Some people of the church were highly offended by Trumps performance of making the prayer breakfast into a partisan political event. But few expressed outrage.
On the surface, it may appear that Trump destroyed the sanctity of what appeared to be a benign and all-inclusive tradition.
My Friends might wonder if I have abandoned my original teaching of Jesus while I wonder if the current preachings have disregard of me and my country.
When I review what I was taught in the 50’s, today’s activities are and were an embarrassment. We learned of the teachings of St. Mathew who said in chapter six of his gospel that when you pray, go away by yourself, all alone, shut the door, and pray in silence. It almost sounds today like instructions for yoga.
Then we were taught about government as being different from spiritual aspects of religion. Quoting St. Mathew, we learned that “Give unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s” is an emphasis on separation of church and state, long before Thomas Jefferson’s effort to enshrine it within our first amendment.
Mathew also reminded us to beware of false prophets and that we should thank the Father for hiding the truth from those who think themselves wise yet revealing it to little children.
So, when did this sea change in our society take place? Some might think it started when Nixon said to advisors that the only way to get control of the country is to control the Supreme Court. Thereafter, it’s been the priority for churchianity to obtain control of the Court. Or, was it really started 85 years ago?
Bestselling New York Times author Jeff Sharlet wrote the book, The Family. In 1935, a group formed to provide an antidote to FDR’s New Deal which the group considered to be a threat to the country. The small group determined that they would not be able to beat the opposition head on; Roosevelt had the political momentum on his side as he was weaving between the two formable extremes: Capitalism vs Communism.
The new 1935 group decided that they would need a neutral starting point; thus, they chose religion as the base to spring forward. In those days, Christianity probably represented 90% of the country. And to gain momentum, they developed the concept of ‘Prayer Breakfasts’ of a few individuals. It certainly sounded benign and safe; but the origin and purpose was political in nature. The small group was politically connected, and they utilized political skills in a very effective way. And, they were quite secret.
One of the first tasks was to change the flavor from ‘secret’ to ‘private’. Then, they chose their marketplace to be the wealthy, regardless of religion. Slowly, but surely, they gained a critical mass and became visible in the 50s. In the late 60s they gained momentum.
The author describes the basic goal of The Family is to develop ‘loving’ relationships with the powers at hand and make the governments subordinated to Jesus! Thus, the breach of separation between church and state; and thus, they have the political momentum.
An additional problem that they created was, “which Jesus?” Is it the Jesus that taught us to love OUR god and to love our neighbor AS ourselves? A great goal. Or was it the Jesus that taught us to forgive our offenders seventy times seven? Or the Jesus that encouraged the rich to give away all their money and follow a path of selfless service? Or, are we to follow the Jesus of Mathew, or Mark et al, which scholars indicate were written 70+ years AD? or, the Jesus of the Nicene Creed, first quantified in 325 AD by the Catholic Church and updated in the 1970s?
So, “Houston, we have a problem.” We have lost the first amendment, the separation of church and state. Nixon has won his quest after 50 years, and we are likely to not have a neutral judiciary for the next 30 years.
I guess it may be no big deal; Global extinction is on course of being our primary challenge.
Rich Meyer, Author & Blogger
Are We There Yet? Global Warming
The Family by Jeff Sharlet