An Opinion Piece – Why not? It is a very popular postmodern way to say here is my righteous biased rant. (PS: This is a gentle opinion that explores not dictates)

An Opinion Piece – Why not? It is a very popular postmodern way to say here is my righteous biased rant. (PS: This is a gentle opinion that explores not dictates)

Today, one of the most well-loved hymns of evangelicals and various other Protestant churches is (“Give Me That”) “Old-Time Religion.” It is more than a hymn, or valued tune and lyrics. It is a battle cry that resonates with the call to restore “family values.”  In an age of family disintegration where personal needs often usurp one’s duty to others, and where previously fixed nonchanging social principles are “evolving” and changing very quickly. The hymn represented an image to claw back time – to a time when life seemed sacred, safe, steady, and secure.

We might say this hymn is an expressive rallying cry for many in our very fluid society of constant transformation. For example, in clawing back time there is a loud demand to ban abortion. The demand to ban is so fervent that it is even required in some places for victims of rape, underage females, or severe gestation issues. In part, the logic behind this call is abortion is not approved in scripture and that all life is sacred. Here is a question, “How can one say that all life is sacred yet ignore the plight of the homeless?” Also, scriptural stories of marriage among second cousins, or young girls given to older men do not seem important.

This old stirring hymn seems to reach into the past when Christian religion, was the centerpiece of society. Besides condemning abortion, images championed by this idyllic projection of the past also reject anyone from LGBTQIA2S+ communities while also proclaiming that Jesus loves everyone.

This forceful return to mythical idealism is so strong that in some places it is illegal to use the term “gay.” Likewise, this romanticism supports re-writing history as it surely took place Yes, this is sarcasm, but also smacks of the realization that Orwell’s 1984 is real. For example, in this new history of history did you know that slaves kept in huts and treated like functional cattle felt very glad to learn useful trades?

(“Give Me That”) “Old-Time Religion” is a cry to return to the idealistic past when marriage was between a man and woman, and where the man was automatically the head and voice of the family. It is a call to the past where life was seemingly very good for white people.

Those who love this hymn might be the same people who believe that the Old Testament inventory of the 10 Commandments is paramount, but do not hear the cry of Jesus to feed the poor, and heal the sick, help the homeless, the many socially marginalized. It is a false dream that ignores and denies grave situations around us and looks backward to when “Christian values,” reigned. As the hymn proclaims, looking to a dreamed-up past for many “It’s good enough for me.” Furthermore, it is a call to return to a time when solid, fixed, and unchanging Christian religious institutions held sway over society and secularism.

Consciously and unconsciously the image that “white is right,” still exists in Western Society. Can we say bigotry which was living just under the surface is now above the waterline and evident throughout society? It is “not tolerated,” but to what degree are efforts made to eradicate it is a good question for our society? Some rogue police easily overreact or perhaps for sheer pleasure, they commit crimes against people of color. Perhaps, to some degree, they are socially conditioned to jump to conclusions and attack. Is discrimination? Yes. And how are we actively and intentionally responding to this challenge?

Immigrants of past generations do not want new immigrants on their turf – which, by the way, was illegally and legally (?) confiscated several hundred years ago. Sadly, the original “owners” did not see themselves as titleholders. They believed they lived in partnership with the land. What a difference from today’s mentality. Granted there were territorial conflicts between tribes, but that was like nothing compared to the battles of white men raged on the original people of North America. The new white settlers saw the land as an opportunity for them to take, and to make money, to enslave tribes. The new white settlers felt righteous to rape the land and animals. They hunted and nearly eliminated the buffalo – and it was just for sport, an easy sport! The age of the white man’s rule began.

It seems that the 1776 American Declaration of Independence got it wrong when it wrote:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Today, people of color, immigrants, and members of the LGBTQIA2S+ seem excluded from this statement. Perhaps the document should have an asterisk with a footnote stating that these groups, then unbeknownst to the founding fathers, would if known, righteously not be included. Yes, this is more sarcasm. Likewise, the well-known image from Animal Farm which says, “All animals are but some are more equal than others,” seems very real in our “progressive” society.

