Once upon a time, religion – polytheism – brought people together. In the words of scholar Jan Assmann, it was a “technique of translation” between cultures – an “ecumene of interconnected nations.” Cultures might be different, but they could find a common ground in religion. What he calls the “Mosaic distinction” changed all that. Moses , whom he calls “a figure of memory but not of history” is responsible for introducing the categories of true and false into religion. Assmann calls the religion of Moses “counter-religion because it rejects and repudiates everything that went before and what is outside itself as ‘paganism.’” Religion has now become a means of “intercultural estrangement”; counter-religion blocks translatability.
And in the world of monotheism, nothing has changed since. Nations have a new reason to fight: religion. And a new type of war: crusade, or jihad. And it’s no surprise that it was Abrahamic monotheism which birthed religious terrorism. The road Moses first set foot on runs straight out of the past and into our present and down it drives a hate out of the old times.
Rick Perry and his fundamentalist cohorts want to pretend his big prayer-fast he’s calling The Response is to bring America together but it’s not; it’s real purpose is to divide America, to separate real Americans (them) from the “constructed other” (everyone else). Their religion is still a process and a means of repudiation. Though people of all religions are invited to attend (they want them to be introduced to “Christ) it has been made clear this is a Christ-only event. “False gods cannot be translated,” as Assmann writes. And make no mistake: all gods but “the One True God” are false gods and need not apply. Allan Parker of the Justice Foundation makes this abundantly clear in a message posted online.
Recently, I was very privileged and honored to be on a conference call with national religious leaders and Governor Rick Perry. He explained his call for a national solemn assembly to repent and seek the Lord on August 6 in Houston, Texas. I believe the Lord is calling Rick Perry to lead us in a day of national repentance before the Lord. It is a solemn assembly according to Joel 2. As we are approaching the end times, it is even more important than ever for the Body of Christ to pray and seek His face. We must repent and turn from our wicked ways so that God may heal our land.
Explicit in this message is the need to turn away from “false gods” – the one fundamentalists are so eager to repudiate:
This is an explicitly Christian event because we are going to be praying to the one true God through His son, Jesus Christ. It would be idolatry of the worst sort for Christians to gather and invite false gods like Allah and Buddha and their false prophets to be with us at that time. Because we have religious liberty in this country, they are free to have events and pray to Buddha and Allah on their own. But this is time of prayer to the One True God through His son, Jesus Christ, who is The Way, The Truth, and The Life.
In polytheism, all gods exist, even Parker’s hateful god of Mt. Sinai. There are no true and false gods in polytheism; consequently there is no “my god is better than yours” or “your god doesn’t exist.” Consequently, you won’t find in ancient history religious bigots like Parker and Fischer and Perry himself outside of Moses (and other figures in Judaism) until the advent of Christianity, when they get some company (at which point the Jews themselves get a turn at being the “other”). Monotheism, with its “true god” elitism is a breeding ground for what is taking place in Houston on August 6.
And what is taking place is a celebration of hate, of repudiation and negation, of “we’re better because our god is real” and you Buddhists and Muslims and the rest of you aren’t as good as us. It’s akin to a Nazi Party Rally and Houston is the new Nuremberg. After all, the “constructed other” weren’t welcome at Nuremberg either. Some things about totalitarianism never change.
As Gov. Rick Perry said in our telephone call, this is not about Rick Perry, nor is it about his presidential ambition, if any. I know Rick and I believe that he has not wanted to be president and he has not been thinking about it until very recently. Please pray for Rick as he is now seeking the Lord about what the Lord would have him do. Pray for his wife, Anita, particularly as they seek the Lord together.
Parker’s lord must be very tired of all these clowns badgering him for messiahship – Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, now Rick Perry. Is he going to anoint all of them? What an embarrassment if all announce that your god told THEM to run. Are three messiahs even possible? Or are the American people supposed to decide on their own messiah, in some way knowing better than their god who is the right person to save America? That’s not very biblical and it’s more than a little insulting to an all-powerful, omniscient god.
What the lord would probably have him do is pay the tithes Rick the Grifter has been withholding from the divine money box. But I’m sure it will somehow come out that his god told him to keep that money for himself. After all, like Jesus said, nobody likes rich men more than his father in heaven.
 Jan Assmann, Moses the Egyptian: The Memory of Egypt in Western Monotheism (Harvard, 1997), 1-3.