Christophrenia: Diseases of the Radical Christian Right
The essential feature of Christophrenia is a marked and persistent fear of anything and everything which is not associated with Jesus or the Christian Right as a whole. In an attempt to escape the daily challenges of living in the real world, the patient begins to construct a fantasy dreamscape in which fundamentalist religious beliefs take the place of every day common sense.
In the initial phase, Christophrenia may cause extreme anxiety or even phobic reactions when the patient is confronted with secular practices and/or traditions, often resulting in an obsessive- compulsive urge to either ban the teaching of evolution or to force public school children to recite either The Lord's Prayer or The Pledge of Allegiance. The patient may feel an overwhelming urge to make an obscene phone call to the Freedom From Religion Foundation, or, the patient may assume that Americans United for Separation of Church and State is a Statanic organization dedicated to the elimination of Fundamentalist Christianity , when, in fact it is the patient which may want to erradicte every theological belief except his or her own.
Pop singers and movie stars will often be seen as agents in a plot to destroy America or Western civilization in general, and the patient may spend hours on end conversing about the Satantic influences of the Harry Potter series. Mainstream television programs such as The Charmed Ones, Wheel of Fortune, and Sesame Street may be seen as manifestations of a vast left-wing conspiracy and the patient may feel obligated to write to the FCC about offensive programming; including, but not limitted to, Sponge Bob, Barney the Purple Dinosaur, and Buster the Asthamtic Rabbit.
On other occasions, the patient may feel compelled to steal "indecent" or immoral" publications from the shelves of public libraries in an attempt to save the public from its own purile interests. Certain patients may feel an overpopwering desire to either challenge or even ban books by Lord Bertrand Russel, J.D. Sallinger, J.K. Rowling, ad infinitum.
In the final stages of the initial phase, the patient may choose to burn CDs and DVDs that he or she may find threatening or disturbing to either him or herself or to the society at large.
In the intermediate phase the patient begins to believe that a literal interpretation of the King James Bible should be the law of the land, often resulting in confused, even self contradictory rhetoric about the Constitution and the Bible in general. For example, the patient may claim to be a loyal American one moment and then claim that Separation of Church and State is not mentioned in the Constitution.
Depending on how far the patient has advanced into the Intermediate Phase, the patient may or may not recognize the fact that the Constitution is a secular document which preserves the religious liberties of all Citizens, regardless as to the belief systems that those citizens may embrace. Other patients may come to believe that the Founding Fathers were conservative Christians who wanted to create a Christian Republic. Even when confronted with the true, Deist nature of men like Jefferson, Madison, Paine, and Franklin, the patient will continue to expouse the false belief that the Founding Fathers wanted to create a Christian Theocracy.
Other symptoms of the Intermediate phase include a sudden but persistent urges to ban Neo-Darwinism in Pubic School systems; an intense desire to fund the teaching of Creationist Superstition with tax payer dollars, and the belief that Jesus Christ was a Right Wing Republican. One belief common to all patients, in this and in subsequent phases of the disease, is the tribalistic belief that his or her faith is superior to all others. This may manifest itself in bouts of extreme megalomania or in off color remarks about homosexuals, religious dissidents, and racial minorities. Indeed, racism and homophobia are often the first diagnosable symptoms.
In the Advanced Phase the patient begins a final break with reality. At this time the patient may feel an overwhelming desire to build a two ton momumnent of the Ten Commandments infront of his or her County Courthouse. By this time the patient will have forgotten that such a momunment would by its very nature violate the provision against false idols that the Ten Commandments themselves openly condemn.
As the advanced phase progresses, the patient may be haunted by delusions of adequacy. For example. The patient may actually believe that George W. Bush is an intelligent, "compassionate conservative," even though the term "compassionate conservative" is an obvious oxymoron. The patient may claim that moral issues are the driving force in American Politics today or that the Far Right Republicans would never lie about moral issues, even though factual proof shows that the Radical Right is only interested in morality when it can either score political points or persecute a sexual morality.
Conversely the patient may come to believe that morality is limitted to the confines of the bedroom and may well accept other acts of immorality from his right wing leaders, which, in a sane society would be condemned as either destructive or just plain imbecilic.
