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Those words end a column by Charles M. Blow titled Indoctrinating Religious Warriors.   He uses the data from the recent Pew Poll on Public views on Evolution that shows increasing numbers of Republicans rejecting evolution while increasing numbers of Democrats accept it.

Blow quotes Gregory Paul from a piece in Evolutionary Psychology as writing

“The level of relative and absolute societal pathology in the United States is often so severe that it is repeatedly an outlier that strongly reinforces the correlation between high levels of poor societal conditions and popular religiosity.”
Certainly we can note the simultaneous increase in economic inequality, the increasing tilt of the Republican party towards White Evangelical Christians (only 27% of whom believe in evolution), the rise of the Tea Party influence within the Republican party, and the rejection of said party of anything resembling a social safety net.

Blow puts it bluntly:

But I believe that something else is also at play here, something more cynical. I believe this is a natural result of a long-running ploy by Republican party leaders to play on the most base convictions of conservative voters in order to solidify their support. Convince people that they’re fighting a religious war for religious freedom, a war in which passion and devotion are one’s weapons against doubt and confusion, and you make loyal soldiers.
Please keep reading.

There is nothing new in the powerful manipulating the less powerful in order to maintain or increase their own power.   We saw it in the South for years when the powerful were Democrats, of pitting poor Whites against Blacks, painting the latter as threats while simultaneously inferior, in order to maintain the votes of poorer whites.  We also saw it used as a rationalization for so-called "right to work" laws as tools of the "reds" as a means of preventing ordinary working people from organizing and bargaining collectively.

The Pew Data, to which Blow refers quite a bit in the column, describes those who take exteremely conservative positions on a wide range of issues -

on the size and role of government, on economics, foreign policy, social issues and moral concerns
- as "staunch conservatives" who will likely agree with the Tea Party (including on Barack Obama) and rely upon Fox News as their primary source of information on politics, government and society.  And as Blow reminds us,
Fox has helped to ingrain the idea that Republicanism and religiosity are embattled and oppressed, fighting for survival against the forces of secular extremists.
This includes the non-existent "war on Christmas" so beloved by Bill O'Reilly.  It includes the notion that Christians in the United States are somehow persecuted (while ignoring things like anti-Muslim bias and even hate crimes perpetuate by some in the name of Christianity).  

Near the end of the piece, Blow reminds us of Newt Gingrich responding in one debate to a question on bigotry by pivoting and attaching "secular" bigotry:

“The bigotry question goes both ways, and there’s a lot more anti-Christian bigotry today than there is concern on the other side, and none of it gets covered by the news media.”
Here I want to pause for a moment.

This website, despite the existence of many of faiths that span the range of religions and spiritualities in this society, harbors a fair number of people who on a regular basis "diss" all religion and demean those who follow religions as believing in fairy tales, or worse.  While those of us participating here understand that this site includes a wide range of opinions on many subjects, those expressions can be and are cited as "proof" that people on the left are hostile to religion.  I am NOT suggesting that such expressions are improper, although I might point out that they can be counterproductive in a political context.

While in recent years there has been only one avowed atheist in the US Congress (Pete Stark), and while there are Democrats of some visibility who are clearly very religious, some on the political right will cite the most extreme examples they can find to try to make their point.  Tim Kaine took time off from his studies to be a Catholic missionary in Honduras.  Catholic doctrine opposes capital punishment - which if you consider it, makes sense, because an execution seems to deny the possibility that condemned could reform and be saved by the power of crucifixion and resurrection.   Kaine's Republican opponent in his gubernatorial race, Attorney General Jerry Kilgore, tried to attack Kaine as therefore being unwilling to carry out a capital sentence, using this obnoxious ad:

While unlike the famous Willie Horton ad, the murder was not shown as part of the television ad, take a guess as to the race of the murderer, whom you can see here

Kaine pushed back and the Kilgore ad backfired.

Lest you have any doubt, the issue of capital punishment plays as a way to protect against "those" people who are not "like us"- in other words,those viewed as "other" who can be painted as a threat and used as a mean of manipulating people through fear.

The same can be done with science, particularly if the scientists can be portrayed as atheists.

Blow provides a link to this, put out by  the Liberty Institute and the Family Research Council, which begins with an open letter to the American people stating

Your most basic rights are being gravely threatened. This threat is coming in the form of a tidal wave of government-driven hostility to religious liberty in America. Such hostility is a tsunami which—if it reaches shore—will sweep away all your other liberties.
Take time to look through the piece, starting with the complete opening letter.

Know that the two organization also maintain this web site, which continues to fan the flame of supposed suppression of Christian liberty by an oppressive government (led of course by THAT man, with his strange name and . . . .  although they don't come out and say it).

I will suggest that when Blow provides a link, it is usually worth following. It very much is in this case, because after all, you should always know your enemy.  And whether or not you view those on the political right, especially those doing this kind of manipulation, as other than misguided or even as the crassest of political opponents, but not as someone to be opposed as sworn enemies, take them at their words - they view you as an enemy to be crushed.  They have sworn to do all in their power to achieve their aims.

Which leads to Blow's final paragraph, from which I obtained my title:  

This is a tactic to keep the Republican rank-and-file riled up, to divert their attention from areas of common sense and the common good. After all, infidels are deserving of your enmity, not your empathy.
Whether or not we are personally hostile to organized religion as a whole, or to particular expressions of religion, it does not matter to these people.  Yes, there are those who are being manipulated through fear.  Some of those doing the manipulation are cynical -  people like the Koch brothers using religion to foment opposition to science that might minimize their profits.  Others truly believe in what they espouse and are willing to urge the use of force if necessary to impose their particular viewpoint.  That they turn to those like David Barton who have no understanding of what the Founders actually believed in order to claim "history" for their interpretations of our founding documents is another part of what confronts us.

Simply remember, that to many of those, either those being manipulated through fear, and to too many involved in doing the manipulation, we are "infidels" and as Blow tells us

infidels are deserving of your enmity, not your empathy

Peace?

Originally posted to teacherken on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 04:10 AM PST.

