LELAND W. RUBLE
It’s not all that peculiar for the political right in the USA, to be influenced to a great extent by Christian organizations that identify more closely with a fundamentalist perspective of god, Jesus, and the Bible. This is not to deny that the political left is totally free of influence from fundamentalist religious authority. However, it has mainly been the conservative political right in this nation, represented by the Republican Party, that has been most swayed and most likely to embrace the extremism of a religious view of society, politics, and government.
While there has always been religious influence in government due to the overwhelming realization that most elected representatives in this nation, believe, or pretend to embrace religious dogmas of one sort or the other, extreme religious interference in government was at one time in our history, limited, and not as now, so enthusiastically embraced by right-wing political representatives sympathetic to the political right’s ambitious theocratic and fascist agenda.
Nearly all of the comments, arguments, and political objectives raised by the right wing in this nation are more than likely to appeal to those who view secular government as antagonistic to the creation of a society predicated on supernatural religious perceptions. Secular government has obstructed the ambitions of the religious right and made their efforts to Christianize the USA more difficult to accomplish their goals. In fact, many of the same right wing politicians are themselves converts to a strict fundamentalist religious perception of government and society. For instance, it was not surprising to note that Republican candidate for President, in 2008, Ron Paul, who describes himself as a conservative libertarian (whatever that means), said in an interview published by Mark Wagner, Sept. 5, 2007, “But to those who have asked, I freely confess that Jesus Christ is my personal Savior, and that I seek His guidance in all that I do.” Regardless of his so-called libertarian persuasion, Ron Paul’s comment puts him in the same company of his conservative comrades who also believe in an authoritarian, inconspicuous, and tyrannical sky dictator. He also is pro-life, which is at odds with the thinking of a minority of libertarians not sympathetic to the ambitions of the political right.
When asked who disbelieved in the theory of evolution, three Republican candidates for president in 2008, former Governor Mike Huckabee, Rep. Tom Tancredo, and Senator Sam Brownback, raised their hands to demonstrate that they disbelieved in evolution. It’s difficult to imagine any one of these men being elected president in the 21st. century, while maintaining belief in ancient concepts that originated from biblical Scripture written by authors with an extremely limited knowledge of the natural and scientific definitions of existence.
It’s no secret why the Republican rather than the Democratic Party, was chosen as the party most likely to sympathize with the Neanderthal concepts of religious fundamentalism. Ever since the election of Ronald Reagan, Bush l, and especially Bush ll, this political party has maintained an intimate relationship with the fundamentalist religious establishment. It also has enjoyed the widespread support and political contributions of religious zealots like the late Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, authoritarian religious despot Dr. James Dobson, and numerous other ingenious spokespersons who practice and preach a fundamentalist perception of the bible and reality.
It’s a well-known fact that America unlike the European nations, has a large population that leans perceptibly toward the fantasy of god belief, and has a very noisy, barbaric consortium of fundamentalist religious evangelists who dominate TV, radio, and mega-churches from coast to coast.
Church/State separation is not and never has been, in the USA, very effective in slowing or disrupting the massive flow of religious proselytism or the generosity of local, state, and government from contributing to the ambitions of the religious establishment. Of course, the tax-exempt status of religious property and donations greatly contributes to the religious establishment having an unequal advantage over other non-religious institutions that do not enjoy this same most generous privilege. For myself, I could never quite comprehend the rational for why the religious establishment in this or any country should not pay taxes, or be declared tax-exempt. And, in this current economic repression, why should the religious establishment not also be compelled legally to contribute to the welfare of city, state, and government by being fairly taxed for donations they receive, and for countless properties both the religious and non-religious taxpayer is taxed to make up for the enormous lost in tax-exempt religious funds. It is preposterous for governments to allow religious organizations the freedom of non-taxation, merely on the irrational basis of using their employment to inform the population that a supernatural and illusive god is a factual being with considerable ability to decide both one’s birth and destination after death. This in spite of the fact that not one member of the clergy or theologian can provide one iota of evidence for proof of a god’s existence.
How can any rational, secular government continue to allow a tax-exempt privilege to religious establishments that predicate their entire world view on a primitive, delusive perception of existence and reality? It defies credibility to think that the indoctrination, teaching, and practice of supernatural belief is considered a worthwhile enterprise so essential to humanity that it is allowed to pursue its objectives without being taxed for such absurd efforts. Who, what, or how in the remote past, was the decision that supernatural religious belief was such a worthy cause that its ambitions and efforts be exempted from taxation?
