William B. Turner
Suddenly everyone is aghast at the story about the church in Pennsylvania that held a ceremony to bless worshipers’ marriages and AR 15s, which they checked on the way in to make sure they were not loaded.
I get why it’s difficult for citizens of the modern United States to have to admit that their lives as such depend on this attitude. It’s very convenient to dismiss the Moonies, who sponsored the ceremony, as a “cult,” but it’s really no different from Christianity. Note that the Moonies are very conservative, meaning they like U.S. culture as it is, or as they think it was — “white supremacy,” “Christianity,” and all.
The Europeans who first arrived in “the Americas,” starting with Columbus, were almost entirely good Christians, and they didn’t travel without their guns. They killed a lot of Natives by spreading disease, which they didn’t realize at the time, but that would not have happened had they stayed at home. They did also kill off a lot of Natives quite deliberately as part of their project of stealing two continents from people with supposedly inferior cultures that we know too little about because the good Christians couldn’t be bothered to understand them before killing the people and setting up plantations where they relied heavily on African slaves as the primary labor force.
Whether the good Christians who stole “the Americas” from Natives worshiped their guns formally or not, they certainly relied heavily on them in taking over from people who only fought back too little, too late.
I know it’s difficult for modern U.S. citizens, especially good liberals and progressives, to have to admit that their Christianity is not much different from the Christianity that enabled mass murder of Natives and enslavement of Africans, but either “Christian” denotes a specific, identifiable set of ideas or it doesn’t, and the central idea of Christianity has changed not a whit since 1492, or since the Puritans showed up in British North America. As we have proven repeatedly in the United States, “Christianity” is a hugely malleable ideology that encompassed both the demand to emancipate all of the slaves immediately and the willingness to own slaves and force labor out of them by whipping and other brutal violence.
Call Christians who support Trump “evangelicals” all you like, their Christianity looks more like that of the Founders than just about anyone else now, “white supremacy” and all. The United States has an overwhelmingly Christian culture, and that because the Christians who invaded from Europe killed off all of the existing cultures after they showed up, and they did so quite deliberately. In that sense, not much has changed in four hundred years.
If you want a moral theory that aligns with liberal/progressive politics and policy, you need to look somewhere other than “Christianity,” whatever that is.