For example, the patient may obsess over the alleged sins of abortion, and gay marriage but would feel perfectly at ease with an illegitimate war of choice that has resulted in the deaths of approximately 1,600 American troops and thousands of Iraqi Civilians. By the same standards the patient would be perfectly willing to condem homosexual acts such as sodomy, cunnilingus, and felatio, but would be perfectly wiling to accept lying, the death pentalty, and wealth redistribution to the upper classes.
In the terminal phase, the patient makes that final break from reality and developes an obsessive-compulsive affection for right wing hatemongers like Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Ted Haggard, and James Dobson. Despite visual and scientific proof to the contrary, the patient may convince him or herself that the before-mentioned individuals are fair-minded intellectuals. A few individuals may go so far as to experience sexual arrousal at the sight of burning crosses or may become euphoric whenever they hear a rousing chorus of "Jesus Loves Me" or "The Horst Wessel Song."
In the terminal phase the patient may read and/or quote the Bible whenever he or she is asked a legitimate question. Psychiatrists are advised to remember that the patient will almost invariably quote the few passages which seem to support right wing economic schemes or homophobic public policies, while ignoring the vast majority of the text which endorses love, charity, compassion, and forgiveness.
Perhaps the most disturbing trait of the terminal phase is the belief that humankind has a right or a duty to pollute the earth's ecosystems because God will eventually return to destroy the earth anyhow. Indeed, a morbid preoccupation with the endtimes, coupled with a gleeful anticipation as to who will burn in hell for all eternity, is one of the defining features of terminal phase Christophrenia. Note also that a true Christophrenic will almost invariably consider him or herself worthy of eternal salvation at the feet Jesus Christ, even when it can be demonstrated that he or she is a bigoted, narrow-minded hypocrite.
The patient may also experience visual and/or audio hallucinations. Some may see the Virgin Mary on the side of a building in Houston Texas. Others may see the Holy Mother on the surface of a cheese burger while surfing the net. Others may actually begin to believe that George W. Bush is an eloquent speaker.Indeed, as the terminal phase progresses, the thought process devolves into a series of irrational, disconnected impulses which destroy the capacity for any kind of rational analysis.
The patient may resort to prolonged sessions of prayer and or meditation as opposed to actually thinking about a given issue. The patient may convince him or herself that Richard Nixon had been a nice guy; that Ronald Reagen had been a capable leader, or that Donald Rumsfeld is a fully evolved human being.
The patient may resort to explossive episodes of hate speech to relieve the unresolved hostilities that are building up in his or her increasingly moronic psyche. Or the patient may begin to self-medicate with communion wine in an attempt to silence the voices that are telling him to read anything and everything that Anne Coulter has ever written.
Other symptoms may include the imbecillic belief that Focus on the Family is actually relevent to anyone except unmedicated psychotics, or that the Lord God wants the patient to carve a forty foot statue of the Lord and Savior out of pasteurized earwax.
Ultimately the patient descends into a form of theological psychosis and may go so far as to join the Republican Party or the Christian Identity Movement.
Regretably Christophrenia is an incredibly difficult disorder to treat. Patients invariably deteriorate to the point where logic, reason, and common sense have no discernable effect on the patient's delusional thought process. Moreover, the patient tends to act on his or her internal impulses, trying in vein to reshape society at large in the form of a Puritan Theocracy.
Some improvement may achieved through intensive deprogramming by a qualified professional. Heavy doses of Lithium in combination with Haldol, Thorazine, or other antipsychotic tranquilizers may provide temporary relief, although a permanent cure has not yet been discovered.
Hospitzalization has proven effective in that it protects society from the Christophrenic's often visceral ideas of divine vengence and social darwinism.
Violent Christophrenics may benefit from electro or insulin shock therapy, although there is a 20 percent chance that they may turn out like the warped young men and women that we see at Pat Robertson's Regent University. Ultimately the family members of a Christophrenic may benefit from intensive therapy in the form of a support group.
For additional information see Chapter 12, Diseases of the Radical Christian Right: BiPolar Evangelical Disorder