An itemized thwack to the head!: What it means to be a land of the free

While researching for a possible artistic outcome on the subject of everything heathenistic about America (gloriously so I should say), I stumbled across an article from another Christian propaganda website called godspurposes.org. This article was titled “The American Dream – America’s Hedonistic Culture” and contained excerpts from a book entitled “What Was the American Dream? And What Happened To It?“, and let me tell you for a website article promoting a book from 2012 it sure looked dated! Nonetheless, I’m gonna use this to hammer home the point that (1) this hedonistic, heathenistic America is actually a good thing, and that (2) America is not a Christian nation.

Don’t let that first paragraph oversell it, though it is gonna be long. Cue the flag!.

Let’s start this itemised thwack to the head where it should always start, the beginning. In this case, here’s the first three sentences:

“As with Rome, America’s hedonistic culture, where any lifestyle is acceptable, is at the root of our destruction. Our society is now a moral swampland, where every kind of immorality is acceptable—as long as people mutually consent, it’s ok. Pre-martial sex, extra-marital sex, and perverse sex, which once drew the condemnation of society, are now openly practiced without the least amount of attention.”

For starters, whenever a Christian website like this refers to “perverse sex”, it’s clear they don’t mean rape, incest, or pedophilia. They mean homosexuality and bisexuality, which the believers so ardently hold is evil, even though it’s not. Second, last time I checked, the freedom to live in any manner you chose as long as there is no force or coercion involved is not only a good thing (scratch that, more awesome than would be taken for granted), it’s among the ideals that America was founded on, and what, despite the country’s still prevailing conflict of values, makes it still debatably the best (though it may seem to be a falling star as of late). But let’s address the major issue: the claim that social and sexual permissiveness led to the downfall of Rome.

First of all, Rome fell 85 years after Rome officially announced that it was a Christian empire, with no tolerance for anything else, so doesn’t it seem like whoever’s claiming this has ignored a major part of the history of their own faith? Many Romans were actually prudish enough that they only had sex in the dark with most of their clothes on, didn’t really have orgies. The popular idea of Roman decadence was a product of Christian propaganda, designed to convince the Roman public. The only thing close would probably be brothels, particularly the brothel parts of Pompeii. In fact, adultery was already considered an offence in Rome, and in 18 BC Augustus, the first emperor of Rome, actually made extra-marital affairs a capital crime punishable by either death or exile. He did it in a bid for “family values”. Regarding gay marriage, Rome had no laws protecting or prohibiting gay marriage, though often same-sex weddings were reported in a mocking manner. However, after the Christianization of Rome, gay marriage was outright prohibited, and by the end of the 4th century homosexuality was punished by burning. In general, shame and modesty were actually regulating factors of Roman public behavior, and both the Republican and Imperial periods had legal strictures on trangression. Finally, the part about “perverse” behaviors once drawing the condemnation of society. Sexuality was not a taboo for most of the ancient world, so I think whoever wrote that is referring to either the Christian age, or America when Christian values were still enforced.

Rome’s fall was nothing to do with the mythical sexual decadence that Christians said was going on. The real cause of Rome’s fall was a combination of military, economic, and political problems that Rome eventually just couldn’t handle. This includes the corruption of the senate, a series of incompetent or crazy rulers calling the shots, the decline in the strength of the Roman military (and by extension Rome’s decline in battle), no longer being able to profit from empire and conquest, disease, and barbarian onslaughts. Rome fell not because of pagan decadence. She aged, become corrupt and weak, suffered disease, and eventually died no longer able to bear it all anymore.

‘The Fall of Rome’ by Thomas Cole

Next few sentences (finally!):

American companies now give to non-traditional marriages the same benefits as those who follow God’s intended purpose. Is it any wonder American companies are failing when they promote these unbiblical lifestyles?”

I don’t think this guy knows that companies cater to the needs and wants of all potential consumers so that they can remain able to make a profit, which you would strive to do in a capitalist country to begin with. Clearly by offering products and services to everyone, including those who live “unbiblical” lifestyles, they’re not failing; they’re staying alive in the modern age. I don’t think any company or business cared who you were or the life you lived except during those dark ages in America where only white straight people could access the American dream.

