Rhetoric We Live By, Rhetoric We Bleed By

It’s that special time again! I have another wonderful guest post from the piercing, honest voice of essayist, Michael Brewer. “IF WE WERE A CHRISTIAN NATION” is written in a striking, declarative style and, I believe, with a conviction that does not detract from a well-reasoned argument. I continue to grow more and more interested in this cross-section of creative writing and non-fiction writing, opinion and fact, memoir and truth; where do these styles blur and where do they border?

This article, I feel, gets to the heart of some of these questions as it is not only a work of nonfiction in and of itself but it is a work that also seeks to challenge through its content a variety of “creative” interpretations and rewrites that we all take to our otherwise presumably nonfiction histories. For example, isn’t it interesting that as we near presidential elections, America’s “Christian culture” tends to become enhanced in certain ways, perhaps more polarizing and, certainly, more prominent and political? How do these political aspirations and social biases impact the doctrines of a religion? How does the religion impact the “facts” of current events in political and in those mythic non-political arenas? And how often do we utilize certain tidbits of truth or fact or doctrine in order to support whole new branches of thought and action, whole new bigotries and wars?

Especially considering the recent movie theatre shooting in Colorado and the even more recent shooting at the Sikh Temple in Wisconsin, we must begin to reexamine not only gun laws but also the writing and rhetoric that surround these events. After all, the way the news portrays events often dictates the way most viewers believe them to have occurred when, in fact, a simple clip of the video or odd word choice can change the entire picture.

In Richard H. Robbins’ Cultural Anthropology: A Problem-Based Approach, he discusses the many ways that war pervades American culture through American rhetoric. Consider, for example, the types of rhetoric we utilize when discussing football and cancer. We are going to “defeat” the other team. We will “battle” cancer. The way we speak and write directly impact the ways that we interact with and interpret our world.

I came up against many of these questions while writing Howling as I was consistently faced with letters and journal entries in need of interpretation and analysis. When does analysis go too far? Can readers always tell when conjuncture is at play – if not, what are the ethics of analysis and interpretation for nonfiction and/or academic authors? Are these questions and concerns that all nonfiction writers must keep in mind or are there exceptions?

Other works to consider from this vein:

-Any works by the Beats, such as Kerouac’s On the Road or Burroughs’ Naked Lunch

Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood

James Frey’s A Million Little Pieces


By Michael Brewer

“If we were a Christian nation none of the “Great Wars” of our history would have been fought.

A Christian nation would never have annihilated the American Indian Nations.

A Christian nation would never consider stealing territory from Mexico.

The Civil War would not have occurred, because a Christian nation would never abide the practice of slavery.

World War I would not have occurred because a Christian nation would have joined with other nations who claimed to be Christian to forbid the nationalistic abuses that preceded it.

World War II would not have occurred for the same reasons.

The Cold War would not have occurred because a Christian nation would never have allied itself with a Soviet Union which slaughtered more of its own citizens than any previous nation in history.  Since a Christian nation would have stoutly opposed the crimes which lead to the second Great War, it would have never armed Stalin’s state and thereby created the monstrosity of inhumanity it remained for nearly half a century.

The Korean War would not have occurred in the absence of the Cold War.

A Christian nation would have been spared the bloodshed and agony of the Civil Rights Movement, as all persons would have been treated as fundamentally worthy without regard to race or nationality.

A Christian nation would not have sent its poor and middle class sons to Vietnam to die in a futile effort to win a Cold War that, of course, would not have occurred.

A Christian nation would have been spared the War on Poverty, because a Christian nation would not allow the richest country on earth to ignore the suffering of its most vulnerable citizens.

A Christian nation would have been spared the continuing suffering and waste caused by the futile War on Drugs. There would be scant market for the underground drug trade in a society that valued humanity above material gratification and the fantastic wealth and power it brings to so few, at the expense of so many.

If we were a Christian nation there would be no politics based upon racism, bigotry and hate.

If we were a Christian nation there would be no constant political war between the super-rich and the poor.

If we were a Christian nation there would be no Catholics, no Baptists, no Unitarians, no schisms, no denominational warfare, and no one would have ever heard of Westboro Baptist Church.”

–Michael Brewer, Essayist

Thank you, Michael! Your contributions are greatly enjoyed and appreciated as always!

If you are interested in contributing a guest post or in having one contributed to your blog, please contact me at: meadwriter@gmail.com with this subject header: Guest Post Inquiry.


4 thoughts on “Rhetoric We Live By, Rhetoric We Bleed By”

    1. Thanks for the comment and the link, Evan! And I agree, there always seems to be more that could be said on this topic — it’s wild and exhausting. But it’s something we need to be discussing more and more as it becomes an increasingly more pervasive issue by the day.

      Great article, as well! Thanks again!

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