lunadelcorvo: (Foucault Power)
In commenting on the upcoming Day of Reason announcements (which have popped up in a number of places, but the one in question was Charlotte, North Carolina), Penny Nance, the CEO of Concerned Women for America, a right-wing women's policy group, said on FoxNews:

"You know, the Age of Enlightenment and Reason gave way to moral relativism. And moral relativism is what led us all the way down the dark path to the Holocaust…Dark periods of history is what we arrive at when we leave God out of the equation."

I kid you not. CWA boasts approximately 500K members. It was founded by Beverly LaHaye, long-time right-wing activist and wife of Tim LaHaye, author of the Left Behind series, a violent fiction series about the struggles of Christians against the anti-Christ's world government. They consider themselves the opposition to National Organization For Women, and are explicitly not only Christian dominionists, but overtly anti-feminism.

Given my familiarity with the group (read their profile here) this comment from their CEO does not surprise me. It seems to be just the most recent in a string of outright inversions of reality of "black-is-white" magnitude that have become part of the discourse lately. It happened gradually, but it is deeply significant, and goes a long way to explain how the rabidly faithful constituents of the Religious Right/GOP consistently, repeatedly, proudly vote against their own interests.

The Right has been stunningly, bafflingly successful at convincing incredible numbers of people to not merely believe, but staunchly defend and act upon things which are demonstrably, factually false. And I'm not talking the kind of demonstrably false that requires an advanced science degree, I'm talking things that are quite easy to verify. The following it a list of core principles in the right-wing, and each of them is simply false:
  • Abortion causes breast cancer
  • Birth control is abortion
  • Abstinence only education prevents pregnancy and diseases
  • Condoms don't prevent STDs
  • Atheism is the same as moral relativism
  • Climate change isn't real
  • Obama has taken more vacation days and spent more money than any other president
  • Homosexuality is a choice, and 'fixable'
  • Hitler was an atheist, and the Nazis were atheists (or gay)
  • Rape does not cause pregnancy
  • The bible/Jesus is against the minimum wage
  • America was founded as a Christian nation
  • Public schools 'teach' homosexuality
  • Obama was not born in America
I could go on and on, but you get the idea. The problem here is that this is not the radical fringe, this is a HUGE chunk of the population. (Remember, less than half of the US population thinks evolution is true.) They believe a huge array of things that are just flat-out not true, and they believe them passionately, militantly. Even aside from any opinion you may have about the dangers of religious thinking (itself based on belief in factually indefensible claims), these people have gone far beyond even religious credulity to inhabiting an entirely unreal world.

The implications of this are terrifying. A population that will believe anything...well they will believe anything. They can be made to do anything, accept anything, regard anything or anyone as evil. And the people who construct the messages then have virtually unlimited power.
lunadelcorvo: (Unclear on the Concept)
This article at DailyKos presents a sobering view of what America has, in art at least, become. The reality of life in the face of spiraling medical costs, insurance costs, unemployment, disenfranchisement of voters, renewed oppression of women and other minorities is a brutal one. That so much validity is given to the notion that assistance to those who need it is somehow evil, and that the notion that the government should exist to take care of all its people is considered corrupt and craven makes of us, all of us, a cold and brutal nation. The most obvious recent example is Ron Paul's dodge of the question of whether an individual without insurance who falls ill should be allowed to die.
To his credit, Paul did not say a sick person should be left to die, if they showed up at the hospital unable to pay. That was left to the audience. I am sure the audience, too, had seen the same jars on the same countertops time and time again, but on them it made no impact. I am sure a good portion of them attended church on Sunday, and perhaps heard a plea for a sick member of the congregation that had stopped attending church suddenly, and there may have been talk about transplants or rehabilitation or family, and perhaps they gave $10 and felt a sense of satisfaction in it, and a clean conscience.

We are not socialists, here in America. We are not like all the first world countries in Europe or Asia that believe caring for citizens in need is the duty of a government and its people, and not just a whim to be met sporadically according to our moods. We are religious, and our religion dictates that we will help only who we want, when we want, and the others can either die or be reduced to lifelong poverty. That will still grand us a clean conscience, it seems: We can show up for church on Sunday, then go to a political debate during the week and shout for the poor and the sick die already, rather than pay a penny to save them.

That is what I find so cold in Ron Paul, and in the other freedom-lovers that share the stage with him, and especially in those members of America that they so feverishly wish to cater to. They can see that their solution does not work: The evidence is in every town, every day, but it still does not matter to them. They will poke their fingers out at you, and lecture on how churches or friends or neighbors will take care of it all; if you note that churches and friends and neighbors have never, ever been able to take care of it all, they will scoff, and mutter something about freedom; if you press them on what freedom means in such a context you will, eventually, come back around to the darkest response, which is let them die.

