Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis
Ah, hell, Shepherd, I ain't looking for help from on high. That's a long wait for a train don't come. – Malcolm Reynolds, Serenity
As my colleague Ray Garton has pointed out (more than once), the inmates are trying to run the asylum. And they’re protected by a built in customer base (religion), a political correctness that borders on fascism (don’t discuss religion or politics at the dinner table), and some serious misinterpretation of both law and the idiocies of their ‘holy book’.
(My neck is tired from all the double-takes: nothing these people do really surprises, any more.)
As this article points out, it’s not enough that these clowns oppose quality-of-life issues like abortion, same-sex marriage, or stem cell research. But exactly why are these puppets rabidly anti-environmental?
Forty-five senators and 186 representatives in 2003 earned 80- to 100-percent approval ratings from the nation's three most influential Christian right advocacy groups -- the Christian Coalition, Eagle Forum, and Family Resource Council. Many of those same lawmakers also got flunking grades -- less than 10 percent, on average -- from the League of Conservation Voters last year.
These statistics are puzzling at first. Opposing abortion and stem-cell research is consistent with the religious right's belief that life begins at the moment of conception. Opposing gay marriage is consistent with its claim that homosexual activity is proscribed by the Bible. Both beliefs are a familiar staple of today's political discourse. But a scripture-based justification for anti-environmentalism?
Many Christian fundamentalists feel that concern for the future of our planet is irrelevant, because it has no future. They believe we are living in the End Time, when the son of God will return, the righteous will enter heaven, and sinners will be condemned to eternal hellfire. They may also believe, along with millions of other Christian fundamentalists, that environmental destruction is not only to be disregarded but actually welcomed -- even hastened -- as a sign of the coming Apocalypse.
If ever there was a clear and present danger from Christianity, this is a sign (no pun intended). There has always been a consistent destructive fantasy among the delusionists (this goes for Muslims, religious Jews, and yes, even Falun Gong practitioners) that someone somewhere is keeping track of all transactions good or bad on some invisible ledger somewhere, and all accounts (and everyone’s hash) will be settled in full at the appropriate time. Let’s never mind that this has never happened: let’s disregard that this has been predicted multiple times beyond count (and not happened): let’s ignore the obvious signs that this will never happen.
It’s disastrous wish-fulfillment of the worst kind. It’s proof that belief in an afterlife poisons everything.
Am I scare-mongering? Uh-uh:
We are not talking about a handful of fringe lawmakers who hold or are beholden to these beliefs. The 231 legislators (all but five of them Republicans) who received an average 80 percent approval rating or higher from the leading religious-right organizations make up more than 40 percent of the U.S. Congress. (The only Democrat to score 100 percent with the Christian Coalition was Sen. Zell Miller of Georgia, who earlier this year quoted from the Book of Amos on the Senate floor: "The days will come, sayeth the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land. Not a famine of bread or of thirst for water, but of hearing the word of the Lord!") These politicians include some of the most powerful figures in the U.S. government, as well as key environmental decision makers: Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), Senate Majority Whip Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Senate Republican Conference Chair Rick Santorum (R-Penn.), Senate Republican Policy Chair Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), House Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, and quite possibly President Bush. (Earlier this month, a cover story by Ron Suskind in The New York Times Magazine described how Bush's faith-based governance has led to, among other things, a disastrous "crusade" in the Middle East and has laid the groundwork for "a battle between modernists and fundamentalists, pragmatists and true believers, reason and religion.")
Nervous yet? I certainly am.
And those politicians are just the powerful tip of the iceberg. A 2002 Time/CNN poll found that 59 percent of Americans believe that the prophecies found in the Book of Revelation are going to come true. Nearly one-quarter think the Bible predicted the 9/11 attacks.
Fifty-nine percent? That number is way too high.
Like it or not, faith in the Apocalypse is a powerful driving force in modern American politics. In the 2000 election, the Christian right cast at least 15 million votes, or about 30 percent of those that propelled Bush into the presidency. And there's no doubt that arch-conservative Christians will be just as crucial in the coming election: GOP political strategist Karl Rove hopes to mobilize 20 million fundamentalist voters to help sweep Bush back into office on Nov. 2 and to maintain a Republican majority in Congress, says Joan Bokaer, director of Theocracy Watch, a project of the Center for Religion, Ethics, and Social Policy at Cornell University.
It is enough to make one weep.
Because of its power as a voting bloc, the Christian right has the ear, if not the souls, of much of the nation's leadership. Some of those leaders are End-Time believers themselves. Others are not. Either way, their votes are heavily swayed by an electoral base that accepts the Bible as literal truth and eagerly awaits the looming Apocalypse. And that, in turn, is sobering news for those who hope for the protection of the earth, not its destruction.
It’s very much an acknowledged fact that global warming is a reality: you’d have to be in severe denial to say otherwise. Even Rupert Murdoch, he of the Fox News and overt Republican idiocies, admits this.
Sure, we’ve all known this for some time: the question is, what are we doing about it? We should do more. I personally engage people regularly (in person) when religion is brought up. I point out the inadequacies, the wrongnesses, the weirdnesses and wackiness of their holy book. It’s tedious: more often, when bracing a ‘true believer’, the dialogue goes a little paraphrase like this: “The bible contradicts itself regularly. The biology in the bible is completely wrong: the historicity of the bible is not only questionable, it’s risible. The bible is short on anything resembling facts, and long on imaginative whimsy.” The TB™ only hears “The bible blah-blah-blah. The blah-blah in the bible blah-blah-blah.” So I introduce it as this: “I refuse to recognize the bible as an authority on ANYTHING.” On occasion, I quip that “I’m short on TP, could I have your copy?”
But these individual efforts are, to quote the bard, “taking arms against a sea of troubles,” or in more modern lingo, a drop in the ocean. Sites like ours do have some impact – a site like Undo Jesus is having impact as well. We can write letters to our respective representatives (in droves, hopefully) informing them that this scabrous textbook is only unsuitable for as an operator’s manual, it’s not fit for children to even read in any context.
So we need to get out there more. Besides the armchair scholarship of blogging. It is doing something, to be sure, but to borrow some terminology, it’s easier to preach to the choir than upbraid a mob.
Till the next post, then.