By D.Thomas

Jesus answered,’My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.” Pilate asked him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” [JOHN 18:36-37, NRSV]

This essay is bound to offend a lot of people; but I am writing about those who have made of the Nation an Idol, who have made the Constitution an Idol, who have made Gain an Idol, or Self their god, and who seek their own Power and Glory in the Kingdom of America, here on the earth.

The American Dream: that anyone in America, wherever they were born and with however much or little money can be anything they want to be. Guns, and land can be owned by anybody.

Anyone can rise, be successful, become rich by selling at a profit. By buying an apple for five cents and selling it for ten, and buying two and selling them for ten cents apiece, and so on in this Land of Opportunity. Hero Henry Ford mass-produced the Model-T.

Liberty, Equali– oh wait, that’s France.

Streets Paved With Gold, that’s the American Myth, its hero the Self-Made Millionaire, in a Horatio Alger’s rags-to-riches story.

Capitalism and the Robber Barons.

The White American Mythos: this is the greatest nation on earth, and its people are the righteous, who make their own ways, pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, defend their wives and houses, and think their own thoughts, believe what they determine in their own minds to be true. (Those wives will be as tough, between pregnancies, as any man when homesteading, but as soon as they have two-story houses, they’ll be happy with fine clothes and furniture, ornaments and jewels– after all, diamonds are a material girl’s best friends– and letting the men run the country.)

The God-anointed mission to spread the democratic American Way over the continent and world as a new holy people: “Manifest Destiny.”

The Europeans came to the continent to mine and harvest gold, coffee, sugar cane, cotton– to make money. Younger sons who did not inherit lands came to settle virgin land in this “New World.” As soon as there were many new, European settlers, the existing residents, the natives of the forests and plains of the continent, had to be met and fought and forced out of the way, off the lands the influx wished to farm, and make money from selling what they grew or mined or manufactured from resources on the land they now “owned”.

They invaded and conquered the continent like barbarian hordes–

My prejudice shows.

The side bar to white American history: the estimated population of native people was 60.5 million prior to 1492; by 1600, 90% had died from disease (smallpox especially, which came from Europe) and warfare. In the 19th century over half the remaining indigenous people were killed, and about 8-8.5 million Native Americans live in the U.S. today.

The American Western: the Wild West is the mythical home of the great American Cowboy Heroes– the gunslingers, the train robbers and the sheriffs, the loners, Rangers, and, vigilantes. John Wayne and Clint Eastwood getting justice done. Individualists, living by their own laws of just retribution. The action hero, avenging his family outside the Law.

Early American literature gave the world Thomas Paine, Benjamin Franklin, W.E.B. DuBois, and the American gothics of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, The House of Seven Gables, and The Crucible, Washington Irving’s Legend Of Sleepy Hollow; Edgar Allan Poe, Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, and Emily Dickenson, the recluse, and Thoreau, Walden.

In Europe, the commedia dell’arte had long used white-face for pantomime, clowns, and such characters as Pierrot, Columbine, and Harlequin. White America introduced Black-face as entertainment: the songs and dances originated with the Black slaves, but in theaters for whites, only white actors could entertain white audiences, and I suspect that while the white people loved the music, they would not admit to admiring the (supposedly “inferior”, “3/5ths human”) musicians, and the problem was solved by the minstrel shows, where white singers and dancers and clowns made themselves up to look, mockingly, like Negroes and performed the songs professionally, toured and some became famous, and even starred in Hollywood’s first Talkie.

America is also birthplace of the new religion of Mormonism, which is roughly Christian, but with additions: the prophet Nephi of Jerusalem is said to have sailed to the American continent in 600 B.C., and his and his descendants’ writings were passed down, and Jesus’ visit to them on the new continent recorded; after hundreds of years the prophet Mormon copied the writings onto sheets of metal or gold tablets, and passed these on to his son, Moroni. In 1823 Joseph Smith was visited by Moroni, now an angel, who told him where to find and how to translate the tablets, which became the Book of Mormon, followed by the Latter Day Saints to this day. They profess to be Christian, believing in Christ and the Holy Spirit and God the Father Who has a wife.

