Religious War, Modern Version…

As weird as it seems–this is, after all, the twenty-first century– America seems to be in the throes of a religious war. Whatever the actual motives of the self-identified “righteous religious,” today’s culture warriors increasingly hide behind assumed doctrinal pieties.

And they’re suddenly everywhere.

The media is filled with stories about fissures in state-level Republican parties, fights between the GOP’s extreme Rightwingers and its flat-out nutcase “Christian warriors.” Here in Indiana, that schism is illustrated by the GOP’s internal fight over the Lieutenant Governor nomination. Mike Braun, who won the nasty race for the gubernatorial nomination, has picked a no-name, relatively inoffensive Rightwing female, but his choice is being challenged by religious warrior Micah Beckwith.

Noblesville pastor Micah Beckwith’s unconventional campaign for the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor appears to be surging. Several GOP insiders I spoke with believe he will upset Mike Braun’s hand-picked candidate Julie McGuire at the state convention this Saturday.

Braun evidently recognizes that a Beckwith victory will make his already far-Right campaign more difficult, since Beckwith is a proud member of the Christian Taliban. The linked article reported his remarks at gatherings of GOP insiders.

Beckwith told the delegates in both Fort Wayne and Nappanee that it was his belief that America was straying from its Christian principles that motivated him to get into politics.

“I started recognizing something very concerning to me, that the church in America was dropping the ball on stewarding our nation,” he said in Nappanee. “When [the church] started shutting our mouths, the silent majority did a huge disservice to this nation. We became quiet. No wonder we’ve gone off the rails.”

Beckwith blamed America’s problems on a list of issues for which, according to him, the Bible has already provided guidance.

“Isn’t it interesting that all of the political things that are destroying our nation right now are things like marriage, things like abortion, things like parental rights, things like the sovereignty of our borders, things like taxes. But wouldn’t you know, God has said something about all of those issues.”

Evidently, God also told Beckwith to attack Governor Holcomb’s attempt to protect Hoosiers from COVID.

“It was March 15, 2020. I called out COVID exactly what it turned out to be,” he told the delegates in Nappanee. On that day, he said he broadcast a Facebook live video telling people “don’t shut down, don’t lock down, don’t mask up. And I called it out.”

As the linked article notes, 22,450 Hoosiers died from COVID after Beckwith made that video, including 616 residents in his home of Hamilton County. But evidently, that was God’s plan–after all, Beckwith is certain he knows what his God wants…

Unfortunately, the growth of Christian Nationalism isn’t a phenomenon limited to state-level politics. Not only does a rabid (and distinctly unChristian) cohort consistently prevent Congress from functioning, it has infected the nation’s highest court. That infection is most apparent in the person of Justice Alito, who–as Robert Hubbell recently reported–has now “said the quiet part out loud—i.e., that the reactionary majority on the Supreme Court is engaged in a religious battle to return the country to a place of godliness.”

It seems that an enterprising reporter has obtained evidence of what most observers have long surmised.

Lauren Windsor, a progressive filmmaker and political activist, bought a ticket in her own name to the Supreme Court Historical Society dinner that was held on June 3 and carried her cell phone so she could record conversations she held with Justices Samuel Alito and John Roberts.  She’s done it before, posing as a fellow conservative as she recorded conversations with right-wing politicians at public events.  This time, Windsor appears to have been posing as a Christian Nationalist Catholic when she got close enough to Alito at the dinner to ask him a few questions.

While condemning the tactic employed, the New York Times reported the taped conversation,  and Alito’s view that that the nation should return to a “place of godliness.” Several other reports included anti-gay remarks made by his wife. (The taped conversations have since been uploaded to YouTube.)

The utter lack of humility that characterizes these smug “warriors for God” always reminds me of that FaceBook meme–something to the effect that “it’s interesting that God hates the same people they do.”

Historians and legal scholars can rebut these efforts to rewrite American history and undermine the First and Fourteenth Amendments, and theologians can contest the simplistic, dishonest and oh-so convenient approach to belief, but it will be up to voters to reject Christian Nationalists’ drive to deliver social and legal control to White Christian fundamentalists.

Vote Blue. Religious liberty depends on it.


