Thuggee Theory And Practice

Some suggest that Thugs were an invention of the British Raj to justify their Imperialism. Other sources posit a strictly criminal motivation (think Mafia families). While they had their own cant and rituals they were probably not Kali (who was much more complex than a simple “Death Goddess” like Hela) worshippers despite Temple of Doom because they are thought to be a remant of the Mughal Empire and they were Muslims.

What’s really behind Republicans wanting a swift reopening? Evangelicals.
By Gary Abernath, Washington Post
May 20, 2020

Blaming so-called right-wing media for the strikingly different attitudes between the GOP and Democrats is in this case too simplistic. The Republican Party has long been home to conservatives and libertarians, who have a natural resistance to any governmental expansion of reach and authority over citizens. For many, if not most, Republicans, “give me liberty or give me death” is not outdated rhetoric.

Most Republicans are appalled at how casually governors — in their view — trampled the Constitution at the behest of state and federal health departments. As one small business owner in Tennessee said of the lockdowns, “If constitutional rights can be taken away whenever there is a crisis, then they are not rights at all — they are permissions.”

And yet, there is something more to the partisan divide than the age-old contrast between conservative and liberal politics. But our reluctance to discuss religion beyond its basic political impact often results in skirting honest evaluations. Let’s try anyway.

It’s noted so often that evangelical Christians are a cornerstone of modern GOP support that the point is in danger of losing its impact. But it’s helpful to be reminded what, exactly, makes an evangelical, because to understand it helps to understand so many Republican positions. The National Association of Evangelicals has identified four statements that it says define evangelicals, the last of which is most pertinent for this discussion: “Only those who trust in Jesus Christ alone as their Savior receive God’s free gift of eternal salvation.” This literal belief in eternal salvation — eternal life — helps explain the different reactions to life-threatening events like a coronavirus outbreak.

Among those who hold literal biblical interpretations is the certainty that waiting at the end of this terrestrial journey is eternal life in Heaven.

Evangelicals take it to heart when James reminds them, “What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes,” or when Paul writes, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us,” or when Jesus asks, rhetorically, “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”

The coronavirus? Christian fundamentalism is often fatalistic. As far as many evangelicals are concerned, life passes quickly, suffering is temporary and worrying solves nothing. That’s not a view that comports well with long stretches of earthly time spent waiting out business closures or stay-at-home orders. It should be no surprise that a person’s deepest beliefs about the world influence how they measure the risks they’re willing to take.

Former six-term Ohio Rep. Bob McEwen (R) is a longtime evangelical leader who serves as an advisory member of James Dobson’s Family Talk board of directors. McEwen told me this week that evangelicals aren’t rattled by covid-19, either the disease or the government’s response to the pandemic, because the Bible instructs them not to let earthly fears overwhelm them. “They steal your life, your liberty and your freedom by using fear,” said McEwen. “Man, on his own without God, will always be fearful,” he added. “But the Bible says, ‘Fear not.’”

Evangelicals aren’t just twiddling their thumbs until Heaven beckons, of course. Most of them aggressively pursue careers, enjoy television shows, cheer their favorite sports teams, and take pride in the achievements of family and friends. They do good things in their communities, and sometimes they do bad things, just like everyone else.

They’re in no hurry to exit this world. But when ruminating over why there are millions of people who don’t seem to panic over a global pandemic or other life-threatening event, critics should remember that, right or wrong, it often involves a belief in something even bigger than people named Trump, Hannity or Limbaugh.

There will be Pie in the Sky bye and bye, bye and bye, on Big Rock Candy Mountain.