Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Politics trumping Religion

Most have heard or read about the revelations contained in David Kuo's book: how conservatives in the administration used the religious right to win elections, but essentially only paid lip service to their agenda.

I agree only in the sense echoed in the following excerpt. People like our fearless leader believe... apparently, they simply believe in power more than god.

I am just back from a two-day visit to Regent University, founded by the evangelist Pat Robertson, a key figure in the religious right. "What you need to understand," a Robertson supporter told me, "is that Pat opposed the war in Iraq from the start." I responded that according to the Lancet, some 600,000 [unlikely its that high, but still...] Iraqis have died since the war began. If Robertson had publicly opposed the war, I told them, his influential voice might have spared those lives. "But," one of them answered back, "Pat is a Republican who would not openly oppose the president."

And there, I submit, is why the religious right is in trouble. Since the emergence of a politically active version of conservative Protestantism in the 1980s, it has never been clear whether America's shift to the right took place because deeply religious people became political or because deeply conservative people became religious. I learned at Regent what I have long suspected: For some of the most visible leaders in the religious right, politics trumps religion every time.

Politics trumps religion -- every time.

That's what I see -- and it should make even secular people, like myself, convulse. (Aside from the fact that pseudo-universities like Pat Robertson's are cranking out these driveling idiots and turning them loose on society.)

Politicians have been kissing babies since the profession began, but the bunch that will come to you spouting the dogma of your faith -- and then allow such worldly considerations as getting elected to get in the way of those ideals -- has to be the lowest form of political animal. I guess the ends do justify the means.

The problem is, it worked... The latest revelations not withstanding, religious people STILL want to hear their leaders spew illogic and unsubstantiated drivel as a demonstration that they are worthy of office. Our leaders oblige: listen to the stump speeches of democrats and republicans alike -- many are laden with references to god or faith. Someone has yet to explain to me how belief in 'god' will solve a single government-related issue. If such beliefs inspire a plan of action, just tell me the plan and spare me the metaphysical mumbo-jumbo.

The country will remain on its insane trajectory until people realize that religious belief isn't a qualification to hold public office: its an impediment to sound decision making.

19 comments:

Intellectual Insurgent said...

Dude, where did you find that photo? That is SCARY!!!

skip sievert said...

I should say, scary indeed.
I have a friend who is a born again , and I tried to tell him that I thought he was being betrayed , tricked and he would have none of it. That was before the pres. election.
He is acting a little sheepish now, and I think he knows.
There are plenty others though that still believe.
They don`t get it that the religious rummies are only front people or shills for the corporations, or corporatcracy . The Paper pushers run things.
The people here are believers. Believers can and will believe damn near any old nonsense. ha ha .

Za said...

Politics has always trumped religion.

Doesn't mean that religion is necessarily a bad thing in politics; it only becomes bad when it stops people from listening or acting morally (which it technically shouldn't but that's the historical example of what happens when politics manipulates religious fervour).

Most of my politics is religiously based, I just don't say it. If Jesus ran against Bush, the ad campaigns would say that Jesus is for helping welfare cheats, is weak on defense and will raise your taxes... wait, isn't that what the Republicans say about the Democrats?

I think you may also find humour in this.

Also, just so's you know, my address's changed to zahaqiel.com. ;)

Reign of Reason said...

II - I just found it via google... Can't remember the search phrase tho.

It is scary...

Too much politics is based in religion: politics should be based in reason and analysis of the issues -- not .belief in dogma or revealed truth.

Za, I don't know your morals, and I get the sense they are grounded in reality -- but I find it generally laughable that people attribute morality to religion. For 99% of history Christianity, Islam and Judaism have fostered xenophobic hatred and war. The only thing that has had an effect on these beliefs has been the modernizing influence of the enlightenment. Without that influence, we’d see global war (with nuclear weapons) based on some 2000 year old conception of god...

Tim B. said...

I would take this argument a step further and say that the entire agenda of the religious right has very little to do with religion and everything to do with politics. Abortion and homosexuality were never mentioned by Jesus yet these two issues are at the top of the rights agenda. In fact abortion was never mentioned in the entire bible. As Za alluded to, someone who does follow the teachings of Jesus IMHO would obviously be a Democrat.

I'm not a religious person but from what I remember from Sunday school as a child it seems to me that the religious right do the opposite of what Jesus taught. Jesus called us to love our neighbor, love our enemy, care for the poor, and care for the outcast. The rights moto seems to be help only those that are worthy. If you're poor than you obviously aren't worthy because if you're poor you must be lazy. And about the war I ask these so called moral leaders of America, "Who would Jesus bomb"?

ROR you say there's to much politics based in religion. I say that even though the right says there politics are based in religion it's really not. I believe their politics is based more on their bigoted beliefs than any religious beliefs they may have.