  1. Trump and his White Nationalists unleashed the simmering hatred, racism, bigotry, sexism, anti-Semitism, anti-Muslimism, and every other anti-ism and called themselves the evangelical party. They are totally removed from credible denomination of all religions which were recognized and followed in private lives and have now become a political party in-and-of-itself. There is nothing Holy about this Religious War; nor is there anything civil or humanitarian about it, it is all about total power and control over others. Its roots are deeply planted in Wall Street and the Stock Market profits, owned and operated by Corporations and the wealthy. With all of his purported wealth, Trump is supported by their dollars and the dollars of the hard-working, over-taxed majority of Americans who have been lured into his revival as the freed slaves were lured into the “40 acres and a mule” promise at the end of the Civil War. They are still waiting; the White Nationalists will have an even longer wait for “social and legal control” if they put Trump back into the White House.

    I am one of the “Me Too” survivors but have joined the “I’m glad I am old!” movement because I am aware I will not survive another Trump administration. I won’t even try to survive it; my prayers are for the survival of my descendants and all those who will be forced to live with the Dictatorship that they have only read about in foreign countries which stirred their empathy. Who will empathize for them?

    “Vote Blue. Religious liberty depends on it.”

  2. I dream of a future where humans truly and naturally respect each other, as well as life, the universe, and everything. (Douglas Adams had a lot of good to say, as well. Isn’t that right, Dirk Gently?) It’s a foundation for my “Star Trek” dream.

    One of the many problems with religion is how incredibly divisive it is. Often this is true even for those nominally praying to the same god. So, unfortunately, as long as religion holds sway, my dream can never be realized.

    Where the religious see the diminishing stature of religion as a terrible problem, and fight tooth and nail against it, I see it as part of the path that leads humanity into a brighter, bolder, more equitable, more mature future.

  3. I should note that I do believe in religious liberty. I will stand for your right to believe in a god if you wish, and not be persecuted or harmed because of it.

    I just wish all of you would stop it. 😉

  4. The God of Love also has a great sense of humor. After all, God delivered us Trump for our entertainment.

    The Court of Angels appointed me in charge of the popcorn in anticipation of The Rapture when earthly belongings of true believers fall to the ground. Except of course, Trump.

    Yes, his $4,000 tailored blue suit falls gracefully around his ankles exposing intact his golden belted penny disposable diapers while holding up a jar, hawking Trump’s Own Brand Sour Grapes and Bitters exported from Mar-a-Lago.

    And the evangelicals praise his greatness as well as his spend thrift modesty. AND the far right cheerleaders through MAGAphones lead the yell: “Give me a ‘C’!” … “What a ya got!” and the sparsely attended aggrieved rally responds dutifully: “TRUMP, TRUMP, TRUMP”.

    The popcorn is free. 🤗

  5. “When the power of love is stronger than the love of power, we will have peace.” Jimmy Hedrix

    “Why can’t we all just get along?” Rodney King

    “We are fighting for the soul of America.” President Joe Biden

    “When you are a celebrity you can grab them by their pussies.” Donald Trump

  6. You can support no end of terrible ideas, by citing the Bible. It’s like going to a combination big box store/ mall. If you can’t find it there, you can’t find it anywhere. IMHO religious wars are as phony as it gets. The drivers of these wars find it easier to control their adherents with a “Holy War”. Focus on our enemies while I pick your pockets. Wars are always about money and power. Doesn’t matter how you make war it always comes at a cost to the people fighting and a ” blessing ” to the people running it.

  7. Late in life (for many of us), we are experiencing for the first time the march of extremism here and now instead of there and in times past. What it looks like firsthand is a progression of ever more extremes. Can you top this?

    Of course it’s led by entertainers using what they know best, entertaining on mass media.

    We should be worried, very worried, because we don’t know and probably cannot imagine how extreme the competition will become before it’s done with us.

  8. Douglas Adams? Good call John H. If each of us implanted a Bable Fish we’d at least be able to understand what others are saying.

  9. Zionism will destroy any semblance of democracy within the U.S.

    It’s quite the conundrum when the man you’re begging us to vote for (Biden) is purposely playing to the rapturists.

  10. Once again the conversation about religion shows mental/intellectual thrashing around. Drive through any city in the United States and count the number of churches … then the number of schools and hospitals. You will discover that the monuments to imagined things exceeds those necessary for a healthy and functioning society. What else should we expect but conflict, hypocrisy and misuse of “beliefs” to advance political agendas?

    Humans have clutched at imaginary beings as their “guides” through life – especially for those things they can’t explain or are too lazy to investigate. Enter the charlatans (Joel Osteen comes immediately to mind) to exploit that intellectual vacuousness for money. And the money leads to power, control and competition for those minds searching for their own salvation from outside sources.

