We already know that Americans have, and treasure, a great many freedoms, but it is not widely known that the freedom of (white) Americans to kill blacks with impunity is actually just a subset of a greater freedom – the freedom of religion. It is this essential connection between God and killing that permits an American policeman to shoot dead a pregnant young mother then escape punishment by a claim to be “lifting the husband and children up in prayer”. If you aren’t American, you won’t understand this.
Right-Wing violence draws much of its nourishment from religion, from a conviction of being “a divine race” (Japanese), of being “God’s Chosen People” (Jews), of having been created in God’s image and thus having God “on my side” (Christian countries). Religion and belligerence are fundamental to a Right-Wing society, and widespread government support for the world’s most dysfunctional religions has always been a major part of American politics, the far-right evangelical Christian church being prominent throughout the US. While the Western God is praised as a God of love and tolerance, more tragic wars and human-rights atrocities have been committed in the name of God and religion than from any other source.
It isn’t unusual to see Americans driving a pick-up truck full of guns that sports a bumper sticker reading, “Honk if you love Jesus”. This ubiquitous simple-mindedness appears quite unaware of the grave disconnect between the violent reality of its nature and its imaginary jingoistic ‘love of god’. American martial music often contains lyrics singing the praises of their god while they march off to yet another unjustifiable war of aggression, deluding themselves on the righteousness of their massacres of innocent civilians, applauding their own moral virtue while presuming the blessing of their god.
I’ve already railed about the twisted and pathological nature of American Christianity and religion in general, but let’s take a quick look at a few specific features, beginning with their freedom of religion so poignantly espoused by Hillary Clinton as a prime American export. We’ve already seen that the non-slaves who emigrated to the New World most often did so to avoid persecution for their witches-brew versions of Christianity. It didn’t help much. They were persecuted just as badly, and for all the same good reasons, after their arrival in the New World as they had ever been in the Old World, and not only by the authorities but by each other. Given this history, it’s not a surprise they would be crying for “freedom of religion”. To these people, freedom of religion meant that we stop kidnapping each others’ priests and burning them at the stake as witches.
Historically, this was totally unrelated to anything we might call ‘freedoms’ today, and certainly not about freedom of conscience, but was primarily a plaintive cry for a truce of religious violence and secondarily the sharing of political power amongst these heretical sects. China has never in its history experienced the violent tragedies inflicted by Western religions, in particular by Western Christianity, nor has it ever experienced religious persecution because, except for the occasional Western holy infiltration, religions in China have confined themselves to religion instead of politics. It was therefore never necessary to legislate an absence of bitter persecution, the real source of the American desire for this particular freedom. The Chinese have always respected their own and others’ traditions that were not seditious in nature, while the Western countries and especially the US have never respected anything. China is already a world leader in religious freedom, and I would emphasize the essential truth that freedom of religion includes freedom from religion.
If we look at history, freedom of religion is really about respecting others’ traditions. St. Francis Xavier, when trying to open a mission to China, described the country in 1552 as “an immense empire, enjoying profound peace, and which is superior to all Christian states in the practice of justice and equity.” When Buddhism entered China, it embraced local traditions, morphing and embedding with the local tradition, but American Christianity, so deeply infused with violence, is about tearing down Chinese traditions. Is this really about freedom of religion, or about white supremacist colonisation and cultural genocide? Americans promulgate a kind of ‘open hunting season’ for their religions in China, presenting these premises as self-evident truths, but no one stops to examine how self-evident they really are, and in fact whether they are “truth” at all or simply a predatory ideology. Why should every country permit freedom of every religion, and why is American Christianity the only true religion that requires exclusive marketing freedom in China? Hillary would have a catatonic fit if China opened its doors to religion and everybody became a Muslim.