I'll finish with a report from the Arizona Republic on the "National Day of Prayer".

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are not allowed to conduct the services at an event put together by the National Day of Prayer Task Force - a nonprofit group which organizes events across the country. "That sort of exclusion is the thing I hate the very worst," Walton said. "Bigotry. That's what I call it." Task force spokesman Mark Fried said the group didn't recognize the Mormon faith as in accordance with the evangelical principles the task force set forth when it began in 1988. ... Mormons are still free to attend the prayer services, but wouldn't be allowed to speak in or direct the proceedings.

That sort of exclusion doesn't sound like anything I learned in Sunday School.

skip sievert said...

Religion is a blood brother to bigotry. They go hand in hand together merrily .

The Jesus stuff included. Mormons are brain washed believers. It is a tyranny and injustice to their children.

A good society has freedom of and from belief. A parent poisoning the mind of the child is not freedom from belief. This is a shame , and I pity those poor children.

Reign of Reason said...

Great thought Tim...

Most that claim to be followers of Christ (Christians) are obviously not. As you say, Christ advocated charity, humility, etc. -- exactly the opposite of those in our government who call themselves Christian.

We truly live in a bizzaro world.

Za said...

Za, I don't know your morals, and I get the sense they are grounded in reality -- but I find it generally laughable that people attribute morality to religion. For 99% of history Christianity, Islam and Judaism have fostered xenophobic hatred and war.
If you get a chance, pop open a bible to Matthew 5, and read it through to Matthew 7. It's well worth it.

And I have to disagree with you on the 99% of history thing. If you look at each event, and the motivations, they were not religious motivations. Religious people, but political gains.

Reign of Reason said...

I have read the bible… in its entirety– several times.

The problem with biblical teaching isn’t that you CAN’T find good teachings – esp. in the New Testament… The problem is that you can find contradictory teaching throughout the text. Therefore anyone and everyone can use the bible to justify their behavior.

Look, Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin and Martin Luther were considered moral men and reformers of the church. However, they advocated the burning of heretics and used scripture as their basis for the practice.

If the bible is held to be a ‘moral guide’ it should be unequivocal on things like rape, slavery, murder, genocide, etc. Civilized people have universally decided these are immoral practices: however, simply look at Judges 21:10 –

21:10 And the congregation sent thither twelve thousand men of the valiantest, and commanded them, saying, Go and smite the inhabitants of Jabeshgilead with the edge of the sword, with the women and the children.

21:11 And this [is] the thing that ye shall do, Ye shall utterly destroy every male, and every woman that hath lain by man.

21:12 And they found among the inhabitants of Jabeshgilead four hundred young virgins, that had known no man by lying with any male: and they brought them unto the camp to Shiloh, which [is] in the land of Canaan.

Where there were taken as sex slaves – or more politely, concubines.

Za – the bible is tribal rubbish. The sooner people realize this the better off the world we be.

Reign of Reason said...

By the way -- that link you provided is great...

R

skip sievert said...

Trial rubbish, Ha ha, ~! I am going to have to use that line sometime.

skip sievert said...

Whoops , I meant tribal rubbish. But trial may have been a freudian mistake I made. Ha.~!!

Za said...

Za – the bible is tribal rubbish. The sooner people realize this the better off the world we be.
I'm not a Pauline Christian, so most of the New Testament I look at with a wary eye. The Gospels are the most useful parts anyway.

Most Christians ignore the fact that we're meant to be "Christ-like" and use various parts of the bible in antithetical ways to the teachings of Jesus - which are what I try to stick to.

skip sievert said...

I agree there are some useful and well thought out aspects there. It is also so tangled up in other stuff though. I pick through it myself, much like looking for a good morsel on a Turkey carcass.
Ha.~!~

Reign of Reason said...

Agree -- there is some worthwhile philosophy contained in the words of christ... However, other religions have codified it much more efficiently – and without all the other crap that surrounds christs’ words: Take the Jains for example: “Do not injure, abuse, oppress, enslave, insult, torment, torture, or kill any creature or living being.”

Kinda sums up a nice moral code without all the mysticism and hocus pocus – not to mention the brutality contained in the old testament.

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Anonymous said...

ROR The country will remain on its insane trajectory until people realize that religious belief isn't a qualification to hold public office: its an impediment to sound decision making.

Nicely said.

Reign of Reason said...

Thanks Anonymous...

Za said...

Agree -- there is some worthwhile philosophy contained in the words of christ... However, other religions have codified it much more efficiently – and without all the other crap that surrounds christs’ words: Take the Jains for example: “Do not injure, abuse, oppress, enslave, insult, torment, torture, or kill any creature or living being.”
Or we can just use the Hebrew "Altasheth" - do not destroy.

It sums it up quite nicely.