Thursday, October 6, 2016


Working my way through Will Durant's third volume in his Story of Western Civilization series. The one on Rome.

Progressive, Liberal and some Conservattive Christians argue that the so called radical right Christians aren't really Christians. I make no judgement although I do have my opinons. 

I would argue that what the radical right really represents is a "civic" religion. Those living within the borders of the Roman Empire were expected to make public offerings to the emperor and his family. Beginning with Augustus and Tiberius the emperors were treated as if they were gods. Some embraced the idea more heartily than others. 

Early Christians were often condemned not so much because they were Christians, but because they refused to make the public offerings. From what I've read it often happened more often in the Eastern Empire than in the west. But then the eastern provinces that included parts, if not all, of the old empires of Persia, Egypt, Babylon and Assyria. Their citizens were very familiar with the idea of the God King. 

I'm not including Nero here, He needed a scapegoat for the fire that almost consumed Rome. There's evidence that the idea was his but, he could hardly admit that now could he? 

Anyway, the almost hysterical response the those who kneel or refuse to stand instead of standing for the Star Spangled Banner or the Pledge of allegiance seems to fall under the umbrella of civic religion. It's what you do to prove you're a "good" American. And being a "good" American doesn't include pointing out that the song contains racist parts or that America often falls far from the ideals of those who fought the revolution and wrote the constitution.

Civic religion also, for me, includes the argument that I don't have to do certain things because it interferes with my freedom of religion. Just my personal opinion but I don't believe that whoever or whatever is running the universe is going to be bent out of shape if you bake a cake or take some pictures.

And you'll a hell of a lot more sympathy from me when you start worrying about wahat happens to the children of this country and the rest of the world AFTER they're born. 

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