"New American Calvinism" by Steven Grant

Writer Steven Grant recently posted the below on his FB wall. I think he's hit a particular nail square on the head -- and I think calling 'em NACs (New American Calvinists) instead of Andrew Sullivan's "Christianist" does a better job of separating them from more genuine followers of the faith.

Calvinism was never Christianity.  It was an active distortion of Christianity that aggrandized the rich, by making visible wealth on earth the signifier of God's love.  Calvin's core tenet is that all who will go to heaven were chosen at the beginning of time, as were all who weren't.  "The reprobate are damned because they were always meant to be damned. The preterite are not saved because they were never meant to be saved."  Needless to say, the wealthy citizens of Geneva embraced this.

In Calvinism, money=grace. The New American Calvinism takes this one step further: not only does money=grace but no money=sin.

Nowhere is this clearer than in the language of Citizens United, & the court decision allowing SuperPACs, funded by corporations & the ultrarich, unfettered ability to distort the American political process.  Unraveling the language, it becomes apparent that "citizen" now refers to exactly that: corporations & the ultrarich.  (This is also promoted by advocates of an "unamended Constitution" & "return" to pre-Constutional ideas of some founding fathers, specifically those who believed government was best served by restricting the vote to landed gentry.)  By contrast, those not fitting into that class are no longer commonly referred to as "citizens" but as "consumers," whose position in life is to further fund (mostly but not exclusively by accumulation of goods) the ambitions of "citizens."  Even lower are those most in need, now rarely called "the poor" & instead commonly derided as "welfare cases."  America is now being actively stratified by the New American Calvinism into, by their reckoning, God-determined "natural order" of Citizen, Consumer & Welfare Case, paralleling the original Calvinist classifications of Elect, Preterite & Reprobate.  With a philosophical addition perhaps accidentally paralleling the philosophy of 1st Century Christianity, when the return of Christ to Earth was still thought to be imminent & occurring within their lifetimes.  Original sin would be washed away, & those saved would henceforth be without sin.  This has been interpreted by later generations as a world where no one sinned, but in their view it was rather that sin itself would no longer exist, that no behavior would be classified as sin.  In a similar turn of mind, in New American Calvinism, "grace" not only determines The Elect but removes them from the possibility of sin, so that whatever behavior they embark on, it is exempt from characterization as sin.

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