I’ll speculate that from the beginning of time, politicians exploited religion to justify their ideology. Whether it’s about the sanctity of certain lives, the merits of worshipping at the altar of “job creators” or an underlying premise of conservative ideology, that the rich and powerful have God’s blessing while society’s worker bees are so because they lack God’s blessing.
We’re seeing it in spades today, with people like Bryan Fischer advocating tax penalties to “non-believers” or those who don’t believe the right way. In other words, all atheists, Jews, Muslims, Mormons, Catholics and Christians other than those of the Dominions persuasion would be subject to tax penalties because freedom of religion only applies to people who subscribe to Fischer’s bastardized version of Christianity.
The not so subtle theocratization of America would intensify multifold if the GOP had its way. Yet, it has nothing to do with religion per se, or about advocating piety. This is exploiting religion in the name of not only gaining power, but preserving it. It’s also about wrapping policies that would be otherwise offensive in the Bible. Perhaps the most offensive of all is the reality that Religion itself is altered to match conservative ideology.
Keeping women barefoot, pregnant and ideally mindless has nothing to do with the sanctity of life, as claimed by those who seek to humiliate and degrade woman with transvaginal ultrasounds. If life was the value, they would value the lives of women, who for them are nothing but procreation machines. But, they wrap a denial of access to healthcare, family planning and other reproductive rights in the Bible. If you really have faith, then you’ll see the merits of government intervention on matters that the rational person would recognize are private. If you are a true Christian, you’ll see the merits of paying women much less than men for doing the same job because a: women should be married and having babies b: women who are working only do so because they are selfish.
Of course, this overlooks the reality that even if one subscribes to the traditional family unit, sustaining that family today takes at least two incomes. It takes two incomes to provide things like shelter, food, clothing, healthcare and education. It also takes two incomes to provide all that welfare that the top 1 percent claims they need to create jobs that they don’t create.
Aside from exploiting religion to justify the war on the women, conservatives use the Bible to justify homophobia, in some cases, to the point of proposing concentration camps for gay people. The less extreme version merely calls for brainwashing the gay away. Of course, conservatives deny that they are homophobic, rather they justify their hatred by pointing to the Bible.
They do the same when it comes to denying access to affordable healthcare, justifying policies that literally take food out of the mouths of expectant mothers and children.
Conservatives are big fans of school “choice” aka the voucher system be it for public or religion based schools – as long as the school chosen is Christian. In fact, some conservatives politicians, like Valarie Hodges of Lousiana are very forthcoming about this.
Rep. Valarie Hodges, R-Watson, says she had no idea that Gov. Bobby Jindal’s overhaul of the state’s educational system might mean taxpayer support of Muslim schools.
“I actually support funding for teaching the fundamentals of America’s Founding Fathers’ religion, which is Christianity, in public schools or private schools,” the District 64 Representative said Monday.
“I liked the idea of giving parents the option of sending their children to a public school or a Christian school,” Hodges said.
Hodges mistakenly assumed that “religious” meant “Christian.”
For rational people, there is a difference between opposing the exploitation of religion for political gain and opposing religion. Conservatives, I’m sure, are aware of the distinction, despite outward claims that criticizing religious indoctrination is akin to being anti-Christian.
I’m far from an authority on religion, but I do understand what blasphemy is. Exploiting religion for personal or political gain is the epitomy of blasphemy. Nothing says blasphemy more than Bryan Fischer’s stated desire to tax those who don’t attend his choice of a church and subscribe to his cultish version of Christianity.
Granted, Fischer made these comments in reaction to the Supreme Court’s Health care ruling. Perhaps he was only kidding about taxing Athiests, or merely exploiting religion to make an ideological point. Then, if going to Church is good for you, as he “reasons”, what assurance do we have that like minded politicians won’t propose a Dominionism mandate?
After all, there are those who insist that every American should be forced to listen to the propaganda of David Barton, at gun point if necessary.
On the other side of the coin, there are religious leaders and organizations that are more than willing to exploit their role as pillars of their religious community to bring legitimacy to policies and ideas that rational people would recognize as offensive. Aside from exploiting their religion, these leaders are also exploiting their role by affording legitimacy to ideas like putting gays and lesbians in concentration camps. Hey, if a pastor says it, it must be a Christian idea because a pastor wouldn’t believe in anything inconsistent with Christianity, right?
Ironically, while professing a sort of Christian theocracy, by which I mean, implementing religious doctrine as public policy, conservatives claim that religion itself is under attack.
You may recall some of these comments by Republican candidates during the clown show … I mean the primaries.
Should the Catholic Church be forced to close its adoption services in Massachusetts because it won’t accept gay couples, which is exactly what the state has done? . . .
Should the Catholic Church be driven out of providing charitable services in the District of Columbia because it won’t give in to secular bigotry? Should the Catholic Church find itself discriminated against by the Obama administration on key delivery of services because of the bias and the bigotry of the administration?
Not about to be outdone by Gringrich’s effort to exploit religion, Rick Perry made the following statement.
“this administration’s war on religion is what bothers me greatly.” As evidence of that “war,” he pointed out that the Obama administration has chosen not to defend in court the Defense of Marriage Act, the 1996 legal prohibition of federal recognition of same-sex marriages.
We live in a time in which the Bible is used by Conservatives to put lipstick on their ideology in which the objective is to preserve power for the rich, while the rest of us worship at the “job creators” alter. There are also those who identify themselves as leaders of their religious community who exploit their implicit authority on Christianity as preachers to further a political agenda.
During the GOP clown show, God had a variety opinions, according to preachers who felt it was their right to endorse a candidate to their flock, whether it was Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, or simply anyone but Obama.
Of course, God wants all these things simultaneously.
Pastors endorsing candidates is rising in frequency. As reflected in the chart below, courtesy of Reuters,
539 pastors endorsed candidates from the pulpit and without doubt, everyone of those endorsements was a direct message from God, at least according the endorsing pastors. Perhaps the joke is on the pastors. After all, God seems to want so many people to be president.