The new face of religion…
That too is my view: that the GOP, deep down, is behaving as a religious movement, not as a political party, and a radical religious movement at that. Lofgren sees the “Prosperity Gospel” as a divine blessing for personal enrichment and minimal taxation (yes, that kind of Gospel is compatible with Rand, just not compatible with the actual Gospels); for military power (with a major emphasis on the punitive, interventionist God of the Old Testament); and for radical change and contempt for existing institutions (as a product of End-Times thinking, intensified after 9/11).
That’s how I explain the current GOP. It can only think in doctrines because the alternative is living in a complicated, global, modern world they both do not understand and also despise. Taxes are therefore always bad. The government is never good. Foreign enemies must be pre-emptively attacked. Islam is not a religion. Climate change is an elite conspiracy to impoverish America. Terror suspects are terrorists. When Americans torture, it is not tortured. When Christians murder, they are not Christians. And if you change your mind on any of these issues, you are a liberal, an apostate, and will be attacked.
Religion has replaced all of this, reordered it, and imbued the entire political-economic-religious package with zeal. And the zealous never compromise. They don’t even listen. Think of Michele Bachmann’s wide-eyed, Stepford stare as she waits for a questioner to finish before providing another pre-cooked doctrinal nugget. My fear – and it has built for a decade and a half, because I’ve seen this movement up-close from within and also on the front lines of the marriage wars – is that once one party becomes a church with unchangeable doctrines, and once it has supplanted respect for institutions and civility with the radical pursuit of timeless doctrines and hatred of governing institutions, then our democracy is in grave danger.
Ok, just for a min, ignore that Richard Dawkins is all over this like ugly on an ape. Ignore Sullivan himself and his attitudes as well. Just think about the message…
I spent my early childhood years mostly on the dark continent watching every imaginable form of political chaos and genocide take place. And I learned something: Democracy will not work everywhere. Democracy will only work where a population places greater allegiance in concepts like the rule of law, freedom of expression, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, humanist care for the common good, reason, logic and all of the above are elevated over concepts like family and religion or ideology.
When a political party cheers for the death of a sick or foolish person who is ill because it fits their ideology, we’re already there.