Thursday, November 04, 2004

Can a Nation at War with Itself Win the War on Terror?

While liberal Democrats, moderate Republicans and Libertarians have sought inclusion and social justice, conservative Christianity has coveted political power by dividing and conquering America. Americans have been systematically labeled, cleaved off and stigmatized. “Social Liberals”, “Secular Humanists”, “Gays”, “the Liberal Media Elite”, “Academics”, “Environmentalists”, “Mainline Protestants” and “Abortion Rights Advocates” have no place in a “Christian America.” The Religious Right’s dream of an exclusive America where only they can be heard has been perfectly realized in their chosen leader President Bush and his handler-in-chief Karl Rove.

President Bush’s America is a nation torn asunder along the lines so carefully drawn by American Evangelicalism. For the Christian zealot, the American dream is not be shared so much as horded. Indeed, the Christian right in its moral zeal to socially and intellectually cleanse American society has turned the American mainstream into little more than a bigoted swamp.

Ultimately, being American does not mean that I need to love or even like people because of the color their skin, their sexual orientation or their religion. Being American does mean that I agree to work with these people toward a common goal regardless of my personal feelings. President Bush has waged war on this essential American ideal as surely as our nation is waging war on terrorism. Whether this President can win the war on terrorism while leading a culture war against his own countryman may well be the historic question of our age. Sadly, religious zealots both Christian and Muslim are in a better position to bring about what fascism and communism could not accomplish, the destruction of our Union.

1 Comments:

At November 5, 2004 at 2:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I respectfully would suggest that American culture has done anything but promote inclusion when it comes to conservative Christianity. While the buzz word of the day is “tolerance,” there is NO tolerance for those who hold exclusive faith views. Oh yes, such people get to live here and work here, but they have also long been a brunt of the entertainment industry’s jokes, and they are typically viewed as lacking any cortical tissue whatsoever. For example, I recently saw a quote (whose source and exact wording I forget) stating that millions of people in the US do not believe in evolution, and they support George Bush. I found this quote inflammatory and amusing, particularly in the way it seemed to imply that those who support evolution (and Kerry?) do so on the grounds of being intelligent (the amusing part). I would maintain that the majority of persons in the US who accept evolution do so out of a “religious” faith in the scientists who told them so, rather than due to any real intellectual activity of their own. The typical person who accepts evolution has done little to no actual reading on the subject. However, the media views this latter group as intelligent and “normal” because they accept the “right” view. Personally, I happen to support the view that the universe is 15 billion years old and that the world took much longer than 6 24-hour days to complete, with many examples of evolutionary processes along the way. How’s that for a conservative Christian who also believes that God made the world and that the Bible is God’s word?

I would be interested in seeing a list of healthy, noble, balanced conservative Christians portrayed on TV or film in the last 20 years. It seems to me the list would be extremely short. Twenty years ago, Christian musician Steve Taylor wrote “Christians can’t get equal time unless it’s a loony committing a crime.” I believe this accurately portrays my experience of current media as well. By media, I should note that I am referring more to entertainment than to news, but I believe it applies to news as well to a lesser degree. When is the last time you saw demonstraters at a pro-life rally who did not look like hate-filled crazys with dreadful signs? Anyone going to major rallies will tell you, these folks are the minority, but they typically get the air time.

It is also noteworthy that some of the labels used by Christians (e.g., Gays, Abortion Rights Advocates, Mainline Protestants) are—to the best of my knowledge—terms that have not been coined by Christians. For example, for years Christians referred to “homosexuals” which, linguistically is a neutral, noninflammatory term. It was the homosexual community who rejected this term and called themselves Gay/Lesbian.

I am a conservative Christian. My beliefs include the belief that the practice of homosexual behaviors is not healthy, and is in fact harmful to the mental, spiritual, and physical health of participants. My Biblical beliefs also call me to love such persons just as fully as I love my best friend, and I shudder when I see conservative Christians treating gays or lesbians with hatred. However, I think it is important to understand that the homosexual community has systematically and methodically worked to completely change the face of our culture through media and other routes over the past thirty years. The most classic example of this is the continued spreading of the mythical “10%” statistic, based on the invalid sex research of Kinsey, which ignores valid science’s repeated reliable reporting of a rate closer to 1 or 2% for exclusive male homosexuality. Not only this, but anyone who has ever gone to a Gay Pride parade should be able to attest to the fact that the public display of sexuality is something most people (republicans and democrats) would not want to see, let alone have their children see.

The main point of my rambling here is that the conservative Christian movement in this country has not developed in a vacuum of imperialistic desire to conquer. Rather, this movement has developed in large part as a reaction to perceiving assault on what Christians (and much of the rest of the country) viewed as normal decency. Sadly, this “Christian” uprising (which I believe includes many who do not even attend church) has done much to discredit itself with respect to its strategies (e.g., by apparently ignoring Christ’s call to love one’s enemies). It is unfair, however, to paint this movement as a bull-headed conqueror. Rather, I think the Christian movement could better be compared to a wounded animal defending itself, with wounds extending at least back to the sex and drugs revolution of the 1960s. This does not justify poor behavior, but it puts it in context. The Christians aren’t the only ones with work to do.

P.S.
You wrote: The Religious Right’s dream of an exclusive America where only they can be heard has been perfectly realized in their chosen leader President Bush and his handler-in-chief Karl Rove.

I am wondering what you mean by “can be heard.” Turn on any tv, radio, or computer; visit any theatre, and I believe you will be able to hear the full range of voices in this country. Moreover, the voices promoting vulgarity, pornography, violence, drugs, promiscuity, and infidelity are far louder than those promoting faith as a valid intelligent enterprise, marriage as a life-long sacred covenant of love, respect for elders, or care for the unborn. Several years ago, for example, I saw t-shirts for sale with slogans such as “69” , “boy candy,” “Vixen,” “Maybe If You're Lucky,” “Bad Kitty,” and “Naughty girl.” What sex shops were selling these shirts? Sears and JC Penny. Oh yes, these shirts were being sold in the girls department (e.g., for 10 to 12-year-olds.)

 

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