Christianism vs. Christianity

Tom Zirpoli is a columnist for the Carroll County Times. In today’s piece, he introduced me to a term I’d never heard of before: Christianism. He actually referenced Andrew Sullivan’s use of the word to describe the “political co-opters.” Here are four great paragraphs from Zirpoli’s column:

Many politicians who call themselves Christian insist on health care for the unborn, then vote to cut health care funding for millions of babies and their mothers. Come to think of it, they no longer even support health care for the unborn; just their birth.

I have always wondered why some people are so protective of the unborn, but don’t care much for helping children after they are born. Perhaps it is easier for people to advocate for the unborn because it doesn’t cost them anything. They don’t have to feed the unborn or provide them with shelter. And after they are born and in need, they can be someone else’s problem.

Self-proclaimed Christian politicians in Washington want to pay down the national debt on the backs of the poor, the elderly and the disabled while they continue to protect generous tax breaks for the rich who are enjoying the lowest tax rates in decades.

Andrew Sullivan uses the term “Christianism” to delineate Christianity and real Christians “from their political co-opters” who have “the desperate need to control all the levers of political power to control or guide the lives of others.” Sullivan views Christianism as he does Islamism. Both, he says, “are panicked by the complexity and choices of modernity into a fanatical embrace of a simplistic parody of religion in order to attack what they see as their cultural and social enemies. They are not about genuine faith; they are about the instrumentality of faith as a political bludgeon.”

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