Last month on Facebook, someone put up an illustration a Gospel of Luke text (Luke 10:19) about Jesus giving the disciples the power to tread on serpents (I don’t recall why or to what purpose this was posted, but); I was struck by the picture, a drawing of a bare foot coming down upon a rattlesnake. Echoing the image of the rattlesnake who says “Don’t tread on me.”

The Gadsen Flag: the snake has raised its head, about to strike; the tail is up, rattling. Under its coils is the motto, “Don’t Tread On Me”.

In this century, this flag is being waved by Libertarian, southern, and Conservative groups, and it rankles, raises the back-of-the-neck hairs of others the way that the waving of the Confederate flag does, crying (to many) Racism and White Supremacy.

“Now the serpent was more crafty than any other wild animal that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, ‘Did God say, “You shall not eat from any tree in the garden”?’ The woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; but God said, “You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die.” ‘ But the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not die; for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like gods, knowing good and evil;'” [GENESIS3: 1-5.]

Didn’t Martin Luther King Jr. say that the logical end of racism is genocide?

Should we ask Black Elk or Sitting Bull?

The imagery, the symbolism of the snake daring or threatening any who would tread on or strike it on the head rattled me (the arrogance! The evil?) I was more shaken when my research showed that, while the South has most commonly used or claimed it, the flag in fact comes from the Revolutionary War. The snake, rattlesnake especially, was already a symbol of America for the revolutionaries as representing those who would not back down when provoked, or if their rights were infringed upon, insisting on individual rights and freedom.

But beware of those who speak with forked tongues.

“The LORD said to the serpent, ‘Because you have done this, cursed are you among all animals…I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will strike your head, and you will strike his heel;'” {GEN. 3:14a, 15.]

The flag is credited to Christopher Gadsen, a slave owner and slave-trading politician from South Carolina.

Tragic irony in this: the Revolutionaries who wrote the great documents of human rights and humanistic, elected rule shipped, bought, sold, used and abused Black humans even as they signed their Declaration and penned its Constitution. Thanks to a friend obsessed with the musical Hamilton, I know that John Laurens, for one, pushed for the Constitutional abolition of slavery at the birth of the revolutionary nation.

The American Revolution was one of the strangest of all time for that matter: it was not a case of oppressed, colonized peoples fighting to be free of the colonizing European Empire, but the white European emigrants fighting their own countrymen and king, to be free of the taxes and authority of their governing British homeland.

What was truly revolutionary was the establishment of elected governors and rulers without hereditary seats or titles, and without classes of white property-owning males, a government based on humanism, which had spread through Europe through the Renaissance years of exploration and ocean voyage, the rise of city-states and scientific astronomy, and the printing press and translations of the Bible into spoken languages, and the Reformation this heresy, as it was thought, provoked. .

But: think of Mount Rushmore: was any monument to ruling men so grandiose built since the Pyramids?

( I can honestly say that I grew up confusing, or thinking them the same: the Founding Fathers and the Patriarchs, “God’s Country” and “The Promised Land,” and I was an adult, probably dating someone in retail before I realized that “Black Friday” was not another, better name for “Good Friday”.)

The greatness of the American documents and the founders’ ideas and ideals I do not argue, and a mark of its greatness is: that I will hit “Publish” and this essay will be online for anyone in the world to read, and I have no fear of being arrested for it or detained, or shot.

Of course, I am cis-gender, hetero, and white.

In 1700 there were around 30,000 enslaved Africans in north America and Britain; by 1770, slaves were about a fifth of the total colonial population; between the War for Independence and the Civil War, the number of enslaved humans rose from 700,000 to 4 million.

And Cotton was King.

Economics trumped human rights.

Gain is always for Ego, as is Power which must be Power Over others, if it is not the humble healing power of the spiritual children of God and true followers of Christ Jesus, who with his great power and authority over demons and diseases and storms, washed his disciples feet and let himself be beaten and, though he could call upon legions of angels at any moment, let himself be crucified by Roman soldiers.

(“Betrothed” by D.KT.)