Also republished by Progressive Atheists.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (123+ / 0-)

    "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

    by teacherken on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 04:10:54 AM PST

  •  Denial of the Christian Hegemony in the US (28+ / 0-)

    A study conducted by U of Minnesota Professor Peggy Edgell contained two questions regarding attitudes toward various minority groups.  The responses to these questions are interesting in light of teacherken's observations.
    This group does not at all agree with my vision of American society...
    Atheist: 39.6%
    Muslims: 26.3%
    Homosexuals: 22.6%
    Hispanics: 20%
    Conservative Christians: 13.5%
    Recent Immigrants: 12.5%
    Jews: 7.6%

    I would disapprove if my child wanted to marry a member of this group....
    Atheist: 47.6%
    Muslim: 33.5%
    African-American 27.2%
    Asian-Americans: 18.5%
    Hispanics: 18.5%
    Jews: 11.8%
    Conservative Christians: 6.9%
    Whites: 2.3%

    Any Jackass can kick down a barn. It takes a carpenter to build one. - Sam Rayburn

    by Old Gray Dog on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 04:32:46 AM PST

    •  thanks, but does not seem like (9+ / 0-)

      it is getting that much attention from others.  So be it.  At least I made the effort to make others aware of the Blow column

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 05:19:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  57% of Goopers essentialy believe Earth is flat (5+ / 0-)

        Their party "leadership" and its house TV network encourages them to hold this fantasy.  To make matters worse, the rank and file are encouraged to believe that those who argue in support of long-established scientific fact on the earth's origins are somehow oppressing the rank and file.

        The people who believe that this planet is only a few thousand years old tend to be the ones who also believe that human activity isn't cooking the planet.  The same people who encourage the creationist fantasy also encourage skepticism about global warming.  In both cases, the GOP and its house TV network convince the rubes to view objective evidence w/ disdain.

        This disturbing state of affairs offers an obvious lesson as to why "bipartisanship" is a dead end.

        Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?

        by RFK Lives on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 09:22:02 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Wrong! (not you) (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Minnesota Deb, Ahianne, joynow
          The people who believe that this planet is only a few thousand years old tend to be the ones who also believe that human activity isn't cooking the planet.
          Yes, for two reasons, IMO:

          1. God will step in and save them from themselves, before it's too 'late.'
          2. If you take that denial position, you won't have to vote for any Democrats/atheistic socialists who are bound and determined to run conservative Christians out of the country.

          My responses:

          a) Number 1 is hubris on steroids. In Genesis the first creation story concludes with the comment, "...God beheld his creation, and it was very good." Therefore, why wouldn't those of faith do all in their power to save that creation from abuse? To do otherwise is an insult to God. And these folks believe that God will intervene and save them despite their total lack of regard for the home he has given them? Right...
          b) Number 2 totally disregards the command of Christ to "...love your neighbor as yourself..." (maybe they really hate themselves, so can't accomplish that Jewish and Christian mandate). Also, this persecution complex is laughable in light of what true martyrs did in relation to the faith.

          You meet them halfway with love, peace, and persuasion ~ And expect them to rise for the occasion...

          by paz3 on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 01:09:51 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Ah, but not THEIR Bible, which likely will not res (0+ / 0-)

            emble most other folks when you understand that tho the words are the same, they add footnotes which contain the 'real' meanings so that up is down, evil is good, etc.

            It never ceases to amaze me how all these cultists claim to be Protestants yet let their preacher tell them what the Bible means and God wants.

      •  Tipped, Wrecked (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        doingbusinessas

        and Twittered!  This is really terrible in its simplicity.  A deliberate attempt to keep a certain class of people scared shitless, in order to keep one's own hands on the economy.

  •  One of your best Ken (7+ / 0-)

    Give it a chance to catch.

  •  An important topic (18+ / 0-)

    A big chunk of the population is brainwashed to the point of no return to sanity. I'm doing some remodeling for an older couple, they listen to "Joy FM" all day. John Hagee and Billy Graham books all around. They HATE Obama, thinking he is taking over the country somehow. They are both retired schoolteachers! I wonder how in the hell they came to this! They want me done by 4 so they can watch religious programming on the teevee - so sad.

  •  There is more there than meets the eye (14+ / 0-)

    Sometimes the religious remnants in old friends rise in surprising ways.  Recently, for example, a couple with whom I have been good friends for years asked me to host their son's christening at my home for their family and friends.  I have a 24' x 36' living room and my sister's boyfriend is an ordained minister, making me a logical choice as organizer and host for a 30+ person event.  

    I was delighted to help, of course, but surprised to hear the husband describe his goals for this event in terms of original sin.  Original Sin!  If you had asked me whether or not he was religious, I would have said he had a Protestant upbringing, but that he was generally agnostic.  But, there was a deeply held religious belief structure buried in his worldview.  Now his son's soul was in mortal jeopardy without an official ceremony, conducted by ordained clergy.  I suspect that he was surprised; I know his wife was.  

    I also suspect that this is more common that simple polling, and even a longer friendship relationship, reveals.  Those surprising buried beliefs seem to me to be the anchor to which plutocratic control efforts are tying their manipulative propaganda.  Maybe that is why enmity seems to be easier to stir up and sustain than empathy.

    •  let me posit another example (21+ / 0-)

      remember Obama getting in trouble for the comment in SF about people clinging to their guns and God?

      As people see the possibility of the American dream disappearing, as they become less financially secure, they go looking for someone to blame.  There is a tendency to want to return to something you feel has roots, gives you a sense of continuity.  The powers that be that are manipulating people understand this  and it gives them a two-fer:  they get to deflect attention away from where it should be, on them, a la Occupy, and at the same time it gives them a powerful force to turn against their political and social opposition.

      If that seems cynical, perhaps, but I also think it is highly accurate

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 05:41:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Agreed TK, (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        salmo, ZedMont

        and the folks I referred to are perfect examples.

      •  Religion is the last "refuge" which manipulators (21+ / 0-)

        resort to stir passions they can use to further their ends. It is a constant in world history. The Thirty Years War, a brutal and downright horrifying (Magdeburg (1631)) "religious war," was a war of princes for power.

        Even so now, over many parts of the world and right here in the "land of liberty" where those that would promote "tyranny over the mind of man" use the words of Jefferson to promote that tyranny. Ironic that the quote is from a letter to a friend about Christian clergy much like the man misusing the quote in the link. The quote, from a pretty good summary:

        The delusion… on the clause of the Constitution, which, while it secured the freedom of the press, covered also the freedom of religion, had given to the clergy a very favorite hope of obtaining an establishment of a particular form of Christianity through the United States; and as every sect believes its own form the true one, every one perhaps hoped for his own, but especially the Episcopalians and Congregationalists.  The returning good sense of our country threatens to abortion their hopes, and they [the preachers] believe that any portion of power confided to me [such as his being elected President], will be exerted in opposition to their schemes.  And they believe rightly; for I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the minds of man.
        While I personally deny being an atheist only because I cannot prove and rationally cannot conceive of anyone ever proving non existence of some form of supernatural force and am thus in the "ignorance and apathy" category, I do not mind even downright weird personal convictions of religion.

