It's a hidden agenda. You probably haven't heard about it. They never use the word “Dominionism.” You'll never hear it, even on Fox News. You call yourself a Christian, but you've never heard it. You go to a church whose pastor knows all about it, but isn't talking. But if and when he does, you're ready to buy it. He's a Man of God, is he not? It's all in the Bible, somewhere or other… Right?
You don't question very much, do you, in your church? You've been led to think you're on the right track by signing on for The Agenda: let's all join in, take back our country, make it Christian again. You've joined your voice to the choir chanting such slogans as we love guns, we're pro-life, God is a Republican, repeal Obamacare. kill Social Security, Medicare, labor unions, public schools. Today America, tomorrow the world.
How did we get this way? When did we take the wrong freeway exit? How is it we find ourselves in this strange terrain—lost, with no road map?
I'm old enough to remember when things were different. Now stifle that yawn and listen up! It's possible you might learn something. Gather 'round me chillun, and let me tell you my story.
It's 1945. I'm 15 years old, living in Akron, Ohio. The Great War is about to end. Franklin Delano Roosevelt has just died. Absolutely everybody I know is a liberal, only we don't use that silly word. I'm not religious at all. We never go to church; my father's an atheist. The churches I see around me are the familiar ones: Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist. They are filled every Sunday, in contrast to the tiny storefront operations usually called by such names as Gospel of Light Tabernacle, or Mission Pentecostal Alliance, Church of the Nazarene. These latter have no money, no seminaries, scarcely any influence. Their members are predominantly poor and uneducated, given to looking to the skies for the expected return of Jesus in the clouds, eschewing any sort of political involvement in this present world's affairs—no, they reason, politics is not for us. This world is Satan's realm. This world is not my home, I'm just a-passin' through, my treasures are laid up, somewhere beyond the blue.
In my America of 1945, “Bible-believing Protestantism” is almost nonexistent. The media doesn't know about it. We are determined to define ourselves as a secular nation. Let me re-phrase that, because the word “secular” (loved by such as Bill O'Reilly) is incorrect, inapplicable… You see, it seems to imply that the norm is somehow religious, that society should be as it once was in medieval Roman Catholic locales, essentially theocratic. In other words, “secular” is a loaded word, it begs the question. If the Church is not in total control, then a society is “secular.” No, the question is never even asked. We are on our way—hey, a new day is coming, we don't need that old-fashioned religious stuff anymore. Are you kidding? We have Bing Crosby on our radios, Jack Benny, One Man's Family, The Romance of Helen Trent. NOBODY is religious… except these obscure retrograde hangers-on, relics of the pre-American era, who go to those store-front churches and are square… They don't go to the dances, they don't know the songs. In school, they sit unnoticed in the back row, totally out if it.
Today, however, I'm out in the back yard, playing catch with my brother Ken. But what's that annoying song we're hearing?
Heavenly sunshine, Heavenly sunshine
Flooding my soul with glory divi—iine
Heavenly sunshine, Heavenly sunshine
Hallelujah, Jesus is mine.
The music seems to be coming from the Jones’ kitchen window next door. Seems like she’s always playing the same old program, some dippy religious stuff she seems to like. I can hear it in my dreams, it seems. There it is again, that scratchy old man voice droning away, the same old creepy opening words.
Friends, this is Charles E. Fuller coming to you from the Civic Auditorium at Long Beach, California, bringing you the Old Fashioned Revival Hour...
The music swells up again: Heavenly Sunshine. How can she stand it, Howdy’s mom I mean? Something about this doleful wailing irritates me immensely, even works on my youthful digestive tract, so that I begin to feel slightly sick. Not only is there something more than slightly gothic (I don’t know the word yet, but this is how it affects me) about its general sound, the way it makes me feel, but it’s all so corny, the song especially with its childish and silly words, I mean really, Heavenly sunshine, can you believe it? And I really dislike anything old-fashioned.
I cannot know that today is the First Day of the Rest of My Life. I do not dream that this song will be the theme for not only my own future, but that of the American Dream. It's goodbye, Bing Crosby, hello George W. Bush, but I can't see it yet.
More to come. Stay tuned.