Alex Blaze

War! War! War!

Filed By Alex Blaze | July 03, 2009 9:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Media, Politics
Tags: Christian beliefs, Confederacy, conservatism, illinois, left, liberal, Patrick vandenburgh, revolution, right, violence, war

Patrick Vandenburgh, writing for the Freeport (Ill.) Journal-Standard, wants a Christian revolutionary war:

It is time for a new Christian revolutionary war. It is time for Christians all over the United States to stand up for our Judeo-Christian heritage. Our nation has slowly turned its back on God. We have forsaken our call as a nation, which is to be a light to all other nations. We have allowed a few in the secular minority to rob our freedoms, which came by the blood of many brave men and women throughout history. [...]

The United States of America is still the greatest country in the world. However, our nation is in a battle of major proportions for its soul. We cannot allow the secular humanists, the religious liberals or the immoral of society speak on behalf of our nation. It is time that the church of Jesus Christ find its revolutionary voice, and proclaim to everyone who will listen, that this nation is and will always be "one nation under God."

It's unclear what "freedom" he's been robbed of, since the only violation he mentions in the column is the fact that Obama doesn't believe America is a Christian nation (perhaps because he's read the Constitution).

That's really not important, though, since if there's anything that unites this sort of Evangelical fundamentalist, it's the idea that they're incredibly oppressed by absolutely everyone at all times, and if you can't understand just how they're all always eternal victims, then you're part of the problem.

That's fine in normal times, and those of us living in reality are best-advised to continue as if they don't exist. I've met quite a few "Pity meeeeeeeeeeee!!!" people in my life, and there's really no saving them by giving them more attention. It's what they want. But with the up tick in both rightwing and homophobic violence in recent months, a mainstream newspaper carrying a column by a pastor calling for war, discussing the blood being shed, laying the blame for all our problems at the feet of "secular humanists, the religious liberals or the immoral of society" and the nation's first Black president, and rewriting American history as a simple story of "us" (white Evangelicals) versus "them" (everyone who wants to destroy America), is incredibly irresponsible.

Which explains why they've been so obsessed with the Revolutionary War recently. With the rhetoric around the tea-baggers, that bizarre video from Glenn Beck's show with Thomas Paine complaining about taxes, etc., they've been trying to appropriate American history in the same old Nativist/Know-Nothing shtick that Americans have been doing ever since the first major waves of immigration brought a recognizable other to blame for the nation's problems. Now it's people who aren't a part of their particular extremist form of Christianity. It's really nothing new.

Although it would be more accurate if, instead of appropriating Revolutionary imagery, they opted for rebel imagery. The complaints about the federal government, about certain people not being real American, the reliance on war imagery and violence, and reducing any slight or any disagreement to someone robbing them of their "rights" sounds a lot more like the Confederacy than the early United States.

Anyway, if this is the sort of talk that's making it into the newspaper, then imagine what these sorts of people are saying in their churches and behind closed doors. He might think that it's a neat idea to talk about the Revolution and how oppressed Christians should do to "secularists" what the America did to the British, and the teapot will eventually come back to a boil and another one of those dudes with a gun is going to start a little revolution of his own, most likely in a lefty church.

It's really the only appropriate response for a group of people who thinks violence can solve every problem.

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Anything I would have to say about this would only pale in comparison to this posting from a year and a half ago:

Not to take away anything from your point, I just wanted to note that the 'first major waves of immigrants' weren't required to have 'a recognizable other to blame for the nation's problems.' Before that, the natives already here made a very handy scapegoat. They were very often portrayed in public discourse as 'brutal savages' who were taking up valuable land, water, and other resources that enlightened Christians could put to better use.

Angela Brightfeather | July 3, 2009 10:45 AM


I'm going to throw a word out there that I have not heard applied to these rebellious, fundamentalist, zealots that call for the overthrow of anything that is not conforming to their way of thinking, and encouraging people to rise up and smite down the so called oppressors, which just so happen to be the majority at this time.

