Mad Men Christianity

In a column from Religion Dispatches, Willie James Jennings, Associate Professor of Theology and Black Church Studies at Duke Divinity School, sees a “counterfeit Christian” community emerging amongst Republicans in Congress. For Jennings, this has significant implications for the whole of Christianity in America:

Any historian or sociologist could legitimately ask whether Christianity in America by its actual nature (not by its lofty claims) moves inextricably toward what we now have on the Republican side of Congress. But there is another way to see this moment, as the exposure of Christianity’s greatest counterfeit. I am not saying that the Republicans in Congress are not real Christians. Nor am I questioning the importance, commitment or legitimacy of their faith in the public square. The counterfeit here is the collective spirit, the shared attitude they exhibit together (like a church). That collective spirit has very little to do with the worship of a marginalized Jew, named Jesus, who came to free the poor and oppressed. This counterfeit Christian community worships power, desires control, and imagines the world revolving around self-sufficient men (and a few women).

I call it “Mad Man Religion.” Mad Man Religion looks just like Christianity. It connects religious practices to free market practices like you would connect pieces from a Lego set. And it offers to young people, especially young white men, an image to live toward – that of a powerful winner who controls his own destiny and those around him, enabled to succeed by the very hand of God. Christianity in America has never been able to expose this counterfeit in all its glory, until now.

For the full article from Jennings, please visit Religion Dispatches here.

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