In Rev. 19:15 (KJV), is voiced one of the defining attitudes of New Testament christianity: "And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of almighty God."
It's a carryover of the Old Testament attitude expressed in Psalm 2:9: "Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel."
Again, in Rev. 2:27: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers."
Rev. 12:5 states: "And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron."
The Abrahmic god seems to have been pissed off from day one, according to that Garden of Eden fable. Hapless mankind, supposedly created perfect and "good" just can't measure up to the demands of this temperamental deity. Like Phyllis often says, he's about ninety percent temper and ten percent mental. And when that mythological construct throws one of his tantrums, he doesn't go for a little willow switch.
Oh, no! Gotta be more emphatic than that!
That fictional paragon of supposed love and self-control grabs a sharp sword and a rod of iron and the blood and guts, mayhem and suffering flows like a river. I've even read where the blood will supposedly come up to the bridles of horses in some expected future battle. That's a horror movie scene, for sure. Fabled Dracula couldn't hold a candle to that.
The psychological overtones of that picture permeates all the abrahamic religions and veritably oozes from fundamentalist christianity. It powers state and national politics here in the USA. The Westboro Baptists are just one of the most outstanding extremes of the prevailing hard boiled, self-righteous attitude that the Bible Belt soaks in.
It's a hard boiled attitude of contempt and condemnation of anyone who doesn't bow down to the dictates of fundamentalism and grovel before an imaginary supreme diety, and those who presume to be his representatives.
When I was embroiled in my former cult, the rod of iron approach permeated everything, including childrearing and how individual members were treated. Those in power relished demeaning and humiliaating those under them. They were only following the example held up for them in scripture like the ones I quoted above. Those scriptures speak to authority and power and most of those deluded "leaders" practically orgasmed at the prospect of being made immortal and wielding the full power of a ruler under Christ.
The same attitude permeates all the cult splinters that have sprung up since. Mediocre men (it's almost always the men) lord it over all the sheep-like people who have been deluded into following them. Each vies with others to get into ever higher "alpha" positions. As soon as each goal is achieved, those under them are soon made to understand who is the exalted one and who is not. Heartless ruthlessness tends to permeate everything. (That sword is sharp, and the iron rod is thick.)
I'm not going to indulge in pointing fingers as to who, in the human realm, is most to blame for this state of affairs. It's an insidious attitude that infects slowly and soon rots the whole corpus without the deluded individual ever being aware of what has happened. After all, it's written in the scriptures that "god" acts that way, so why shouldn't they?
What isn't realized is that those scriptures are the constructs of men with mental problems of their own and those same scriptures feed a continuing round of psychological delusions that have plunged the world into an endless round of outrages and human suffering (pogroms, jihads, inquisitions, heretic burnings, and on an on). The Abrahamic religions are foremost in the promotion of these evils and it's time we recognized that fact and divorced ourselves from those evil overtones.