There are two big stories today that involve white people on the Christian right. One is about the "largest Christian college in the world," which is run by the Kim Jong-un of that world, the son of Jerry Falwell, Jerry Falwell Jr. And the other concerns the former governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin. What was revealed about Falwell is that he runs his university like Jong-un runs his country, like a dictator; he is in the habit of striking big deals that benefit only his friends; he is also into racy pictures. There is nothing in all of his doings that looks particularly Christian.
As for Palin, she and her husband are breaking the sacred vows they made to God many years ago. These vows are written in the book of heaven. They say: "...from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part, according to God's holy ordinance." But these conservative Christians have decided for themselves that what's written in heaven is not always right. Sometimes a vow with the creator of the universe must be broken. How on earth is this possible? Does Palin not believe in God anymore?
And here we must ask the question: Who are conservative white Christians preaching to? Clearly not to themselves. My feeling is that white Christian fundamentalism is not about practicing Christianity, it is instead a system that distributes phantasmagorical micro-powers to those who cannot face the real causes of their powerlessness. The fantasy of power that's granted or distributed is precisely the power to preach to others. But what is this preaching power?
"Falwell presides over a culture of self-dealing, directing university resources into projects and real estate deals in which his friends and family have stood to make personal financial gains." https://t.co/MzoPDBNsKi via @politicomag
— Charlie Sykes (@SykesCharlie) September 9, 2019
I want to point out that many of the so-called family values of conservative Christians are not found in the Bible or the teachings of Jesus. They were fabricated not too long ago, and often for the purpose of justifying profitable but frankly God-offending commercial enterprises like the capitalization of black African bodies. But the key to all of Jesus's teachings is never practiced by these people.
What key? Now, recall that beautiful passage in the Gospel of John. A rowdy group of men (scribes) brought to Jesus one morning (he was teaching at the Mount of Olives) a woman caught in the act of adultery. Meaning, she was fucking some man, and these scribes apparently saw the fucking—the man fucking this woman; the woman fucking this man—but the man is nowhere in sight. Where did he go? My best bet: After being caught in the act, he washed his sticky willy and returned to his wife like nothing had happened. Only the woman was dragged from the scene of the sin.
The scribes ask Jesus if they should stone her to death, as is written in the books of old. Jesus ignores the scribes and instead writes something on the ground with a finger (what will never be known is what he wrote, but I think it is this: "fuck this shit"). The scribes press for an answer from Jesus. And, looking up from the ground, he says: “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” At this moment, something that's pure cinema happened at the Mount of Olives: one by one, beginning with the elder, the scribes departed.
There is a big difference between the scribes in the Gospel and the conservative Christians of today. The scribes actually agreed they were wrong. That they were human. That sin is a normal part of life. That no one is perfect. The white Christians of the right will have none of this. What they really want is not to follow Jesus (there is no earthly power in this) but to throw those stones. There is some power in this. And for many, it represents the only kind of power that's available without much effort. The real power to change society takes too much work and time to achieve. The real social and political power of money is concentrated in a few hands. The cheapest form of power that's out there and can be had by attending a service or two a week, is the fantastic power to throwing so many, too many fantastic stones in every direction. The sad thing in all of this is that the authorization to virtually stone others is granted not by the exploited but their exploiters.