        When those personal convictions are driven by some missionary spirit to impose them on others? Use government to impose those by law? Eternal hostility and enmity are good descriptions. My tolerance ends.

        I do not think our religious tolerance should ever extend to those desiring to impose their peculiar religious beliefs on others by law. History has too many examples of the results of mixing religion and the state, the Thirty Years War being one in our own history as bitter or more so than internal disputes between factions of Islam we see in Iraq and elsewhere today.

        The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

        by pelagicray on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 06:17:20 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  thoughtful comment (8+ / 0-)

          to which I want to add a distinction, not necessarily offering it as a criticism of what you wrote

          I would agree about those who attempt to impose BY LAW their particular viewpoint

          we do have to allow simultaneously for those who seek to persuade and those who choose not to be subject to such persuasion

          it is yet another illustration of the idea that the rights of one person end at the point of the nose of another person

          Free exercise guarantees a right to preach one's viewpoint, but not to the point of interrupting someone else's right, say, to listen to a concert or sit in a cafe or bar without being subject to it

          and since the 1st Amendment speaks only of government being restricted (since the application of the Bill of Rights to the states and local governments is now well established) that does NOT prevent a private business owner from restricting preaching at his.her place of business.

          What is less clear is how far that businessman can go in imposing an establishment - that is, to cite a current example, claiming his religious beliefs as a reason not to allow birth control to be included as part of a company-funded health care plan.  While I am incline to say that he should not be able to do so, I suspect that the legal precedents are not all that clear.

          "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

          by teacherken on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 06:36:49 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Agreed. Also agreed are the real issues on both (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            teacherken, Laurel in CA, salmo, SuWho, Ahianne

            sides at those bleeding edges where public/private religious principles meet as with certain employer's efforts to avoid participating in something they personally or collectively oppose.

            On that issue I tend to go back to court decisions throughout our history of personal and collective business desires to not participate in the general society and its organized expression, the government of the people. I has been over fifty years since such cases were a topic in a seminar course on constitutional law with a visiting federal appellate judge as teacher but I remember such cases (WW I) era I believe, in which both individuals and businesses sought to not support war by opting out of taxation or economic war programs. The decisions were finely expressed. They had a right to personally oppose, even speak out, but not to opt out of lawful and general taxation and restrictions supporting the war.

            As for mission work, with missionaries in the family tree, I have a general disfavor with one exception. If I remember my religious upbringing correctly the best form of mission work is to live a life demonstrating the ideal, walk the walk and be quietly judicious in talking the talk. Some of the bravest people I've heard about have been medical missionaries or those trying to improve the lives of impoverished people who largely let the work itself be their "preaching." On a personal level, when missionaries knock on my door whether Mormon or Witnesses I've little problem unless my "No thanks" is not sufficient. A few that have insisted, even to the point of knocking again or in one case hunting me down in my yard, are rather lucky to not have had a life changing experience of an unpleasant kind and one or two may have had minor memorable experiences.

            As for today's "Christian right" my immediate enmity is quite close to the surface. Tolerance is close to zero. They are as unwelcome in my life as the Taliban, their kin of another religious stripe.

            The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

            by pelagicray on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 07:05:04 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  The most objectionable tactic to which these (0+ / 0-)

              door knockers have now resorted is to have their small children (age 5 or so) stand in your doorway and beg you to "be saved so you won't go to hell".  My contempt for these cretins knows no bounds.  They trade on the fact that I am very reluctant to vent my feelings (in the Queen's English) while in presence of small children.

              When all else fails, try thinking!

              by edtheengineer on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 11:44:47 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Could be less than comfortable parents! (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                WheninRome

                Keep some seeds for the kids and sweetly plant them.

                I don't believe in an afterlife, so I don't have to spend my whole life fearing hell, or fearing heaven even more. For whatever the tortures of hell, I think the boredom of heaven would be even worse.
                Isaac Asimov

                Or maybe a kindly child appropriate paraphrase of this—with the hint that just maybe the "despising" and predicting hell for others is an evil that might be the road there.

                The supreme satisfaction is to be able to despise one's neighbor and this fact goes far to account for religious intolerance. It is evidently consoling to reflect that the people next door are headed for hell.
                Aleister Crowley

                Give a little hell back. Dinner that night?

                Who knows, maybe enough of hellish five year old questions will kill the practice.

                The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

                by pelagicray on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 12:41:47 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  Those historical examples (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          salmo

          barely resemble the passive-aggressive fight between believers and secularists in first world societies.

          •  They clearly represent the danger of mixing state (9+ / 0-)

            and religion in a serious way. While we have benign examples today in the West, Church of England as one example, seriously mixing the two by enforcing peculiar religious views through force of law has been the source of blood and hate over history right up to a nanosecond ago somewhere in the world.

            Of some interest was a paper I recall that noted our founders had Magdeburg as fairly recent history. Think a moment. Slaughter in Magdeburg 1631, end of Thirty Years War—and the echoes of devastation lasted long after—1648. So, for those gentlemen of some age gathering in 1787 Philadelphia we have 1787-1648=139 years. That for them is thus our collective knowledge of 1875, ten years after our own blood soaked civil war. They knew, well beyond taxes supporting the English state church, the danger. Separation of church and state was by no means some incidental afterthought.

            Further deep polarization in this country with the religious right's dream of a religious state in effect will I think have a similar if perhaps slightly more civilized reactive result. And, yes, as I've often sworn to uphold the Constitution, if some of these people tried to form a Dominionist state I'd react (or considering my age try to) even by taking up arms. We are not by any means immune from the kind of thing that has torn other seemingly advanced and civilized countries into chaos.

            The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

            by pelagicray on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 07:26:05 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  That they do (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              salmo, dfarrah, SuWho, Ahianne

              On the other hand, I'd point out that the UK still enshrines in Anglicanism in law, and yet the British people have a model secular society.  And in the US, our fights over zoning of mosques, voting for atheist candidates, creationism in schools and the soft bigotry demonstrated towards religious and non-religious minorities pales in comparisons to the history of pogroms and other religious slaughter in previous centuries.

