless world and state of affairs, the Conservative Church seems to be content since it does not muster the courage required to change things.
|This Month's Scripture Verse:|
Whoever loves money never has enough;
whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income.
This too is meaningless -- Ecclesiastes 5:10