The theology of the bible-belt,
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If you want to understand what makes the Christian Conservatives of the U.S.A. tick, then you must begin by understanding the theology of that part of the country variously known as "the Bible-Belt", "the Confederacy" or "Dixie". And here is why :
Have you noticed that despite having lost the Civil War some 140 year ago the Confederacy, long believed to be extinct, is now pretty much in charge in these good old United States of America? When President Lyndon Johnson succeeded in getting the historic civil rights legislation of the 1960's passed, he observed sadly that he had just signed the death certificate for the Democratic Party in the South. He was right, and with that loss, and the Republican Party's "Southern strategy" to capitalize on the Democratic Party's loss, everything fell into place for the victory of the Confederacy over the Union. Conservatives all over the country were persuaded to abandon the "nigger-loving" Democratic Party (whether stated that way, or in coded messages to that effect), and to join the party once known as the Party of Lincoln, but now become the unofficial Party of Jefferson Davis.
All over the country, influenced by this brand of Christianity, "people of faith" have helped to deliver the Congress and the Presidency into the hands of the Old Confederacy. The only way that the Democratic Party has been able to win an occasional presidential election since then has been by running a fairly Conservative Southern Democrat (i.e. Jimmy Carter & Bill Clinton). And who owns today's Republican Party? Just look at it's leadership : Bush in the White House, Trent Lott & Bill Frist (from Mississippi & Tennessee) in the Senate, and Speakers of the House like Georgia's Newt Gingrich (who tried to have Louisiana's Bob Livingston as his replacement) and Republican Leaders in the House, Tom Delay, Dick Armey, Bill Archer, all Texans. The only exception in recent years has been Speaker Denny Hastert of Illinois, who was hand-picked by Gingrich and Delay to be the token Northerner in the bunch.
If you have been unaware of the overlapping of religion with politics in this country, despite the official wall of separation between them, you should find this web page especially enlightening.
While not all religion in the U.S.A. is not yet under the sway of "Dixie Christianity", Conservative Christianity country certainly is. Whether they be white, black, yellow, red or brown. or they reside in the south, north, east or west, Conservative Christians in the U.S.A. embrace beliefs developed over several centuries, not in Israel, Greece or Rome, but right here in the Bible Belt of the good old U.S. A. Just as Catholics worldwide espouse the Catholicism of Rome in Italy, Conservative Christians espouse a faith that has its roots in Dixie, where it has its headquarters, and where the vast majority of its leaders come from, people like Billy Graham and his family, Pat Robertson (700 Club & Christian Coalition), Ralph Reed, Jerry Falwell (Moral Majority), Oral Roberts, James Dobson (Focus on the Family), Jim Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart, Jan and Paul Crouch, Fred Phelps, Bob Jones, George Roche IV, Jan and Paul Crouch, Louis Sheldon, Bill Bright (Campus Crusade for Christ), Gary Bauer, Benny Hinn, Joyce Meyers, Louis Sheldon, Tim and Beverly LaHaye, Phyllis Schlafly, Rex Humbard, Kenneth Copeland, Charles F. Stanley, Don Wildmon, James Kennedy, James Robison, and a multitude of others.
Read or listen to most proponents of Conservatism and you will see that they insist on being the ones to tell you what their rivals, i.e. Liberals, stand for. Rather than direct their conservative followers to what liberals themselves say about their beliefs, Conservatives are so unsure of their positions that they fear (with good reason) that many of their followers might well be persuaded by liberal views, if they were exposed to them directly.
But at "Liberals Like Christ", you will find exactly the opposite, because Liberals know that there's nothing more convincing of the error of Conservative thinking than their own words. So here, you will find the arguments of Conservatives in their own words. That probably won't prevent Conservatives from complaining – when people turn with disgust from their views – that their ideas have been misunderstood or misinterpreted or whatever, but so be it.