              Or the very real injustices based on race and class today.

              •  Most Western European states have a state church (6+ / 0-)

                still functioning in ceremonial and often practical ways (useful references at EuReSIS). It is only in those really falling into the French Revolutionary fold that did away entirely with such things. At the same time those countries are in general rather liberal, by U.S. standards wildly so, and religiously tolerant. The most notable thing in many of those countries to a visitor from here steeped in our religious fervor is how relatively secular the whole place really is and if you look closely, particularly in cities, how the churches are so largely a cultural heritage and almost civic gathering place rather than anything resembling a U.S. megachurch.

                So, some argue that establishing a state religion tends to encourage a secular society in effect. Some studies actually support the idea that our, and similar countries' legal basis prohibiting any state church or recognition of such a church fosters more intense religiosity. For example, "Why Atheists Should Fight For Establishment of State Religion" contends:

                My unorthodox advice arises from a simple fact. Compared to Europeans, three times more Americans report that religion is “very important” to them, and three times more Americans attend church regularly. What does this have to do with the culture war? I’ll get to that. But first, consider this question: why do Americans go to church (or other houses of worship) while Europeans stay home?
                and
                Separation of church and state did not result in religious dissolution and moral chaos, as some feared. Instead, the first amendment to the Constitution created a bull market for religion. Nineteenth century Europeans were gobsmacked that religious disestablishment in America fortified religious growth. The French political thinker Alexis de Tocqueville remarked in 1835 that “There is no country in the world where the Christian religion retains a greater influence over the souls of men than in America.”
                and
                What explained European Christianity’s weakness to compete? The answer, de Tocqueville reasoned, was that “the church cannot share the temporal power of the state without being the object of a portion of that animosity which the latter excites.” In other words, when religion and government become entangled, the public’s natural hostility toward government transfers to religion and poisons both.
                So, is our wall of separation good, or should we use the nuclear option and form the Church of the United States with power to feed on taxes or even tax as in old England?

                The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

                by pelagicray on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 08:06:10 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  In practical terms that's what already exists. (0+ / 0-)

                  The churches get billions in tax breaks. They are effectively state subsidised.

                •  You just hit on a hilarious thought. Encourage (0+ / 0-)

                  the establishment of a state religion, but insist that it be a particular denomination of Christianity.  Insist that "Christianity" is just a word and that it represents a different religion, depending on what sect claims it, so it must be TRUE Christianity.

                  The war over which one was really the Christian religion would result in an irresolvable stalemate that would, if nothing else, create weeks of material for SNL and a lifetime contract for Bill Maher.

                  Ted Cruz president? Pardon my Vietnamese, but Ngo Pho King Way.

                  by ZedMont on Sun Jan 05, 2014 at 08:54:08 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  church/state separation convenient for minorities (6+ / 0-)

              If you are not the majority religion, then it only makes sense you'll advocate that the majority religion should not be imposed upon you through the power of the state, nor should you be punished for your heterodox beliefs and practices.

              If however you are the majority religion, then it only makes sense that you'll want to marry church and state.  You want the wealth of the community and the weight of the laws to honor your faith and to support your practices, and when you see people believing and living differently you want to fix them or kill them.

              Self-serving double standards are 100% normal human behavior.

              A lot of the 13 colonies were explicitly founded as refuges for religions that were in the minority in England: Puritans, Congregationalists, Catholics, Quakers, etc.  Some of the others were explicitly founded as bastions of the Church of England.  Thomas Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptists was written at a time when Baptists were your typical minority religion that "good" people thought was strange, a vain and empty work of Man, and therefore threatening to the natural order which rested upon God.

              The First Amendment was not the product of reason and virtue; it was a cynical compromise made by men who realized that while their faiths were all precious to them, there could be no Union if one of them was to be elevated above the rest.

              Domestic politics is the continuation of civil war by other means.

              by Visceral on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 07:44:19 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  See reply above. There is a line of thought that (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                svboston

                our system promotes religion in actual effect. And, yes, it was a compromise that allowed formation of a union of states as diverse as Virginia's Cavalier history and New England's dissenter history. The whole thing was a compromise and we are both benefiting and suffering from those compromises today.

                The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

                by pelagicray on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 08:09:44 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  However, many religious people don't want (5+ / 0-)

                their religion to become law.

                If however you are the majority religion, then it only makes sense that you'll want to marry church and state.

                There may be a tendency towards this kind of thinking in human nature, but there are a fair number of people of faith who are opposed to any religion becoming law, including their own. I'm Catholic, and I like separation of Church and State just fine, and would insist on it even if it were the Catholic Church that would be making the laws in a putative theocracy. Catholicism is wonderful as a set of spiritual practices and teachings. As a government, it can get pretty twisted. I think quite a few Catholics recognize this, including Catholic politicians.

                There are also some Muslims who don't want to live under state-sponsored Sharia law. There are, obviously, quite a few Muslims who do think that governments should be enforcing Islamic religious law -- estimates of the percentages vary, but by all measures, it's a considerable number of people -- but there is a sizable faction who are opposed, as witnessed by the recent events in Egypt, for instance.  In the US, Dr Zuhdi Jasser is the one Islamic activist I know of who speaks out most clearly on the need for separation of Mosque and State, but I expect there are others.

              •  Yes, my (0+ / 0-)

                constitutional history professor [in the early '80s] said that the only reason the founding fathers didn't establish a state church - just like England had at the time - was because they couldn't decide on which church it should be.  So, religious freedom was more of an accident than some deeply held notion of freedom.

                I don't think the professor was a right-winger, and this was well before the ascendance of the religious right of today with their insistence that Christianity should rule supreme in this country.

                But the right wingers are somewhat correct in believing that the country was founded on Christianity.

                The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

                by dfarrah on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 10:40:25 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  not completely accurate (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Tom Anderson, pelagicray, Ahianne

                  there is no doubt that there would have been no agreement on which church.

                  But you already had a strong tendency -  Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom had been enacted, Northwest Ordinance provided for free exercise in the 3-5 states to be formed from its territory, and the final part of the Constitution to be adopted - the no religious test clause in Article VI - was pushed by Charles Pinckney of South Carolina in part because his political base was inland among people like Methodists and Baptists.  You already had diversity of religion in a number of states, which had no state religion, and therefore would have strongly opposed the idea of a national religion, starting with Pennsylvania which had never had an established church.