The word is "Sedition" and it is still against the law. Why people don't just call these religious idiots seditionists is beyond my belief because it accuratly defines them and also puts them in the classification they are truly in, lawbreakers.

I strongly suggest that we stop pandering to these preachers of rebellion and call it like it is. When someone starts to preach the overthrow of a government, they can be charged with sedition because they are seeking to violently or non-violently turn people against each other for the purposes of causing disention, unrest and fear.


se·di·tion (si dis?h??n)


The stirring up of discontent, resistance, or rebellion against the government in power

Lets start to stereotype a few of these people like they tend to do to us and see where it goes.

A. J. Lopp | July 3, 2009 3:45 PM

Angela, your point is right on, and I have been repeatedly posting comments pointing out that any attempt to establish an explicitly "Christian nation" is in violation of the First Amendment --- thus it is a campaign against this US Constitution and literally "subversive". Any difference between "subversive" and "sedition" is a subtle, semantic one, but generally those two words are near-synonyms.

If the fundie Christians want to do an honest job at this campaign, they first need to promote the repeal or revision of the First Amendment. Were they to do so, more people would come to realize how truly dangerous the idea of a theocratically "Christian nation" really is.

I suppose this is one more response among many as the march on Washington approaches. I say the recent onslaught and elevated homophobia comes from the top down. "Watch the little people destroy themselves" has always been a favorite tactic to employ.

Mr. Vandenburg overlooks the fact that the patriots of the Revolutionary War did not impose their views on the mother country (England); they left it. Perhaps he (and the people who share his dangerous views) should follow their example by crossing a very large ocean and founding their own country someplace else.

If only there were any more oceans and continents with which to do that....

Hey, I am all for them heading to Antarctica, despite my strong dislike of the inherent prejudice in saying so.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | July 3, 2009 11:57 AM

Freeport Illinois, that gateway to Eleroy, West Junction, Browns Mill and Woodruff Corners... Hmmm

Rockford is the nearest city of any size and this entire region of Illinois has been in economic decline for years. It borders Wisconsin, but not even a good part of that state. Believe me, I know, this was a no go zone for 25 years that I road traveled. No money, no development, nice scenery.

I am imagining that this is filler in a weekly newspaper that is primarily coupons for the local farm co op and grocery store. It is talking to people who barely have a concept of evolution or history and are grateful for the local "Dollar Store" because they do not have to get dressed up "fancy" like when they go into Rockford to the Walmart.

Hmmmmmm, the radical mono-theist Patrick Vandenburgh call to arms. No surprise there, he probably gets answers to his prayers from a Magic 8-Ball! Will these people ever learn how to embrace life and quit trying to destroy it? Good post Alex.

It's pretty disturbing that these people are openly calling for violent revolution in this country and actually getting such ideas published. I've thought for years that the religious right was an extremely dangerous political movement with a strong potential to turn to violence, comparable to European fascists in the 1930s. I hate to see myself proven right. It was nice to see this guy demolished in almost all of the comments left on his article, but a lot of people in Middle America will probably be nodding their heads as they read this.

I think he was demolished because only liberal blogs have been linking him, and the paper is small enough to not attract too much attention from the right.

Hmm, good point. But it's still a good thing that he's being challenged. I can only imagine the emails he's receiving, considering the paper published his address.

Lynn David Lynn David | July 3, 2009 9:57 PM

Well, spiritual warfare..... he's only calling for prayer. The trouble some of these pastors create is tying it too close to actual warfare. Some of their flock sometimes don't even get the difference.

I'm not so sure he's "only" calling for spiritual warfare. He's not openly telling readers to take up arms, but he's mixing a lot of talk about "war" and "blood" with alarmist statements about Christians being "robbed" of their freedoms. This is the type of rhetoric that inspires the Scott Roeder types. It's essentially a coded message, similar to that Southern Baptist preacher in California who was praying for the death of Barack Obama, obviously hoping that a mortal would answer his prayers...

From a journalistic standpoint, it was completely irresponsible for the paper to publish that piece.