Monday, July 22, 2013

This is the Twenty-first Century, right??

           I usually wander along thinking we are in a new millennia, moving forward towards a Star Trek future of a society ruled by reason, compassion and a quest for knowledge. It usually works for me.Then someone in Congress,a so called"Christian" or Conservative leader will say something that forces me to check the calender. I feel a need to make sure I haven't strolled through a Temporal Event into the Tenth-Century.
There has always been a tension in The United States between Conservative thought in general, Conservative Christian thought in particular, and the secular lifestyle of society. It's a result of the concept of personal liberty in this Nation's DNA. However the oft repeated claim the US was founded as a Christian nation is not only wrong but gives voice to a school of thought the authors of the Constitution would have found repellent.
Since the Puritans washed ashore in Massachusetts there has been a strain of American thought that is terrified and appalled that someone, somewhere is having a good time. In spite of Maryland being settled by Catholics there has been long standing suspicions and contempt aimed at the Church of Rome. This is still seen today in some congregations. Other believers are viewed as not really Christian or not Christian enough. There is also the very disturbing trend of Christian literalists coming to power.
The United States was flirting with the concept of a weak central government, strong State government form of rule. Since it was evident that The Articles of Confederation was an abysmal failure. men of stature, intelligence and vision gathered in Philadelphia to fix the problems. After examination and debate they realized said Articles were beyond repair. So, they decided to exceed their mission and scrapped it to devise a workable form of Government.
This was a continuation of the radical (for the time) idea that humans were capable of life without an aristocracy and monarchy. Contrary to some modern beliefs this Nation was founded by Radicals. The American Conservative was a Tory. A supporter of the Crown. Following the end of the American Revolution they fled to Canada or Great Britain.
The framers of the Constitution were products of a period and philosophical adherents to a movement known as The Enlightenment. This 17th and 18th century period is remembered for the elevation of reason over blind obedient faith as the guiding light of civilization. There was the radical idea that reason, a quest for knowledge, scientific inquiry and intellectual liberty would move this rag tag nation onto the world stage as an example.
Keep in mind in the 18th century these ideas were as radical as those of Marx and Engels would be in the 19th.The rejection of monarchical and religious rule was seen as a rejection of the laws of nature. A God ordained subjugation of the many by the privileged few.
These men were influenced by classical thought dating back to Rome and Greece. They saw the Reformation as throwing off the yoke of a corrupt single entity. The work of Voltaire, Montesquieu, Hume and Locke shaped their view of the world. Scientific thought and curiosity trumped dogmatic rejection of expanding knowledge. Having first hand experience with State mandated Religion, they were mistrustful of theocratic ideals and influence over public life. They knew a knowledgeable and educated populace would move America along the path of greatness. These men revered the human intellect, pursuit of knowledge and reason,rejecting blind faith.
The Framer in spite of being the elite, well educated in a land where education beyond the basics was still rare, rejected a divine right to rule. This was the result of a classics oriented education which today would be equivalent to a Liberal Arts curriculum.
With their radical background these Framers wrote a document to establish a nation not ruled by church or aristocracy. They specifically forbade any religious test for office. One could not hold a title of Nobility and be a citizen. A strong central government was established to check the parochial self interest of State Legislatures. The common good was enshrined as a basic tenant of government. We were to emerge as one nation, not a collection of autonomous States. A unified state was the goal. The bar for success.
Ten amendments were added to this precedent setting document to enumerate certain rights and ensure it's ratification. The very fact this document can be amended shows the Framers realized times would change and their ideas must be expanded on to ensure the nation's survival. The Federalist Papers were penned to inform and clarify the need for The Constitution to the populace.
The Constitution was written by committee. Compromises were made. The ability to adapt to changing times and social growth was guaranteed. These men would be shocked and appalled by the reverence given to them. They knew they were not infallible.
Somewhere in recent history a certain segment of the population has risen to positions of power and prominence. You can call them Christian Nationalists or Dominionists or whatever suits your point of view. You can ridicule their ideas. You can reject these ideas. However dismiss this movement as irrelevant at your peril.
Ideas and beliefs that were once so far out of the modern American mainstream of thought they were considered ludicrous are now viable, legitimate ideology.
