There are two related and equally discouraging (but must-read) articles in this month’s Harper’s magazine. Both “Inside America’s Most Powerful Megachurch” and “Feeling the Hate with the National Religious Broadcasters” have me feeling more miserable than ever to be connected in any way with the so-called “evangelical” church.
Despite the tone of condescension and vitriol in Lewis Lapham’s editorial, the articles themselves are, on the whole, clear-eyed. The few exceptions are of the standard “look at the religious freak show” variety and even I find that less offensive than I used to.
Most disturbing is the growing trend toward triumphalism in the fundamentalist churches since Bush’s reelection, as well as the corporatization of the church. Under the guise of diversity, many of the megachurches are actually enforcing monolithic thinking on a whole range of issues, many of them political.
Here’s a telling quote from Chris Hedges’ article, on the National Religious Broadcasters’ convention:
I used to think of the Christian Right as a sort of crazy uncle. You know, still part of the family, but somebody to be a little embarrassed by. But I’m no longer thinking that way. I don’t recognize these people as family at all any more. I wonder how I ever could have.