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Dignified Indignance

Robin Meyers

     ... minister and peace activist.  Author of Why the Christian Right is Wrong:  A Minister's Manifesto for Taking Back Your Faith, Your Flag, Your Future, Rev. Dr. Meyers is a United Church of Christ minister in Oklahoma City. He writes a regular newspaper column and for The Christian Century and is a professor of rhetoric at Oklahoma City University.


At a flexing point in human history, America's perversion of Christianity is destroying the world, says Rev. Dr. Robin Meyers, a Christian minister and peace activist. We cannot sit out this critical time, he warns -- our actions count, inaction is complicity.

Right-wing extremist Christians and politicians have distorted and corrupted the worldview Rev. Meyers deeply loves, and he holds them personally accountable for a long list of offenses. Worshipers of Christ have replaced Followers of Jesus. The idolatry of nationalism has overwhelmed Jesus' radical love of neighbor. An un-Christian, unrecovered alcoholic is the fountainhead of lies pouring out of America's government. This same President's political party shamelessly corrupts the teachings of Jesus with unethical, immoral behavior in the interest of money and power.

Americans who, regardless of party, have the creeping feeling things are not going the way we all want them have a wealth of positive, pro-active things they can do, Rev. Meyers says. First, instead of being immobilized by genuinely terrible truths, form what he calls communities of dignified indignance. Make Levees Not War. Break our addiction to stuff and use less of it -- stuff is killing us and the planet. Back real Democrats who care about working people and the poor instead of blaming them. Raise the minimum wage. Stem the growing gap between rich and poor which threatens the whole society -- tax the rich, not the poor.

Dr. Meyers' genuine hope springs from two very deep wells: Egalitarian Christianity as practiced by followers of Jesus in the 1st-Century when Christianity was dangerous, subversive and radical; and a strong sense that our actions matter in the face of what he boldly calls American fascism.

Both as a professor of rhetoric and as minister, Dr. Meyers does not use "the F-word" casually. Fascism, he reminds us, means corporate control of everything with the blessing of the Church, as Mussolini understood when he named it. It's unmistakable. Control by special interests. Cronyism. Fraudulent elections. Use of fear to control the population. Mass media amplifying corporate and political lies to protect the privileged few. These and more profoundly anti-democratic actions are simply a cover for making more and more money and holding on to it.

Yes, today's terrible reality in America has put the world in very very dangerous shape right now, Rev. Meyers declares. Rise to the occasion! Fear not! We've been in a dangerous place before, and human beings have jumped to the next level of consciousness. We can do it again, he believes. Even in America.


[This Program was recorded August 4, 2006, in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.]

Conversation 1

Rev. Robin Meyers tells Paula Gordon and Bill Russell why indignation is the holy response to present-day America's staggering political and religious injustices, including idolatrous nationalism.

Conversation 1 RealAudio6:39

Conversation 2


If you say you love God but hate your neighbor, then you're a liar, according to the book of John, Rev. Meyers reminds listeners. He examines why right-wing Christians ignore Jesus' Sermon on the Mount and champion the Hebrew Bible's Ten Commandments, corrupting "Thou Shalt Not Kill" along the way.  Rev. Meyers expands, cheered by the vast variety and numbers of people who simply miss Jesus, who reserved white-hot rage for religious hypocrisy and would never have said, "Either you're with us or you're with the Gentiles" or "Bring 'em on."”

Conversation 1 RealAudio11:56

Conversation 3

Jesus got angry at people for pretending to be religious, but not acting religious, continues Rev. Meyers, presenting George W. Bush as the prime example. You can't be a Christian President and bomb people into submission, use fear to control your own population, Dr. Meyers says, that's fascist, not Christian.  He expands on why he uses the "F-word" -- fascism -- which means control of government by corporations with the blessing of the Church. Republican election dirty tricks are not only unethical, he says, they're un-Christian.

Conversation 1 RealAudio8:56

Conversation 4

Church doctrine about supernatural acts frozen in 3rd and 4th century creeds leave Jesus out, Dr. Meyers says, describing how he and his Oklahoma congregation are working to bring back a 1st-century definition of Christianity -- dangerous, subversive and radical, focused on a God who loved all humankind unconditionally. How the strong treat the weak is central to all religions, Rev. Meyers says, judging the Bush Administration by that standard. Their lies make for an ugly litany. He contrasts followers of Jesus and worshipers of Christ, accuses today's perversion of Christianity of destroying the world, and puts pride first among the Seven Deadly Sins.

Conversation 1 RealAudio13:20

 Conversation 5

The idea of a genuinely abundant life -- as contrasted to debilitating mountains of stuff -- is explored. Most truth is inconvenient and dangerous, Dr. Meyers says. He compares Jesus' truth to a wide variety of self-serving lies foisted on the public by corporate media. If people are not afraid to think, get their information from reputable sources and stop being conformists, even America can help shape a different future for the whole planet, he believes, refusing to be immobilized by despair about the country's dangerous current condition.

Conversation 1 RealAudio8:12

Conversation 6

Practical action plans are offered, starting with everyday people gathered together in what Rev. Meyers calls Communities of Dignified Indignance.  His conclusion: Fear Not!

Conversation 1 RealAudio6:12


Robin Meyers cheers on those who chose the truth over lies, whatever their persuasion about religious ideas. We thank him for his 10 minute speech which grew into a book, for the book and for speaking loudly and clearly. We look forward to hearing that voice far beyond Oklahoma.

Related Links:

Why the Religious Right is Wrong: A Minister's Manifesto for Taking Back Your Faith, Your Flag, Your Future is a Jossey-Bass, a Wiley Imprint.

In God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It, Jim Wallis also takes a very critical view of Christianity in America, though from an evangelical perspective.  Both Robin Meyers and Jim Wallis share with Jesus an emphasis on our responsibility to the powerless, the poor and "the least of these."

Former President Jimmy Carter expresses his deep concerns about fundamentalism (Christian and other) in his first political book Our Endangered Values:  America's Moral Crisis.

Joseph L. Roberts, the former senior pastor at the Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church (Martin Luther King's church), looks at the social gospel from inside the community.

In the last of his prize-winning trilogy about the American Civil Rights Movement (At Canaan's Edge: America in the King Years 1965-1968), Taylor Branch examines the ultimately fatal effects of Martin Luther King's shift in emphasis toward peace and economic justice in his public campaigns.

Building from America's Greek, Hebrew and African antecedants, Cornel West, in Democracy Matters, shows that an American Empire based on "Constantinian Christianity" violates both American history and values.

Echoing Rev. Meyers' definition of "fascism," Jared Diamond says that throughout the duration of human civilization, religion has often functioned as the "handmaiden of kleptocracy."

In Freethinkers: a History of American Secularism, Susan Jacoby shows just how intentional the separation of church and state was in the idea of the United States embodied in its Constitution by the nation's founders.

From a secular perspective, Kevin Phillips examines the potentially fatal damage done to America by Christian fundamentalists in American Theocracy:  The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century.

Reporters Jason DeParle (American Dream: Three Woman, Ten Kids and Welfare Reform) and David Shipler (The Working Poor: Invisible in America) have both written thoughtful, indepth books about being poor in America.

In both Reefer Madness and Fast Food Nation, Eric Schlosser shows some of the many ways in which the poor are exploited in America and how we've come to depend on that exploitation.

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