Thursday, November 05, 2009

The Greatest Threat to America

The greatest threat to America is a Republican Party dominated by the Christian Right.

The Christian Right opposes abortion access, opposes gay rights (not just gay marriage but gay rights, the battlefield has shifted since the days of Anita Bryant because they are losing), believes the U.S. is a Christian Nation, wants creationism taught IN PLACE OF evolution (let’s teach the controversy is merely a tactic toward the ultimate goal), believes the Christian version of the Ten commandments should be posted in public buildings, believes that Christian Prayer and the teaching of the Christian interpretation of the bible should be an official part of the public school system.

That fact that Christians themselves cannot agree on some of these things is, for the moment, irrelevant to the Christian Right.

The bottom line is that the Christian Right in the U.S. believes that the separation of church and state should be eliminated and that Christianity should be accorded special privileges simply because it is Christianity. For the moment they are willing to tolerate non-Christians as long as Christianity has its privileges and everyone else stands by quietly and respects that.

The Christian Right has managed to attract millions of followers who feel frightened and powerless; millions who feel that they have been abandoned or failed by the political process; millions who feel that, for them, the American Dream is no longer achievable. The Christian Right promises a magical world where Jesus will make everything ok. It extends a false promise of hope to those that feel disenfranchised by the ongoing economic upheavals the country is experiencing. The Christian Right is American Fascism wrapped in the flag and holding a bible just as Sinclair Lewis predicted it would be.

The Christian Right promises to turn back the clock to a time that never existed. It promises a childlike mythological world view where God has a wonderful plan for everyone. A world view which cannot tolerate honest intellectual inquiry; a world view which has no use for science, where opinions become facts and faith is confused with knowledge.

Should the Christian Right ever come to control the United States it will cease to be the United States. There are far too many Americans intelligent enough, and educated enough, to reject the empty promises of the Christian Right. It could never hope to achieve a position of power without a façade of respectability.

The Republican Party is the façade chosen by the Christian Right as its vehicle. It is only the combination that is dangerous. The Christian Right by itself is impotent and the Republican Party, if it would return to its fiscally conservative and socially moderate roots, has been a stalwart defender of democracy for 150 years.

With the Republican Party under its control, all that the Christian Right would need is a major economic crisis. If one won’t happen naturally, they’ll be quite happy to help manufacture one.

Today, in this country, the wealthiest 1% of the population has more wealth than the poorest 90%. The middle class, which has always been the bulwark against fascism and communism, is under assault as never before and is rapidly losing power, influence and confidence.

If we do not “redistribute” the wealth of that top 1%, we are headed for economic catastrophe. Yet the very people that would benefit from that redistribution have been convinced that redistribution is Socialism and that Socialism is un-American and un-Christian.

The wealthy of the Republican Party and the corporations cynically believe that they can control the Christian Right and use it to help them amass even greater wealth. The German industrialists thought they could control and use the Nazis as well.

If the Christian Right ever manages to gain control of the Republican Party, all that would be standing between the country and a slide into Christian Fascism is a loose and ineffectual coalition of the Democratic Party, the so-called Intellectual Left, Academia and the Media.

The Democratic Party is too beholding to the same wealthy class and corporations that the Republican insiders are to take anything approaching effective action. They write fine sounding bills establishing universal freedoms but then allow religion special considerations and exemptions. They’re even perfectly willing to kiss the ring of the Christian Right in order to get elected.

The Intellectual Left is always too worried about political correctness and offending someone. They don’t realize that the very people they are afraid of offending are sharpening knives special for them. They defend a woman’s right to choose and they defend gay rights. Allow me to point out that defense never won a war. One needs to go on the offensive to win. The rise of Militant Atheism may change all that, but the movement is still too small, and too scattered.

Academia has no stomach for any fight that might require it to abandon its private little ivory tower of comfort and prestige. Professors are happy to argue over the theoretical implications of real world activities in papers published in obscure journals, using even more obscure language and utterly inaccessible to the general public.

The Media has succumbed to the mistaken impression that even handedness somehow means not educating the public to the danger in its midst and not opposing those who would quite happily silence the press and all criticism.

We are therefore, if something doesn’t change, almost defenseless. I say almost because as ineffectual as that opposing coalition is, it has the power necessary to crush the Christian Right should it ever recognize that crushing is necessary.

There are days when I look around and chide myself for being paranoid. But then I remember that I live within a fortress of reason and culture. Outside the pockets of rational civilization in the Northeast, the West Coast and the Upper Midwest, the darkness is already taking hold.

In Indiana they begin legislative sessions with an appeal to Jesus. In the south Christian prayers are a normal part of the public school day. In Kentucky and Tennessee they teach Creationism in the public schools and organize school trips to the Creation Museum. Millions of children are home schooled by their Evangelical Christian parents and taught to reject science, reject rational thought and that they must re-establish the Christian heritage of the United States.

No, I’m not being paranoid, the danger is very real.

When the next civil war comes that ineffectual coalition will bemoan its missed opportunities to head it off. I’ll be right there leaning on my walker and swinging away with whatever strength I have left. I can’t think of a better death than while fighting the Christian Right.

Excuse me now while I go clean my AKM and check my supply of 7.62 mm ammo.

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