Religion in America has always been an unwieldy thing. The settlers who arrived here in the 1600s were, many of them, fleeing the English Civil Wars; some were Puritans, others members of various millenarian sects. The now-blood-soaked soil of these colonies have, from their earliest days, been fertile ground for faith, the wilder the better. So many fruits were pillaged from the New World—tomatoes, potatoes—and other stranger fruit took root here and flourished. Some have left their mark upon the whole world—Mormonism, for one; the seething quasi-religious movement that is QAnon —and some are smaller, much smaller, and the wounds they inflict only become visible when some tragedy erupts, like the Branch Davidians, or the People’s Temple. Even within the “mainstream” of American Christianity, a wild and barely constrained violence seems perennially on the verge of breaking through, as evinced by public and ecstatic gatherings in which crowds adopt credos like the “Watchman Decree,” written by a
My younger sister belonged to a Christian cult--Potter's House Christian Fellowship--whose pastor told her who to marry, and when her child was less than one year old, she was screaming into his face and hitting him with a wooden spoon "to drive out Satan." It was insane. There was nothing any of us could do to stop her. My mom was broken by this horror. Ultimately, my sister resorted to malicious lies about family members that tore us all apart. That cult destroyed our family. I, for one, refuse to practice any kind of organized "worship." It's all garbage. It's all for money. From the Pope on down.
It’s terrifying. I read ‘Parenting for a peaceful world’. It spoke of centuries of brutal child rearing in Europe amongst the plagues, witch hunts and famines. The cruellest parenting lingered in Bavaria where in the early part of the 20th century half of all kids died. Some from illnesses but others from beating and suicide. The author suggested that the shame and rage developed by this torture provided the basis for mass hatred turned onto the other ie Jews, those with a disability, LBTQI+ and the Romany. There is a balance between allowing people to parent as they wish and torture. These behaviours have massive society wide as well as individual harms. Thanks for writing on this subject.