Apart from the section titles ( or "claims"), which I will underline and print in white text on black background, most of what follows is from a Conservative Christian web site which was at www.mindspring.com/~dennisw/articles/theocon/index.htm from Oct. 1999 through June, 2006. The site may still be available via "the way back machine" at http://web.archive.org/web/20060617090433/http://www.mindspring.com/~dennisw/articles/theocon/index.htm. Dennis Wheeler, is a very intelligent son of Dixie who does a very good job of systematically laying out the case for America's Bible-Belt Christianity. Whether you like his views, (which are displayed here in a black "Times Roman" font) or dislike them, feel free to write to him to tell him so. If you don't agree with the views expressed below, please don't voice your complaints to me. They are not my views; I am simply bringing the views of a Christian Conservative spokesman to your attention, as the best way I know to answer the questions many observers ask about how people who pride themselves in being "good Christians" can believe as many of them do :
Although I (Ray Dubuque) am the person responsible for the organization of this page, its introduction, and the introductory caption, i.e. "Thesis" of each section, most of the substance of this BibleChristianity page is the work of Dennis Wheeler, and is displayed in a black "Times Roman" font. When Wheeler quotes someone else, I indent the quote and display it in blue, between single quote marks. My own comments, which I have tried to keep to a minimum will be displayed in maroon.
Thesis # 2. Belief in Science and belief in the Bible don't mix, and true Christians go with the Bible.
Thesis # 3. Man's law needs to be the reflection of God's law (the ten commandments).
Thesis # 4. "There is no ethical righteousness apart from the law of God".
Thesis # 5. People aren't entitled to the "rights" claimed for them by "humanistic" theories.
Thesis # 6. God's plan calls for INEQUALITY among human beings, rather than EQUALITY.
Thesis # 8. "Civil governments derive their powers from God".
Thesis # 9. To OPPOSE slavery is to go against God's Word.
Thesis # 10. The enslaving of non-Christian black Africans by White European Christians was the best thing that could have happened to them.
Thesis # 11. The Civil War won't be over until the true Conservative Christianity of the South triumphs not just there but throughout the rest of the country.
Thesis # 1 = White, southern Christians are
"Concerning capital punishment Major Dabney stated, 'As to the delegation of the right of capital punishment for flagrant crimes, the feeble attempt has been made to represent the injunction of Genesis 6:6 as not a precept, but a prediction; not as God's instruction of what ought to be done to the murderer, but His prophecy of what human vindictiveness would do. The context refutes this. The command for the capital punishment of the murderer, having been given to Noah... is of course, universal...
Capital punishments are also authorized in the New Testament. Romans 13 assures us that the magistrate "beareth not the sword in vain," but in bearing it he is God's minister to execute wrath upon the evil-doer. '
[ Regarding the 3rd Commandment, "Remember the Sabbath to keep it holy." ]
"In 1862 the Confederacy countenanced the strange practice of delivering mail
on Sundays. Every Southerner's hero, "Stonewall" Jackson, found this morally
repugnant and he thus mounted a charge against the offending procedure. In his
letter to a Colonel Boteler, Jackson wrote, "I do not see how a nation that thus
arrays itself, by such a law [allowing the delivery of mail on Sundays]
against God's holy day, can expect to escape His wrath."
Thus we see that General Jackson sought to have our people draw their laws from the text of the Bible."
[ To see how little the 3rd commandment means to the "Christian Conservatives" and Republicans of our day, see www.LiberalsLikeChrist.Org/sabbathobservance.html.]
Herein lies the essential error of yesterday's Abolitionists and today's Civil Rights advocates - they seek righteousness according to a standard separate and distinct from the law of God. They have reduced the Ten Commandments to two dissimilar commandments: (1) Thou shalt have toleration for all viewpoints which oppose the Christian religion, and, (2) Thou shalt gladly give all of thy possessions so that everyone around you attains equality.
Conservatives regularly dismiss the clear teaching of Jesus on the necessity of sharing one's possessions with the dispossessed. Instead they offer competing capitalistic ideas in the guise of "interpretations". I lay out Jesus' views in considerable detail in his own words at JesusWouldBeFurious.org/challenge.html, along with some of the Capitalistic "interpretations". See also www.JesusWouldBeFurious.Org/godvsgreed.html as well, where I lay out the teaching of the entire Bible on this subject.]
"In his theological treatise, Dabney quoted from the Westminster Confession's Larger Catechism,
'The sinfulness of that estate whereinto man fell, consists of the guilt of Adam's first sin, the want [lack] of original righteousness, and the corruption of his whole nature, which is commonly called original sin; together with all actual transgressions which proceed from it.'
