Bleak Theology A post-punk counterweight to joy.

Our Democracy’s Moment of Krisis


And upon that cold, grey day of Epiphany, hung before the Capitol I saw among the seething mob of welcomed insurgents a giant flag proclaiming JESUS 2020. I saw erected before the Capitol dome a cross and a gallows. I saw people huddled fearful for their lives as fascists shattered windows and through marble halls hunted with flex cuffs in hand for elected officials. This was no Johannine Apocalypse, but the very Acts of the Apostates in the civic temple of our own Congress.

The ancient Greek word krisis can mean decision or judgment. This very moment in the United States is our time of crisis and our time of krisis. As individuals, we can only do so much. We must act together against the Acts of the Apostates. We have put our hope in our democratically-elected leaders that they will do the right thing – even to serve to correct when our other elected leaders shall not. We must speak truth to the conservative power of fascist lies and undemocratic force.

Christian nationalists have played an integral part not only in this coup, but in the long formation of this rancid ideology. So many Americans have been fattened with lies from the pulpit and cultural echo chambers. It is all they know. It is all they want to believe. Against their enemies, they seek to usher in the rotted realm of Christendom, their kingdom come, its will be done.

In truth, however, the Christian has no nation. This is a troubling reality for those who would hear and accept the Gospel, because it requires relinquishing a particular kind of essential power. It is that primal, self-assuring power that only territory and history provide for. Yet, the crucified god is the geopolitical failure in the quest for earthly power. The State wins. The State always already wins until The End, whatever and whenever that is. The Christian exists in a perpetual state of anxiety living in the World, yet not of it, in the hope of something else that they can never see or touch. This is the geopolitical agony of the Christian: to have no home, yet to hopefully possess the luxury of the right to participate in the democratic freedom of self-determination in relation to the State.

The Christian who cannot bear being without a nation, the Christian who suffers such an anxiety about their relationship with the World, risks falling for the fascist security of the totalitarian State. The Christian nationalist, the Christian fascist requires not only the safety of worldly power, but the lies that they are the rightful heirs and protectors of that worldly power against, ironically, the world. They believe the nation in which they live has been stolen from them and it is their God-mandated duty to take it back by every force available and imaginable. And that force shall be used against those who differ in mind and body until they are no more or, indeed, fascists, themselves.

Yet, how can I call these people “Christian”? Because Christian nationalists have been doing terrible, godless things for the selfish purposes of the State for literally centuries. These people are bad Christians and they should be called as such. They seek not the Kingdom of God, but earthly Christendom. “Christendom,” Kierkegaard wrote, “has done away with Christianity.” Christendom is the realm where its citizens cannot dare to live with the internal uncertainty that comes with the individual’s anxiety about themselves, the world, and God.

The Christian who curdles into a nationalist, who becomes fascist sins against themself, their neighbor, and their God. The Christian nationalist becomes the nihilist. Their sin is Kierkegaard’s sickness unto death. They do not die, but they are always dying. The name of their sin is despair. And in their dying they are bent to take all others with them toward the grave. Despair is the ultimate conservatism, because it is the ultimate stasis. The power and authority of despair is the refusal of freedom and possibility. This is Christendom and is yet another plague we must suffer.

Conservatism, by its nature, takes no risks. Everything is and must be certain because power is and must be so real. Power must even feel real. Conservatism is ultimately about retaining power. The goal of conservatism is to acquire more power to protect the power it already has. Christian nationalists understand themselves all too well as conservative. Christian nationalism only understands a single, absolute ruler and full obedience to him (sic) to establish and conserve its own power over and against all who are outsiders, who are different.

“Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom,” wrote Kierkegaard. And freedom requires risk, which is why it is always so fragile. The power and authority of freedom requires the lasting and involved action to take care of each other to preserve it, not to selfishly seize its power, thus killing it. The power of democracy cannot exist without risk and democracy understands that. Democracy understands its greatest threat is when the force of fascism seeks its power for itself and thus seeks to kill it.

Remove the President by Congress or the Twenty-Fifth Amendment. Now.

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By Burke
Bleak Theology A post-punk counterweight to joy.


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