Friday, October 22, 2004

Apparently only the Right has Whackos...
I'm getting pretty sick and tired of a particular term that seems to be tossed around American left-wing circles pretty frequently, blatantly and with considerable ignorance. That term is "the religious-Right Wing".

Typically, the term has adjectives placed before it. They tend towards words like rabid and extreme, words designed to give the impression that we live under the constant threat of being overrun by some pseudo-Taliban, God-sanctioned, Neo-Nazi-like state that is currently being crafted in the Evangelical Christian churches of America. There is an evil plan afoot to replace the American ideals of personal liberties with a program of forced adherence to the Ten Commandments and the Book of Revelations. Ridiculous.

While it is somewhat provable that most Christians of the most devout stripe often do vote en-bloc for Republican and Conservative candidates and espouse many of the same causes that these political philosophies do, it is never imagined that very often this is merely a marriage of convenience. There is no other viable alternative for people of religious and conservative social views as far as political parties. You will find that Evangelical Christians are every bit diverse in their thinking as anyone else in America. However, they care about social decorum and thus throw their weight behind the party that best (although not perfectly) represents their views. The second premise that I'm trying to get at is that when pointing out that there is a "Religious Right" the obvious existence of a "Religious Left" is forgotten.

There is a Religious Left, and it is every bit as rabid and extreme, or as representative of thought, as their counterparts, but they do have better press. One need only turn on his or her television set to see the anointed representatives of the Religious Left, and their names usually begin with "Reverend" too.

Why is it that Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Louis Farrakhan, et. al. and the people who follow them are never described in the same terms as Jerry Falwell, Donald Wildmon, and the Pope?
The distinction is the same: all base their support on their own social visions and use the authority vested in them by the Almighty as a bully pulpit to advance their agendas, don't they?
All attempt to advance a social agenda based upon their religious beliefs (presumably) and their vision of the world, don't they? Why is it that only the Right Wing of American politics can be burdened with a group of vicious, extreme, rabid and Fascist religionists and the corresponding Left Wing versions discounted?

Because to tell the truth would be disastrous to the Left, that's why. To point out hypocrisy would be to disarm the other side in any debate (when they allow one, of course).

Of course, the left-wing hypocrisy and stupidity are not merely defined by religion either. There are Greens who ascribe to a worldview where we are all returned to our pristine, noble savage state, but in which we somehow manage to keep the cappucino machines running and pay for open heart surgery for everyone. There are Atheists running around who base their world view not on religion but upon their own personal morality, which usually tends to be opportunistic, selfish and cynical, and who espouse the power of another God; the Law. This bunch feels that since they do not believe in religion the rest of us are obliged to surrender any belief we ourselves have, despite the fact that the God of Law says we don't have to. Let's not forget the other bugbears of the Left, the various groups who find it perfectly acceptable to be contrarian as it suits their needs and tastes: capital punishment bad, abortion good. Personal freedom good, owning a gun/driving an SUV/smoking/home schooling bad. People who speak of personal freedom and then attempt to force the rest of us to live under their own regime.

There is a psychological term for someone who is compelled to point at the defects of others while dismissing his or her own, but I'm having trouble remembering what it is. I believe it's called narcissism, but I might be wrong.

However, I think I'm right when I say I believe the "other side" is whackier than some bunch of Bible Thumpers from the interior of Mississippi. At least the Bible Thumpers have access to a philosophy that has existed for more than 20 minutes and which hasn't been focus-grouped.

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