Sunday, March 23, 2008

Christian Privilege and the Road to Theocracy

Easter in Mississippi, a more perfect occasion to reflect on the importance of maintaining the separation of church and state would be hard to find. It also happens to be time for the annual Blog Against Theocracy blogswarm. We in Mississippi know a little something about theocracy, for it our daily lives often feel as though we are living in a theocratic society dominated by Christian extremism.

Church is an important part of the social fabric in many regions of America, however, it often seems to be the cloth itself in Mississippi. A brief trip to the online forums of my local newspaper, the Hattiesburg American, uncovers a "Faith and belief" forum with the following description:

Devout beliefs are an integral part of life in the Pine Belt. Here is a place to discuss your faith and values.
Yep, we actually have a regular section of our paper focusing on faith. If the description of our community as centering around religious faith seems alienating to those of us who prefer reason to superstition, this is because it is so. And yet, I cannot disagree that religious beliefs are a core part of life in Mississippi. The description may be alienating, but the reality is far more so.

When one examines the nature of Christianity in Mississippi, one realizes that this is no ordinary Christianity. It is evangelical, fundamentalist, and often extremist is nature. Hatred of homosexuals and atheists is the rule. Wives are to be submissive to their husbands, defiant children must not be "spared the rod," and most problems can be traced back to "godless liberals" and "moral decline."

As unpleasant as all this can be, it still does not bring us to theocracy. It is only when one begins to confront the scope of Christian privilege in Mississippi that one begins down this road. The level of Christian privilege in this state is unlike anything I've experienced outside of Utah. If social networks are a form of power and influence and the point of entry to such networks is Christianity, one realizes that power and Christianity are inextricably linked here.

I sometimes think of Mississippi as a living example of what the rest of America will become if the wall of separation between church and state were to fall. Granted, this really isn't fair given the number of other problems we have. But it may be appropriate with regard to the influence of Christianity in one's daily life.

We in Mississippi must remain committed to opposing theocracy and strengthening church-state separation. At the same time, we can begin to chip away at the Christian privilege which surrounds us and paves the road to theocracy.

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jackspar said...

You are firm in your decision of seperating church from state and you have justified your thoughts in this blog.It is very sad to hear about moral declain and it very essential to teach them the importance of morals in life.


thomson2008 said...

Church is an important part which guides you to live spiritually.It help you to make your faith stronger.

Adam said...

One of the central topics of the pre-election discussion has been whether the US is at genuine risk of turning into a Christian theocracy. The purpose of this essay is to argue that the risk is real and significant, and to show how this relates to Dr. Leonard Peikoff's DIM hypothesis.


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