It is cold, and dark, and miserable, and mean, and tribal, and cruel.

It never ceases to amaze me, the emotions that we will wrap up in a flag and call patriotic if it suits us. A large swath of America is made up of very cruel people, people who value their own self-indulgence over the welfare of their neighbors, and they seem uniformly to be the most pompous in their exhortations of both patriotism and godliness. They are here to defend the nation from monsters who would parcel out a modicum of support to all citizens, and not just ones they personally know of or approve of: If they help their fellow man, they want to see the person grovel for it a bit, and helping an anonymous soul is deemed not just a pointless exercise but an insult to their very freedom.

Let them die does not make a very good slogan for a bumper sticker, and so even true believers tend to shade it a bit. But even in the boldest, cruelest state, it will be applauded.
More disturbing than Paul's dodge, however, was the affirmative roar of the crowd. It was disturbing enough when the mob cheered Perry's nonchalance when asked about the number of executions in his state, and his cavalier denial of any concern over the innocence of any of those executed. Similar tirades seem to draw the same bloodthirsty furor out of audiences no matter the topic. Muslims, gays, liberals, atheists, socialists, people of color, even those 'horrid, lazy, dissolute unemployed' seem to be equally subject to the condemnation of the mob.

"Christian leaders" blaze the trails of hate and oppression. Pat Robertson advises a man to divorce his wife with Alzheimer's, because she is "all intents and purposes, already dead." Oklahoma legislator, Sally Kern, a known religious right affiliate, calls gays worse than terrorists. Massachusetts State Rep. Ryan Fattman believes that rape and abuse survivors ought to be afraid to report their assault, assuming they are undocumented. Teens are bullied to the point of depression and suicide, and the Christian right opposes measures to combat such harassment. When women are raped it's their own faults because they go out at night dressed like sluts. Black people breed too much. Kick out the Muslims, kill the gays, let the poor ask for handouts from their church or die. Gabrielle Giffords. Dr. Tillman.

The uniting characteristic of America today is blame, vilification and retribution. America loves to hate, we seem to feed on it these days. Hate drives more passion, more action, more political force than does anything else, save perhaps fear, and really, how far apart are they? How long before the rallies calling for the wrath of God to smote the unrighteous, the protests harassing those who seek reproductive freedom, the vilification of gays - how long before we recognize these as the "Two Minutes Hate" of our time?
lunadelcorvo: (Default)
THanks again to Talk2Action, a really good article that clarifies a lot of the 'media muddle' that the recent discussion of dominionism and the New Apostolic Reformation has stirred around the airwaves. Fairly short, but detailed and readable. Definitely worth a look.

| Inside the Christian Right Dominionist Movement That's Undermining Democracy
lunadelcorvo: (Celtic Queen)
Just wanted to boosT the signal on this excellent piece on National Public Radio's Fresh Air:

The New Apostolic reformation: The Evangelicals Engaged In Spiritual Warfare

It represents what I believe to be the first serious, relatively mainstream, piece on the New Apostolic Reformation to hit the airwaves. As such it is a terrifically important piece of journalism in terms of (hopefully) opening up some real dialog on what motivates the current crop of religious right movers in politics. Give it a listen: there is a streaming version and a PodCast version, or a transcript online if you'd rather read it.
lunadelcorvo: (Atheist Scarlet Letter A)
Paranoia and the Progressive Press: A Response to WaPo’s Religion Columnist's Article "Beware False Prophets who Fear Evangelicals"

This is an excellent article that deftly refutes the Washington Post's OpEd column accusing the "liberal media"* of paranoia and scare tactics in their reporting on the extreme religious views of candidates like Bachmann and Perry. However, the author also puts the realities of dominionism in today's political arena in perspective: as a real entity, with significant support, that needs to be taken seriously by meeia and voters on both left and right. Give it a read!

(*One of these days I'm going to have to make a "right wing commentary drinking game" based on every assertion that the media is liberally-slanted! [If only!])



Things I need to remember:
• Asking for help is not, as it turns out, fatal.
• Laughing is easier than pulling your hair out, and doesn't have the unfortunate side effect of making you look like a plague victim.
• Even the biggest tasks can be defeated if taken a bit at a time.
• I can write a paper the night before it's due, but the results are not all they could be.
• Be thorough, but focused.
• Trust yourself.
• Honesty, always.

Historians are the Cassandras of the Humanities



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