    Even Ian makes a solid point today. Except that it’s not just Zionism, it’s EVERY religion that is destroying our democracy.

  11. It’s time to state the truth openly. It’s time to stop coddling.

    Religions are cults. If you are religious, you are a fool.

  12. This may seem strange but, I see an example of our macro situation in a local micro one. St. Vincent hospital/empire began from a religious dedication to service and evolved into an economical and political power and now seems to be falling to vampire capitalists.

  13. The last three posters hit the target today. I’m not sure which Founder said it, but as a whole, they wanted to end the bloody religious wars that plagued Europe for centuries, so they kept Christianity out of the government. The theory is that if Christianity is a legitimate and worthwhile institution, the government doesn’t need to endorse or prop it up. Also, if you are secure in your religion, you don’t need a government approval stamp.

    That last sentence says it all and explains why the Evangelicals or Christian Taliban are fighting so hard to gain power within the government. They are insecure and fear their relevance in this country. They want to dominate others and demand a seat in the government to accomplish this. Thus, a “Christian Authoritarian” fits the bill nicely. Trump is their only hope.

    As a side note, Macron’s middle governing body was destroyed in France. The far-right and the far-left won the majority of seats. For those gleaming wisdom from Marx, he predicted that, at the end stages of capitalism, we would see the battle between fascism and socialism. The Democratic Party voted against Socialism, which could have been the death knell of the party. Marx believed they should have left instead of moving into the center. This isn’t a cultural phenomenon either.

  14. Imagine if the Jesus of the Bible came to America today, the sheer, breathtaking hatred and vitriol that he’d be greeted with. I’ve read the entire bible, even the Christian one, at least three times in my life and have always been amused by how many conflicting messages it contains. It’s perfect for cherry picking.

    JoAnn stated things beautifully. Both times.

    Vote BLUE! Your religious liberty depends upon it. Your liberty itself depends upon it. Period.

  15. Thank you JoAnn.
    So many good comments, and I think Vernon sums it up very well.
    Depending on how, and if, we, and the rest of the world can survivor this, indeed, religious war, we might, finally, learn how to “…just get along!” (Thank you, Rodney)
    Nature’s gift consciousness, which we are learning appears present in so many other species, and not just mammals, is a double-edged sword, as it allows us to develop the very ideas that can both make life a joy, and a murder.

  16. Thank you, JoAnn. I wish Hilary Clinton had done that in a debate. Our country needs to be reminded every day of those words.

  17. Micah Beckwith is an evil man with nothing but arrogant disdain for anyone who disagrees with his religious views. He has stated that he wants to be a “check” on the Governor. Talk about hubris.

  18. Beckwith (1) was a board member of Hamilton East Public Library & screwed it up w/a bone-headed plan to censor books; (2) He says he’s a “constitutionalist,” but wants to act as a “check” of the governor – checks are between branches of gov’t, not w/in the same branch; 3) In 2020 contacted me out of the blue & wanted to debate, then chickened out; 4) talks to “The Lord” on a regular basis, e.g., on Jan 7, 2021, “The Lord” told Beckwith, “Micah, I sent those riots to the Capitol.” Forty years ago, Beckwith would have been viewed as a joke, but today?

  19. Whoa, Ian and Vernon. Zionism is not a religion, and to deem it one is flirting with Anti-Semitism. Many Jews, myself included, and even some Jewish Israelis are not Zionists. Nor, by the way, is Biden “purposely playing to the rapturists.” Politics sometimes creates strange bedfellows. Biden, after all, is not by any means an Anti-Semite. The rapturists are (as is Donald Trump). Their interpretation of the Book of Revelation leads to their support for Israel, but it also leads to their conviction that the Jewish people are eternally damned if they do not accept Jesus Christ as their lord and savior.

  20. Follow fanaticism by any group and it leads to disaster. Think 16th. century burning of heretics, Jim Jones in Guyana, ISIS, the Taliban, Nazis, etc.
    Why is it that so many people are in such need of “belonging” that they will follow these groups?
    Pete is unfortunately making a valid point: We should be worried, very worried, because we don’t know and probably cannot imagine how extreme the competition will become before it’s done with us.
    May the Force be with us!

  21. Thank you, ABerger. No matter our political beliefs, let’s not create our own set of Others.

  22. Lack of religious freedom, including freedom from the religions of other people, inevitably leads to religious war. This is because using the government to enforce your religious beliefs on others is religious persecution, and people will fight to the death against that. So the choice is between separation of government from religion and religious war. History tells us there is simply no other alternative.

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