Radio host Peter B. Collins receives in this podcast Frank Schaeffer, ex-Evangelical leader for many years in the U.S.. Son of Reconstructionist preacher Francis Schaeffer, Frank has a lot to say about the links that exist between the Republican Party and the Evangelical movement. According to him, that movement has literally taken over the Party. It dictates its policies to the political establishment. Among the many representatives of this trend, Schaeffer mentions Michelle Bachmann who, apparently, is under the spell of the Evangelicals. He goes at length to explain how her politics are the expression of the Evangelical background that she has. Schaeffer also takes the opportunity to present certain parts of the material of his new book Sex, Mom and God, and to talk about his father in relation with the Evangelical movement. Globally, I found this interview rather relevant. Having a master degree in Religious Studies, I am always curious about personal religious backgrounds, narratives and stories. Although I have got away from the religious scene for the most part, out of boringness and sometimes disgust and distrust, it is always interesting to see elements like that surging where you expect them the least.
I share a good part of the explanations presented by Frank Schaeffer here on this subject, but not totally. First of all, I am not sure that the Evangelical movement has taken over the Republican Party. I rather have the impression that it is the Republican Party that uses the Evangelical movement as a cloak to better hide its machinations. People with cash and power don’t have religious beliefs; if they really had, they probably wouldn’t be rich and powerful. The world is not run by religion; it is run by money and money gives power. I totally respect the opinion of somebody like Frank Schaeffer who survived the mind-control and brainwash environment of such a movement, but I think it is more accurate to think that the Evangelical movement is used as yet another tool, garment, cloak, etc, to engineer the American society and the whole world into a pre-determined totalitarian reactionary agenda. In numerous articles in the past, I have said, along with heroic researcher Dave Emory, that the Republican Party is fascist in nature, having among other things links to the Third Reich that go back to WWII.
Second, concerning now the sociological aspects, I would say that yes, there is a tremendous war going on between those who are trying to have humanity live up to the standards of the modern world, and those who would like instead have it stay in the darkness of Antiquity. The firsts accept the works of science and research, while the others refuse it, either by bringing religion to replace it or by concocting bogus science to confirm their ideological and moral biases. Schaeffer compares with accuracy Islamists and Christian fondamentalists as being the one and the same besides their more immediate outfit. In effect, reactionary people are spread all over the world. They exist in every society, they are found everywhere. However, what is specific about our civilization is that starting at the Renaissance, people tried to bypass the limitations, presuppositions and moral stubbornness of their respective societies. They tried, as lone individuals first, to bring their societies further into a more advanced state. Many have perished under the Inquisition of the Roman Catholic Church that, in passing, has never been anything else than a totalitarian system under the guise of a religion. But the people continued their work and research with courage and strength, and finally, through the American and French Revolutions, a new era was made possible of countless possibilities for human advancement and development. However, as we can see, it is not everybody who agrees with these Revolutions. Certain people would like very much that they had never happened in the first place, and it is they who are plotting and sabotaging their own societies all over the planet for the sake of this beloved reaction. They won’t stop until they get want they want…unless we stop them.
Third, concerning the theological aspects now, in the 19th and 20th centuries a terrific revolution took place in the field of biblical science. To begin with, all humanities and social sciences experienced a rebirth as « comparative studies » in all fields led to astounding discoveries. Comparative studies allowed for the comparison of different traditions, let’s say for example in literature, that led in turn to bring to the light universal laws of writing and of creating of narratives. The same kind of studies were made in every discipline including theology and sacred texts studies, which led to lay out the universal laws that govern the religious phenomenon. And it is that change of perspective that convinced the scholars to begin studying the Bible not as a sacred text but rather as an expression of human culture that needed to be studied, autopsied, dissected, like any other thing in our environment. To name a few, Kierkegaard and Bultmann have been very important in the history of that science in its attempts to bring a more scientific understanding or more criticism of the Bible. Languages, archeology, history, « textual criticism », hermeneutics and several other disciplines of the humanities were used. In the end, in the scientific community nobody could believe anymore that the Bible had been divinely inspired. From that point on, it had been written by humans.
Why am I explaining all that? Because the Evangelicals that Schaeffer is describing here refuse to accept modernity, yes, but more specifically the discoveries related to the scientific study of the Bible. It is that modernity that they refuse for the most part. Does Michelle Bachmann refuse to drive a car? I don’t think so. Does she refuse to use technology? I don’t think so either. I have a video in which she appears on this blog. You see, it is a specific element of the modernity that they refuse, the one that fits their agenda. That’s why I am saying that it is the Republican Party that uses the Evangelical movement, not the other way around. The Republican Party uses the pre-scientific thinking of the Evangelical movement to try to impair the capacity of the American public to think rationally, to be able to dominate them more effectively. Money and power, it always comes down to that.