As I consider the implications of a mindset takeover by the so-called religious right I feel compelled to announce that I stand in firm opposition. I think it is a potentially disastrous thing for our country and, because of our global influence, a potentially disastrous circumstance for the world at large.
First of all, I challenge the validity of their religions. I call them the "so-called" religious right because it is not genuinely religious at all. Fundamentalist generally hold that the purpose of life is to somehow earn enough merits or demerits to occupy heaven or hell in some speculation of the afterlife. I see it as a convenient formula by which some people exercise power and domination of others. It can even be an institutional thing. Religion can be a powerful influence because it requires an element of faith, of accepting as valid concepts that can not be proved or disproved. Once having broken the gullibility barrier it is far too easy for unscrupulous practitioners to the fantasies and speculations too far.
On the one hand I think it is admirable to have a vision of a better world and work to bring that vision into being. This is the kind of exercise of faith that pulls humans society forward and upward. I have no problem with that. In fact it is the kind of faith to which I aspire and hope.
But to the degree that the so-called religious folks look to a vision of a sinful and destroyed world of the future it bodes ill for the policies they would inflict upon the rest of us. They have cast away their hope for this earthly world and only find hope in the next one. They are little different than the fatalistic jihadist who finds it excusable to spread destruction in this world in order to achieve status in the next. When these kind of people are in power it is extremely bad news for civilization. They don't value human progress or human justice. They willingly become pawns for people seeking power for all kinds of reasons. Some are seeking the power to line their pockets, some to feed their own megalomania, and some have found that power is sufficient end in itself. But the so-called people of faith remain as a convenient power source to be harnessed by whomever can feed them the right line.
This is an old business. Much of the Old Testament is devoted to bringing people into line with religion and the fear of God as the tool. Calamities could be blamed by iniquities of which there is always a plentiful supply. Success stories could be constructed out of the distant past. And it's in the peril and judgement that the right-wing finds it's fountain of influence. While true Christianity speaks of love, forgiveness, and hope, this false Christianity harks back to the commandments and consequences of an intolerant God and is inviolable Law.
In the birthing of this country our founding fathers saw the carnage that had been wrought in their recent history when religion became allied with the state. Many of the colonists had come here to escape that deadly combination. The founders sought to avoid that evil by firmly basing our government on secular principles. And the secularism that has held forth a standard of objectivity in the policies of our country has served us all very well, even the religious-minded. Those who see our government as partner with religion do violence to our real history. I admit there has always been a tension there but this country's best moments come when we rise above sectarian concerns and act according to more universal secular ideals.
It's these secular ideals of justice-for-all, equal protection, and civic responsibility that trump sectarianism and bring us all together. It's our common ground of principles that make this country great not our wealth and not our submission to theology.
Even though I believe it is essential to guarantee religious freedom, I also believe that when religion threatens the founding secular principles of this country it borders on treason. This kind of excess needs to be vociferiously opposed and I intend to do so.
Sometimes the greatest danger to a country is genuinely from within.