Me and Jeremiah

Me and Jeremiah

Anti-abortion evangelical Christians use the scriptural, “The Call of Jeremiah” to defend their idea of fetal viability at conception. It goes something like this:

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…”

Frankly, those words take my breath away. I believe in a higher power most days and simple words like those give life to the marrow of my dry old bones. I can feel their power shimmy up and down my spine. My life has meaning if for just one moment of each day I know that spirit, that entity, whom I sometimes call God, has known my name since the beginning of time. 

Nothing in those words equates to the government denying women (and men) the right to choose when they wish to become parents. 

Christian mystic Richard Rohr teaches “The marvelous anthology of books and letters called the Bible is all for the sake of astonishment—not “proof” or certainty!” He says we don’t read for information but for transformation.

I’m not meant to get explanations from scriptures on how to support my point of view. I’m meant to be astonished. On more days than not, I accept the mystery and power of that astonishment without explanation, without questions, without answers. On some days, like when my body needs medical attention, I dig for certainty and absolutes, even demand them. I throw the spirit of mystery out the window and root around in the soil of black-and-white thinking.

Every week this summer I wake up feeling like Supreme Courts-federal and state—are bludgeoning me with a baseball bat. Their traditionalist interpretation of the Constitution coincides with literal  interpretations of the Bible. Prayer in the schools. Public funding of religious education. Dismantling the administrative state of consumer & climate change protections. The license to freely carry any weapons anywhere. Denying reproductive freedom. These and other contrivances are biblically-based ideas embraced by 41% of Americans who believe Jesus will descend on Earth in the flesh by 2050. Yeah. Really.

Christian zealots in every age have found signs that we are in the end-times as described in the Book of Revelation. In my twenties I belonged to a cult that looked for modern signs of the Apocalypse. We were convinced the arrival of branch banking and credit cards signaled the end was near. Globalism was then, as now, a sign. If we had today’s Supreme Court, they’d take up consideration of banning those. The World Council of Churches constituted a fulfillment of the end-times prophecy of a one-world religion. Ecumenism was shunned since it relegated Christianity an equal to other religions. I escaped that cult with a staggering amount of information that took years to dump. 

Now comes word  about how excited the 41% religious warriors are about the war in Ukraine—another fulfillment of the prophecy of the second coming of Christ. 

I know. I know. Who would believe such wacky stuff?

But is it such a leap from my belief that my existence was known eons before I was born? 

Believe in the Devil

Believe in the Devil

In my twenties I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal savior in order to belong to the bible fellowship I had been attending with my friends. I “became” (as if that were possible) a born-again Christian just before Jimmy Carter, also a born-again Christian, announced his candidacy for President. 

I volunteered every spare moment for Carter’s campaign, a Democrat who proclaimed himself a sinner, saved by Jesus, just like me. After he was elected, some men and women in my small community bible fellowship preached that Carter was a tool of the devil, because he promoted sex education and family planning in public schools (today’s purity tests are abortion and gay rights). I had naively become part of a Christian sub-culture that wanted no government interference in family matters. These Christians yoked Carter’s actions to his character and denounced the whole man as the anti-christ. That’s what evangelical Christians did then.

What Evangelical Christians do now is the exact opposite. Those who support Donald Trump have an ends-justify-the-means theology. As long as abortion is outlawed and gay rights are quashed, the means to get there (coercing Ukraine to dig up dirt on his potential political opponent) are not only ok, but justified, even applauded. Donald Trump’s interior life is not considered important or relevant, nor is the outward display of his character. They worship the end product.

In his book, Prayers of the Cosmos, Neil Douglas-Klotz notes that Aramaic, the language of Jesus “…does not draw sharp lines between means and ends, or between inner quality and outer action.”  There are no words in this ancient language for an ends-justify-the means psychology: a person with unrepentant character defects is so unlikely to perform noble deeds that it cannot even be talked about. Logic follows that a person who provides immoral leadership is likely to be of ignoble character.

A guy named Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer established an ultra-conservative, ultra-secret Catholic lay organization in 1928, Opus Dei. Followers learn to abandon their principles, that the ends always justify the means. They believe Trump was chosen by God to protect the unborn fetus and restore Judeo-Christian moral order. Trump’s Attorney General, Bill Barr is Opus Dei (as are other Trump appointees). Doesn’t this explain a lot?

I left that Christian cult years ago. However, I understand, even admire, their members’ rejection of Jimmy Carter because they considered his views on sex education immoral. I disagreed with their opinions but I too measured his character by words and deeds and came to a different conclusion. Perhaps this ancient Aramaic Jesus language trickles into a collective consciousness enabling some to see inner qualities and outer actions as one big squishy blob and accept or reject that whole person.Untitled 2.png

I keep asking myself what’s wrong with those Evangelical Christian (and conservative Catholic) Trump supporters. Don’t they care that his morally corrupt outsides match his morally incontinent insides? Their religious fervor veils their eyes to the hypocrisy Jesus condemned. They justify the deeds of their beloved lawbreaking reprobate. Have their souls separated from their minds? Or as Rev. William Barber has said, “After this year (with Trump) if you don’t believe in the devil there’s somethin wrong with your fuckin mind.”