Xref: ncsuvx talk.religion.misc:26281 talk.politics.misc:54574 alt.pagan:711 Subject: Reli

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Xref: ncsuvx talk.religion.misc:26281 talk.politics.misc:54574 alt.pagan:711 Path: ncsuvm!ncsuvx!lll-winken!sun-barr!newstop!sun!athena1!williamt From: williamt@athena1.Sun.COM (William A. Turnbow) Newsgroups: talk.religion.misc,talk.politics.misc,alt.pagan Subject: Religious Right in Politics Message-ID: <133319@sun.Eng.Sun.COM> Date: 22 Mar 90 16:53:28 GMT Sender: news@sun.Eng.Sun.COM Reply-To: williamt@sun.UUCP (William A. Turnbow) Lines: 180 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 ----- 1990 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 them. 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 Sunday. 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 States Senate." 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 wrong." 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 fade away. But do we really want to take that kind of chance? ----- END OF REPRINTED ARTICLE ----- The above article was originally published in LOW ORBIT #44, ISSN 0885-2723. LOW ORBIT is a small-press science fiction and fantasy magazine. For more information, write to any of the following addresses: LOW ORBIT, 252 East Loudon, Lexington, KY 40505-3636; phoenix@ms.uky.edu; phoenix%ms.uky.edu@UKCC.BITNET; Skywise via PeopleLink; 72406,370/LOW ORBIT on CompuServe; R'ykandar Korra'ti at THE SPRAWL/LEXINGTON, KY via the GT Powercomm network. This entire article is protected under United States and international copyright law. Permission to reprint, reproduce, or retransmit this article unaltered is GRANTED provided that 1) NOT ONE WORD IS OMITTED, 2) this notice is retained with the article, and 3) no profit is generated by the inclusion of this article. Permission to reprint, publish, or otherwise communicate in any for-profit publication of any type is expressly forbidden without written permission from the author. Contact LOW ORBIT for written permission to reprint or retransmit in either an altered form (e.g., without this lengthy notice :-) ) or in a for-profit publication. ----- End of Reprinted Article ---- --- An it harm none, do what you will.

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