I was raised Catholic, so whenever I hear “The Kingdom of God,” I immediately conjure images of the Pearly Gates atop a fluffy white cloud. Next to it stands St. Peter behind a podium holding a large open book. In St. Peter’s right hand is a white feather pen. Then, I remember I’m a Queerdo, and “The Kingdom of God” as politically advanced (they call it religious freedom) by the Catholic Church doesn’t include any of us Queerdos. It’s enough to make you question what exactly is “The Kingdom of God.”
Looking around the United States, “The Kingdom of God” isn’t just politically advanced by the Catholic Church. Christians of all sorts (yes, not all, and this is particularly a Christian theological-political problem) push “The Kingdom of God” on all of us, and continue advancing legislation that strips away bodily autonomy for all people, and especially for trans folx, women, Indigenous folx, Black folx, immigrants, disabled folx, queer folx, and poor folx. The stripping of Roe v. Wade, the ever-quickening passing of anti-trans legislation in numerous states, Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay Bill” and DeSanto’s stripping of Black History from school curriculum all point to some ways Christianity is used to legislate away autonomy and civil rights.
It seems to me that “The Kingdom of God” really is hell on earth for anyone who is the target of Christians who are passing legislation harming and criminalizing women and trans, gender non-specific, queer, disabled, Black, Indigenous, immigrant, and poor peoples. And, frankly, there’s a whole hell of a lot of Christians who are passing legislation harming and criminalizing my fellow comrades.
So “The Kingdom of God Is Hell on Earth” is a statement of truth about what it’s like to be the target of those seeking to impose their Kingdom on the rest of us, those who they deem savage, barbarian, queer, weird, or different. And the only way that will ever change is if more of us become bold enough to proudly declare this truth with our voices and our bodies.
One resource for starting to understand how “The Kingdom of God” is used to create hell on earth is God Is Red by Vine Delorian Jr. It was written in 1973, and it outlines clearly the ways U.S. politics and whiteness as aided by Christianity constructed a legal structure that systematically ripped away sovereignty and autonomy from Indigenous peoples across this land. Another is The Red Deal by The Red Nation, which outlines ways we can begin to repair the harm caused through the formation of the United States.
This illustration draws from two images in the public commons. The first is a photo by Fibonacci Blue taken at the Occupy MN protests on October 7, 2011. I found it on the Internet Archive. The second is an illustration from 1870 of St. Peter's Basilica from the New York Public Library.
To learn more about Political Clowns, read "WTF is Political Clowns".