As the new nation grew it soon realized that it sorely needed much cheap labor for farms. Slavery was the solution. However, as the decades progressed conflict between the waning power of the agricultural South, and the increasing power of the industrial North reached a breaking point. The house divided could not stand and war took place. In part, the war was over the issue of slavery, while another significant issue was the tension of financial and political power moving northward. Although slavery was abolished, segregation, elitism, and bigotry continued to thrive.  Even today people of color find it extremely difficult to obtain home mortgages despite viable income!

Through time the overt influence of the KKK and other white supremacists declined in visibility. But it did not disappear. Today, the comeback exists! It is making waves and battering many “shores.” Shores such as laws on voting, employment, and housing.

While many may live in denial “the divine-right-of-white-men” still exists. White supremacist movements, and those with supremacist leanings, are evident. Some are serious militant efforts. Other efforts try not to be so obvious. Many may not be aware of actions being taken or refuse to believe that all this is taking place.

One example of supremacist leanings is shown as the efforts that raised and encouraged the poor, the disadvantaged, people of color, the marginalized, and anyone non-heterosexual being rolled back. Same-sex marriages, the woman’s right to a safe abortion, and “not say gay,” are examples. Is this not a return to that Old-Time Religion?

Furthermore, college is for those with cash. This means wealthy or middle-class white folk! Laws that lifted the disadvantage of attending schools of higher education were found to be discriminatory. Really! “Affirmation action,” according to some courts were and are discriminatory – but to who, rich white people? Is this a harsh statement, or does it bear elements of truth?

But not all people of low income or color are shunted from colleges. This needs some clarification. Some people of color or from low income homes are welcomed in colleges and universities. They are even given scholarships. These are scholarships that serve to help the school win football, basketball, etc., championships. Places of academics dance to the tune of sports viewership and advertising income expanding the minds of those gifted but lacking cash.

All these issues and much more, such as foreign policies, economic directions, political elector boundaries, court appointments, and more are explosive. We live in a time of extreme partisan, polarized, unbending extremist realities – do it my way or no way – positions. Some of this is fueled by a desire to return to the times when all was calm with “The old-time religion.”  Yes, turning back the clock where if “It was good for our mothers, It’s good enough for me.”

Instead of narrowing the gap between people, it is widening. The poor are getting poorer. New laws that are worded to “help,” all with voting rights and other opportunities are constructed in caged “restrictive” language. Libraries as bastions of knowledge and information now see book banning, and restrictions to thinking, choice, and reflections that do not mirror those of “The old-time religion.”

We can give a label to all these actions – we can call it colonialism.

Unlike the colonialism of centuries past, the new colonialism is not an external force, it is an internal national reality. Instead of dominating other nations, we have groups within nations dominating others. Colonialism was the policy of acquiring full or partial control over other nations and, in turn, manipulating it economically to one’s gain at the other’s great expense. Today, colonialism is various policies and laws that make gains at the expense of the less fortunate within one’s own country. Colonialism creates much political and financial control over minorities, marginalized people, LGBTQIA2S+ communities, the homeless, etc., while saying that efforts are not restrictive. Double-speak lives. What is truly taking place is that people with traditional family values, such as powerful white Christian groups, churches, etc. believe that in reaching back for that “Old-Time Religion” the good old days of Christian dominance will heal and restore society.

Supporters of the “Old-Time Religion” were likely those who were also paramount in the rolling back of safe, legal abortion. Some places even highly criminalized that activity. Discrimination which over the decades was lessening to the LGBTQIA2S+ communities was rolled back. Gains of same-sex marriages, and the ordination to ministry in some Christian denominations, were in some places becoming questionable.

In recent years, politics seems to be more about personalities, not policies. The various personalities involved enlarge matters and take issues to the point of extreme confrontation, – my way is the only way, and others are evil – types of messages. These combative aggressive approaches are toxic and inflammatory

Yet can they believe that Jesus was a black, homeless man with no formal education who was a disruptor of local and foreign governments and the righteous established religion?

I am not a liberal as the above information may suggest, I am a postmodern reconstructionist.

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