Next!:

Daytime television, with its steamy soap operas, and nighttime situation comedies, where nothing is sacred and sexual innuendoes are the main script, flood our minds with immoral thoughts. Adult movies, pornography on the magazine rack and internet, the portrayal of casual sex by Hollywood, have all led to the moral corruption of society.”

There’s steamy soap operas in day time? I would think they’d save that for the evening, when you’re not at work and the kids are away from the TV, assuming we’re dealing with family life here. Last I checked, day time TV didn’t have much to offer other than talk shows and very tame, very domestic TV. And maybe news. Sitcoms? Most sitcoms are those unfunny TV shows that portray real life as though it were being lived by a bunch zany well-off people from California, and they’re apparently threatening?.Maybe they have innuendos but I doubt they get most people thinking about sex, let alone laugh. I can’t thinking all this guy watched was American Pie and Two and a Half Men, or maybe he’s stuck in the 1950’s. And am I supposed to believe that porn and sex are corrupting our minds again?

I find it hard to find this threatening to America.

And this sentence is by far the most pathetic:

“Sex education is freely taught in schools, while any teaching about God or morality is denied.”

I don’t have anything to say other than this is an obvious and highly pathetic cry of the Christian persecution complex, where not allowing them to influence government and enforce religious education constitutes as oppression. Sexual education is apparently mark of tyranny to the average right-winged or religious person despite all the benefits it brings, up to and including preventing the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and the obvious decreasing of sexual ignorance and fear. You’re telling me the world would be better if people did not know or talk about sex? Of course not!

I’d stop here, but let’s mention the second excerpt first. Basically it’s an entire paragraph of bullcrap about what is obviously myth of the Christian America. When he talks of America once standing for the right, he actually means when America used to enforce Christian values. You know, when gay people still weren’t considered people, when you had to conform to social and religious mold for more than now. What was the American dream that led so many people there? It wasn’t the Christian theocracy idealized by many rightists. It was the freedom to live as you chose, and opportunity. Has American changed its principles (the guy didn’t even spell it properly)? It has in a way, after the age of the Founding Fathers, Christian puritanical beliefs had begun to influence the country, particularly in the early 20th century, though its grip is gradually fading. Still, we are left with a clash of values; the freedom to live as you choose without hurting anyone versus the values of a Christian theocracy. What were the foundations upon which America was founded? It’s not God (in fact, In God We Trust wasn’t a motto until the 1950’s. It’s not the Bible. It is freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of enterprise, the freedom to live your life in any way you choose so long as no one is hurt, liberty for all. When right-wingers claim that the founding fathers created America as a Christian nation, they seem to ignore that America was actually founded as a secular nation, and the founding fathers were irreligious and secular (though many of them were Deists). And no, the US government was not established by those early God-fearing pilgrims who initially settled in what we now call America, and would eventually surrender to the British government.

Now I know America would often stray from this, but this does not last forever. As long as we still defend our own liberty, as long as there are those around to shake us out of ignorance, and as long as enough people remember what makes America great. We must remember if that we are not free to live our lives as we choose without coercion or abuse, then your country cannot be called “land of the free”.

I must point out that the founding fathers, as Deists, venerated “Nature’s God”, the laws of nature. In a  way, they venerated nature as divine. It is paganism in a way, though guided by Enlightenment-era ideas of scientific reason. Coupled with the pagan symbols that recur in the country (though they do draw from the Neoclassical era), the fact that the idea of a republic has its roots in ancient Rome, the pagan given of being free to worship any god you want as a veneration of nature, I’d say America’s roots are pagan, not Christian, but not necessarily pagan religious ideas. America brought on a new manifestation and evolution of the pagan way in its freedom to worship (thus implying irreligion), and the individual pursuit of pleasure and happiness (even if they can be a little short on nature veneration, there’s deistic nature veneration in America’s founding documents), which is still alive today despite it having to battle against the Christian ways of religion, oppression, and denial.

And now let’s close with a picture, I think you’ll find it relevant.

This lovely drawing was originally made by Nevermore-Ink on Deviantart.com. I think you get the context.

 

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