fbpx

Abortion and gay sex are two favorite topics of Evangelical Christians. They serve as identity markers. In a religious cult, it’s important to know who’s in and who’s out, and stances on certain issues are used to determine membership. Members maintain their sense of self and separateness to a large extent by what they stand against, what they hate. Sometimes this is fairly arbitrary: some unlucky group of people has to be the bad guy. God needs a devil to be righteous. Phrases like “love the sinner, hate the sin” and “pro-life” are used to sanitize grossly immoral judgments of other humans and sooth the consciences of Christians who proclaim them. Never mind that these phrases cover up ideologies which result directly in the deaths of many thousands every year.

Cults love to use labels such as “sinner,” “unbeliever,” “perverted,” to dehumanize and shame those on the outside. These identity-marking labels also give insiders a false sense of superiority. Simply by assenting to the religious system (“faith”), they become “saints,” “believers,” “god’s chosen.” This is the same kind of language of the Superior Race of Hitlerism. Religious preachers maximize the fears of their followers by playing up differences between them and other humans, making life in society out to be a battle between believers and unbelievers. An us-and-them mentality is carefully cultivated to stir up a frenzy of paranoid membership commitment. In a hostile society, members must be all the more careful to attend cult services and act as a voting block (the Evangelical Right) in order to ensure identity-marking issues don’t become legislation–lest society itself would come to ruin.

The moral consequences of identity-marking issues like abortion and gay rights are fanaticized and exaggerated to the extent that they are equivocated with genocide and national invasion. When I was a Christian, preachers regularly preached sermons in which they told us abortion was the same thing as genocide. Societal acceptance of homosexuality, we were told, is the marker of a level of depravity that is beyond redemption, like in the biblical Sodom and Gomorrah. God has no choice but to call foreign nations to invade countries that endorse homosexuality or practice abortion. When this kind of immorality became common among the country of god’s people in the Old Testament (Israel), god destroyed or exiled the chosen country. Thus, our preachers called us to pledge our votes only to politicians who opposed gays and abortion. Isn’t it interesting that this means becoming a Republican? Fanatical organizations such as The Call (https://www.thecall.com/) go around hosting rallies in cities around the US, calling Christians to pledge allegiance to the flag of gay/abortion opposition. Other organizations such as the International House of Prayer (https://www.ihopkc.org/) train college students to protest abortion clinics and oppose “the gay agenda” in the US and around the world. Identity-marking is the stuff of radicalization. It’s how you get moral people to do immoral things like kill innocent people by crashing planes, thinking they’re serving god and country.

print