Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Subtitled: 'A Minister's Manifesto for Taking Back Your Faith, Your Flag, Your Future', by Robin Meyers, Wiley, 2006.

The cover blurb sums it up well: 'I join the ranks of those who are angry, because I have watched as the faith I love has been taken over by fundamentalists who claim to speak for Jesus but whose actions are anything but Christian.'

Robin Meyers is a United Church of Christ minister, a contributor to The Christian Century, and 'professor of rhetoric' at Oklahoma City University.

In 2004 he gave a speech at a University of Oklahoma peace rally from which he achieved widespread Internet fame. (You can find the speech by putting the relevant words into Google - or the John Mark Ministries website indexes). It ended with these stirring words: 'Time to march again my friends. Time to commit acts of civil disobedience. Time to sing, and to pray, and refuse to participate in the madness. My generation finally stopped a tragic war. You can too!'

In this speech he introduced himself as 'minister of Mayflower Congregational Church in Oklahoma City, an Open and Affirming, Peace and Justice church in northwest Oklahoma City, and professor of Rhetoric at Oklahoma City University. But you would most likely have encountered me on the pages of the Oklahoma Gazette, where I have been a columnist for six years, and hold the record for the most number of angry letters to the editor.'

Well, he's still angry, particularly about the moral bankruptcy of the Christian Right, and the Bush Administration.

Fundamentalists, he says, have used the catastrophic events of 9/11 to wage war on irenicism and tolerance. The dreaded military-industrial complex that Eisenhower warned against 'has now lost the hyphen and become one word'. There are three main points to his thesis: 'The emperor is naked. The flag is flying upside down. And Jesus has been silenced by his own church.'

The Christian Right, he says, 'seems to have accepted war as inevitable if regrettable and sex as regrettable if inevitable.' They inhabit an either-or world of 'the saved and the "left behind"'. Their familiar bumper- sticker is AMERICA: LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT. President Bush 'acts as if we own the franchise on "freedom" and "liberty" and that we alone know what is best for other nations, even if they don't know what is best for themselves.'

In terms of the Christian Right's hermeneutic, they are more concerned with selective legal aspects of the Old Testament than the heart and soul of the New Testament.

Equally illogical of course is the 'war on terror': 'It is better to go on killing more of them, even if they go on killing more of us, so that we can remind everyone how vital it is to kill more of them first'. The book is replete with such sardonic barbs...

We are encouraged here to be thoughtful in our questioning of authority - especially when that authority is claiming to act on God's behalf. America - whose government has been driven by big money and big business - is in deep trouble: the way out is to combine rationality with essential Christian virtues, form nonviolent resistance groups, and vote out warmongering politicians.

A hard-hitting chapter is titled "Christian Fascism and the War on Reason" and includes 14 characteristics of fascism: (1) Powerful nationalism (knee-jerk patriotism), (2) disdain for recognition of human rights (eg. torture, long imprisonments), (3) identifying enemies and scapegoats as a unifying cause (eg. liberals, terrorists), (4) supremacy of the military (see our budget), (5) rampant sexism, (6) control of the mass media, (7) obsession with national security, (8)religion and government intertwined (using religion to manipulate public opinion), (10) suppression of labor power, (11) disdain for intellectuals and the arts, (12) obsession with crime and punishment, (13) rampant cronyism and corruption, and (14) fraudulent elections (eg. smear campaigns, manipulation of boundaries).

Read it with another book which has a similar flavour - Marvin McMickle's 'Where Have all the Prophets Gone?' (see ). Well, Marvin, here's one: you two should get to know each other!

Rowland Croucher
October 2007


Here's a Blog of articles and reviews.
For more, visit our website (with its 20,000 articles: so get comfortable!)


Rowland Croucher


Blog Archive

About Me

My photo
Melbourne, Australia
Husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, pastor, teacher, writer, used-to-be-academic... See here for more: