My Christian faith, whether Protestant or Catholic, or both...as I am theologically....speaks to the freedom of conscience from both perspectives. It speaks to love and compassion, the Golden Rule. It speaks to social justice, and to see everyone as having the soul divinity within them. It speaks to seeing Christ Himself in everyone you meet, regardless of their earthly circumstances. The earliest Christian communities - the five first fellowships...in Jerusalem, in Antioch, in Constantinople, in Alexandria, and eventually, in Rome - were developed on a communal module. Christians bartered among one another for their temporal needs. The temporal meal mirrored the Eucharistic feast. It spoke to eternal love and sharing.
How, therefore, were the scriptures of communal sharing transmogrified into the scripture of greed and the virtue of selfishness? Why was Ayn Rand and her ilk able to hijack the Christian message of compassion? The answers are complex and simultaneously, not complicated.
First of all, the faith of a humble carpenter, and discipled principally by fishermen, and common labourers, became the state religion of Roman Emperor Constantine. With official establishment came more than the end of murderous persecution. With it, came wealth, power and prestige of office. Simple vestments of the catacombs became threads of gold and silver and precious gems. Simple cups became ornate chalices....and the dark, dank and malodorous catacombs became ornate Roman and later Gothic cathedrals, wafting with the odour of fragrant incense mixtures.
The people of Word and Sacrament became hierarchical and theocratic quite quickly. The Church of Rome became a temporal power, and informed the Western Church for a millenium and a half. Greek or Byzantine Orthodox Christianity was temporally overthrown by Islam in the seventh century, and has lived within that tent for that same period. The Patriarch of Constantinople lives in Istanbul at his monastery called the Phanar. He is by law a Turkish citizen from the Greek community there. The Roman Pontiffs ruled most of Italy as the Papal States until 1870, and the Lateran Treaty of 1929 by the fascist Mussolini, created the Vatican City State.
The Eastern Churches have had their schisms. A schism is breaking a political or social bond, but not a serious theological breach. The Western Church, however, had so corrupted the Carpenter's message that a Reformation occurred first rather starkly in Geneva, and later in Germany and the Low Countries and Scandanavia with Luther, and the most compromisory between Catholicism and Calvinism...the English Reformation of the Anglican experience. The seventeenth and eighteenth century produced the Enlightenment, that initially informed the Deistic and Unitarian/Universalist founders of the United States.
The Industrial Revolution found full expression when in 1886, the SCOTUS gave corporations the rights of individuals. In about a century and a half, this Crony Capitalism has found a theocratic religion willing to accomodate its beliefs to it. They found such individuals in the Christian South. Remember that in the Civil War, only the Roman Catholics and the Episcopal Church did not separate into two camps.
Otherwise, the USA and the CSA had different denominations of the same faith system....in essence, the Northern variety was evangelical and communal and imbued with the social gospel...abolition was part of it. The South was informed by its economic and political accomodations made to its faith. The Southern Baptists, quoted Paul to give support to the ownership of slaves.
In the middle to late nineteenth century, the FUNDAMENTALS OF CHRISTIAN PRINCIPLES....which from a theological perspective is absolutely false and heretical doctrine to the majority of Christians, gained support among the Crony Capitalists. The Capitalists had found their religious doctrine and their religious leaders to contain the masses and give them "moral cover" while they economically raped and pillaged the wealth of a nation. Their own ethical and moral conduct would be beyond reproach, on any endeavour, because God Himself had appointed them to their rule and subjugation of the masses born to serve them.
So, when GLBT and straight liberals and progressives cede the moral ground to these "FAUX CHRISTIANS", they are deceived and derided for their ignorance. The Washington DC boarding house of the "Christian Mafia, Dobson and his FOF, the right wing theocratic think tanks, the Rick Warren and the AA Black Clergy Homophobic Alliance, and the meisters of think tanks and faux universities, Pat Robertson and the late Jerry Falwell, are their disciples of deception.
I am afraid that the outcomes on all liberal and progressive issues - GLBT - Health Care Reform - Iraqi and Afghani Wars - etc... are all informed and controlled by nefarious forces that have more to do with the seven deadly sins that my grandmother spoke of....the antithesis of the seven good ones. It is about that fight, that battle, that we must wage. It is about information and awareness, and speaking the truth....CHRISTIANITY AND THE AMERICAN DEMOCRATIC SYSTEM WERE HIJACKED....and using the power of language, and utilising the skills of malevolent spinmeisters and propagandists like Frank Luntz among others, the American sheeple are raped of their very desires as well as their very own treasure.