Friday, September 19, 2008

Sound Off

Frank Schaeffer, son of the late evangelical preacher Francis Schaeffer and himself a former fundamentalist Christian, tears the religious right a new one in a column over at the Huffington Post. Excerpts:

Take a hard look at yourselves. Play back this year's Republican convention and you'll see an all-white crowd of people screaming for offshore oil drilling -- fat lot of good that will do! more carbon! more polution! -- and essentially reacting like starved hyenas when presented with a piece of juicy carrion. At the convention Sarah Palin and others produced nothing more than a snide list of smart ass put downs aimed at the really dumb, with so little substance that former conservatives such the late William F. Buckley, for instance (let alone my late father) would simply have been ashamed to be in your company. You have become a hate-filled rabble proud of your ignorance and resentful of the rest of your own country, resentment that's exceeded only by your maudlin (and false) sense of victimhood.

People that hate half the population of their own country can scarcely be called patriots. On the contrary, people who exult in mocking as their only way to "contribute" to solving our huge environmental, energy, military and economic problems are true subversives.

If you could feel shame there would have been a series of contrite public apologies at your convention for the incredible fiasco of non-governing that has typified the Bush administration. My pension, other people's pensions, our homes, jobs and economy are in chaos because of you. Young Americans are dying in Iraq because of you. The world is a more dangerous place because of you. America is hated because of you. Yes, that is you personally. I blame all of you.

Belligerent posturing is not a policy, it is idiocy. You Republicans have become the party of perpetual fear and aggressive non-provoked war, seeing enemies where there are none and/or provoking former friends to become our enemies, and/or faking reasons for war and/or wasting our soldier's blood in places such as Afghanistan, where our cause was just but you fumbled the ball.

Your moron vice presidential candidate is still at it! While turning her son's deployment to war into a flag-dishonoring political circus stunt she repeated the Bush lie and said that her son was going off to fight the perpetrators of 9/11. This is a barefaced lie and you all know it. Iraq had nothing to do with the 9/11 attack. The only reason we attacked them is because the fools listed above decided it would be good for Israel and our stupid "president" went along.

The Republican Party claims traditional values. It has propagated a laissez-faire attitude toward corporate interests and has -- literally -- stood back and encouraged the rape of the earth. You are the party of the earth-hogging SUV. You have literally sowed the wind and reaped the hurricanes.

This is as self-defeating as it is embarrassing for those claiming the moral high ground, particularly those who say that their philosophy represents traditional Judeo-Christian values. We all live here for crying out loud! Will you now fight our God and Creator too for the "right" to burn the last drop of oil while on a weekend jaunt to nowhere in your all-terrain piece of garbage?

The Republican problem is a systemic disparagement of government, community, faith in our institutions, family, God's creation and the mitigating institutions that put a check on something any party aligned with a religious movement should know all about: sin. Greed is not the only problem. Human weakness and stupidity (i.e., "sin") is the problem! And the genius of the American system is supposedly that we have a system of checks and balances to mitigate our fallen state. You have destroyed those checks and balances. That's definitely going to make some people mad. I've been less than charitable towards fundamentalists Christians in the past, but I can't say I've ever thought to craft a broadside quite on par with that. And frankly, it's not my style. But Schaeffer knows who he's talking to, as he used to be one of them. The zeal of a convert indeed.

That being said, I get pretty mad too when I read about survey results like this (via Slacktivist):

A new poll finds that nearly six in 10 white Southern evangelicals believe torture is justified, but their views can shift when they consider the Christian principle of the golden rule.

The poll released Thursday, commissioned by Faith in Public Life and Mercer University, found that 57% of respondents said torture can be often or sometimes justified to gain important information from suspected terrorists. Thirty-eight percent said it was never or rarely justified.

The new poll found that 44% of white Southern evangelicals rely on life experiences and common sense to determine their views about torture. A lower percentage, 28%, said they relied on Christian teachings or beliefs.

Yeah, okay. A bunch of fearful white fundamentalist Christians think it's okay to torture people who don't look like them, speak like them, or worship the same religion they do. Tribalism isn't exactly new in world history. But over a quarter of these people think that Christian doctrine justifies torture. Really? The fact that a quarter of these people believe that the religion they practice-that is named after a figure who was tortured to death for his political and religious beliefs-permits torture, says something about the state of religious teaching among these folks. 

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