Essay: Church and State

 

The following three-part essay by Jay Taber takes a close look at religious hysteria in America and the spiritual warfare of Puritanical conservatism against socialism and the Indigenous Peoples Movement. As spiritual warriors like Sarah Palin battle to create a theocracy in the United States and bring on the Apocalypse in Palestine, American Indians are caught between tribal sovereignty and white rage. With the Tea Party on a rampage to reassert Christian white supremacy in American public institutions, it behooves us to understand the Puritan roots of this holy war.

Part 1: Fears of pagan socialism

In Bron Taylor’s 20 April 2011 Religion Dispatches essay Debate Over Mother Earth’s Rights Stirs Fears of Pagan Socialism, he notes that, “Religious and political conservatives have long feared the global march of paganism and socialism. In their view,” says Taylor, “it was bad enough when Earth Day emerged in 1972, promoting a socialist agenda. But now, under the auspices of the United Nations, the notion has evolved into the overtly pagan, and thus doubly dangerous, International Mother Earth Day.” With all 192 member states of the UN General Assembly supporting a 2009 resolution proclaiming International Mother Earth Day as proposed by the socialist Bolivian President Evo Morales, American conservatives hostile to environmentalism responded with their usual religious hysteria… Continue Reading

Part 2: Religion and culture

Culture is a complex entity of political, economic and spiritual dimensions. The language, beliefs and values of a culture find expression in such things as music, song and dance, as well as in arts and crafts, fashion and style. As cultural properties, these attributes join governance and religion in distinguishing one particular culture from another. In the case of Indigenous cultures, traditional food and medicine are included in the list of properties, all of which combined are celebrated in Fourth World media, literature and philosophy… Continue Reading

Part 3: Atonement

Poverty in Indian Country is not an act of God; it is, rather, the result of U.S. policy. While the Puritan heritage plays a role in the setting of U.S. policy, it is the Unfair Dealing of U.S. agencies that has institutionalized American Indian poverty. With poverty of American Indians and Alaska Natives on reservations at 39%, one has to wonder what an impartial God would think of the 2009 settlement of Cobell, in which the U.S. Government reluctantly returned to Indian Country $3.4 billion of the $47 billion in misappropriated royalties from reservation resource extraction…. Continue Reading