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Mr. Rob Boston 6 — Dominionist Minds and Secular Governmental Instability

2023-01-03

Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): Medium (Humanist Voices)

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2020/03/03

By Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Rob Boston is the Senior Advisor and Editor for Church and State of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, which is the monthly membership magazine. He began work at Americans United in 1987 and authored four books entitled Close Encounters with the Religious Right: Journeys into the Twilight Zone of Religion and Politics (Prometheus Books, 2000), The Most Dangerous Man in America? Pat Robertson and the Rise of the Christian Coalition (Prometheus Books, 1996), Why the Religious Right Is Wrong About Separation of Church and State (Prometheus Books, 1993; second edition, 2003), and Taking Liberties: Why Religious Freedom Doesn’t Give You The Right To Tell Other People What To Do (Prometheus Books, 2014). Mr. Boston can be contacted here: boston@au.org.

This series covers secularism strictly within the American context for the consumption of 18-to-35-year-olds. In this interview session, we cover national decay in the United States (only in some ways, don’t want to overstate it).

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: With the decay of the American political culture, fraying of social ties, and battering ram hits to its legal infrastructure, we have a lot of work ahead of us. This will reverberate to nations around the world and impact the internal society for some time now. What individuals around President Trump have been the most egregious in their anti-secularist rhetoric and proclamations, e.g., various Dominionist Christian personalities?

Rob Boston: Trump has an evangelical advisory board stacked with Christian nationalists. They are essentially his toadies, and they have replaced Jesus with Trump. Trump is their new idol. Among the worst offenders are Pastor Robert Jeffress, a Southern Baptist minister in Texas; Franklin Graham, son of the late evangelist Billy Graham; Jerry Falwell Jr, chancellor of Liberty University; Ralph Reed, a longtime Religious Right hack and Paula White, a “prosperity gospel” TV evangelist. They are sycophants who will sign off on anything Trump does. As far as I’m concerned, they’re a collective embarrassment to American evangelicalism. For more on this, see this article I wrote: https://www.au.org/church-state/june-2019-church-state-magazine/cover-story/the-not-so-magnificent-seven-whenever

Jacobsen: Does age play a role in the form of political attitudinal differences in American society? What are we seeing play out before our eyes in terms of the theocratically minded who would want this state of mind implemented formally in the government of the United States?

Boston: I am not a sociologist or a political scientist, but it does seem to me that the Christian nationalist base in this country consists of older white people. I’ve attended gatherings of Religious Right groups over the years, and you don’t see a lot of young people or non-whites at these meetings. In America, old people tend to vote at higher rates than young people, which makes them a disciplined voting bloc. We do know that when young people vote, we get more progressive results. The challenge is getting them to vote.

Jacobsen: The problem seems underdiagnosed and further along than realized, and more insidious, than many in the secular communities may realize at this time, especially as these movements link to explicitly racist movements in some parts. A situation where lies become truths can devolve rather rapidly. What channels of secular activism need more boost in the current moment?

Boston: That is a challenging question. We seem to have entered a period where the truth really does not matter. Trump has been caught in so many lies that they’re hard to even count, yet his supporters do not care or argue that there is some sort of conspiracy to make him look bad (as if he needed help!) All we can do is keeping plugging away and standing up for what is good, right and true. I really do believe that the truth wins out in the end, but that process can take some time. In my speeches to allied organizations, I’ve been telling people that the work they do now to defend the secular government might not bear fruit until some years in the future. In some cases, activists who are alive now will not live to see the payoff. Do it anyway. We owe that to future generations.

Jacobsen: Thank you for the opportunity and your time, Mr. Boston.

Boston: Thank you.

License

In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at www.in-sightpublishing.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-Present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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