Monday, March 29, 2010

Forming A Militia Doesn't Count as Christian Fellowship, Kids

Amazing how things in life repeat themselves. It was at around this time in Clinton's first term, as I so recall, that the Angry White Men began to lose it. The seething fury at not being in charge of the country grew, coupled with a deepening paranoia about the role of government in American life. Suddenly we were faced with Branch Davidians, and then Timothy McVeigh.

Over the weekend, there was an aggressive response to a Michigan-based militia calling itself the Hutaree, who were apparently thought to be planning an attack on...well...something. It's not yet clear.

Hutaree immediately struck me as rather notably ungrounded in any of the key concepts of Christianity. This is because it is apparently just a word they made up to describe themselves. Having spent an hour or so yesterday perusing their website and their forums, the Hutaree have...well...a rather interesting worldview.

They are solidly conservative, and if their forums are any indicator, certain that they are participating in a Tim LaHaye novel. They're radically pro-Israel, and their postings on their forum are woven up with little snippets of Hebrew. You know, mixed with reviews of weapons and military gear, just like my church newsletter.

More up my alley, they self-describe as Christian, but their version of Christianity is an intentional mix of texts that appear to justify a radically martial view of the world. You keep all the dualistic, apocalyptic, "world is black and white" stuff. You keep the teachings that use martial metaphors, while being sure to forget that they are metaphors. You ditch, in it's entirety, the Sermon on the Mount. And most of the Gospels. And most of the writings of Paul and His disciples. These things get in the way of our Red Dawn fantasies.

As I've noted before, that binary view of the world is one of the most dangerous possible misreadings of our faith. It is antithetical to the democratic process. It is also radically in opposition to the core teachings of Christ, and the spiritual ethics of Paul and James and John. When you mix it in with our culture's radical individualism, tendency to feel aggrieved, and love of firearms, there's the real potential for fugliness.