I try hard, harder than some may believe, to understand how the religious right folks think. But a letter to the editor in this morning's Wyoming Tribune-Eagle just made that task much more of a challenge.
The writer is Rev. Michael P. Hayes. He says there are there are only two ways to look at the world. Either you trust in God or your trust in (his words) "big government ending in tyranny." Now that's a conversation ender.
He says he'd like to find a better label for some of us than "liberal." And then he writes, "There is progressive, communists, marxist, maoist, fascist, nazi, and others BUT these are all just denominations of the same alternative religion."
I understand that the religionists have a lot at stake in the debate over what the Bible really teaches. I get that. They think that is one word of it isn't what they call "true" than none of it is. In other words, if Jonah was not really in the belly of a fish before answering God's call, then you can't believe anything attributed to Jesus. I think that thinking precludes an understanding of the real power of the myth stories of the Bible...but I get it.
But...Rev Michael Hayes has thrown a curve ball at me. Actually, if you know baseball, it is more like a slider that comes right at you and as you swing, the ball tail off into the dirt. After giving a litany of terms that he thinks mean the same thing as "liberal" he then says it is all the same. Whether you call it liberal, communism, naziism, fascism...Rev. Hayes says it all ends in "suffering and death for millions."
He then equates patriotism with "God's plan for a nation." Like George W. Bush said when he took on that highly successful search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. "God's plan."
And to think, Rev. Hayes is preaching this stuff every Sunday morning to a group of people who are nodding their heads as they take it all in...with little regard that it is terrible political science and even worse theology.
In the final analysis, I have no framework for understanding this kind of thinking. Neither did Jesus, which is why he called them a "brood of vipers." I have to quit writing now and go to church...to preach my own understanding of what it all means. AMEN.