by Bil Aulenbach

Hijacked

The word hijacked is often used as a synonym for steal or seize control. In this blog post, I’m using it in reference to specific groups commandeering ideas.

For the past few months, I tried very hard not to disparage people of the fundamentalist persuasion who call themselves Christians. However, I recently read a letter to the editor in the Los Angeles Times entitled “God’s man in the White House.” It suggested that a few of Trump’s fundamentalist groupies called him “divinely anointed.” That sent me over the edge, so I’m blogging about all the ideas the fundamentalists have hijacked over the years.

Obviously, fundamentalists don’t like being labeled as such, so they now call themselves evangelicals. When I went to seminary in 1957, I called myself an evangelical, one who preaches the good news through deeds rather than forcing others to accept his or her beliefs. About twenty years ago, the hardline Christians realized the word fundamentalist had a negative connotation and hijacked the word evangelical. I no longer called myself an evangelical. This was my first experience of being hijacked.

In more recent years, Rick Perry, former energy secretary, claimed that Trump was ordained by God. Evangelist Franklin Graham credits his god with the 2016 election results. Brad Parscale, Trump’s current campaign manager, pronounced that “only God could deliver such a savior to our nation.” When these powerful fundamentalists made these statements, I realized that my idea of a higher power had been hijacked. If Donald Trump has any connection with a god or divinity, count me out. I think he is closer to Satan and hell.

Fundamentalists have hijacked the Bible and see it as the inerrant word of God, written in King James’s English. That’s totally silly. The Bible is religious history written by ancient Jews and covering at least 1,500 years of Judaism and the early church (before it was Christian). Fundamentalists use the Bible to justify their many deep-seated prejudices: women as second class, gays as nasty sinners, Palestinians as nonexistent, Muslims as terrorists, and anyone who dares think differently as an anarchist.

They hijacked Jesus and turned him into a perfect (no such thing) white guy who died to save us from our sins, according to his father’s grand plan. They hijacked my historical Jesus.

Fundamentalists also hijacked the idea of love (agape) as Jesus defined it. Their love is full of conditions. They claim to love LGBTQUI people as long as they go to conversion counseling, don’t marry, don’t have sex, and don’t hold leadership positions in their churches. Fundamentalists say they love life, so they oppose abortions but think the death penalty and war are fine. Huh? Hijacked again.

The fundamentalists idea of a democracy is a theocracy in which their god rules the world and everyone must “stand for the flag and kneel for God.” In my democracy, it’s okay to burn the flag, kneel during the national anthem, and not believe in a god.

I could go on, but I’ll turn this topic over to my readers: do you ever feel hijacked?

 

Image courtesy of Ian T. McFarland (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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