"The price of seeking to force our beliefs on others is
that someday they might force their beliefs on us."
Dichotomy or Incongruity???
One question that I have is why is there a big increase in the religious agenda in US politics in the last 40 years especially? The US was founded with separation of church and state as a strict ideal and over the last century there have been attempts to chip away at that foundation and with things like additions of “in God we trust” supplanting “Epluribus Unum” on the currency and “under God” supplanting “Indivisible” in the pledge of allegiance. Because of these things and no doubt other grey areas, it looks to some as though this is a Christian Nation or at least a godly one. These are just a few examples, just symbolic changes, and the Fundamentalist Christians are now using them to claim the US was founded as a “Christian” nation.
Conservatives in this country can’t get elected to high offices any longer without the approval of the religious right it seems, (otherwise John McCain would be president instead of Obama) and we have a huge gap financially developing between the truly wealthy and everyone else. It’s so wide a gap that many are claiming the middle class is disappearing altogether.
So I ask why and I propose the answer: some have decided to try to use religion as justification for their wealth and for the continued promotion of laws and policies which keep them wealthy.
"How can you have order in a state without religion? For, when
one man is dying of hunger near another who is ill of surfeit,
he cannot resign himself to this difference unless there is an
authority which declares 'God wills it thus.' Religion is
excellent stuff for keeping common people quiet."
The fact that we have the unfortunate works of an Atheist – Ayn Rand author of “Atlas Shrugged” that have stimulated a whole bunch of other people to be supporting her weird social Darwinist policies in government, only serves to confuse the issues and give the religious right something Atheist to point to in their defense. The conservatives and religious’ use of Ayn Rand as cover should not protect them from the justified defense of separation of church and state.
(And it should be noted Ayn Rand never adequately addresses why the poor who are starving to death, aren’t rioting in her world – but then perhaps her world is the just the point of view of the wealthy elite in the Hunger Games. As in: if we don’t see it, then it didn’t happen, and we don’t have to care, which is a very un-Christian view of the world. If any such Religious right politicians have not in fact read their New Testaments but have read Ayn Rand, then that explains why they have this huge blind spot. Jesus as portrayed in the New Testament was clearly against the tyranny of wealth. In fact if you had Jesus and Tyler Durden from Fight Club in the same room it would be fun to see which one would win in the fight over how to unshackle the world from rampant consumerism – but I digress.)
To put a personal spin on this, I remember meeting in the early nineties a young woman who had done volunteer work for an organization called “Fundamentalists Anonymous” (FA) This organization was trying to help people who were trapped in a Fundamentalist Church, to help them get out – it was almost like rescue from a cult as in these folks felt they could not just stop because they would lose everything, spouses, children, homes, all their friends. Anyway my friend related one story of a time when she spoke with one of these people trying to get out. She said they told her their church in all its efforts, witnessing, revivals, indoctrination etc. their church as a part of a larger organization of their faith, had a plan and an overall goal of controlling the US government by the end of the century.
Yeah sounded like wacky conspiracy material to me as well,and I didn’t give it much thought until a few years later when I ran into a website: rickross.com -a site about cults and getting out of cults, and his site mentioned Fundamentalists Anonymous. His site said that they were now owned and run by Scientologists. Not long after that the Rick Ross site made some mention of legal issues concerning FA that made me scratch my head over it even more, but I was distracted and didn’t follow up on it until probably another 10 years later when I hunted and found no further sign of them on his site. Further hunting and pecking led me to believe that FA still existed but that whatever the legal battle had been about, it had been all wrapped up with a tidy non-disclosure agreement silencing all parties involved.
- Apr 8, 2014 - rickross.com was originally purchased in 1996 and is owned by well-known cult expert and intervention specialist Rick Ross http://www.cultnews.com/
- The Rick A. Ross Institute for the Study of Destructive Cults, Controversial Groups, and Movements has officially changed its name to The Cult Education Institute for the Study of Destructive Cults, Controversial Groups and Movements.
- The new domain name entry point and gateway to the Internet archives of the institute is now culteducation.com.
What conclusions could I draw from all this? Well for one, I suck as a hard hitting aggressive reporter, as in, I’m obviously not one! - but then again even journalists have to obey the law. Still someday I hope to find out what the real deal on this issue was and I hope there was a happy ending for FA or will be because if they’re still owned and operated by a religious organization then they’re not going to be a very good source of help for those who really need help getting out of a poisonous religious pit.
The other conclusion I’ve come to is where there’s smoke there’s fire – and there’s definitely something hinckey going on with the republican party and it’s not just Rush Limbaugh’s breath. Used to be I’d listen to the republican party and yeah they’re all politicians so I’d take everything they say with a grain of salt but I’d listen to both sides. I’d sometimes vote republican if I liked the candidate and at that time I identified myself as independent. I’d deliberately vote the opposite party into the congress just to try and force compromise, because I believe compromise is an important part of our political process.
Then the nineties and Newt Gingrich happened, starting the polarizing ball rolling down the aisle that shall not be crossed any longer it seems. Then more and more the Republican’s have embraced or maybe been bought by the religious right. (I would have voted for McCain if he hadn’t chosen Palin as his running mate.) Now I shudder at how many ridiculous things I hear coming out of the mouths of conservative politicians. They seem to have developed a permanent case of foot in mouth disease. So I stopped that practice of voting for compromise. I feel as though I no longer have a choice if I want to see anything get done in Washington, and that makes me sad.
So my message to the religious right – the more things become polarized, the more stark the differences between the haves and the have nots, between the reasonable and the irrational, and the sharper these definitions of light and dark, then the harder it is to hide ulterior motivations and the more active your opposition will become. As a magician would say, you can’t distract your audience the same way for every trick, or eventually they’ll catch sight of your slight of hand. So you’ll either have to take over both political parties or come up with some new moves. I’m not one of those who cares if your organization exists except in how it interferes with the proper function of our government. Another words you keep your religious hegemony out of my republic and I’ll keep my chocolate out of your peanut butter. . .
To the rest of the conservatives, learn to spot incongruity at least so you can control your own presentation and set yourselves apart from the religious’ tools in the political sphere. (Hint there was a hell of a lot of incongruity in the last sentence of the previous paragraph. If you can’t figure it out there then you are way worse off than I thought.)
And if you can’t come out against religion in your politics at least have the balls to acknowledge that Atlas Shrugged is fiction, and not a good model for a healthy society. Unless of course you’re one of those “incongruous” politicians who is not actually in it to improve the world? but to line your pockets? In which case, I suppose keep on the way you are – all the better for us to identify you later on.