Xref: ncsuvx talk.religion.misc:26281 talk.politics.misc:54574 alt.pagan:711
From: williamt@athena1.Sun.COM (William A. Turnbow)
Subject: Religious Right in Politics
Date: 22 Mar 90 16:53:28 GMT
Reply-To: williamt@sun.UUCP (William A. Turnbow)
Saw this and it is yet more of an example of what was in the book
Spritual Warfare I reviewed recently.
----- START OF REPRINTED ARTICLE -----
Editorial for LOW ORBIT #44
Entire contents (C) 1990 R'ykandar Korra'ti
Well, it's 1990. I'd say it's the last decade of the 20th
century, but we haven't actually gotten there, and won't until
1991. It's the same with the end of the millennium; it won't get
here until 2001, but if you wait to celebrate you'll miss all the
good parties. And if certain people have their way, you'll need
Remember the religious right? You thought they were gone
with the fall of the televangelists. Well wrongo, buckaroo.
They're more organized than ever, and have been building their
power at the local level - school boards, for example. You've
seen them at work, and may not even have known it. Here's a
couple of places where they might stand out.
Anti-abortion rallies. Let's face it; few of these people
know a biology text from a complete set of Ginsu knives. They're
arguing a point of morality based upon their religion; they see
it as an area in which they can build public support. The only
problem with this method is that they occasionally talk to the
press and let things slip. One anti-abortion protester here in
Kentucky recently went on record as stating that after abortion
was outlawed, he'd go after contraceptives. "A lot of our
problems in America can be traced directly to birth control,"
says he. "Revealing your true colors," says I.
Education. Surprised? These people want to reform education,
but on their terms - terms which include the Bible, the Bible,
and more of the Bible. We've got to put the educational system in
this country back together, alright - but we've got to do it so
that it actually teaches people to think. The members of the RR
I've dealt with - and there have been many - don't want people to
think; they want people to believe as they believe. They are
actively antagonistic to learning anything which contradicts
their opinions; as one fundamentalist Christian recently told me,
when presented with scientific facts which directly contradicted
the point she argued; 'Well, OK, I don't know much about science,
I thought it sucked, so I can't talk to you there. But I still
know I'm right.'
Dissenters should watch themselves; I've been given the
following "suggestions" for handling people they think behave
"immorally" or "against God": sterilization, permanent
surveillance, concentration camps, execution and other similar
"corrective measures." I wish I could say I was making these up;
but they're all ideas suggested to me in complete seriousness. As
of now, these are the "tiny weirdo minority." But they won't stay
that way on their own.
Let's give credit where credit is due. These people are
organized. They're determined. They're relentless. They reinforce
each other with rhetoric, in sermons, in newsletters, and more.
They spread their views with - to quote a devout but
non-fundamentalist Christian friend of mine - "half-baked,
misunderstood, self-serving biblical interpretations and
perversions." They evangelize constantly, bolstering each other
and making new converts. Each time an issue comes up, they do
their best to subscribe anyone around them to their views,
regardless of the truth; whenever a controversy is afoot, they're
the first to organize letter writing campaigns.
Reality check: I turn on a local "Christian Radio" station -
you know the kind; the low-power stations at the end of the
dial you never pay attention to - and listen for a few minutes.
I've done this before, to pick up on their latest targets.
Tonight's sermon is about never compromising on God's Word, and
helping re-establish the Bible as law of the land. The upshot was
basic and direct; opposing opinions are the work of Satan. The
speaker's imagery leaned more than a little militaristic, all
about putting on the "Armor of God" to avoid being "shot" by the
views of the devil. A few days ago, I heard an extended "prayer"
asking God to make all listeners write their congressmen, urging
them to send troops into Nicaragua.
Sure, people with these beliefs make up five or less
percent of the population; but on top of everything else above,
they all vote. They all call their representatives, as is their
right. Most of them write to newspapers; I've seen many meetings
wherein groups put together huge writing campaigns in a single
On the other hand, only around 50% of the rest of us ever
bother to even register to vote. Many people complain about how
our elected officials only pay attention to the special interest
groups; sure, that's often true. More than occasionally, they're
the only people talking.
Reality check: "Associated Press - ARIZONA - The Republican
State Convention today passed a resolution proclaiming America to
be 'a Christian nation' and 'a republic based upon the absolute
laws of the Bible, not a democracy.'" Silly, you think? We won't
see this story? Sorry; the aforementioned declaration was issued
in 1989. The quotes I cite are real. Here's how it happened;
late one night of the convention, when most of the delegates had
left for the evening, a band of fundamentalist delegates took
over - as they had planned in advance - and passed the
resolution. The language is similar to that used commonly in
Iran; the tactics are identical to those Lenin used to outlaw
political opposition. The party as a whole later repudiated the
concept - even now, the author is trying to get it reinstated -
but it still illustrates the point. Want nightmares? Strike the
words "Republican State Convention" and replace them with "United
And as bad as it all may seem, it can easily get worse. I'm
not certain that I've conveyed the fundamentalist disregard for
civil rights - civil rights hell, any opposition at all - as
clearly as I should have. The basic foundation of democracy is
the acceptance that someone else may have a better idea, that you
could be wrong, no matter how strongly you believe whatever you
believe. Other opinions are valid and have a right to exist.
Reality check: "That's what democracy is all about. The
majority can and does decide what... it likes and imposes it
upon everybody else." A quote from a fundamentalist on a
national computer-based network. They, of course, see themselves
as the "moral" majority. The Jeffersonian concept of a protected
opposition is entirely alien to the Religious Right. They have no
need of or respect for other opinions; they have the Only True
Way because God Has Told Them So. They cannot conceive of any
other view being correct. To disagree with them is to work
against their god, to "fight on Satan's side." And, of course, to
agree with Satan is immoral, and immorality can - should - be
punished - and we all see where this goes.
Not very long ago, I spent almost six hours attempting to
convey one simple idea to three self-described fundamentalist
Christians: "It is possible, no matter how unlikely, no matter
how strongly I believe otherwise, that I could be wrong. I am not
saying that I am wrong, but that it is possible for me to be
I failed. When I gave up only one even professed to
understand the concept, and he didn't agree with it. They
answered every statement I made with a randomly chosen quote
from the Bible and lots of shouts of AMEN!, or, occasionally,
with the phrase "but we're not wrong. The Bible says so."
The only thing that can be done is to out-count them. We
have to have more people; we have to work harder. These people
thrive upon presenting their viewpoint and repressing others,
upon repetition, upon spreading their beliefs as "traditional"
and not only the way things have always been (whether it actually
is or not), but the way their God wants it - in short, upon being
the only voice. When a subject comes up, present your view and
support it; an astounding amount can be accomplished simply by
talking to other people. When a controversy appears, write the
newspaper. And do it at every opportunity; they make their points
sound reasonable by repeating them, so that you get used to what
they're saying. We can counteract that by some repetition - and
more importantly, intelligent discussion - of our own.
Fighting them means getting off our collective asses and
registering to vote. It means paying attention to who is being
elected to what position. It even means writing, or at least
calling, your legislators. It means being citizens, not just
observers. A quickie fix won't do it; "The price of liberty is
eternal vigilance," said Thomas Jefferson. We'll have to work at
it regularly. On the other hand, we could continue to relax and
just ignore these people. It might work. They might very well
But do we really want to take that kind of chance?
----- END OF REPRINTED ARTICLE -----
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