                  "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

                  by teacherken on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 11:34:48 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Yes, I'm sure I'm not (0+ / 0-)

                    completely accurate - I just summarized what I little I recall.

                    I think his larger point was that we are generally taught to believe that the founders went into the process determined to protect religious freedom, when that was not necessarily the case.

                    The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

                    by dfarrah on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 12:10:42 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  except some of them did (0+ / 0-)

                      particularly James Madison

                      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

                      by teacherken on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 12:17:48 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Yes, I'm sure (0+ / 0-)

                        I'm overgeneralizing, as was he at the time-easy to do when you're talking about a group of people and their positions.

                        Do you have a list of where it all shook out?  Who was like Madison, and who was neutral, and who wanted the national church?

                        The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

                        by dfarrah on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 12:25:38 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  depends on what you mean (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Ahianne

                          we have Madison's secret journal which tells us some things.  We also have the public actions of a number of the people at the Convention with respect to religion both before and subsequent to the Convention itself.  We have their personal religious practices, and what they may have said about them.  We have things like Washington's letter as President to the Jewish community of Newport RI.

                          While clearly of those at the Convention Madison may have been the most outspoken against the notion of establishment, I think it fair to say that a number of the other key players were probably pretty well committed on that issue.

                          The fact that those state with established religions differed somewhat was probably enough of a stumbling block not to pursue it, but I feel pretty strongly that the opposition of PA on that topic would have been enough to kill it, had it been seriously considered.

                          "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

                          by teacherken on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 12:30:08 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

      •  I've got a diary in the works on SLIPS. (0+ / 0-)

        That's a manipulation tool bag.

        Straight Line Persuasion System.

        It's been around for nigh some 25 years. Integrates with NLP psychological trickery.

        BFD for the monied side of the wingnutisphere.

      •  Fascists never change tactics, ken. Just targets. (0+ / 0-)
    •  Original sin is why I don't want to baptize my son (10+ / 0-)

      I flat out refuse to worship a God who is so evil, so cruel, so Satanic, that he would condem my son's soul to hell unless I practice a bit of superstitious mysticism.

      I don't respond to blackmail and threats.

      The entire concept of Original Sin is revolting. Our sin was knowledge, thinking for ourselves. God didn't want a thinking man, he wanted a mindless pet. We're better off without God in our lives. He never wanted us, he cast us out.

      •  We didn't sin until society figured out for (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        salmo, Norm in Chicago, shaharazade

        itself what "sin" is, and not all societies decided upon the same set of taboos.  Humans are not inherently sinful, except to the extent that genetics might predispose some individuals to anti-social behaviors.  

        But "original sin" is a useful tool in the arsenal of those who would have it a given that absolutely NO one is without need of a church - no, not "A" church.  Has to be the right church, which of course is one of the great quandaries Satan has decided to plague you with.  And since individual churches in many cases claim that they are the ONLY true church, there are necessarily many Satans with whom you must deal.

        Strangely enough, we Americans, who have made a huge business out of battling our Satans, are known by many in the rest of the world as the GREAT Satan.

        My religious conviction is based on the constitution, and that is simply, believe what you will (or won't), but don't try to shove it on anyone else.

        Ted Cruz president? Pardon my Vietnamese, but Ngo Pho King Way.

        by ZedMont on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 07:20:40 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Don't blame God (0+ / 0-)

        for the problems humans cause.

        re: "God didn't want a thinking man, he wanted a mindless pet."

        We are thinking because we were created that way, whether by God or some other manner.  

        The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

        by dfarrah on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 10:57:02 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Blow lost it the minute he cited Gregory S. Paul (0+ / 0-)
    •  one might respond you lost it (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TakeSake, svboston

      the minute you had a knee-jerk reaction to his citing Paul and ignored the rest of what Blow had to say

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 06:05:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I tried to understand the Paul quote (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ZedMont

        and failed utterly - I am just not familiar with the jargon, sorry.

        •  Essentially he's saying (0+ / 0-)

          that the degree of religious belief in a society correlates negatively with desirable social outcomes.  He may or may not be wrong, but he does a terrible job making the case.  

          •  What flaws do you find in his case? (0+ / 0-)

            I've not looked at the argument that closely.

            •  Paul constructs two indices (0+ / 0-)

              that are essential snapshots of indicators that he'll eventually set up in a series of alternatives axes.  It's also clear that he grabs slices of those indicators from different periods in time (see Appendix C).  Setting that aside, he  [well, his friend, actually] then performs a simple Pearon r correlation between an index and a supposed independent variable.  This is enormously convoluted already, but bear with me.

              He finds that he's able to get upwards +/-0.7 correlations when an admitted outlier, the US, is included in the results.  Removing it reduces his correlations down to at best 1 in 2 chances of explaining variation.  At no point does he regress in time to see whether this variation may be an artifact of when he sliced his data.  Not that he could; he's chosen indicators captured over various durations and starting in different years.

        •  The only part I really didn't understand was (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          shaharazade

          "outlier."  How can you consider religious fanaticism an outlier in this country?  

          An outlier is an aberration without real significance.  The aberration part I can see, but the insignificance escapes me.

          Ted Cruz president? Pardon my Vietnamese, but Ngo Pho King Way.

          by ZedMont on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 07:25:51 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Except I did read Blow's entire piece (0+ / 0-)

        The substance of which is that there is a wave of militant religiosity that conservative elites prey upon to secure their gains.  The underlying premise is that popular religiosity is in and of itself uniquely inimical to equity in first world societies; one advanced by a non-credentialed dilettante whose privilege is showing.

        •  sorry, but you are misreading the argument (0+ / 0-)

          and the question of credentialism is actually somewhat irrelevant to the argument Blow is making.

          "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

          by teacherken on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 06:38:05 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I would almost agree with this: (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          shaharazade
          The underlying premise is that popular religiosity is in and of itself uniquely inimical to equity in first world societies
          except for one word.  I would say its political religiosity, not popular religiosity.

          Religiosity within the bounds of individual choice and without coercion or proselytization of others - regardless of how popular it might be - does no societal harm (in many cases*) and often does great good.  It only becomes inimical to equity when it is injected into politics with the goal of imposing particular beliefs on those who do not share them.

