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June 16, 2005

The “Christer” Controversy

Well, there seems to be a new term of derision directed at those of us who follow the Christ. That term is “Christer”, used in a sense not unlike “nigger” or “kike” by bigots. Take this example, which is the source of the current controversy.

Today’s Christer protests are targeting a different kind of subversion. Chip Berlet, senior analyst at the labor-funded Political Research Associates, has spent over 25 years studying the far right and theocratic fundamentalism. He is co-author of Right-Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort. Berlet — who was one of the speakers at a conference last month co-sponsored by the N.Y. Open Center and the City University of New York Graduate Center on “Examining the Real Agenda of the Christian Right” — says that “What’s motivating these people is two things. First, an incredible dread, completely irrational, of a hodgepodge of sexual subversion and social chaos. The response to that fear is genuinely a grassroots response, and it’s motivated by fundamentalist Christian doctrines like Triumphalism and Dominionism, which order Christians to take over the secular state and secular institutions. The Christian right frames itself as an oppressed minority battling the secular-humanist liberal homofeminist hordes.”
The key to those doctrines is what fundamentalist religious primitives call the Great Commission, which is basically an injunction to convert everyone to Christianity. In the Bible (Matthew 28:19-20), it says, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you . . .” The fundamentalist interpretations of these and other texts can be found on evangelical Web sites like Thegreatcommission.com, Transferableconcepts.com and Gospelcom.net. They have incredible motivating power for the religious right, and help explain the vehemence of the Christers’ intolerance of the freedom of others to think or act differently.

Says Berlet, “The re-election of Bush was a sort of tipping point for these people, who take it as a mandate from God — they see that the leadership of America is within their grasp, and when you get closer to your goal, it’s very energizing. It reaches a critical mass, in which the evangelicals feel they have permission to push their way into public and cultural policy in every walk and expression of life.” All that, says Berlet, is what is motivating the skein of Christer boycotts, protest campaigns and censorship drives bubbling from the bottom up — which get added emotional and pressure power from the fund-raising-driven crusades launched by political Christer organizations like AFA at the national level. The confluence of from-above and from-below is a powerful mix.

Of course, the point is that “Christers” take their religion so seriously that they constitute a threat to American freedom. They are aliens among us, and must be stopped before they destroy the purity of American culture (as defined by the Left). Freedom itself is at stake if they are permitted to engage in political activities that have long been the stock in trade of the American left – activities like political organizing, petitioning the government for a redress of grievances, and boycotting those who act contrary to their values. Such actions, lauded when engaged in by the forces of “progressive Leftism” (remember the Leftist boycotts of Dr. Laura and Rush Limbaugh, as well as the invention of the “Fox Blocker”), are the source of a potential theocracy when engage in by the Religious Right. It must therefore have its rights and freedoms sharply limited in the name of ensuring the greatest possible rights and freedoms – for the Left. After all, they are only “primitive Christers” (so much for toleration for cultural diversity).

Of course, there is something in all this that gives me a certain satisfaction. As a member of the group that is defamed, I am rather pleased that those who hate me and my beliefs have honored me by smearing me with the name of my Lord and Savior. And not only that, by implication they have created their own label, one which is the ultimate truth in advertising. They are “Anti-Christers” – and we all know who that means they follow.


See Also:
Bird Of Paradise -- for an excellent history of the term.
Really Right
Hard Starboard
Hugh Hewitt



» Mover Mike links with: Around the Blogroll



|| Greg, 04:12 PM || Permalink || Comments (3) || Comments

Comments on The “Christer” Controversy

It is impossible to insult me by using a name that is derived from my Lord and Savior. His will be done, and I shall follow in His footsteps as the lamb follows his Shepherd.

What I am getting tired of is the constant attacks against religion. I think I read it here, but wherever I read it, I agree - we are starting to hear more and more attacks against Christianity. Take an old Nazi propaganda film and change the word 'Jew' for 'Christian' and it won't be far off from what we're hearing today.

It occurs to me that their intent may not be to insult me, but to insult Jesus. As such, I never thought I'd do this, but if someone does refer to me as a Christer, I am going to refer to them as an Unbeliever.

Tolerance my foot. The left is the realm of division and splintering. The right accepts someone's differences, and asks them to melt in with everyone else as best they can. The left exemplifies differences and separates people into tiny little special interest groups that are each jockeying for benefit only to themselves, and not to the body politic.

Idiots.

Sub

|| Posted by Subjugator, June 16, 2005 07:52 PM ||

I prefer "Christofascist" myself.

I guess we have to be careful what term we use. Clearly, the "Christian" fascists in the US are a minority of Christians (and fake Christians at that), so it's hard to come up with a word that does not slander all people of faith. We really intend to target the hardcore bigots who falsely use Christ's name to practice politics. Thus, "Christer."

If that is derogative, you should know that you reap what you sow. The Christers have been persecuting homosexuals and other minorities since the 1970's (no, they are not genuine Christians, but a political invention designed to guarantee votes for conservative politicians). I see no reason to react politely, but to react in kind with direct attacks on their ideology, including humiliating language that manages to speak the truth anyway.

When you attack, expect a reaction. You are getting one right now.

|| Posted by David Howe, June 17, 2005 09:22 AM ||

According to your words, *I* am *NOT* getting a response now. You make the assumption that I am a bigot though, and that is a clear exposure of your own bigotry. I am a Christian, and I do not think homosexuality is a sin.

At most, I find some of the behaviors associated with male homosexuality to be somewhat nasty to my tastes, but that's irrelevant, because I don't have to do it, participate in it, see it, or otherwise have anything to do with it (unless people have sex in public, which is wrong whether it is homo or hetero).

I have a number of friends who are homosexuals or bisexuals, and have no problem with them. In fact, one of them had unbeknownst to him, been outed to me for several months before he knew that I knew. His response was a shocked, 'You never said anything! You never acted at all different!' My response was, 'Why should I have?'

Some have called me a bigot because specific groups of people frequently display specific behaviors that I do not like. I do not call that bigotry, but recognition of behaviors I do not like. I don't assume someone to be a person that annoys me until after I have observed them or otherwise interacted with them. I am also not rude to people I don't like very often - I generally assume that if I don't like someone, it's my problem and not theirs, and they don't need to suffer for my problems. The only time I am willing to be rude to someone is when I have an objectively good reason to dislike them (i.e. pedophiles, violent criminals, thieves, liars, or the like). Since homosexuality (or having more (or less) melanin than I, or looking different, or having more (or less) money than I, or following a different religion than I, or any one of a hundred other things) does not specifically indicate that a person is annoying, I don't make assumptions based on that.

Don't try to reduce my freedoms, don't try and take my money, don't try to take my guns (also a reduction in freedom), don't deliberately insult my religion, don't try to hurt my family or me, and don't be mean to me or mine, and I'm sure we can get along somehow.

Sub

|| Posted by Subjugator, June 18, 2005 11:20 AM ||
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