I used to think of fundamentalist Christian preachers utilizing their pulpit to tell their flock what to do, how to think, how to be as no more than school yard bullies. Although I still hold this belief I think the new bully pulpit is the internet — or rather the conservative Christian right’s use of same. Just visit any social networking site where religion or politics are routinely discussed and you will find the most vile and putrid statements spewing forth in ceaseless nastiness. In my experience, most of those statements issue from those claiming to be conservative Christians.
Just like a tyrannical government’s first response to civil unrest is to shut down communication, the Christian Right attempts to shut down opposing thought by attacking those who give those contrasting introspections voice in the form of articles or blog pieces.
In response to the ‘opposition’ posting an article on a particular site, the dutiful flock first sends out an anonymous lamb to chew on the author or poster of a particular article and then often the flock descends congregating their personal attacks in the comment string, writing offensive words, labeling people with vicious names and herding together in judgment. This throng hides behind the internet’s concealment curtain using camouflaged user names. It is my opinion they do so in order to internally rationalize their bad behavior towards others or perhaps a made up moniker gives them courage indulge in behavior for which the Bible would chastise them.
The Bible in Zechariah 7:9 speaks of showing kindness and compassion to one another; Mathew 7:1 says not to judge others, lest you be judged. Of course, these teachings of Christ are not in the Ten Commandments but they are in the Bible nonetheless. And yet these tenets are not practiced by most conservative Christians in the social networking forum. Perhaps they routinely get forgiven their behavior by the leader of their legion or perhaps they are not really Christians after all, only dressing themselves in the crown and cross and not internalizing or living those particular teachings of Christ.
I often wonder why the Christian right is absolutely okay with having their preacher invade their lives in an intrusive manner but completely panics when the Government wants to pass a law and I’ve come to understand that it is fear. Fear that their carefully constructed world view will be dismantled. Fear of anything or anyone different entering their sphere will force them to reevaluate their belief system.
Fear… which is nothing but an emotion after all, but an emotion authoritarians use to keep their flock in line.