          And that comes from one an irreligious infidel.

          *other than the mental or societal harm that can result from the conviction that one is "bad" because of a triumphant evil spirit as opposed to their own brain chemistry combined with opportunistic circumstances.  People can get a little squirrely when they think they are inhabited by demons that they think are winning the struggle.

          Ted Cruz president? Pardon my Vietnamese, but Ngo Pho King Way.

          by ZedMont on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 07:44:29 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  "Popular religiosity" (0+ / 0-)

            is Gregory Paul's term, not mine.  And setting aside the question of whether religiosity can spread significantly without proselytization (which I do not necessarily equate with coercion), Paul's thesis--which Blow uncritically accepts--is that its mere presence in sufficient mass and fervor correlates leads to Bad Things(tm).

    •  Well, a lot of people aren't familiar (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dradams

      with Mr. Paul, as I wasn't either until you said that.  interesting character, it seems

      However, the jounal Evolutionary Psychology is clearly a red flag of quackdom.  That field is almost entirely just so stories with practically zero evidence.

  •  Science will always win out over gods (13+ / 0-)

    When people stop believing in Zeus, Zeus ceases to exist.

    When people stop believing in evolution, evolution keeps right on going, regardless of whether anyone believes or not.

    Science is real, religion is an invention of man. The religious fanatics can rail all they like, they can't change reality. While every day they must indoctrinate another group of children to keep their mythology alive. It will fade and truth will win out.

  •  Something I hadn't thought about... (0+ / 0-)

    One line in your diary caught my attention:

    The same can be done with science, particularly if the scientists can be portrayed as atheists.
    The majority of scientists are of course atheists. Although particular theories such as evolution are attacked by the religious right as atheistic nonsense, I haven't seen scientists as a group attacked because they are "the other", atheists, but the feeling could well be there. This certainly could partly explain the growing disdain for science in general in the Republican Party. Scientists are seen by society at large as authority figures, and this can certainly amp up the fear factor in true believers, since so many of these "smart people" are non-believers

    I keep thinking that eventually something has got to give. How large can the wealth disparity get before people realize they are being used? How long can all but the most radical continue to agree with those who are using them that they should ignore the findings of science, and facts general, when they must in the back of their mind realize that there is something really wrong about doing so? How many disasters of various kinds will it take?

    "The only thing we have to fear - is fear itself." - Franklin Delano Roosevelt

    by orrg1 on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 06:44:16 AM PST

    •  just curious--do you have a citation that (5+ / 0-)

      'the majority of scientists are...atheists'?

      I would say that a majority of scientists are likely to be unconcerned with the question--but self proclaimed atheists? I would actually be surprised.

      This poll seems to back up what I'm saying--no god beats god by an 8 point margin, but spiritual guidance/higher power is quite common and was the view of many well known 20th century scientists--Einstein is probably the best-known example

      Here

      •  It depends explicitly on how one defines scientist (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ahianne

        as well. In purely popular terms we have "rocket scientist" applied to people that are really rocket engineers. They do no research. Their experimentation is limited to how a scientific finding is best applied in an engineering problem. Among engineers and many applied science fields, petroleum geology for one, can be found strong believers and even fundamentalists deniers of evolution and other scientific fields. They can even deny science in their own field of success. One of the founders of Creation Science was a petroleum geologist that was quite successful in associating fossil pollen and such with oil bearing strata—all laid down in orderly layers by the great flood!

        Among the engineers, those that apply science and other fields for purely practical results you have pretty much a reflection of the general population in religious views based on some data and certainly my own long association with professionals in those fields.

        Among the true research scientists? My experience has been they tend to be a bit more as I am. Remember the old joke about the difference between ignorance and apathy? I don't know and I don't care?

        I cannot myself either disprove or imagine any way to finally and scientifically disprove the existence of some sort of supernatural being meeting our definition of an all powerful, universal creator. Somewhere behind the veil of this universe and its time it is interesting speculation lost in infinity. Otherwise its existence is almost certainly unprovable pro, and thus a complete waste of time, and certainly not in the negative. Therefore it is not a serious question, consideration or something to care about beyond such interesting mind games as how many theoretical angels could dance on the head of a pin—perhaps after a couple of bottles of good booze or wine have been consumed.

        I do know, from personal experience, scientists at state universities that have been active church goers. Over such a bottle it becomes clear that in some cases that was (I expect far less so now except perhaps in the reddest states) a matter of avoiding professional problems and good social interaction. I've even known one or two quite active in a church's social welfare efforts such as soup kitchens.

        The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

        by pelagicray on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 08:33:46 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  sounds like you share a lot of my own views on the (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          pelagicray, shaharazade, Ahianne

          subject.  I tend to think that both knee-jerk religiosity AND knee-jerk rejection of all things spiritual reflect a lack of critical thinking and acceptance that some things really do see to be un-figure-outable and not worth serious consideration.

          I think if you're looking at any one particular religion, then yes you will likely find that most people in, say, the research sciences will see the inherent problems with embracing one particular line of mythology as 'truth' while denouncing all others--although I think that some people try to extrapolate that to the more binary 'is there a guiding force behind the universe, or not?' and arguments tend to break down there.

          I'm in the social sciences--I know several who do quickly self-identify with the term 'atheism' (often Dawkins readers, to be honest--or people caught up in neo-atheist thinking) but upon discussion really subscribe more to an agnosticism.

          Interesting response, though--thanks.

          •  The problem with "atheist" as other than a very (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Namazga V, Ahianne

            loose term for my absolutely unlikely and unnecessary force, influence or whatever, is that the quite effective challenge to a proselytizing atheist is "Prove it. Prove that negative. Prove it in scientific terms, not airy philosophical ones." Thus I am an agnostic with apathy and short of atheism by an infinite whisker, but a whisker.

            I find discussion on the existence of god or gods sometimes interesting. I find it interesting to speculate what is outside the universe or universes (Ok, there are infinite bubbles. What is outside all the bubbles?) or the time before time. Yep, create a creator and then "what created the creator and creator's creator and creator's creator's creator . . ." becomes a logical topic of discussion—ending in we hope a good night's sleep after the Scotch is consumed. And really, we have had the "god discussion" because it is those questions where some just grab onto a "God." I do remember as a child hearing about an infinite universe, looking into a then star filled night sky, wondering what was outside and then what was outside whatever was outside and so on till almost a feeling of vertigo. That is when some grab what I consider the passing flotsam of "belief" for comfort—and sometimes that works in good ways (sometimes horrible).