America, once a beacon of scientific thought, a bastion of unfettered knowledge, a place where one could pursue a life of their choosing is being changed.
There has always been a small strain of anti-intellectualism in America.It may trace back to a mistrust of our pseudo aristocracy. That strain though now threatens to become pandemic. The very ideas of modernity, science, progress and secularism is being rejected wholesale. The idea of a melting pot, once lauded as a source of strength and innovation is now condemned as a threat to America.
The rise of the "Christian" Right should terrify any rational, thinking American. The desire to codify their idea of Christian moral tenants into our life is a step towards a wanted theocratic state. A reactionary theocracy dedicated to subjugating, disenfranchising and silencing those who don't buy into their narrow view of God.
Politically these believers are not much different than any totalitarian ideologues. They exploit fear and blame ideas and other kinds of people for the ills besetting society. Where the Spanish Inquisition had Jews and heretics, The Nazis had Jews and any non Aryan we have secularists presented as the primary threat to the American way of life. Oh, Muslims also. And Jews to a point.
The right, called Christofascists by some, claim America was founded as a Christian nation and with the rejection of those ideals we invite the Wrath Of God. The majority faith in America feels they are oppressed because they are not permitted to impose their divinely revealed beliefs upon everybody. It doesn't matter those beliefs violate you strongly held ideas. It doesn't matter you disagree or despise those thoughts. All that matters is we become their ideal of what a Christian nation should be.
Science? Lies from the pits of Hell. The Universe is 6,000 years old. Any idea to the contrary is blasphemy.
Non religion based education is simply secular indoctrination and oppression of the true way.
Homosexuality? An abomination in the sight of God. A choice  because people do love to be assaulted, killed and reviled so very much.  Any move towards equality will cause God to smite America with Old Testament style wrath.
Sex? For men? The flesh is weak so rape is a no, no but worthy only of a wrist slap. And it's ok to nail those harlots who put out without the sanctity of marriage. Eve was a wicked slut.
Women? Where to start? They are inherently sinful. Wanton temptresses of good men. They use their wiles to corrupt the righteous order of things by seducing men from the divinely ordained path to good. The really sinful harlots actually enjoy sex. They don't view it as a distasteful obligation to ensure the continuation of the species. Women are incapable of accepting the consequences of being whores and sluts. Thus they blithely murder babies as a convenient form of birth control. So it is up to God fearing men to protect them from themselves and prevent abortion. For any reason.
Also the main reason for the collapse of American morals and way of life is obviously the fault of women. Since Eve they have been rebellious and in need of stern guidance. The very fact they work and pursue careers has destroyed the family. The fact they have sex outside of marriage and enjoy it has destroyed our moral fabric as any fool can see. The idea of them not being subservient and obedient to men is a defiance, aberrant behavior in the sight of God. It's a man's right and God given duty to beat them into penitence. If your woman refuses her duty to have sex with you you have the right to take her. Any way you please for after all she is your property to do with as you wish
Israel must be unconditionally supported so the end of times may unfold as intended.
Any means is acceptable to remove the Godless from power. Lies. Fraud. Destruction of the social safety net because takers must not be rewarded.
Not that long ago this would have been poorly constructed satire. Ayn Rand as a ideological guide for anyone? When asked about "Atlas Shrugged" Dorothy Parker said. "This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly.It should be thrown with great force." An excellent take on Rand's talent. Or lack thereof.
Too many Americans wear a willful ignorance as a badge of honor. They believe science and literature has a liberal bias. It does as it destroys ignorance and opens the mind to the wonders of the Universe. Joys that are being denied to coming generations. Their rejection of rational thought and science will have the same effect that fundamentalism had in the Arab world a millenia ago. What was once the shining light of knowledge in a dark world was extinguished. We are living with the results. America can not be allowed to blithely take that road. At the end lies failure, totalitarianism, ignorance and bleak despair.
We need to fight back while there is tims. The cultural destruction of American ideals is underway. To stand and watch is an invitation to being intellectually and perhaps physically chained.
Stand up and speak for sanity and freedom. Oppose God being inserted into public institutions. Stand for your right to believe as you will. Wait too long and there will be no voice raised to your defense. You will be chained into a life of not so quiet desperation. A moral and intellectual desert. Say no, now. Loudly and often.

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