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« An Ongoing Conversation About Beliefs The RantsThis is the Harm of Pseudoscience »

So, When Does the Backlash Come?
2005.04.13 (Wed) 21:27

We've been wondering lately when the backlash against the growing Christian theocracy in the United States is going to come. Of course, it isn't a foregone conclusion that any backlash will happen, but we're still holding out hope that American citizens will realize they are being pushed too far, and they will finally declare that enough is enough.

There are a few signs lately that we may be heading in that direction. Take, for example, President Bush's approval rating, which is 44%, coupled with Congress' rating of 37%. This has likely been pushed down by the Terri Schiavo debacle, with which most Americans agreed the government should have avoided entanglement. Coupled with this, we see the following reported by the Americans United for the Separation of Church and State (AU):

A new USA Today/Gallup poll give some cause for hope. By a 2-1 margin, Americans now say the Religious Right has too much rather than too little influence over the Bush administration. Thirty-nine percent agreed that religious conservatives have too much influence, with 18 percent saying there is too little. Other polls taken in 2001 and 2003 found Americans split down the middle over the question.


Interestingly, the poll also found that the traditional image of the Republican Party as the political body that champions limited government and self-determination is eroding - probably thanks to the Religious Right.

Fifty-five percent of Americans now agree that the GOP is "trying to use the federal government to interfere with the private lives of most Americans" on moral issues.

Perhaps related to these statistics, far right lunatic and House Majority Leader Tom DeLay has recently come under increased fire. As reported by ABC News:

DeLay was admonished three times last year by the House ethics committee. Recent articles have disclosed that his wife and daughter were paid approximately $500,000 in recent years by political organizations under his control, and have raised questions about the financing of three overseas trips he took.

DeLay has consistently denied any violation of either law or House rules.

His private remarks to Senate Republicans were in keeping with the response frequently offered on his behalf by House Republicans: Blame the Democrats and occasionally the news media for the scrutiny he faces. House Republicans intend to follow the script later in the week, hoping to showcase passage of bankruptcy legislation and estate tax repeal as a counterpoint to Democratic charges that they are merely power-hungry.

In addition to the allegations above, there are a host of other issues that may be catching up with Tommy, and perhaps some nervousness on the part of other Republicans to boot. Maybe we're seeing the first steps toward finally getting this asshole out of power. Or maybe he'll keep creating diversions, changing the rules, and skating by to continue with his radical agenda.

The AU blog also points out how the United States is increasingly viewed by foreign nations as a bunch of religious quacks:

The dialogue in the United Kingdom was sparked by a Catholic prelate's comments. In the midst of a heated election season, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor praised the opposition Conservative Party's proposal to limit abortion to 20 weeks from the current 24, according to the BBC.

This clerical foray into the relatively tame debate in the U.K. over abortion sparked criticism from all sides and prompted the church official to clarify his remark.

Murphy-O'Connor, the archbishop of Westminster, defended his statement as "perfectly legitimate" but reminded them that he "certainly was not saying that Catholics should vote for any one particular party." He rejected what he called the "specter" of an American-style blending of religion and politics, reported the Associated Press.

Labor Party Prime Minister Tony Blair has defended his position that he has no plans to change the law and has reiterated remarks made last month. "I do not want to end up with an American style of politics, with us all going out there beating our chest about our faith," he said. He said it's "a bit unhealthy" to use religion in the political process.

Sure, the UK has its own problems (like its leaders subscribing to pseudoscientific bullshit), but they can still recognize the dangerous path that America is currently strolling down.

If none of these well-known issues are enough to tip the scales toward a backlash, perhaps some other current and upcoming events could do the trick. We wrote last week about the ACLU's warning of impending FCC censorship of cable and satellite television, as well as satellite radio and the internet. In our experience, Americans are very attached to their entertainment; even much of middle America loves their Desperate Housewives and raunchy reality TV. If the Religious Right tries to take that away, perhaps it will be enough to get the good guys mobilized.

And if that doesn't do it, maybe this lovely piece of legislation that we learned about on Stupid Evil Bastard will do the trick:

Constitution Restoration Act of 2005 - Amends the Federal judicial code to prohibit the U.S. Supreme Court and the Federal district courts from exercising jurisdiction over any matter in which relief is sought against an entity of Federal, State, or local government or an officer or agent of such government concerning that entity's, officer's, or agent's acknowledgment of God as the sovereign source of law, liberty, or government.

Prohibits a court of the United States from relying upon any law, policy, or other action of a foreign state or international organization in interpreting and applying the Constitution, other than English constitutional and common law up to the time of adoption of the U.S. Constitution.

Provides that any Federal court decision relating to an issue removed from Federal jurisdiction by this Act is not binding precedent on State courts.

Provides that any Supreme Court justice or Federal court judge who exceeds the jurisdictional limitations of this Act shall be deemed to have committed an offense for which the justice or judge may be removed, and to have violated the standard of good behavior required of Article III judges by the Constitution.

In a nutshell, this severely limits the powers of the federal courts to rule on church/state issues, and makes it a punishable offense for them to rule on any government official's "acknowledgement of God as the sovereign source of law, liberty, or government." Wow, they say it almost as if belief in their "God" isn't optional. Of course, this isn't an isolated proposal — there have been plenty of insane religious bills tossed around the Hill recently, and there will surely be plenty more.

