This week’s Sermon is brought to you by religious extremism, the same folks who gave Millenia of human rights abuses, misogyny, and Donald Trump. There are extremists in all religions, these days we often highlight ISIS, or Al Qaeda, but here in the west, the ones that actually have the most impact on us are Christian extremists.
Christian Extremists tend to be Evangelicals, although every denomination usually has its own radical sect. The reason I wanted to talk about this is that recently, Trump has been getting cozier than usual with Evangelicals. Seemingly in response to his pathetic approval rating and inability to actually do anything, he has run to the only group that will support him no matter what.
The White House put together the photo op of Evangelical preachers “laying hands” on him, they have Jeff Sessions doing the rounds to talk to Christian hate groups and tell them that the President supports them, and Trump gave an interview to the only outlet worse than Fox News, pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network. Donald Trump gave an interview to a man who blamed 9/11 on “The Gays” and The ACLU.
It’s not much of a surprise knowing that he has been on Alex Jones’ Infowars, and his chief strategist, Steve Bannon, ran Breitbart, the intellectual equivalent of sticking a fork in a toaster, but it is worrying nonetheless. While most of the world is pointing to ISIS and Islamic terror groups, our own homegrown radicals have the ear of the president, and they want to do some terrible things.
It’s no secret that Evangelicals want to eliminate gay marriage, abortion rights, freedom of speech, separation of church and state, they want laws to be based on their religious texts… and at what point does that sound any different than ISIS’ goals to you? I’m not saying that ISIS isn’t evil, or that Evangelical Christians are as bad, but as an atheist, I see them both as equally wrong. The main difference is that Evangelicals actually have power in the Western world, particularly the United States, which means that while everyone is distracted by ISIS, these extremist Christians are actually working to do damage here at home.
Let me be clear, there is nothing good that has ever come from religious extremists being in power, or having this much influence on those who are in power. Evangelicals are statistically the most bigoted, least educated, and the most opposed to truth. Their worldview requires denial of truth, these are the people who still insist the world was created in a week and is less than 5,000 years old, they deny climate change for any number of stupid fucking reasons, and they refuse to cede basic god damn human rights to people who love differently than them.
This is a group more dangerous than ISIS to our way of life. ISIS cannot change the values of freedom and equality that so many of us believe in, but this group has infiltrated our government and is very much trying to do so.