WaPo Religion Blogger: Christian Belief ‘Scarier Than Halloween’

Want to really scare someone this Halloween? Dress up like a Christian and go trick or treating at the offices of The Washington Post. After all, the Post’s “On Faith” blog contributor Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, a professor of theology and fellow at the far-left Center for American Progress, warned readers that much of Christian orthodoxy was more frightening than witches, ghosts and goblins. 

“If you do want to be frightened this week, here are some Christian theological themes that actually are scary,” she wrote in “Five Christian theologies scarier than Halloween.” It’s an interesting read – tackling topics from gays to evolution and leaving the reader to wonder if her divinity degree came free with the purchase of a new age whale songs CD. 

Not one to waste time, Thistlethwaite placed “Christian Dominionism,” “the idea that our nation should be governed by Christians according to a conservative understanding of biblical law” at the top of her list as the “scariest” of them all. (Yikes, wait until she learns that her entire country was founded on belief in God.) 

According to Thistlethwaite, Christian Dominionism, “fueled by ‘sanctified’ rage,” caused tragedies such as the government shutdown. “What is especially scary to me,” she lamented, "is the wall of rage that seems so impossible to scale to find common cause across a spectrum of differences.” Too bad that degree didn’t come with a scaling ladder, or at least enough command of English to write a sentence that doesn’t sound like it’s from “Conflict Resolution for Dummies.” 

The second frightful item on her list was “hell and damnation.” That seemed more fitting until she explained, “Images of hell as judgment have been used over Christian history to construct a punitive, punishing idea of God that is used like a club to manipulate people.” Apparently not enough. Perhaps hell is a 12-step program, or maybe a safe place to hug it out? 

But Thistlethwaite’s third scare, “Women Should ‘Submit’” was almost funny, if it weren’t so downright insulting towards religious women. Thistlethwaite defined “submission” as “a scary theology that justifies abuse in the name of Christian obedience by women” and “institutionalized violence.” She continued her rant:

Theologies that emphasize a hierarchy in creation, i.e. that women were created second, and Eve is to blame for the sin that got Adam and Eve kicked out of the Garden of Eden, are scary to me because they are literally responsible for a lot of violence against women. 

In other words, for Thistlethwaite, “The front door of such a “religious” home becomes a doorway to violence.” Those awful Christians, making women cover themselves head to toe, refusing to educate them, not letting them drive or be alone with non-family males, cutting off their heads because they dishonored the family …. That’s Christians, right? 

“God versus Evolution” came in fourth. Thistlethwaite recounted a time when she almost fainted with fear when visiting the Creation Science Museum with a “pineapple eating velociraptor in an animatronic Garden of Eden.” (Who needs a haunted house when this kind of stuff exists?) Christian Science “den[ies] the real science of evolution and undercut[s] the genuine urgency to stop polluting human activities that are causing violent and abrupt climate change.” 

Ding, Ding Ding! There’s the first note of actual religious belief in Thistlethwaite’s post. She’s an orthodox adherent of environmentalism – the only religion crazy liberals really approve of. 

Last, but not least, dear Thistlethwaite noted how, according to Christians, “God Doesn’t Love You If You’re Gay.” Apparently she hasn’t researched certain Christian sects like, say, Catholicism, on this topic. She blamed Christians for the bullying of gays – as well as gays who commit suicide. And Christians like to topple walls on people for being homosexual … no, wait – wrong religion again. 

To counter this “hate,” Thistlethwaite, described how, “In my ‘It Gets Better’ video I made for that creative campaign to give hope to gay teens, I start with “God loves you.” Hmm. Why “God?” Sounds pretty phallocentric and patriarchal. Why not “Goddess?” What about “Gaia?” 

Hard to believe the Washington Post would stand for this kind of closed-minded bigotry in a blog about Christianity. On the other hand, Thistlethwaite has blogged about rewriting the Bibleargued holy week was the “right time” for “marriage equality,” and compared gun lobby to a pagan god hungering for child sacrifice. She really is the ideal Christian for the Post.

Finally! Something that’s actually scary this Halloween.

Katie Yoder
Katie Yoder
Katie Yoder is Staff Writer, Joe and Betty Anderlik Fellow in Culture and Media at the Media Research Center