Saturday, June 24, 2023

The Super-Christians Offer Testosterone Booster Shots


Nearer, my God, to Thee

Nearer to Thee

E'en though it be a cross

That raiseth me

--19th Century Christian hymn 

At the Faith & Freedom Coalition's annual conference yesterday in DeeCee, founder Ralph Reed announced that his 14-year-old religious pressure org was there "to give our candidates a little bit of a testosterone booster shot," because some Republican office-holders and wannabes were showing visible nerves about banning abortion. Don't be shocked or even amused by Reed's metaphor, because he was merely preaching the New Testament Gospel. The First Epistle of Peter the Apostle, supposedly written from Rome by St. Peter hisownself and addressed to new Christian converts suffering persecution, contained an intriguing suggestion to "gird up the loins of your mind," by which you're supposed to envision men in jock straps (so to speak) and thereby ready for battle. I heard that phrase "gird up your loins" (never with the rest of it: "of your mind") in many a sermon wherein we were harangued to keep the faith even unto death. Life is a battle against the forces of Satan, and you best be girded for it.

I understand evangelicals. I was raised as one. I was raised understanding that worldly people needed saving, that hell is very real, and that God is watching me like a chicken hawk. Yes, evangelical, and therefore brave enough to gird up my loins and march over to our neighbor lady's house to "witness" to her about the saving grace of Jesus. She was known to us for disappearing into a whiskey bottle about every 6 months, and I thought in my budding Christian arrogance that I could save her. Or I ought to at least try. Didn't happen. I was a total washout as a litigator of other people's behavior.

I was not only evangelical but also Pentecostal, which put me in a stark minority among my Baptist school mates. Most of them weren't particularly religious in any overt sense, while I was, and couldn't partake (or wasn't supposed to) of certain pleasures of the mid-'60s, like dancing, like movies (especially the drive-in variety), like any music but hymns. My mama didn't even like me watching TV, which caused me to spend more time at my friends' houses.

As evangelical Pentecostals, we felt persecuted because we did energetic stuff in our services that other denominations didn't do, and we knew they made fun of us. If you feel persecuted, it's a salve for your hurt feelings to also and simultaneously feel superior to the rest of the world, at least in the arena you've chosen for yourself. Yes, evangelicals judge (and rather harshly) everyone else. 

But we differed from the Ralph Reed evangelicals in that we tended to withdraw from the world. We certainly never engaged in politics (except once to protest the activities at a dance hall directly across the street from our church building). The new evangelical project of the Faith & Freedom Coalition and other such groups is the opposite of separation from the sinful world but rather its intended conquering. The government is the target for conquest, and rest assured -- it's a crusade. Reed is all about the drawn sword and talks blithely and without a hint of irony about dosing Republican politicians with testosterone. "Takes a real man to get a girl pregnant, and to keep her that way!"

1 comment:

Red Hornet said...

Notice here that the loins are girded up.

To sing along:
Always look on the bright side of life
(Come on)
Always look on the right side of life
For life is quite absurd
And death's the final word
You must always face the curtain with a bow
Forget about your sin
Give the audience a grin
Enjoy it, it's your last chance anyhow
So always look on the bright side of death
A just before you draw your terminal breath
Life's a piece of shit
When you look at it
Life's a laugh and death's a joke, it's true
You'll see it's all a show
Keep 'em laughin' as you go
Just remember that the last laugh is on you
Always look on the bright side of life
Always look on the right side of life
(C'mon Brian, cheer up)
Always look on the bright side of life
Always look on the bright side of life
Always look on the bright side of life
I mean, what have you got to lose?
You know, you come from nothing
You're going back to nothing
What have you lost? Nothing
Always look on the right side of life