            I have no expectation, even a reasonable analytical conclusion, that even the most intensive, well funded, brainiest and long term research on any of those questions will come up with definitive answers so . . . mind games of no practical importance.

            The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

            by pelagicray on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 09:11:32 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  in some ways--in the end it all comes down to (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              pelagicray

              how we are able to relate--or if we are able to relate--to infinity....while retaining our own sanity.

              •  A mental agoraphobia in its most common usage (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Namazga V

                and even its technical use:

                Agoraphobia is a fear of being in situations where escape might be difficult, or help wouldn't be available if things go wrong.

                Many people assume that agoraphobia is simply a fear of open spaces but it is more complex than that. A person with agoraphobia may be scared of:

                    travelling on public transport
                    visiting a shopping centre
                    leaving home

                Going there creates unease and instead of exploring and getting used to, then comfortable with the unease (as small children do with almost everything as they are exposed to the world) some panic and grab at presumed safety—even if it has no rational basis.

                I do not think it is coincidental that people I know with a lot of fear reactions to almost anything strange are also often some of the most limited in religious views. Or that people I know with almost no fear of "strange" tend to be more liberal in religious view or agnostic.

                The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

                by pelagicray on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 10:20:33 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  funny you should say that--I've looked at that (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  pelagicray

                  sort of thing quite a bit in my own  head--looking at the limits of what makes me comfortable/uncomfortable/threatened and what the boundary thoughts look like.  

                  I tried an experiment--I'm decent at math so I wanted to see how I felt, say, adding simple two digit numbers in my head, then three digit ones, then multiplying 2 then three digits numbers in my head (which I can sometimes do).  A fear started to come in at the boundaries--say--multiplying 3 digit numbers, so that when I even contemplated multiplying 4 digit numbers my mind refused to go there.

                  It was really interesting.  I think minds can be trained both to safely explore those danger zones--but also accept that things might simply not be accomplishable.  Like conceptualizing infinity.  If we can free our minds up to safely explore and not be terrified by the fact that we will not ever be able to command that territory, I think it is a psychologically beneficial thing for individuals and groups.

                  I don't think, however, that 99.9% of the population actually spends time on this, though :)

                  •  Yes, (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Namazga V

                    getting comfortable with territory you will never command. Cope with, roll with, maybe die with—never command.

                    Place I often miss.

                    The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

                    by pelagicray on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 12:13:29 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

  •  The Southern proslavery churches broke from (4+ / 0-)

    mainstream social conscience ethics. More recently non-Bible Belt mainstream was targeted as evolutionist, tolerant, pacifist, commie traitors. King's assassination marked the demise of  the city on the hill tradition. A potentially liberal Catholic base was neutralized after John XXIII, JFK and RFK. Adlai Stevenon was the last Unitarian to run for President. The U.S is no longer a Christian nation within the definitions of the highly educated Puritan founders, perpetuated through the great awakenings, social gospel and Christian liberal arts colleges on through the New Deal. This is likely part of the larger purge of the left by J. Edgar Hoover types, militant billionaire culture, submissive corporate gospel, military crusade. A general lockdown as under slavery and Jim Crow, that can't be defeated again by progressive churches.

  •  cons right about everything except who's who (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, shaharazade, IowaBiologist

    Absolutely we are fighting a religious war against forces determined to simultaneously suppress freedom of faith and conscience while imposing their own anti-human, anti-life, and anti-reason doctrines upon us.

    Absolutely we are fighting a war against those who would abolish all rights and freedoms except the "natural right" of power to do as it pleases and its subsequent freedom from all accountability to those it commands and from all consequences of its own actions - the balance to be made good by those it has the power to tax and to punish.  

    I could make all of the conservatives' apocalyptic claims against them ... and they'd fit them much better.

    And there is no turning the other cheek in a religious war.  Religious wars are not driven by self-limiting worldly aims (land, trophies, etc.), and those who wage them are not content merely to rule the Other.  They are invariably wars of extermination where one way or another the "infidel" must cease to exist.

    Domestic politics is the continuation of civil war by other means.

    by Visceral on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 07:29:21 AM PST

  •  Peace? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Norm in Chicago

    Nope! Not likely anyhow. When we all stop suffering fools and sociopaths gladly there will not be peace but that's okay. I'd rather have a fractious peace than march n lockstep with culture warriors and racists - and when I say lock, I mean goose!

    "You call this bicameral government? Hah!" - Homer Simpson

    by karlpk on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 07:34:25 AM PST

  •  Excellent diary. (7+ / 0-)

    I have long believed that the Right uses racism as a way to keep their base riled up and distracted while the same cynical manipulators work to take away job security, health care, workplace protections, quality public education, environmental safeguards and the social safety net from us all.  In the same way, they are stoking fears of a loss of freedom if gun regulation is enacted.  But I hadn't considered that they are using a bogus defense of religious "freedom" to accomplish the same ends.

    We are seeing the results of the unleashing of racism more every day.  And the results of demanding no gun regulation can be seen in the ever-increasing incidence of mass shootings and preventable gun deaths.  With this constant hampering on the persecution of besieged Christians, we're seeing the results in increasingly anti-science views, as well as a fanatical restriction of abortion and other women's rights nationwide.

    These outcomes will come back to haunt our country.  While the US has for generations been a beacon of shared prosperity, innovation, and genuine freedom, the doors to all these virtues are being slammed shut by cynical political operatives whose desire for power trumps any interest in the long term good of the public.  

    "It ain't right, Atticus," said Jem. "No, son, it ain't right." --Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

    by SottoVoce on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 07:38:19 AM PST

    •  Already done because evil is winning (0+ / 0-)

      nosotros no somos estúpidos

      by a2nite on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 07:55:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Two events have been interesting to observe for (4+ / 0-)

      the very strange "conversion" or more likely exposure of deeply buried old things.

      The first was 9/11 in which people I'd long known as perfectly reasonable and realistic individuals went plain nuts. People that I knew had long known the world situation suddenly became completely unbalanced. Several did so many 180º turns on what I'd known them to hold for years that I could only think of it as a form of insanity.

