Note, though, something else of great significance about the whole Christian theology of resurrection, ascension, second coming, and hope. This theology was born out of confrontation with the political authorities, out of the conviction that Jesus was already the true Lord of the world who would one day be manifested as such. The rapture theology avoids this confrontation because it suggests that Christians will miraculously be removed from this wicked world. Perhaps that is why such theology is often Gnostic in its tendency towards a private dualistic spirituality and towards a political laissez-faire quietism. And perhaps that is partly why such theology with its dreams of Armageddon, has quietly supported the political status quo in a way that Paul would never have done.
From the vantage of a mid-1970's consensus that regarded the United States as having entered a post-Protestant era, the rise of a Religious Right dominated not only by Protestants but by fundamentalists was not the way the story was supposed to go. People like Jerry Falwell looked like party crashers who, rather than slikinking from bar to buffet in hopes of going unnoticed, demanded that the vegetarian, alcohol-imbibing hosts serve meat and tell the bartender to go home.