Separation of Church and Sensitbilities...
With the perceived threat of rampant Christian theocracy hanging over us like a pall of black, Papal smoke, I'd like to take a few minutes to consider just what the detractors of religion are so worried about. From where I sit, it would seem that many of the so-called 'liberals' and the religious amongst us have similar goals. If a liberal tells you he wishes to have a fair and just society, where all men are created equal, how is that any different than Jesus' command that we love one another or "do unto others as you would have done unto you", or even Islam's central belief in universal brotherhood?
If the same liberal tells you he wants a just society, then what is the difference between "Thou shalt not kill" and a first degree murder statute? Would slavery have ceased to exist in this country had there not been a strong, moral imperative, stemming from religious faith (amongst other things)? Would the institution of slavery ever been pulled down if Chuck Shumer, Ted Kennedy and Harry Reid been in charge back in the 1860's? Or would the idea be rejected as the "agenda of an extreme right-wing religious zealotry"?
In fact, I can see no difference between much of the liberal mantra and what is offered as the foundations of Christian faith. So what's the hubub all about? The hubub is that the liberal ca no longer advance his agenda through reason, because his reason has been fond to be faulty. The welfare state lifted very few boats, and in fact, perpetuated economic and social inequality. The "tune-in, turn-on, drop-out" crowd did nothing more than glamorize drug use that led to peple gunning each other down in the streets. The micromanagement of people's activities and lifestyles has done little more than to create a permanent class of people incapable of action unless directed by an ever-more expensive and exapnsive government, which achieves very little except it's own perpetuation. And the people are sick of it. They are fighting back, and sending notice that what once was will never be again.
In my opinion, the argumetns about the role of religion in our daiily lives, and in our government institutions, goes to the heart of four very important pillars of liberal belief;
1. That man is his own master and that having been born with an intellect, all advances must be the products of that intellect. The liberal love affair with the intellect is so well documented that to argue otherwise is to waste breath. The intellectual is to the liberal as the Supreme Being is to the faithful. Anything not created or advanced by man's raw intelligence is not useful. The emotional is unimportant unless it can somehow be used to advance the intellectual. For example, liberals trot out the cause of the homeless every so often in order to make a politcal point about the inequities in society, but what do they actually ever do about it? The raw emotion evoked at the sight of a dirty, drug-addicted wretch is powerful: we feel guilt, we feel shame that our fellow human beings are degraded to such a state, hungry, cold and sick. The liberal then takes that guilt and shame, and instead of directly acting upon it, taking a bum to lunch for example, uses it to advance a political agenda more in tune with his ideology; continued utopian experimentation (more drug counselling, more job retraining, etc) and further redistribution of wealth schemes (extending welfare benefits, for example). Never will they actually go out, find bums and take personal responsibility for them the way they urge the rest of us to do.
2. Being intellectual, they believe, excuses them from any actual legwork of physical labor. It is better to think, to suggest, to direct, then to actually produce. So, if bums clog up the street, it's not the liberal's fault (he's thinking really hard about it, and thus, doing his civic duty), it must be someone else's. It's also someone else's place to do the work, to pay for it and to take responsibility. The avoidance of responsibility is anothe rhallmark of the liberal mind. People are not responsible for their actions, and responsibility is usually transferred to some impersonal object or such; "society" is to blame for some evils, guns kill people, automobiles are the main threat to the plane, "the government" pay for things, or alternately, does not pay for them. John Kerry cried to us on television about the plight of the uninsured, but offered no concrete plan to remedy the situation. His fallback position was that the "government" would pay for it all. John's not as dumb as he looks and he knew full well that the "government" meant "the taxpayer". If it worked, he would take responibility for having provided something unprecedented (like the ability to get someone else to pay for your penis enlargement). Had it failed, it would have been because "the program is underfunded". The anvil of blame would never have landed on John's perfectly-coiffed head.
3. That the intellectual is always superior to the spiritual and superstition. Any belief that cannot be reasoned through and cannot be scientifically proven to have a firm foundation, must be the result of suprstition, which is the antithesis of the intellect. The 'leap of faith' threatens the 'leap of logic' and therefore, must be combatted. Utopian society can only be made to work when reason is applied in all areas of human endeavor and when fear, superstition and prejudices can be eliminated. The path to elimination is through reason. In the liberal mindset, once everyone has been taught the same methodology of thought, paradise will follow. And it will be a paradise of human creation, created by the intellect, with no competing system of thought or belief tolerated to screw it up. But faith is strnger than intellect, sometimes,and cannot be combatted once it is entrenched. So, the liberal must be steadfast in his devotion to the elimination of superstition; no prayer in school, no metion of God, removing the Ten Commandments from places where they've been displayed forever.
4. Human paradise can only be brought about by the concentration of power and the moral standing of the state. The state must be the arbiter of all things, an impersonal, solid monolith devoid of all emotions except unquestioning loyalty (from it's subjects). The existence of God threatens the implementation of that kind of state by setting up a rival for the state's authority and the expected loyalty. The first casualty of a politically correct state is religion. Because faith cannot be controlled it must be exterminated.
5. The belief that human nature does not exist while simultaneously advancing the idea that human nature can be controlled. This was the hallmark of communism, by the way. Human nature dictates that people will always act in what they perceive to be their own best interests, very often to the detriment of others. The liberal mantra is that once human nature is adequately controlled or at least shaped properly, then the liberal point of view can predominate. The communists tried to control human nature by eliminating want. They did such a rotten job of it that they barely kept anyone alive.The Nazis turned the darker side of human nature to the wanton destruction of Jews, Gypsies and Slavs in the millions. The Japanese dis the same with regards to Westerners and other Asians. Islam does it today with it cires for Jihad against Westerners, Jews and Christians. In most cases, human nature is merely ignored when it becomes inconvenient. Socialism, for example, can never work because human nature dictates that to have merely enough is never enough. If the opposite were true, civilization would never have blossomed and advanced to the state it already has.