. . . This is the Christian view of man, and it stands diametrically opposed to the
Humanist view of man so prevalent in our culture. The Humanist error begins with
their faulty understanding of man's present condition and "needs." The consensus
among modern Humanists is that man is basically good and his basic need is a
better set of circumstances surrounding him to help him meet his needs and live
up to his potential. They see man as an autonomous and sovereign individual, who
can define the world around him according to his sovereign dictates.
Humanists believe that men need self-actualization to bring meaning to their lives. This self-actualization, however, is little more than a carte blanche to interpret all of life as one sees fit, and to determine one's needs for one's self, without direction from the Bible. The disastrous result has been to define things which are wants and desires as needs: love, a good job, an education, freedom, political empowerment, and now, according to President Clinton, affordable health care. This leads people to see themselves as entitled to things which are actually a reward for accomplishment and the blessings of God.
The Christian must reject all of this and realize that man needs, first of all, a restoration of the righteousness which was lost in the Garden of Eden. After this, his need is to understand and to do righteousness. He cannot achieve this without the grace of God regenerating his corrupted nature, yet, nonetheless, these are man's basic needs. After men perform the duties they need to do, then as a general rule, God grants to them blessings and the good things of the earth. Because of this, the idea of duty has always been important to Southern society.
Albert Taylor Bledsoe joined Dabney in preaching the necessity for a religious authoritarian government, and few issues of the Southern Review appeared without some attack upon the godless doctrines of the French Revolution. Bledsoe was chiefly opposed to the chimerical notion that man is by nature good. He argued that on the contrary no government can hope to survive which does not proceed on the assumption that man is a fallen being.
The belief in original sin, and the denial of man's intrinsic goodness, need to be two of our trademarks as Southerners" (i.e. white Christian Conservatives).
"The Civil War was the historical experience which forged the (white European) peoples of the Southern states into one people and one nation." ( from this author's use of the word "nation", it is clear that he really means "race", or the collection of those of white European nationality into a new white nationality in America.)
"After the war the Confederates, suffering under the cruelty of Reconstruction, yet desirous to keep their national (i.e. white race) identity, rose up and surreptitiously maneuvered to drive the federal troops off Southern land. This program was completed in 1877 when the last U.S. soldier of Reconstruction left South Carolina.
At this point the Southerners (i.e. white Christian Conservatives) set up a system of legal segregation to preserve the ethnic and cultural identity of the nation (i.e. white Southern race). This system called separate but equal, but pejoratively referred to as 'Jim Crow', eventually won judicial approval at the Supreme Court level in 1896 in Plessy v. Ferguson. This legal state of affairs continued to preserve the integrity and the identity of our nation (i.e. white Southern race) until 1954 when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Plessy and ordered the desegregation of our schools in Brown v. Board of Topeka, Kansas.
We had been defeated in the Civil War, in which we lost the ability to control our external affairs. In 1954 the Civil Rights War began which was a struggle for control of our internal affairs. Southern men put up a valiant struggle as they protested against the Civil Rights agitators in the streets, meeting African force with Southern force. Our politicians and sheriffs placed every legal obstacle in the path of the enemy. But Washington sent troops to Little Rock to quell our uprising. We had no troops to defend ourselves and over the following decade the Civil Rights War was lost and we had forfeited our ability to control even our internal affairs.
Since that time the African-Americans have made immense political gains in the South. The Civil Rights Act has been passed and re-passed and now stands as a punitive measure against Southern individuals, businesses, and communities. The Voting Rights Act has also been passed and is used as a whip with which the African-Americans bring us to heel whenever election laws on any level do not 'maximize minority electoral strength.' The schools have been forcibly desegregated at great financial cost and a plethora of jobs are reserved for 'blacks only.' This shows the legal standing they occupy over us as surely as when the reverse was true as Southerners posted 'whites only' signs on public swimming pools and bus benches.
The tactic which our people have employed with modest success against integration with the Africans is mobility. As African-Americans begin to move into our neighborhoods, Southerners (i.e. white Christian Conservatives) begin to move out and find other accommodations. In Atlanta, for instance, our people have continued to move farther and farther from the city's center, many of them now commuting 50 miles or more to work each day each way.
In some places our people have attempted to politically partition their county, so that the Southern people do not have to pay for the social services of the African-Americans living in another part of the county.
