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If all you ever saw of the World Science Ficton Convention was the opening ceremonies, the masquerade, the Guest of Honor Speech, the Hugo Awards presentation, and closing ceremonies, and you only saw that on television, and you missed half of what you saw because TV news anchors were talking over it, would you have any real feel for what it's actually like to be at a large science fiction convention? No. You'd only be seeing the scripted parts, the big showy parts. The real meat and potatoes of a science fiction convention, the real experience, is to be found out in the halls, in chance meetings. It's in panel discussions, where you may actually learn something from or about the science fiction industry. And even more than that, it's in the hospitality suites, both official and unofficial, because that's where people actually meet, socialize, try overtly to hype their own reputations, and try gently to persuade each other to each others' pet projects. So should it surprise you to know that political party conventions aren't any different? State political party conventions run a lot like regional SF conventions. The big national political party conventions that happen every four years are more like Worldcon than you might otherwise know. Oh, the standards in funny costuming are different, but no weirder. One difference: the sexily dressed women are paid professionals at the national political conventions, and generally kept more out of sight. But otherwise, there are more similarities than differences. Sometimes it's even the same people; former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich was a science fiction fan before he was a successful politician. (Does this surprise you in the least? I thought not.)

I tell you this so that you'll be better able to imagine one important part of any political party convention, whether state or national: caucus meetings. The definition of the word "caucus" is not widely taught these days, mostly because caucusing has gone out of style, and so it is widely misunderstood. A caucus is nothing more (or less) than a group of people who've agreed upon a single goal. To that end, they all pledge before any votes are taken that whether they win or lose any vote within the caucus, when they leave the caucus room and go their separate ways, they will support the decision of the caucus as enthusiastically as if it had been what they personally had wanted to do, all along. Almost the entire political party process takes place in caucuses of one kind or another. If you aren't willing to caucus, you aren't really a player, you're not really in the game.

During the 1964 Republican Party National Convention there was yet another meeting of the Republican anti-communist caucus. But this one broke new ground. Now, I was 4 at the time, so how can I know? Well, I heard a great deal about it from one of the caucus members. Dr. John A. Stormer was the author of the 1964 best-selling anti-communist conspiracy theory exposé None Dare Call it Treason. In it, he "proved" that the US State Department and the US Department of Education had both been completely subverted and taken over from within by Russian-backed Communist Party cells. (Oddly enough, when the KGB archives were opened in 1989, he turned out to have been right about the State Department. It's not terribly surprising, really; Foggy Bottom has long been manned by people who identified more with foreigners than with their own countrymen, and has a long history of forgetting which country pays its salaries.)

Dr. Stormer was also a state delegate from Missouri for Barry Goldwater, and as so was obviously at the 1964 Republican National Convention. And given his then-new celebrity in the anti-communist movement, it is no shock that he was a member of the anti-communist caucus, and had been for years. 12 years later, in 1976, he was a private high school administrator at Faith Christian Academy, where I was attending classes. I was taking his (mandatory) class in "Principles of Spiritual Growth" during the 1976 election season. One day we were far enough ahead of the lesson plan that he declared an open question and answer period. Since he (and the rest of the school) had been drumming into us how essential it was to return the nation to Christian rule, and since I knew he hated the "Rockefeller" (internationalist) side of his own party, I asked him why he was backing secularist left-wing Rockefeller-supporting Republican Gerald Ford over born-again evangelical fundamentalist Christian Democrat Jimmy Carter? In order to explain that decision to us, he told us the story of that 1964 meeting in San Francisco, and how he felt bound by those caucus results to back the party no matter who they nominated, and why. I was young when he told it. I'm fuzzy on some of the details. After 12 years, he may have been fuzzy on some of the details himself, and Lord knows, he was one of those hard-to-listen-to people who constantly says "umm" and chews on his glasses, even in the middle of a sentence. But I remember the gist of it, and as history has unfolded (and as I have learned more and more about politics myself), I've come to understand more and more of what he told me. And in light of the last 25 years of history, in particular, what he said about that 40-year-ago meeting chills my blood.

Put simply: The Republican anti-communist caucus was made up of people who shared two beliefs. First of all, to be a member of that caucus, you had to believe that the still-expanding worldwide spread of communism was the single greatest threat in the world; not just to them personally, but to the US, and not just to the US, but to the future of the whole human race. For the wealthy people who had long made up the base of the Republican party, this was an easy idea to sell. They knew perfectly well what would happen to their wealth after a communist takeover of the United States. But what may not be clear to you yet is just how equally obvious this fact was to any Christian with any knowledge of, or connections within, the field of missionary work in Asia. When the communists took over Russia, they expelled all foreign missionaries, and nearly all Christian ministers were internally exiled to slave labor death camps in Siberia. When the communists took over China, they were even less subtle: all missionaries and Christian clergy who didn't escape the country were simply murdered in cold blood. When the communists took over North Korea, they made the Chinese look gentle and friendly: missionaries, ministers, Christians who refused to renounce their faith, and their children were brutally tortured to death. Anyway, the second thing that you had to believe to be a member of the Republican anti-communist caucus was that only the Republican party could be trusted to be sufficiently militant and vigilant against communism. Caucus members agreed that while there might be some staunch anti-communist Democrats, that party was also home to a great many socialists who would secretly welcome a communist takeover of the United States. It was a well known documented fact that Soviet agents had been trying to infiltrate and take over various local Democratic parties; Republican anti-communists believed that some unknown number of them must have succeeded. Democratic Presidents had lost Russia, China, and Cuba to communism, had failed to expel the communists from North Korea, and were holding back from declaring all-out war against the communists in Vietnam. And, of course, the Republicans blamed the Democrats for the perceived failures of the Army-McCarthy hearings and the House Un-American Activities Committee.