So, what does this have to do with what's happening in the here and now?
When the self-professed (anti-)liberals in the Senate can bluster that they will thwart the rule and will of the majority, defending their actions by claiming to defend the abstract notion of rights, against a similar system based on faith instead of reason, they believe themselves to be justified. They are defending their belief system against another. It never occurs to them that had it not been for the rival belief system, their own could possbily never exist in the first place.
When democrats can claim to be defending the rights of the minority against a looming tyrranical theocratic movement, theyare really defending their own turf --- the continued building of an all-powerful state with no rivals, political or religious, but especially religious.
There is a connotation implied when you throw the adjective 'religious' into your argument. It implies inflexibility, it implies ceeding control to a force or being who cannot be argued with, reasoned with, understood or touched. On several levels, I agree with them. But on the other hand, the same adjective also implies other things; morality, justice and concscience.
To a liberal, morality is what society chooses to make it, not what a society chooses to believe. God may say "thou shalt not kill", but that commandment interferes with the intellectual argument that a woman cannot be truly free unless released from the shackles of motherhood, and that runs counter to the theory of why abortion should be legal. If God commands abstinence until marriage it runs counter to the liberal philosophy of allowing people physical freedom, while denying their political freedom --- you may fuck, all you want, but you may not have a say in how your life is run otherwise. One of the basic arguments in favor of Gay Marriage, which is never discussed, is that while gay sex is considered disgusting and immoral by many, if you gave it the religious patina attached to marriage, it would make the concept more palatible to society as a whole. To a liberal, true freedom revolves around the freedom of his/her genitalia, moral (for Bill Clinton, make that oral) conventions be damned.
The same could be said about justice. It says right there in the Constitution that "All men are created equal", but guilt over past events compels liberals to elevate the 'equality' of some over that of others. You may not racially profile, for example, when it comes to law enforcement or stopping terrorists from acting, but you can (and are encouraged to do so) when it comes to figuring out who goes to law school. Or redesigning a congressional district. Or deciding who gets government largesse. Racial profilling is bad, except when it comes to portraying all whites as lilly-livered, greedy, WASP-ish misers, unfairly controlling all the wealth in the world --- except when it's the lilly-livered, WASP-ish, miserly whites dressed up as defenders of the poor and oppressed. Justice is also a fungible proposition, it's what the liberal says it is today, in order to fit his needs in advancing his agenda. He needs allies because all thinking people cannot see the pure, intellectual grace of hius arguments --- bribed allies do just fine in a pinch.
Add to this the fact that liberals in America have lost control of the visible government (they still lurk in every nook and cranny of the federal and state bureacracies) and you can see why religion is such a bad thing to them. The problem cannot be with the liberal's intellectually-devised, reasonable agenda, it must be because some outside force opposes him. In the past, it was 'reactionaries', 'racists', 'the rich', 'capitalists', 'the nobility'. Today, it is the 'religious'. A liberal canot exist without an enemy to castigate. Today's liberal would have you believe that there is a conspiracy taking place, hatched in the backrooms of redneck churches in the wilds of the south, where snake-handling baptists, married-to-the-Pope Catholics and out-of-their-mind Evangelicals have gotten together in a sinsiter plot to undo all the 'progress' of the last 200 years. The conspirators even have names and faces: George W. Bush, Bill Frist, Tom DeLay, Newt Gingrich, Jerry Falwell.
This religiously fanatic cabal will infiltrate and overthrow all the institutions of American government, and institute an age of radical theology, the likes of which haven't been seen since the Iranian Revolution of 1979 or the Intifada of the 1990's. We will become a nation of religious zealots, every bit as dangerous to it's enemies (read: homosexuals, feminists, minorities, democrats, socialists, college professors, etc) as the fearsome forces of Osama Bin Laden are to us now. To point out that the pposite was true, that liberal fundamentalists have infiltrated the institutions of America, is a lie that must be treated as something akin to a killing offense.
That's why the courts must be 'saved' from fundamentalist Christians who don't believe the Constitution to be an 'evolving' document. Heck, if all documents are 'evolving' then I guess I have 'evolved' to the point where I can take upon myself to stop paying my credit card debt, despite the legally-binding contract I've signed. Times have changed and the credit people have to change with them. Forty years of 'progress' in which we can kill our unborn children because we feel like it, or not pay half our incomes to a remote and uncaring government which will use the funds to further control us, is in danger of being washed away. The liberal vision of America is being wiped away with the same attention to detail as one gives to wiping one's nose.
The democrats and liberals have lost at the ballot box. Their ideas have been rejected, their agenda has been tried and found to be wanting, and the last vestige of hope for them lies in getting the courts to do what the legislatures cannot. Anyone who professes anything approaching religious faith, independant thinking, definite notions of morality, justice and conscience, anyone who believe in the power of a free market, rather than government, to improve the lot of their fellow men must be stopped. At all costs.
Liberals claim to not believe in religion. They will pointot examples of history where religion led people to do harm to their fellow men: the Inquisition and the Crusades are favorite examples. They do this while conveniently ignoring the evils of Islam, the perversion of Shinto that led to Emperor Worship, war and slaughter in Asia. They never point to the 'cult of personality' that brought us Hitler, Mao and Stalin.
But it seems to me that while a liberal insists that he believes there should be a wide gulf between religion and ideology, it becomes ever more apparent that his ideology IS his religion.