Americans see this so-called freedom as a major building block of their society, but to the Chinese it has never been an issue and makes about as much sense as protesting in the streets for ‘freedom of parking’. These loud and sometimes socially violent quests for various ‘freedoms’ have meaning only when viewed through a particular historical or cultural lens. Freedom of parking means nothing to us, but if we imagine a city that has such problems, perhaps with unjust government rationing, we can imagine the people finally protesting and demanding less rationing, or rationing only to favor one class over another. It can have meaning, but only in a particular context and that context, for religion, has never existed in China no matter what the New York Times tells you. In this analogy, the real issue, and the real source of the trouble, occurs when one group of (unfortunately white) people are infected with a mass delusion of superiority which they believe permits them to view everyone’s history through this basic right of ‘freedom of parking’.
One American complained that as a geologist working for a Chinese company, his Chinese exploration manager told him that it was no business of his how many people died in the Cultural Revolution. His reaction was one of disbelief and offense, and of his being the victim of a great moral wrong. He said he felt “like a Judas Iscariot” – a despicable traitor to his God and his religion, for not forcing the issue with his manager. But if I take a job with an American company and question my manager about how many people his government tortured to death in Guantanamo Bay, what would he say? He would tell me to shut up, mind my own business, and do my work. But it’s not like that for the Americans because, steeped in the supremacist racism of their twisted Christianity, they have not only a right but a holy obligation to challenge other nations on any wrongs real or imagined, saddling every individual American with a God-given mission to ensure that all individuals in all other countries confess their mistakes openly to him personally. After all, he’s an American.
Their religious-political ideology has endowed them with a kind of superiority cloak which they drape on themselves as a natural order of things, sitting in their democratic, freedom-loving homes and offices, soaking in their human rights while brutalising most other populations on the planet. These attitudes of intolerance, inability to adapt, and superiority are all part of racism, all stemming from the same twisted Christian heresy, then blended with their particular dysfunctional version of multi-party politics and topped with a flag to form the American religion. All these and more are part of the same whole encompassed by the American definition of “democracy”.
Just as in the days of old, when these Christians enter a country, problems arise because they believe they have the right to divide political power with the emperor on their terms, through the lens of Western ideology, culture, and history. Because Christians are the embodiment of ‘good’, they answer to a higher authority than domestic governments, and use that power over their adherents to exercise political control. The US didn’t enshrine its ‘separation of church and state’ for nothing; it was entirely to prevent religion from taking control, and was not so much a separation as a banishment. “I will let you live if you stay in your church, but I will shoot you dead if you ever again enter the house of Congress”.
It has been only the Right-Wing Christian countries that have evangelised and proselytised religion so heavily, and today is almost exclusively the US that ever presses the issue. And yet it is all hypocrisy on the part of the Americans. While haranguing China about opening its doors wide to American religions, the US fails to notice that many of its friends like Israel and Saudi Arabia have no such open door. Even more, the American government, the US media, the secret government, much of Jewish America and all of Israel, are united in condemning all Muslims as terrorists, using religion to taint all Arabic peoples with a terrorist brush and justify yet more wars to solidify Israel’s military supremacy in the Middle East. If this isn’t hypocrisy, I can’t imagine what would be.
It isn’t a belief in God that is restricted in China, but rather the practice of a particular, very foreign, and totally politically-driven religion. Every country attempts to protect itself from what it sees as destabilising factors in society, but the US hypocritically pretends to have the only ‘true’ definition of what might be included in this category, and roundly condemns those who refuse to capitulate. Several authors have recently jumped onto this wagon, oddly presenting Christianity as China’s next savior, painting such a generous, benevolent and kind-hearted picture of this religion that they seem to ask, “How could anyone be so mean-spirited as to prevent this lovely thing from entering China and infecting it with the plague”?
Western Christianity is only superficially a religion. The so-called ‘freedoms’ it demands include the freedom to attract, proselytise and indoctrinate an unlimited number of people without supervision as to intent or content. Freedom includes an unlimited ability to organise any sectors of the population for any purpose, to raise an unlimited amount of money by any means except outright theft but including threats of eternal damnation, the freedom to spend that money without oversight even from the donors, but mostly to acquire vast holdings of property. Religious freedom means to be free from taxation. It means the freedom to indoctrinate the gullible and dependent into a delusional supreme loyalty to the institution and its leaders. In return for which, its adherents have the psychological comfort of being on a winning team. None of this is religious in any sense; all of it is political and driven by money. An easy proof of this statement would be to permit foreign religions into China but prohibit them from soliciting or accepting money or other assets of any kind, and watch their interest in China evaporate overnight.
