Tuesday, January 29, 2008
I’ve been staying away from the topic of the religious right of late. It’s often times too difficult to differentiate between the true theocratic zealots (who qualify as political extremists) and those who are merely political conservatives who seek to work within the system for change (who are not). Having made that little disclaimer, I recently came across this article, which describes what I feel to be a disturbing and potentially monist trend within many conservative Protestant churches: shunning. Shunning occurs when a person is asked not to attend services at the church anymore, and parishioners are instructed to have no contact with the expelled individual. This sometimes occurs when the person in question has committed a serious sin (homosexuality, adultery, drug use) for which they refuse to repent. This is a very religiously suspect practice in the first place, but it becomes downright creepy when it is applied to persons whose only “sin” is disagreeing with church leaders. The article linked to above relates the story of an elderly lady who was hounded from her church when she insisted that the preacher should appoint a panel of deacons to oversee the church’s monetary affairs. The preacher claimed she was spreading “a sprit of cancer and discord” within the church. As more of the mainstream religious right churches move towards an openly theocratic orientation, this new application of shunning will be used to silence dissent and ensure that the megalomaniacal leaders in question will be able to lead their flocks in spiritual and political matters without question.