God divided the various peoples of the earth to keep them from uniting which would tend towards their ideas of self-sufficiency and rebellion against Him and His moral law. The New World Order and the United Nations are but the latest attempts to destroy God's world order of separated peoples and separated nations.
Nonetheless, we still need to view other peoples as significant persons, created in God's image, and not as something inferior to us, as inferior as their pagan cultures may be to our culture. Whatever the process may have been in dividing mankind into ethnic and national distinctions, we know that the cause of those divisions was God working according to His will. Nothing in the Scriptures has ever countermanded the world order of separate peoples and separate, sovereign nations (i.e. races) which God instituted early in the history of mankind. Therefore, the Southern (i.e. white Christian Conservative) people should resist the integrationist programs of communists, Martin Luther King Cultists, New World Order enthusiasts, and United Nations bureaucrats.
Thornwell realized where this would lead. He had warned that the principles of Unitarianism, and its illegitimate child equalitarianism, would work their way into the fabric of the country until all property and all life were both unsacred and unsafe. Thornwell wrote,
The situation we now face in America is as foretold by our Confederate forefathers. In order that the non-productive have equality with the productive, we are taxed to the brink of poverty and our income is redistributed. Because Unitarianism does not admit to national borders, the breach of our borders goes virtually unchecked. Because logically, equalitarianism does not allow for any distinctions among people, the differentiation between good and evil becomes blurred and undefinable. Thus people are less and less held accountable for the moral choices they make. This leads to criminals walking the streets unpunished and escalating crime becoming a way of life in America. ( Although the United States now has more 'criminals' in prison than any other nation on earth, save Communist China, Christian Conservatives aren't happy yet.) It has also led to abortion on demand. It further leads to sodomites and lesbians demanding and receiving equality in the name of social justice.
The Civil Rights Movement was undertaken to allow the 'blacks' an opportunity to have equality with the 'whites.' After 1964 it soon became apparent, however, that it would take a great deal more than laws to equalize the two peoples. Thus punitive measures of affirmative action, quotas, and race-norming began to appear to provide a more equitable result, while demanding that the whites ignore the fact that the process which produced this equalitarian result was in itself both unequal and unfair.
Abolitionism (i.e. the promotion of equality of races).
Although this subject has been touched upon in several places already, we need to look at Abolitionism by itself and on its own merits.
Abolitionism was the application of equalitarianism to the institution of domestic slavery. Equalitarianism may be defined as an abstract belief in equality, which holds that all men exist in a state of sameness, and that this excludes any sort of natural rank or authority among them. The goal of equalitarianism is the elimination of all social, political, moral, and economic differences between men.
Because they believed that all men are inherently equal, the Abolitionists
viewed slavery as an inherent evil. That was their thesis. We have already shown
that far from condemning the institution of slavery, the Bible in some places
commends it. Hence, the Abolitionist thesis must be incorrect.
Besides this, if the authority of one man over another in the master-slave relationship is inherently immoral because it violates the principle of natural equality, then by logical extension, any authority which any man exercises over any other without their consent, must also be immoral. This has to include the parent-child relationship, the husband-wife relationship, all relationships between company owners and their employees, along with that of all governments and their citizens.
The immediate problem contemporary Southerners (i.e. white Christian Conservatives) face . . . is that the philosophies of equalitarianism,
Abolitionism, and democracy, have been so thoroughly ingrained into us, through
Abolitionist schools and the Abolitionist media, that we naturally tend to agree
with their premises. Nonetheless, we realize that the equalitarian philosophy is
erroneous in that God has ordained authority to be exercised in all of the
This principle of God-ordained authority is first true in the family. The fifth commandment states, 'Honor thy father and thy mother,' which gives the parents God-ordained authority over the children. Ephesians 5:22-23 states, 'Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church... Therefore, as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.'
God has also ordained rulers in the church. Hebrews 13:7 states, 'Remember them that have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God. . .' Also, ruling is listed as a spiritual gift which God has given to some in the church in Romans 12:8. Besides this,
I Timothy 5:17 says, 'Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in the word and doctrine.'
on to our second page for theses 7 through 11
Thesis # 8. "Civil governments derive their powers from God"
Thesis # 9. To oppose slavery is to go against God's Word
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of Bible Belt Christianity