Christian Horror Films: Horrific Christian Culture?

Any time people get worked up about a menace they believe in but can’t actually see – demons, Commies, jihadis, hordes of hoodie-wearing thugs — they’re likely to take it out on the weakest and most vulnerable people in society.
— Andrew O’Heihr, at Salon, reviewing the film The Conjuring.

And this is why I read Slacktivist, because he takes wonderful quotes like that and examines them.

This wholesome demonization of marginalized women is expected to “appeal to faith-minded audiences.” And it does.


Here’s Fred Clark on Christianity, horror films, and conservative social roles:

  1. The Amityville Horror is not based on a true story.
  2. The Conjuring reminds us that the only way to stop Satanic baby-killers is to punish women.

This film is a pep rally for a witch hunt. Witch hunts do not lead people toward God. Witch hunts and witch-hunters lead people, instead, toward the lethal notion that it is their job to identify and destroy the enemies of God. The stories witch-hunters tell are never true stories, but the victims those stories produce are all too real. And there is nothing “wholesome” about that.

And so it goes.


On the wrong side of history

Not content with describing same-sex marriage as a “threat to world peace”, Pope Benedict XVI has gone on to say that it “destroys the very essence of the human creature“, and make increasingly incoherent and confused remarks along those lines.

And so, as it did before with slavery and is still doing with feminism, the Catholic Church proudly places itself once more on the wrong side of history.



Politics driving theology

American Evangelicals have changed their mind on abortion. The clear, unambiguous, Biblical teaching on the subject is younger than the McDonald’s Happy Meal (even if they don’t like to admit that). It now seems that a similar shift might be coming on Evangelicals’ beliefs on contraception.

Just five years ago it would have been unthinkable for American evangelicals to rally against contraception. Religious opposition to contraception was strictly a Catholic thing and evangelicals, as Protestants, did not accept the baroque theological arguments supporting that Catholic teaching.

But that radical ethical and doctrinal reversal will not be the really amazing thing. Far more amazing will be the Orwellian aftermath in which, 10 years from now, white evangelicals will pretend that they have always unanimously opposed contraception and they will seem unable to remember that it was ever otherwise, angrily denying that any change has taken place.


Why do so many US Catholics support marriage equality?

The hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church is unabashedly and unambiguously opposed to marriage equality, yet many US Catholics support it? Why?

There’s two questions there. One is, Why do so many Catholics feel free to strongly disagree with the positions of the Church, and yet continue to call themselves Catholic? The other is, Why do Catholics so often support marriage equality? One possible reason is that the “Catholic imagination” has a “sacremental view of the world”: it sees Divine grace in human action, and so Catholics tend to see grace in same-sex unions.


What is “ceremonial deism”?

The USA has official separation of church and state. The constitution of the country requires that the state not endorse any religion. And yet references to God are frequent. How does that work? Well, the idea is that this is “ceremonial deism” some sort of abstraction which doesn’t really describe the God religious people actually worship. There are very many problems with that idea.

The first is that, in actual practice, this supposedly non-religious “deism” tends to take explicitly Christian form. The second is that even if people try their best to be inclusive, those attempts are doomed to failure. Or, as Literata put it, The opposite of sectarian isn’t “nonsectarian,” it’s secular. The third is that, most of the time, people don’t even bother trying to be inclusive, beyond, for example, a half-hearted pretense that the Lord’s Prayer is actually generic and universal. And thus does religion sneak into a supposedly secular government.

Of course, in Ireland, the Constitution opens with the words In the name of the Most Holy Trinity. The document makes no pretense at being a religiously neutral: Catholicism is woven through it.