“There will be Satanic forces…We are not… up just against human beings, to beat them in elections. We’re going to be coming up against spiritual warfare.” – Pat Robertson, Road to Victory, 1991
“Satan has his sights on the United States of America.” Rick Santorum, Ave Maria University, 2008.
There once was a time when Americans could feel smugly superior to the rest of the world because of our power, our technology, our industriousness, and our science. We represented the future. Now, we wake up in the year 2012 and find ourselves on the express train to the thirteenth century. Rather than science we have superstition; we have thrown out the germ theory of medicine to which so much is owed and replaced it with prayer. People laugh at us. And they should. Because Rick Santorum wants America to represent the past.
I would laugh too, were I not weeping.
Look at what one of our two major political parties is telling voters:
These are beliefs the rest of the world began to abandon with the Renaissance and most had been pretty thoroughly rejected by the time of the European Enlightenment. There is a reason God scored a big goose-egg in the Declaration of Independence and in the U.S. Constitution.
We know the claims made in the above list are a bunch of hooey. We know why there are animal (including bird) die-offs. We know what causes various natural disasters, including tornadoes, hurricanes, and tsunamis; there are no mysteries there. It is no coincidence that earthquakes can take place on both sides of the Pacific – the Ring of Fire is explanation enough – pinning it on God is absurd when you have tectonic plates shifting. We also know what controls the price of gas and God has nothing to do with it. Ditto for the creation of life. We know where babies come from and it’s not God but vigorous and often mutually enthusiastic sex. The list above is crap and the modern world understands it as such and so there is no mystery at all why people are laughing at my country; it is no less than it deserves.
It is Americans, after all, who allowed the situation to get as bad as it has. There is no excuse at all for 2010.
How did this happen? How did the most advanced industrialized nation on earth, one committed to liberty, come to the brink of a superstitious, backward-looking theocracy?
A small group of racist white evangelicals saw their position of privilege begin to erode, and they panicked. The election of a black progressive Christian as president while a cause for celebration for forward-looking Americans (and most foreigners) was as the sounding of the gong of doom to these white fundamentalists. Here was a black guy who had the audacity to become president when he should have been serving them their breakfast, taking care of their garden, or doing maintenance at their summer cottage. At the best best he should be the White House gardener, not the occupant of the Oval Office. We all knew racism still existed; but many of us weren’t prepared for the shameless audacity with which so many conservatives expressed it.
Look (and let’s be honest about this): it doesn’t matter what President Obama does; it never did. Because no matter what he does or doesn’t do, he will always be a black man and the secret truth at the heart of conservatism is that only white Christian people (and then only the right type of Christian because mainline protestants are “gone from the world of Christianity”) are “real” Americans. America was made by God for white Christians and if the First Amendment doesn’t establish Christianity as a state religion than it damn well ought to!
Fundamentalists of course love what they’re hearing. That goes without saying. It feeds all their preconceptions: They are being told exactly what they want to hear, they are being told exactly what they already want to believe or do believe. Group psychosis has never been more popular since the Nuremberg rallies. The truly sad part is that so many otherwise intelligent liberals are still in denial regarding the threat to our democracy posed by these lunatic theocrats. All of them should pay a visit to TheocracyWatch. Read the entire site and then come back and tell me we’re panicking over nothing.
And here’s the deal whether you want to hear it or not: if the theocrats win in 2012, the Great American Experiment, born with such hope and optimism for an enlightened human future, may end like the snuffing out of a guttering flame. Like so many world empires before, the American empire will no longer be a culture in which people live but a place future scholars will study. For the American people things will be far worse, not academic at all, for we will have lost the flame that lights the demon-haunted darkness Carl Sagan once wrote about, and descend once more into an era best lost to history.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.
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