A note about money is in order here. It is generally accepted that the two best ways to get rich in America are to start either a charity or a religion. Both are tax-free, both are unsupervised; both have enormous potential to satisfy the demands of even the most larcenous heart. I will ignore charities here except to state that most US charities, including the largest and best-known, typically distribute only 20% of their funds to their supposed beneficiaries such as the poor, with a full 80% disappearing in high salaries, fancy offices, expensive cars, enviable travel and huge expense accounts. Normally no accounting is done to anyone, and religions are worse.
You may not know this, but Christian churches, the Catholic Church among them, own more five-star shopping malls and office buildings in the world than any property management company, plus unlimited amounts of other income-producing properties. When I was at university, there were many young women graduating as teachers and nurses who were also members of one Christian sect or another, often Catholic. Ten or twelve of these girls would band together, save all their salaries for six months and use the money for a down payment on a home in one of the most exclusive areas of the city. By living together frugally and pooling their income, they could pay for a $1 million house in only a few years, at which time they would sign over the house to their church, and repeat, sometimes for decades. This activity was taking place in every town and city in every country, a practice that extended over generations, with the entire proceeds tax-free. The immense property portfolio would later be sold off at a great profit, to be invested in stocks, bonds, commercial property and other investments. Nobody ever knew the totals.
The mainstream Christian religions are all the same, with the Catholics being by far the richest. Their ‘head office’ – the Vatican City in Rome – is a country unto itself, and has been collecting money for nearly 2,000 years resulting in an accumulated wealth of unknown trillions of dollars, much of it stored in the Vatican’s own large international banks. All of this money has been collected from a gullible public hoping to ensure a smooth transition to the afterlife. Extortion on a vast scale with the most powerful of all threats – eternal damnation. If you give me enough money, I will put in a good word for you with God; if you are stingy, you’re on your own. That’s not an easy choice. So far, the only visible result is religious organisations with wealth accumulations that are almost unimaginable.
The Mormon so-called ‘religion’ is probably even worse. This is the foolish sect to which former US Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman belongs, and for which he was a missionary in Taiwan for about ten years. The Mormon church demands that adherents give 10% of all their income to the church on a regular basis. And you must be scrupulous about this because it isn’t nice to cheat God. Thanks to Huntsman, there are likely tens of thousands of foolish Taiwanese still sacrificing their income to a religion begun not so long ago by a man to whom Angels gave some golden tablets which he buried in a field and then unfortunately couldn’t find and thus had no proof of their visit. But you can trust me. Nobody knows the disposition of all that cash, but the Mormon elders in America are reported to not be starving. The US has at least many hundreds, if not many thousands, of these one-man religions, some of which expand nationally or even internationally, vacuuming up huge sums of money that are returned to America and permit God’s appointed soldiers to live lives of luxury.
The problem in China today with Western religions is not persecution but politics, with CIA and NED-funded so-called religions like Bob Fu’s ChinaAid and the Eastern Lightning cult that are simply “political organisations flying a flag of conscience”, as Allen Yu so perfectly wrote. It can hardly be a surprise to thinking people anywhere that China does not take kindly to political treason masquerading as religion. It is more than obvious to anyone who looks, that the product being marketed is American political ideology, and not religion. It is the US State Department, USAID, the CIA and NED, with the great missionary Jon Huntsman providing moral support, having all-night sessions in Washington thinking of new ways to “bring China down”.
I have copies of cables from the American consulate in Guangzhou that detail quite nicely the political and other involvement of the US government in the proselytising of their so-called religions, and the watchful eye they maintain on the successes and on those activities which draw the attention of Chinese authorities. One would think the Americans would be too busy issuing visas or spying, but no. They seem to have lots of time to supervise these missionaries of the gods, especially the truly flaky mind cults they have introduced, and time to record in apparently exhaustive detail the numbers of dupes attracted and the amount of political trouble they have caused. In those cables, US consular officials appear surprisingly knowledgeable about the illegal ‘Eastern Lightning’ cult, and oddly supportive as well.
