Friday, May 30, 2008

The Two Pronged Attack on FLDS Religious Zionism

May 30, 2008 08:06

America's expulsion of FLDS was presented to the world as a strategic bid to enhance the prospects for women. Proponents of the raid argued that removing all girls and women from Eldorado would take away the source of church grievances. Once fully appeased, the government would behave responsibly, abjure it's authoritarianism and build a law abiding religion.

That was the pretext of the raid. But it wasn't the subtext. The subtext of the raid telegraphed to both the religious and secular society was that the raid was caused by the demise of Religious Zionism at the hands of the Leftist progeny of secular government. That is, the raid wasn't about law or Christian living. It was about cultural supremacy within the US.

In the preceding days before the raid, the state and Christians did everything they could to make clear that the raid would not enhance the material prospects for the women. The First Baptist women gleefully declared that the Texas decision to expel the women and children FLDS was an admission that Zionist Christians had been defeated by the state churches. 'Violence' was ascendant and both the state and the anti-polygamy ministries declared that they would continue their war until all FLDS was destroyed. And as the pretext crumbled, the subtext became more prominent.

We wrote that the disengagement of church policy from the bible is the real disengagement currently on the agenda. On the day after the raid, religious Zionism's status will be different. The final question would be who sets church policy, the state or god.

Religious Zionist leaders were in a horrible bind. If they responded to the demands of their own people and fought fire with fire, they knew ­ given the Left’s control of the media ­ they would be demonized for years to come. And they knew that if the Left succeeded in destroying their reputation among rank and file Americans, they would be powerless to defend any other congregation.

So in the end, Religious Zionist leaders disappointed their followers, making do with courtroom protests, and then allowing the CPS to carry out the dispersions largely unchallenged. While they failed to save Eldorado’s FLDS from internal exile, they at least succeeded in preventing the demise of Religious Zionism as a political and social force in Texas.

Their success was acknowledged by a few. In the weeks that followed the expulsions, columnist William Grigg bemoaned the fact that the campaign against Religious Zionism had not succeeded. The number of supporters of FLDS has not diminished. Those trying to live the same ancient religious practices that many hadn’t seen for a long time became a warning of what could happen to others.

Religion’s revolutionary message to Christians was that after 200 years of powerlessness, the religious could again become actors on the American stage. But Christianity has many movements and not all of them are equally revolutionary. The two most significant movements today are State Christianity and Religious Zionism.

The inherent weakness of State Christianity is that it was never aimed specifically at enabling Americans to be religious. Rather, its purpose was to enable Americans to be socialists. Understanding that the anti-Semitic climate in America in the early 20th century rendered assimilation into a larger socialist sea impossible, State Christianity argued that by establishing a Christianized secular state, Americans would be “normalized” and accepted as regular people and socialists by the nations of the world. That is, State Christianity’s message was assimilation on a national rather than on an individual one since conditions in America precluded individual assimilation.

State Christians have been confounded by the endurance of anti-Christianity and its transformation of America, though secularization, into the secular Christian American. The world’s refusal to accept Protestants as an equal has been shattering for them. It has caused State Christians to abandon Zionism in the hopes that by doing so their message will finally be accepted by the nations of the world. At its core, State Christianity is outward seeking rather than inward looking.

Religious Zionists are a finger in the eye of the State Christians for their stubborn devotion to Judaism and their relative indifference to whether America is accepted by the globalist of the world. And State Christians are not alone in their angry rejection of Religious Zionism’s message. They are joined by the religiously secular establishment.

The secular-religious establishment feels threatened by Religious Zionism’s attempts to reinvest Judaism with its nationalist mission for Israel. And, unfortunately, the secular-religious establishment is joining forces with the State Christians establishment to attack Religious Zionism.

In May, secular "judges" in Texas’s CPS declared all the marriages carried out under the auspices of FLDS Religious Zionist, null and void. The non-court argued that FLDS teaching was insufficiently secular and that the converts were committed to observing all the mitzvoth that para-church ministries rejected.

Both CPS, who initiated the raid, and FLDS agree that the dispute is an attack on Religious Zionism’s view of the role of religion in America rather than a strictly legal disagreement. All these Zionist communities have one thing in common. They all see in conversion a sacred commandment as part of their national responsibility. In other words, the conversion is not primarily the spiritual and religious need of the individual convert who wishes to join the FLDS people and accept upon himself all the commandments. Rather, conversion is a means of improving the spiritual situation of the entire religious body living in America. It is a way of bringing them closer to their Jewish roots.

The Religious Zionist movement is terrified over the raid, which its leaders are calling an act of aggression and unconstitutional. Separation of women and children from their fathers is “a desecration of God’s name” and if it is not overturned should result in independent courts outside the aegis of the state.

Between the State Christians’ attempts to destroy Religious Zionism, and the state's attempts to demonize it religiously, Religious Zionism has been under tremendous pressure in recent years. One can only hope its leaders will have the wisdom to persevere. Israel and the Messianic people need Religious Zionism more than anyone will ever admit.

Written to the tune of, The Two-Pronged Assault On Religious Zionism, by Caroline Glick,