THE RISE AND FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE By Andre Austin I recall listening to Martin Luther Kings Drum Major speech where he said: “Every now and then I go back and read Gibbons Decline and fall of the Roman Empire, and when I come and look at America, I say to myself, the parallels are frightening”. In Gibbon's view, Christianity made for the decline and fall of Rome by sapping the faith of the people in the official (pagan) religion, thereby undermining the state, which that religion supported and blessed. To be sure, Gibbon is not blind to the fact that other cults and sects within the Empire were also competing with one another in their attempt to attract believers. As he admits, "Rome, the capital of a great monarchy, was incessantly filled with subjects and strangers from every part of the world, who all introduced and enjoyed the favorite superstitions of their native country" (Ibid. Ch. 2). However, Christianity was to be distinguished from the other flourishing sects in its claim to exclusivity, or in other words, in its claim that it alone held the key to "Truth" and to Heaven, and that all its competitors were vicious and damned. Moreover, as the early Christians believed in the imminent end of this world, they all put their thoughts in the "next" world. This otherworldly attitude proved most disastrous to the Empire during the barbarian invasions, since the Christians, instead of bearing arms to serve the state and the public good, diverted men from useful employments and encouraged them to concentrate on heavenly and private salvation. Needless to say, Gibbon's anti-Christian position aroused the fury of his Christian contemporaries. It seems to me the best way to avoid the doom of Gibbons revelation is to have one official religion. Islam is already been declared an enemy to America. But having one religion is a problem to. Voltaire warned us in his Philosophical Letters that: “If there were only one religion in England, there would be danger of tyranny; if there were two, they would cut each other’s throats; but there are thirty, and they live happily together in peace”. I guess Voltaire understood the predatory nature of anything having a monopoly of power. It seems Dubya Bush doesn’t because of his plans to make religious organizations compete against each other for federal funds and making the masses of poor people submit to them for help. I see the Bush Administration trying to make Christianity the official state religion of the United States. They don’t want to make the mistakes of the Roman Empire so only one religion will be allowed to prevail. The greatness of Christianity did not lie in attempted negotiations for compromise with any similar philosophical opinions in the ancient world, but in its inexorable fanaticism in preaching and fighting for its own doctrine. The RNC is working on numerous fronts to achieve their goals. For example: 1. Faith based initiatives 2. Vouchers for religious schools 3. Repeal federal restrictions against churches endorsing or opposing political parties. Its clear to me their goals of controlling education, law courts and ultimately the subjugation of the Hollywood cultural infection of the minds of the young. We got a little whiff of it when our Attorney General ordered the Egyptian Statue of a naked women holding up the scales of justice be covered up. The RNC knows that a lot of money is funneled to the Democrats through teachers unions and many Hollywood stars. The RNC goals aren’t based on morality its about having unrestricted development of its inner strength and its steady growth over their political competitors. The Republicans know very well they can’t advance themselves by revealing their true platform of being just for the Rich exclusive clubs of the white men. I really hate the fact that they try to use religious organizations to make themselves look good. And at the same time we might be heading towards a theocracy where priests and ministers dictate the agenda to politicians. I personally would love to see religious history taught in schools. High schools should be models of college atmosphere where the free flow of ideas are exchanged. People grow up all of their lives indoctrinated to believe in ideas without hearing or reading anything else. That’s dangerous. Why don’t we teach the multicultural aspect of the Old and New Testament borrowing from numerous cultures? I would argue that Christianity is a modified version of pagan religion. The religious fanaticism of Islam done us no good and the religious fanaticism of the religious right would be included too. But you must admit we already lost a lot of our freedom because of 911. Just think about it we lost freedom due to a warped perversion of a religious doctrine. Shall we add on this with another?