Ego is fragile, and must be protected from others and from knowledge of itself– what we cannot face about ourselves, what we have felt or thought or done that is shameful or against everything we believe and profess becomes hidden; what we reject and hide “in” our unconscious is or becomes, in Jungian terms, our Shadow; our Shadow, hated by our Ego-selves for being abhorred by the cultural Super-ego (of Law and mores imposed from without, from parents, schools, religions, and laws), is what we tend to see in our enemies, is that which we try to eradicate by converting or killing our enemies, be they bloodthirsty savages, godless communists, subhuman inferiors, Scarlet Women, the Red Dragon, or the Church. We each have our own personal projections, and groups which have group or national spirits have group and national projections of what they exclude and hate. Ego hides Shadow. The way to “remove” the undesirable Shadow is: to bring it out to the light, to let the light shine on it; to name it, admit it, and to let it be healed and transformed.

“For there is noting hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open,” [LUKE 8:17].

What is the Shadow hiding? What is our vulnerability? Our fear? Is hatred not fear striking out?

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because He first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates his brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And He has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister;”[1JOHN 4:18-21].

Tyrants fear showing weakness.

In these days of political extremism in America, of book banning and rollbacks of Women’s reproductive rights and environmental protections, it seems that it is “white man’s” fear of losing his freedoms, advantages, ways, his superiority in the world, the nation, his own home (if women can rule their own lives and bodies) which has the snake still and now rattling his tail and lashing out at aliens and others. The Other is the Enemy, and in political seasons is made to be the enemy of anyone who is “Our” friend, the Enemy of those “like us” who want to keep America great for the ones for whom it has been so for lo these two hundred-plus years; the Enemy might be those Communists, Feminists, Gays, Blacks, Jews, Socialists, Chinese people responsible for COVID and Latinos who are trying to come in illegally to take our welfare checks and jobs– they are all out to destroy ‘merican, John Wayne Culture.

There is Power in the Spin: who controls the narrative, gives which facts from what angles, leads our decisions.

We fear weakness: we all fear being helpless and alone.

Men have deified “Mother” (and her child, Youth?); which has proved double-edged.

Women have sacrificed themselves to Marriage to prevent being unwanted and all alone.

Of course these I am making sweeping generalities that do not fit every white person. Always, there have been humble and fair and good Christ-loving, God(-as-they-understand-Creator-God)-loving people of all stations, genders, races who love mercy and act justly, and white people– William Lloyd Garrison, Harriet Beecher Stowe– pressed for the abolition of slavery all along, and helped runaway slaves escape north, and stood, marched, ate with Martin Luther King Jr., and fight oil and gas extractors to preserve natural habitats and wilds, and to defend women’s rights to life, liberty, and pursuit of survival, and mental health, work, and a reasonable happiness in this life. In the Civil War there was Clara Barton; in the “South” there was Flannery O’Connor showing sin, Carson McCullers showing hearts, Tennessee Williams, William Faulkner, Truman Capote showing psyches, shadowy patches.

It is my belief that the healing power of Christ Jesus, through Great Holy Spirit, can heal the worst sicknesses and forgive the ugliest crimes, and make any human new, starting the moment one cries out for help repenting of the old.


The United States has more guns than people. There have been, as I write, more mass shootings than days so far this Year of our Lord 2023. And states are banning books.

The flash points of Poltics and American society come down to: Who regulates the births and deaths.

(Is the Shadow of the White American Ego, the “White Devil?”)

Who controls Population has Power.

(Is the Shadow of the great Democracy, White Supremacy? And of equal rights, force at gunpoint?)

The rattlesnake still strikes me as a symbol more of evil than of good or God.

“A great portent appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pangs, in the agony of giving birth. The another portent appeared in heaven: a great red dragon…Then the dragon stood before the woman who was about to bear a child, so that he might devour her child as soon as it was born. And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to shepherd all the nations… her child was snatched away and taken to God and to his throne; and the woman fled into the wilderness…And war broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels fought against the dragon…The great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world–he was thrown down to earth, and his angels were thrown down with him…the dragon was angry with the woman, and went off to make war on the rest of her children, those who keep the commandments of God and hold the testimony of Jesus;” [REVELATION 12: 1-9, 17.]

“The seventy returned with joy, saying, ‘Lord, in your name even the demons submit to us!’ He said to them, ‘I watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning. See, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy;’ “[LUKE 10: 17-19.]