Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Absurdities of the 'New' Religious Right

[I'm venting about politics here. I don't usually do politics on this site, but I really just need to get this out of my system.]

I'm not ready for election season.  Doesn't it feel like we just got through the last one?  It was just so much work trying to convince people on the right that Obama is not a socialist and a Muslim, and that he is a citizen of the US.  It was also exhausting having to argue what seems to most reasonable people to be an obvious truth: Sarah Palin is arguably the least intelligent high-level politician in the country, and nobody in their right mind should be anywhere near a ticket with her name on it.

Now, a few years later, we have an angry, fanatical, anti-intellectual, right-wing political movement that is deeply disturbing to many Americans, myself included.  It's not that this group of extreme conservatives weren't a part of the last election cycle - it's that they have so much more influence in this one.  And they're even angrier now because president Obama is (supposedly) "wrecking" the country with his so-called "socialist" policies and "anti-Christian" views. This is of course crazy.  Obama is most definitely a Christian (who happens to dig American Protestant theologian Reinhold Niebuhr), he is obviously not a socialist (nobody seems to know what socialism is in this country!), and while he hasn't exactly thrilled me with his economic policies, they are far from being the reason that this country's economy is struggling today.

But I recognize that not all Republicans are with this extremist movement.  If I were a fiscal conservative who was moderate and 'balanced' on other issues, I would be considering a third party if someone like Michelle Bachmann, Rick Perry, or Rick Santorum became Obama's 2012 challenger.  These three candidates in particular hold the most radically right-wing views. Without a doubt, they are contributing to the resurrection of the religious right - and THAT is scary, folks.

Let's review some of the absurd views of Perry, Bachmann, and Santorum:

1) They don't believe in evolution: Whether young earth creationism or intelligent design, these three have affirmed a conservative religious view about science that is in no way scientific.  Not "believing" in evolution sounds about as ridiculous as saying one doesn't believe in the moon.  Scientists are about as sure of evolution as anything, yet these candidates want public schools to teach their pseudo-science alongside Darwinian evolution.

2) They don't believe in global warming: (Perry, Bachmann [comment towards the end], Santorum)
I long for the day when America wakes from their slumber on this issue. Recent polls have shown that most Americans aren't worried about global warming, and many don't "believe" it at all. So I guess these candidates are representative of the majority of this country, unfortunately. Yet something like 98% of climatologists continue to tell us that humans are causing global warming. To continue down the road away from an environmentally sustainable society will result in apocalyptic scenarios for life on this planet, within the next century.  We need a president who realizes this (Bill McKibben 2016, anyone???).

3) They believe God causes hurricanes and earthquakes in order to make people realize that 'big government' is evil: Really? REALLY!?!?!  No further comment needed I guess (except that John Cobb has a healthier perspective on God and natural disasters).

4) They are manipulatively using & abusing Christianity to get into power: When Rick Perry said at his prayer rally that Jesus wasn't political at all but was only interested in spiritual issues of salvation, I almost lost it.  Few reputable biblical scholars would agree with such an absurd statement (read this book, for example).  It's typical though of theo-capitalists to filter out the political Jesus, since he in no way lends support to the global capitalist system. But the entire event was just as disturbing: watching thousands of gullible evangelicals getting scooped up and manipulated by Perry's appropriation of Christianity for his right-wing political cause, hearing him talk about being 'called by God' to run for leadership of this country...ugh.  And now, Bachmann is visiting Christian music festivals doing similarly: supposedly just sharing her love of Jesus Christ, but transparently aiming to gain converts to her campaign.

I could list other things, such as their Islamophobic and heterosexist rhetoric.  But you get the point I think.

Seriously folks - what the hell is going on with this country?! 

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