In any case, and this will be a bitter pill for Hillary to swallow, there are no hordes of Chinese protesting in the streets with placards reading “We Want Religion”. Much the opposite, in fact. Instead we have multiple American religions, countless US NGOs, all of the Western media and all of the US government, screaming for a free hand to come into China to sell Western religions to the Chinese people. After all, religion is just another product and Americans are good at marketing. To avoid Chinese government oversight of the seditious content of American religions in China, the American position is that China has no right to restrict these “sales”. The US claims to have the God-given right to come into China to sell these goods, and that regardless of the heavily politicised content and the seditious purpose, only individual (and unsuspecting) Chinese have any say in the matter, and China’s government is forbidden to “interfere” in these American sales. Lastly, as someone so perfectly pointed out, “The assumption and expectation that a more prosperous China will naturally select and benefit from Western monotheism is erroneous, ignorant, arrogant, and spiritually imperialist. Mono-theistic cultures tend to be the militant violently competitive types which are anathema to the Chinese.”
Returning to the American Christians, their fervent adherence to what were mostly misbegotten ideals rotting in diseased minds resulted in their conviction that they were special, closer to their Creator than any other living beings, which conviction imbued them with an imaginary but quite contagious stench of moral righteousness that invaded the DNA of every President, White House staff member, the entire Congress and, eventually, the entire population.
“To understand Americans, we must first understand that they believe they are “good”. Not good in the sense that they behave in accord with the abstract idea of good (which they in fact do not), but rather they are the embodiment of good – good incarnate. This is a corruption of Calvin’s idea of Justified Sinners, but its effect in the American mind means that, by definition, whatever Americans do is “good”, and that whenever Christian Americans choose to do something, however intrinsically evil, their actions are still morally righteous. Moreover, not only do Americans believe they are good, but anyone not adhering to their framework of religious, political or commercial ideas is either primitive or an aberration, and is not only ‘wrong’ but probably ‘evil’.” Of course they’re crazy, but this is America. Since this is the prime characteristic of American Christianity, it is the aspect most requiring exposure and interrogation. It was not for nothing that Charles Larson wrote “The problem is that Americans get their religion from the same place they get everything else – from their ignorance and their gullibility.”
It is this inherent “goodness” that permits an American policeman to shoot dead an innocent mother or child, to pump 100 bullets into an unarmed and non-violent man, to train his dogs to attack black genitals, and to beat college students senseless for protesting Wall Street. It is the righteousness flowing from this goodness that permitted Zimmerman to shoot and kill unarmed Trayvon Martin and then claim a “miscarriage of justice” when he was charged with murder. Zimmerman loaded his gun because he was good, followed and accosted Martin because he was good, then shot and killed him from that same goodness. Obama was sending drones into Pakistan to kill thousands of children and families because he was the embodiment of good, so even his most vile and evil acts were therefore good and pleasing in the eyes of his god. Madeleine Albright deliberately killed more than 500,000 Iraqi children because she was good. Hillary Clinton so famously laughed on national television at the brutal murder of the President of a harmless country (Khaddafi) because she wanted him dead, and because both her wish and her celebration of its fulfillment were “good”. Similarly, the USS Vincennes shot down a civilian Iranian airliner killing almost 300 people and George Bush refused to even apologise because he knew in his heart that his actions, however misguided and evil, were still “good”. In the same light, the Americans said that even if invading and destroying Syria were illegal by all definitions it would still be “the right thing to do”, and that’s because the Americans are “good” and, by definition, anything they want to do must also be “good”. Again, of course they’re crazy. But they’re Americans.
