Saturday, November 20, 2010

Warrior deathcult transformer Jesus

Sociological Images draws our attention to a short opinion piece in the American wingnuttery known as Rightly Concerned:

But I have noticed a disturbing trend in the awarding of these medals, which few others seem to have recognized.

We have feminized the Medal of Honor.

According to Bill McGurn of the Wall Street Journal, every Medal of Honor awarded during these two conflicts has been awarded for saving life. Not one has been awarded for inflicting casualties on the enemy....

That kind of heroism has apparently become passe when it comes to awarding the Medal of Honor. We now award it only for preventing casualties, not for inflicting them. So the question is this: when are we going to start awarding the Medal of Honor once again for soldiers who kill people and break things so our families can sleep safely at night? I would suggest our culture has become so feminized that we have become squeamish at the thought of the valor that is expressed in killing enemy soldiers through acts of bravery...

However, Jesus’ act of self-sacrifice would ultimately have been meaningless - yes, meaningless - if he had not inflicted a mortal wound on the enemy while giving up his own life. The significance of the cross is not just that Jesus laid down his life for us, but that he defeated the enemy of our souls in the process. It was on the cross that he crushed the head of the serpent...The cross represented a cosmic showdown between the forces of light and the forces of darkness, and our commanding general claimed the ultimate prize by defeating our unseen enemy and liberating an entire planet from his bondage. We rightly honor those who give up their lives to save their comrades. It’s about time we started also honoring those who kill bad guys.

The obviously appalling gender essentialisations and warpornery aside, this little piece helps answers a question I've had for a while. Here, Mr. Fischer has revealed how a folk myth of Roman era proto-hippie morphed into the figurehead of a modern age death-cult. Forget the ascribed teachings of Jesus which were basically pro-poor, freedom from oppression and respect others sort of sage advice. Insteand, the wingnuts focus on the death bits and completely ignore the rest. Christ figures are adopted for their symbolism for the great heuristic binary they see in all things. Death, and the taking of life become the vehicle of martyric struggle, the focus of their movement.

"Forces of Darkness", "unseen enemy", no wonder insurgencies like Iraq and Afghanistan have such resonance, and why the religious right sees them as some End Times incarnation of good versus evil. Nevermind why we're fighting poor people with guns, the fact that we are there, and they are 'unseen' or 'other' must be evidence enough of their evilness.

Moreover, this interpretion of the Christ figure explains how a movement can on one hand put a bullet into someone like MLK, and then 40 years later claim to carry King's torch. It makes perfect sense when viewed through the great struggle binary death lens of their movement. Nevermind they had something of a hard time with desegregation and civil rights, in the end most of the right got used to the idea and forgot that they opposed it. For subsequent generations of wingnuts MLK thus amnesiatastically  transformed into a representation of the Christ martyr and symbol of good against evil, forgetting 40 years ago they weren't the good guys. And forgetting all the things MLK called for which they more or less still oppose.  Well they always had the Soviet "evil empire". Fastforward 30 years and oops, no more of that too. Thank God (or Allah?) for 9/11 and the new great force of darkness...

I don't know, I suppose one might hypothesize that if your campaign of righteousness ends with a violent martyrship, the wingnuts it eventually become attractive to the wingnuts. Give it enough time and they'll seize that death, trim away the reason for it and any uncomfortable bits so it into their own useless ideological binary prison.

Hmm, following that logic, how many years before the right converts itself to radical Islam?


sinned34 said...

That's pretty much my experience in the Evangelical Christian movement back in the early 1990s. Sure, I was a stupid teenager/young adult back then, but nobody in my church batted an eyelash when I said my favorite scripture was Deut. 32:39 "See now that I, [even] I, [am] he, and [there is] no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither [is there any] that can deliver out of my hand."

Anonymous said...

Convert to radical islam?
They are already there. So much so that they continually show "jihadi-envy" at every criticism of their adoption of non-democratic methods.
The xtians and the right in the west are as big a threat to an open and democratic way of life as the bad guys. Just look at their opinion of women and gays. Identical.