As a note, we couldn't help but notice that the legislation was introduced by Senator Richard C. Shelby of Alabama. As we said a while back, outrageous bullshit like this bill shows why Alabama holds the championship belt for the Most Intolerant Government Leadership, despite attempts by other states to challenge the Yellowhammer for the title (though we hear that Mississippi is coming along nicely).

If none of these events push the American people over the edge, then perhaps the Republican congressional leaders' blatant toadying to the hardcore fundamentalists will do it. Or maybe the host of "faith based" initiatives, prayers in schools, and Ten Commandments displays. Or perhaps the threats against judges that dare to rule against the Religious Right will be the straws that break the Jesus Freaks' backs.

John Cornyn, who must be batshit insane with the crap that's come out of his mouth recently, is on the record with such gems as:

I believe the increasing politicization of the judicial decisionmaking process at the highest levels of our judiciary has bred a lack of respect for some of the people who wear the robe. That is a national tragedy.

Oh, yes, Mr. Cornyn — there is a tragedy here. But exactly who do you think it is "politicizing" the judicial process? And who do you think it is spreading a complete lack of respect for the judicial branch of government, which was the only branch of government that functioned properly and lawfully — whether you agree with their opinions or not — in the whole Terri Schiavo debacle?

The answer is blatantly obvious to anyone with two eyes and half a brain: the fucking politicians, like Cornyn and DeLay, are trying to commandeer the judicial process — indeed, the entire judicial branch of government — in order to see their own political goals realized. They scream day and night about "activist judges," a code phrase which, as so many have correctly pointed out, simply means "any judges who make decisions we don't like." These goddamn motherfuckers, constantly espousing their so-called "patriotism," are not patriots at all — quite the opposite, their words and actions bespeak a hatred and intolerance for all the things this country stands for in the first place: things like knowledge, education, progress, equality and liberty. They show no respect for our system of government, recklessly disregarding the entire point of separating powers between the executive, legislative and judicial branches. They show no respect for individual freedoms, for the citizens who they actually work for. They show no respect for free and open discourse, the ancient and marvelous exchange of ideas that is a traditional element of democracy and all developed civilizations.

To put it bluntly, they don't respect you. And we can make that blanket statement no matter who you are, reading this Rant. Because you're either against these assholes, in which case they see you as nothing more than an unwanted obstacle, or you're for them, in which case they see you as nothing more than a political lever to raise their Capitol Hill cachet.

Do you think there's a middle ground? You are, unfortunately, wrong. Because it doesn't matter if you "agree" with these sons of bitches on a few particular points, but not others — eventually, they'll be targeting you. Oh, but you're a white Christian male, you say? Big deal — they'll get to you eventually, on whatever topic you hold a differing opinion. Whatever individual freedom it is you cherish, they will soon try to take it from you. Whatever fetish it is you indulge in, they will stop at nothing to criminalize it. Whatever little amount of control you have over your life, they will insert themselves greasily into your personal life the instant you show up on their radar.

Will any of this finally get the other 50% plus of the country to take notice and make some noise? We don't know. All we can do is watch and see, and continue to point out as much scary bullshit as we can find. The troubling thing is that if the backlash doesn't come in the relatively near future, then we really don't see how the United States can avoid becoming a full-blown theocracy.

Laugh at us if you will. Hell, we wouldn't blame you if you did. We used to laugh when people said that we were headed for a theocracy — we used to think that ridiculous far right legislation would never make it through the Senate. But then "Terri's Law" was passed in the blink of an eye even though most Americans were against it, and we stopped laughing. At this point, it looks like we need some more people to stop laughing, and start yelling. And we'd better start yelling soon, because if we wait too long, we can yell ourselves hoarse, and it won't make a bit of difference.

— • —
[  Filed under: % Bush Watch  % Civil Liberties  % Government & Politics  % Greatest Hits  % Religion  ]

Comments (4)

decrepitoldfool, 2005.04.13 (Wed) 23:18 [Link] »

I have stopped laughing (and linked to this article, among other things)

Ron Zeno, 2005.04.14 (Thu) 14:23 [Link] »

When people stop allowing politicians to manipulate themselves through fear.. My guess: when the Iraq war is over, unless politicians can more successfully create a new McCarthyism around terrorism.

I'm afraid that the Republicans are going to learn from "Terri's Law" that they have to be a bit more careful with their power grabs.

The Two Percent Company, 2005.04.14 (Thu) 22:43 [Link] »

Religion makes such an effective tool for scaring and controlling the masses. It's doubtful that influence will end anytime soon, unfortunately.

Regarding the politicians adjusting their tactics, are these particular Republicans smart enough to learn from their mistakes? Hopefully not. Incredible intolerance coupled with even a little intelligence is pretty dangerous.

Also, the religous zealots may not tolerate anything less than the all out, balls-to-the-wall rhetoric that we saw in the Schiavo debacle. Subtlety is usually lost on these morons, and they might turn on their own politicians, accusing them of not doing enough.

Lorraine, 2006.07.05 (Wed) 02:02 [Link] »

I guess it's each voter's job to find out who the extremists are and no matter what party they represent, NOT vote for them.

Here in Canada, the Globe and Mail did a poll and 66% of people were just a bit left of center. Only 3% called themselves "Right" and 15% just a bit more left of that.

However, our Prime Minister Harper had a lot of support from the Religious Right from down south. So far, the only sign that points in that direction is that Religion run schools are getting a bit more of taxpayer's cash than the regular public ones.

This is a very good site that identifies a lot of the extremists and their organizations: www.talk2action.com

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