It is this same goodness that produces the flood of China-bashing articles by the US media and by American journalists resident in China. Their misrepresentations of the truth are necessary to do good. When Wal-Mart finally had some China stores closed after its 25th criminal violation, John Bussey wrote an article in the WSJ bemoaning the meanness of the Chinese government ‘picking on’ innocent American business, and whining that Wal-Mart, the world’s greatest victim, had no choice but “dropped to its knees”. Of course Bussey was fully aware how wrong and twisted his story was, but that’s forgivable because he was doing good. When US Senator Schumer or NYT columnist Paul Krugman make their dishonest and misleading statements about China’s RMB exchange rate, they justify it because they are “good” and are punishing a sinner who is “not good”. Sometimes, to do God’s Holy work, it is necessary to tell vicious lies about people but, since I am good and I act only to do good, God will approve.
The foolish myth of American Exceptionalism stems from the same source: Americans, being good, have a natural mandate from their god to influence, control and determine the fate of the world. And if they choose to do this with the barrel of a gun, we already know from our preacher friend above that God and Guns are a natural and blessed combination. The countless millions of deaths, the hundreds of millions of innocents living in hellish misery from American involvement, are, by definition, the result of doing “good”. The horrors, the racism, the misery and poverty, were all good things done by good people doing good. Even torture has been pulled into the mainstream of American political life to the extent that movies now glamorise it as an American value, so we learn that torture is now also “good”. To see all this properly, we must only adopt the profound belief that Americans, and only Americans, are “good”. We might wonder why, at least sometimes, there might not be room for compromise, for sparing Vietnam, for instance, or Iraq, the misery of total destruction, but the answer is that the Religious Right cannot compromise with evil, with what they and, by extension, their god, determine to be “sins”. A Latin American country wanting to redistribute land and income, wanting education and health care, is an aberrant evil with sins that comprise an existential threat to American capitalists who are “good”, and God does not want his ‘exceptional’ children to compromise with sinful heathens. This may seem unfair, but who are we to question God’s will?
The Americans’ blind infatuation with their corrupt and dysfunctional democracy in part stems from the same root and operates from the same religious policy manual as do all their other insanities and violence. In his book False Inheritance, Michael Rice wrote:
“… with the decline in religious belief and the weakening of the social bonds which religion imposes, there has been a marked tendency to invest political movements with many of the elements of religious faith. The social management which (the political movements) represent, is in no way different from the absolute demands of faith imposed by the medieval church.”
The path forward is clear: if this is something Americans want, it must be “good”, in the sense of good incarnate, and any other system of government is, by definition, a sinful aberration that must be destroyed since God’s children cannot compromise with evil. It’s interesting to think that if Americans one day realise the stupidity of their governmental system they would replace it instantly, God presumably changing His mind at the same moment. But, so long as they want it, it is not only “good” but is a universal value that reflects the yearnings of all mankind.
When you consider these observations, it is clear that the US-style of democracy fits firmly into this theology, and evokes the same blind and irrational ideology as every other part of American religion. It is this pathological theology that grants Americans the superiority devolving from their divine inheritance, and that produces the bigotry and racism that view all other nations as composed of sub-humans worthy of extermination. Since prior to Medieval times, religions espousing this pathology had no hesitation in using their military to kill everybody who disagreed with them. These were all, of course, the brutally savage colonial nations, including Japan and Israel. And so it doesn’t go unsaid, American commerce is rooted in the same criminal theology as is American politics.
The Utopia Mask is everywhere to be found in America, but nowhere more in evidence than in things related to religion, to this “goodness”. We can ask ourselves how it is possible for thinking people to execute such massive criminal activities, to propagate so many untruths, to cause so much visible suffering, and yet unable to see the immense gulf between their espoused ideals and their actions, and continue to claim they are “good”. They have in front of them the Ten Commandments they believe were delivered to them by their God, one of which states “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor”. But they tell thousands of big and destructive lies about everyone they don’t like, especially including Russia and China today, and they see no disconnect. Madeleine Albright had the Commandment stating “Thou shalt not kill”, delivered to her by her god, then set out to deliberately kill half a million innocent children while telling the world, “The United States is ‘good’.” Obama professed a deep Christianity while killing thousands of innocent families and children in the most cowardly way imaginable.
