The Besiegement Narrative

Original Article: Even After Hobby Lobby, the Religious Right is Still Terrified

The “besiegement narrative” that the Right Rev. V. Gene Robinson talks about in his recent article found on The Daily Beast is indeed a theme I frequently saw and heard during my sojourn through many of this country’s more [religiously] conservative Christian denominations.

Such an “us vs. them” theology has a long history in Christian thought, going back to at least the time of the persecutions and martyrdoms of the early church, and even further back into ancient Judaism.  And, in fact, in examining other faiths, you quickly find that it is a universal theme.  This is because such a narrative is  a good way to define the boundary between who is and who is not one of “us” (whoever “us” is).  It is a theme that can bind people together; generate and focus emotional and physical energy upon a (real, potential or imagined) threat; and define what it means to be “us” by making it crystal clear who and what we are not.

This is not necessarily a bad thing.  Being able to draw a line that separates “us” from “not us” seems to be necessary – because if a group cannot define that boundary, it has a very difficult time explaining who they are, what they stand for, why they should continue to exist, and why you might want to be one of “us.”

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