      The second, and recent, example is election of a "black man" to the highest office. People I'd worked with in a completely integrated federal/military environment who had seemed perfectly comfortable with dissolving racial barriers and even consciousness went nuts. People I'd differed with on the military qualities of Colin Powell, they very pro, me far less so, and had been admirers when he was top brass went racist in their e-mail with Obama and then I remembered the only references they'd ever made about Powell as a presidential candidate had been "he'll never make it" or just silence.

      I suspect that for some high office is fine. Endorsement by a majority of voters for the highest office was an unbalancing threat to something deep in their being. A form of craziness, but real none the less.

      The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

      by pelagicray on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 08:50:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  "infidel" is probably not the right word. (0+ / 0-)

    Infidel refers to people who have no faith and/or do not share the same faith. Infidels do not believe. But, their relationship is with a matter of intellect. They are neither, by definition, antagonistic or enemies. Enemies are either people/organisms who have or intend to inflict harm on another. Enemies are antagonists whose enmity may start out as an intellectual matter, but is never far from physical harm. Even if they are only postulated, enemies are real because by their very existence they serve to justify the use of countervailing force. Defining enemies on the basis of what they are presumed to think or not think is really stretching things. Which is not to say the imputation of evil to justify offensive acts doesn't have a long history. It does, typically, I would argue, with cowardly people who have to work themselves into a frency over something. Then too, attacking someone who's done no injury is a "safe bet," since the victim's surprise will prevent him from taking an immediate retaliatory act.

    But, when we come right down to it, what we are being comfronted with is the behavior of cannibalistic predators rendered symbolic by the cognitive mind. The question we are left with is whether their virtual predation satisfies or anticipates the real thing. The people of Iraq would probably argue the latter and, in retrospect, regret that they ignored what seemed to be idle threats.

    Obamacare at your fingertips: 1-800-318-2596; TTY: 1-855-889-4325

    by hannah on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 07:45:43 AM PST

    •  from point of view of religious right (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      a2nite, TN yellow dog

      infidel is absolutely a correct term.  Although using in that way is more characteristic of aggressive Islam towards those who do not follow the Prophet.

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 07:49:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks (0+ / 0-)

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 07:53:37 AM PST

  •  I think that the Religious right manipulators want (6+ / 0-)

    to create the polarization that we sometimes see here. Let me expand. I was always a laissez faire agnostic. I didn't care to challenge anyone's belief system, it was none of my business. However, by attacking, and claiming victimhood, while at the same time pushing their views, I find myself responding more harshly to those views.

    To an extent, the cynical manipulators care nothing about Jesus' message, or reality. All they are doing is using the fear of a segment of the population to push their agenda. I know, many here understand what I'm saying. I just think it's worth being aware that we also can be manipulated, and our response to the religious fanaticism can re-inforce their paranoia, therefore convincing them that "they" are out to take away religious freedom.

  •  I have to surmise that at some point (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ExpatGirl, Ahianne

    after 9/11 far right religious and political leaders looked at radical Islam and thought "Just how do they get otherwise normal people to be willing to blow themselves up?"  The answers to that question can be found in the increasing intolerance and demonization of the 'other' spewing from the religious right.

    Instead of looking at radicalized elements of religion in other parts of the world and working to extend a hand to them and defuse the hatred, the far right began implementing many of those radicalizing practices within their own community of believers, only with vastly more wealth, their messaging and indoctrination use the tools and lessons of Western technology to much greater effect.

  •  This is not a tolerance issue. (6+ / 0-)

    The Christian 'liberty' that they are bemoaning the loss of is their 'right' to hurt, really truly hurt, people who think differently. It boggles the mind that when they get push back they cry 'persecution!!!'.

    John Stewart said it best (bolding mine):

    I have to say, as someone who is not a Christian, it’s hard for me to believe Christians are a persecuted people in America. God willing, maybe one of you one day will even rise up and get to be president of this country — or maybe forty-four in a row. But that’s my point, is they’ve taken this idea of no establishment as persecution, because they feel entitled, not to equal status, but to greater status.
  •  My daughter in law (0+ / 0-)

    is not a religious church goer but a conservative and a self identified Christian style real American. She's a culture warrior, with a us against the Godless liberals world view . She asked me when I expressed my 'disappointment ' about this administrations direction, agenda and policy 'Do you think Obama is the anti-Christ?' No I think he is just another corrupt bent pol, a Democratic PR figure head for the 'owners of the place.'

    The religious right has been given by-partisan power in our government and legal system. Look at Scalia or the military with their bullet with Christian messages on them. Some how religion of the hateful, fearful ignorant variety has been not just tolerated but elevated to being equivalent to the principles of a democratic secular government and society. Religion is being used by the powers that be to deflect the real game at hand and give divine grace to the nasty anti-democratic, anti-humanist policy. Patriotism is wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.

    The Democratic party may not be totally hole hog theocratic but it sure as hell uses the so called religious Christian followers/bleivers  an undue amount of power to inflict their twisted pig ignorant religious views via the government on the rest of us. I'm not an atheist. I reject and loath most organized religions as they are political, authoritarian, and cause suffering they not about the spirit. As a woman I fear them as the views they hold about women are intolerable, oppressive and hateful.

    Using ancient texts to impose their authoritarian explanation of the universe as the only truth is not something that our society and government should tolerate let alone give political power to. The culture war suits the ends of our present corporate oligarchical collectivists. The banksters, huckster pols and spooky killers are now doing 'God's work'. This brand of religion is carefully cultivated by those who benefit from ignorance fear and love of authority in the name of god. The American Taliban is given undue equivalence and makes the choices we have politically boil down to fear. Who want's a vagina probe along with their austerity?      

    'There are no truths outside the gates of Eden'

  •  I don't think anyone here is pushing religion (0+ / 0-)

    but the topic is coming up frequently now.  

    On DailyKos, it seems that freedom of speech is absolute and we must defend the rightwing pundit who included a veiled threat against the President in an appearance on Fox.

    Freedom of speech when talking about the Pope's recent writing which encourages a popular movement for economic and social justice? Not so much. Results may vary.

    There is no existence without doubt.

    by Mark Lippman on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 11:54:49 AM PST

  •  I a proud infidel & will take up arms to defend (0+ / 0-)

    America against the evil religious tools ginning up to take over.

    Instead of creating hell here, they need to go back to hell where they belong.

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 12:37:39 PM PST

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