However, if you're living in 1964 and you think that the Republicans in the US are the only hope that the world has of resisting and overthrowing global communism, you've got a really big problem: you're on the losing side of American politics. Democrats had controlled the city governments of every major city in the United States for decades, with no end in sight. They controlled both houses of Congress. They had the majority of the governors' offices, and controlled one or both houses of almost every state legislature. The only Republican to win the Presidency in over 30 years was war hero Dwight Eisenhower. If you really actually wanted to win an election to public office in the US in the 1930s, 40s, 50s, 60s, or even 70s you ran in the Democratic primary, either as a machine candidate or a reform candidate. The Republicans were seen as the wealthy person's party (which they were), the party that had brought about the Great Depression; the Democrats were seen as the party of the poor and the middle class, the party that had ended the Great Depression ... and not coincidentally won both World Wars. So it was at the 1964 Republican anti-communist caucus that somebody, and I think Dr. Stormer said it was George Will, laid down the law, and hit all the delegates present with a big whopping clue-by-four: if communism was to be defeated, then the Republicans were going to have to become a majority party. Seems obvious in hindsight, doesn't it?

But there's a catch. There's always a catch. In this case, the catch must have been this. The traditional Republican party is the party of Satan himself, and thereby unpalatable to nearly all of the 90% or more of the US public that self-identified as Christian. I am not exaggerating here, not one tiny little bit. (Nor am I alone in this. Remember, I've met and done volunteer work alongside Dr. Michael Aquino, the founder of the largest Satanic church in the world, and you have never met a more staunch Republican in your life. Nor did he make any bones about why: he is a Republican Party loyalist because the Republican Party stands in total opposition to the Christian scriptures.) Throughout the gospels, take everything that Jesus said. Now reverse each and every statement. Each and every one of those reversals is a traditional plank of the Republican party platform. Republicans urge people to work hard, earn as much money as possible, and save it. Jesus said, "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." (Matthew 6:19-21) Republicans are the party of the arms manufacturers. Jesus said "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God." (Matthew 5:9) Republicans believe that how much money a person earns or has is a good measure of that person's worth. Jesus said, "No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon." (Luke 16:13) If a rich person comes to the Republicans and asks "what shall I do with my life?" they tell him to save his wealth, invest it in his own business and in the businesses of other wealthy people, keep his costs (including labor) as low as possible, in order to sell as many goods at as low a price as possible, and thereby enrich the world. When a rich person came to Jesus and asked him what he should do with is life, here's what actually happened (Luke 18:18-25):
And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother. And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up.

Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich. And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
And, of course, there's the "little problem" that I discussed yesterday. The Republicans have long been the party that believes that the poor are poor because they deserve to be poor. They believe, and teach, write, and legislate, and mandate that the textbooks say that if any American is poor, it is his own fault for not doing what it takes to become rich. As I've written before, Ronald Reagan elevated the hating of poor people to an artform: Ronald Reagan taught an entire generation of Americans that it is morally acceptable to hate the poor. And as I showed you from the Christian scriptures themselves yesterday, then if the Bible is any guide, anybody who has learned that lesson, and acted on that belief, and has since died ... for them it is too late. On Judgement Day, they will be cast into the fires of Hell by an angry God, and in those fires they will burn for all eternity.

How did the gospel stop being an obstacle to a Republican majority? Well, among the people in that fateful room in 1964 was a high official, I think Dr. Stormer said it was the dean himself, of Dallas Theological Seminary. And what you have to understand about Dallas Theological Seminary is that this is the top school for fundamentalist intelligentsia. When three or more people argue a point of doctrine in a fundamentalist setting, when the DTS graduate speaks, everybody else shuts up and listens. And what has finally dawned on me is that Dr. Stormer really did mean what he was implying: in 1964, the leading intellectual and spiritual figures of the fundamentalist community decided to stop teaching the actual gospel as it was written. They have to have decided to under-emphasize and explain away anything in the actual teachings of Jesus Christ that would stand in the way of people voting Republican. They conformed their doctrine and teachings to the doctrines of God's own enemy. To save their lives from the threat of communism, whether they realized it or not (and they probably didn't, for the power of the human mind to rationalize decisions made out of fear is nearly infinite), they sold their very souls and the souls of tens of millions of their followers into the service of Satan.

And to increase their popularity during a time of social turmoil, and to further distract the masses, for the teachings of Jesus Christ and His own disciples and apostles, they made a straight-forward substitution for the teachings of Jesus Christ. Instead, they took up the teachings, and ways, and doctrines of Jesus's worst enemies, the Jewish sect that most earnestly sought and ultimately obtained his death: the Pharisees. But that can wait for tomorrow.

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Comments

azaz_al
Nov. 29th, 2004 12:55 pm (UTC)
This is great stuff. I was raised by these people - I remeber, in the early 80's, when they started teaching that God WANTS his good and righteous people to be rich, and that wealth was a sign of his blessings. When I was 17, I read the words of Jesus for myself, deliberately, and was shocked to realize that everything I had been taught was wrong. I make some of these same arguments to fundies sometimes when I feel like banging my head against a brick wall, and it is like they cannot hear me. "Sure, Jesus said to care for the poor, but Paul said works won't get you into heaven!" It's like a tape recording.