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The Night of the Long Knives: A Christian Fantasy

July 29, 2013

I will never forget the moment after the election last November.  A man with whom I was friends on Facebook, called me a “so called Catholic” because he believed that I had voted for Obama.  (I hadn’t, but I saw no reason to correct him.)  He then announced that he was unfriending every person, especially every Catholic, who had voted for Obama.  He proceeded to do so.

It was not the first time I had experienced this kind of thinking.  As a young person growing up, I was tangentially related to the Evangelical Christian community.  My mother was (and is) devout, but she was never unreasonable or judgmental about it.  I have other relatives who are not.  I remember the night I was fervently reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.  I stayed up late in the night reading it but not simply because I was engrossed by the story.  I was also going to my uncle’s house, who believed that Harry Potter was demonic and would have suggested that I burn the book.  When I was at my uncle’s house, I was a closeted Harry Potter fan.  I would have been seen as unchristian.

My uncle believes in a strict evangelical fundamentalist streak of Christianity.  It goes beyond simply believing in accepting Christ as one’s personal savior.  It also means accepting the literal meaning of everything in the Bible, including a literal reading of the book of Genesis.  (My uncle believes that the world is about 6,000 years old.)  His brand of Christianity also blends a severe individualistic, conservative beliefs of the United States government and economy.  For him, to favor limitations on gun ownership is tantamount to believing in a mother goddess figure.  (Needless to say, I still haven’t told them that I accept the scientific evidence in evolution. 🙂  )

Catholics are also by no means immune to this impulse.  I read a comment on National Catholic Register a few months ago where a Catholic woman bragged about how she had convinced a friend to refrain from joining the Catholic Church.  Her reason?  Her friend found it difficult to accept the prohibition on contraception.

I cannot help but think about how different the history of the Western Hemisphere would be if Jesuits, Dominicans, and Franciscans had adopted this tactic in Central America, South America, and the Caribbean.  Never mind contraception, or even gay marriage, some of the indigenous Catholics still practice witchcraft!  Yet, when the scores West African slaves arrived on the shores of Haiti, the priests did not hesitate to baptize them.

I titled my post Night of the Long Knives because this is a reference to the systematic murder of conservative Nazis and enemies of the Nazi party in 1934.  It was done to eliminate political enemies and consolidate political power.  Many Christians today in America share this fantasy, even if they don’t want to use violence to achieve it.  Many Christians talk about the possibility of persecution.  Rather than dreading this possibility, many Christians actually fantasize about this possibility.   They talk about a smaller, purer church, and for them this is a good thing.  It means driving out the Christians who don’t measure up to their standards.  It means getting rid of people they do not like.  Then all Christians will be like them.



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One Comment
  1. Christians should learn that we are not in the position to judge others, only God can. If they are driving other christians away or causing non christians to look at God in a bad light, they should know that at the end of the day, they have to answer to God.

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