Western religions and human misery have been constant companions for at least two millennia. Steven Weinberg wrote, “With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.” Noah Millman wrote, “After all, the number of Christian countries in history that have been governed according to principles of non-violence is exactly zero. Meanwhile, it’s (the Jews) who wrote Psalm 137, a prayer for vengeance that ends with glee at the thought of dashing our enemies’ children’s brains on rocks.” It’s the extreme Right-Wing Jews in Israel who claim: “It’s God’s will that we kill all the Palestinians”. It’s difficult to understand how sane people can subvert their religion to the extent that even torture and killing become morally righteous, but they manage. It is always the far Right-Wing religious extremists, whether Christian, Jew or Muslim, who exhibit all the bigotry, racism, hatred and blind ideology. It is they who are the most dangerous. For thousands of years, religion has been used as a means of controlling a population while justifying all manner of atrocities. Who can forget the Crusades, the Inquisitions, all the “Holy Wars”? Iraq and Libya were not better.
In a 2014 article in Counterpunch, author and film-maker Andre Vltchek wrote a blistering condemnation of the violent history of Western religion, mostly of Christianity, beginning with what he called the “arch-criminal Christopher Columbus”, writing that “entire nations were placed on the sacrificial altar” and destroyed. And they were indeed. This was the history of the people who came to the New World. From its earliest days, it was religion that achieved such preposterous levels of brutality with such disregard and spite for fellow human beings, such racism and bigotry. “Those holding the cross were too intoxicated by vile righteousness; they were too overwhelmed by greed, too sadistic. The great majority of people from the so-called New World simply vanished. Those who were not killed were brutalized savagely. At one point, the Spanish aristocracy was so appalled with Christianity, that it sent its ships to Africa and begged Muslim armies to liberate Spain from Christian terror. Which happened. No dogma, no ideology, has enslaved the world, like Christianity. No religion or ideology has murdered more people.”
And how can we forget Chris Kyle, the greatest American sniper of all time? This man was so beloved to Americans that bronze statues were erected in his honor. There was a time when Hollywood movies pictured snipers as the most cowardly of all war criminals, but no more. Kyle, by his own reports, killed about 100 people. I read one report where Kyle claimed his favorite kill was blowing the brains out of an infant while being held in its mother’s arms at about 1,000 meters distance. In his autobiography Chris Kyle writes, “I loved killing. I only wish I could have done more of it.” But the point is that Kyle had a cross tattooed on his shoulder “because I wanted everyone to know I was a Christian”.
The Christian god, and the Jewish god too, is a god of love, of tolerance, of peace and forgiveness. “Do Unto Others as you would have them to do unto you. Turn the other cheek. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. Look to the shard in your own eye before criticising the mote in your neighbor’s eye.” But when we saw ignorant Americans parading in the streets against Saddam Hussein of Iraq, carrying placards and shouting “Hang the son of a bitch”, that’s not the god talking – it’s the religion. Americans have deluded themselves that their versions of Christianity stem from their god, but in their twisted ignorance they draw their utopian ideals from Heaven while their actions are all drawn from Hell. They tell themselves their bible is Holy, but it isn’t holy to them; they have subverted it to serve their own ends, to justify and put a moral face on every evil action they plan to commit, finding in this holy book evidence of their god’s approval of everything from slavery to brutal repression to genocide, using delusion as a kind of pre-emptive tool to remove the real god from their lives and substitute a mythical deity who deems them “good”.
Lastly, it needs to be understood that God and religion are in reality so distinct from each other as to be almost totally unrelated. God is a destination; religion is a vehicle. As an analogy, if Chinese citizens want to travel to the Capital to venerate at the tomb of Chairman Mao, well and good, but they don’t worship the train that takes them to Beijing. In the West, it’s all about the train, while the conductor, absent of all evidence, claims divine appointment, and thus his justification for control of our lives. That wouldn’t be so bad, but the control is almost entirely focused on money and war-mongering, which is why virtually all Western religions are obscenely rich and why every war of consequence and every slaughter of innocent civilians since the Roman Empire have been started by either Christians or Jews. Or, more accurately, started by Jews and executed by Christians.