Religious belief, unlike science which contributes greatly to the welfare of civilization, is not as it pretends, some sort of moral guard against behavior that is disruptive and dangerous to the welfare of society. Indeed, the non-theist organization, Freedom From Religion Foundation (FRRF), publishes a monthly newsletter every month that contains two or three pages of current crimes committed by clergy in the USA and elsewhere. And nearly every day in the news, there is one or more reference to a member of the Islamic faith who has set off a bomb killing other members of the same faith, those of another but similar belief, or innocent people killed just because they happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. This from so-called morally religious individuals who pray constantly to an implausible god, and whose ayatollahs maintain an incredible authoritarian control over their converts.
There is not and not has been any indication that religious belief contributes to a more ideal and moral society. In fact, just the opposite exists. For instance, the Catholic Church as an example, which has been in the lucrative business of promoting its implausible theocratic interests for centuries, has in recent decades been revealed as one of the most corrupt, devious, and sinister organizations in existence for knowing, but doing nothing over the centuries to reprimand and censure the actions of clergy involved in sexually deviant behavior toward youthful members of its Church. Children, who unlike adults, are more easily manipulated by the authoritarian nature of a priest. There also is a strong suspicion that this Church and other religious establishments have for centuries been involved in devious acts, but only recently has the truth been exposed, mainly because of individuals more inclined and less fearful of unmasking religious hierarchies that no longer enjoy the dignified status and absolute authority these institutions previously exerted over their members.
The primary issues most likely to arouse the religious/political right are: abortion, gay and lesbian civil rights, stem-cell research, women’s rights, prayer in schools, the Ten Commandments on public property, local prayers before government meetings, the denial of evolution, and the election of candidates for public office who are sympathetic to the mangled beliefs of fundamentalist religious concepts. (Check the web for many other issues of concern to the religious right.) And, don’t be surprised to learn that many of those participating in the politically motivated “Tea Parties” are also attended by those who, like their spokespersons Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, and Sean Hannity, also have a fundamentalist religious perception of reality.
The question that seems most obvious of an explanation, is why do religious fundamentalists find that their theocratic ambitions can more likely be achieved through the Republican rather than the Democratic Party? Does the more liberal, less dogmatic politics of the Democratic Party present a problem for a religious fundamentalism that predicates its theology on a literal interpretation of biblical absurdity? Why would the religious Taliban in America, find that it’s ability to influence the Democratic Party, is more severely restricted, whereas its influence over the more conservative Republican Party welcomes this menacing anti-democratic abnormality? It’s most likely because the politics of this political party has over the last thirty years began to resemble more and more, not only an opposing political party, but also as a political vehicle through which the extremism of a Christian theocracy is capable of promoting its lunatic vision of an America under the influence of religious extremism.
It’s not that difficult to realize that the same ambitions that motivate Christian fundamentalists in this nation are the same ambitions and issues that motivate representatives of the Republican Party. Some of their most outspoken representatives such as Sarah Palin, are well known in the media for having religious convictions that lean severely toward a fundamentalist interpretation of biblical fantasy. If she ever became president, a remote possibility, but still a possibility, she would like former president George W. Bush, use her official status to promote a brand of archaic religious Christianity as deranged and backward as that promoted and enforced on the European continent during the centuries when both Catholic and Protestant churches were legally authorized by the then existing governments to have undue authority over human behavior and morality.
However, Palin is just one of many unhinged conservative politicians who maintain the same theofascist vision of a Christianized USA. Most of their names are known to the readers of this commentary. Everything they do in the public arena is designed to promote a theocratic vision of an America that resembles the same cockeyed vision that propels right wing radio propagandists. Shock jocks, frequently described in the media as leaders of the conservative Republican Party, such as bubblehead Rush Limbaugh, know-it-all Sean Hannity, fascist oriented media clown Glenn Beck, and countless other talk-radio jocks who daily promote a theocratic and fascist plutocratic vision of American. These are babbling, incoherent loud-mouths who depict a nightmare vision of an American that they think can only be salvaged by subscribing to the lunatic fantasy and excess of a conservative, religious politics that more likely than not, is a recipe for the end of democracy, liberty and sanity.
Make no mistake about it, over the last thirty years it has been the Republican Party that has been most motivated and accepting of the concepts generated by the efforts of the Christian Taliban in this nation. It is the same political party that makes a tremendous effort to see to it that extreme religiously oriented individuals are elected, and once seated, are expected to further the objectives of a deluded theocratic hierarchy that yearns for the day when it dominates the American landscape with a thirteenth century version of religious and political tyranny.