The key to a viable democratic republic is not a common religious righteousness. Rather, it’s a harmonious diversity in which there is an appreciation for differing perspectives. Differences are buttressed by an on-going tradition of keeping sacred the long-time legal reverence for individual rights and freedom.
It’s THAT freedom the we have seen denigrated through political rhetoric that portrays America as a global victim somehow authorized to extract vengeance against imprecisely defined “others”;
… that insists we can justifiably redress perceived wrongs against us with belligerent and rash behavior contrary to what I thought we all mutually considered “core values.” It’s THAT freedom that we have seen denigrated through religious social rhetoric that portrays American Christians as a social victims somehow authorized to assert themselves at the expense of the Bill of Rights – attempting to formalize social vengeance against imprecisely defined “others”;
Although it may not be necessary that those reading these lines immediately get out of their pajamas, turn off the computer and go picket the nearest Christian church, it is necessary that we pay attention to the voting patterns and habits of the last 35 years. In particular we ought to note the increased intensity of those who seem to feel that they are the only “moral-values” voters. These are the voters who have been apparently stampeded into the only political action required of them by their own activist Christian political celebrities.
They must continue to vote every two years.
They must be stampeded into keeping the supposed Christian-in-the-White-House IN the White House, accompanied by loyal and partisan congressional Republican crusaders; they who – on their horses with flags flying, lances ready and swords drawn – are ready to force their political ideology on those very gullible voters who bought the snake oil.
I see the “showdown” as not between conservative and liberal Christians nor as between conservative Christians and a coalition of every other citizen in this country. What I see is the possibility of conservative Republican congresspersons driven by the radical religious horses that got them there actually going so far as to legislate something that seriously alters how life is lived in this country.
I see foolish people triggering a showdown between right/left and liberal/conservative that explodes in an uncontrollable way – forcing everyone to choose sides when they badly would not want to choose – a choosing that has no socially redeeming value for human freedom and personal rights in America.
It’s one thing to enact laws the keep taverns 200 feet from churches. It’s something else to enact laws that seriously alter our national habitual understanding of – for example – our Bill of Rights and a separation of church and state.
If that happens, these radicals who thought changing the laws was all that was needed will have no clue as to why rioters don’t “play fair” just because “it’s the law now.” They will not be prepared to cope with mass refusals to quietly allow themselves to be taken off to jail instead of rioting and striking back.
If Taliban-like laws were enacted we could see narrow-minded militant literalists become self-appointed and God-approved executioners. We could see a mindless, illogical and unreasonable acting against the gay, non-Christian, political liberal or abortionist in the tradition of those who perpetrate hate crimes.
The first time a jury in a community dominated by literalist thinking found such a person not-guilty I think these radical religious politicians would find themselves with more than they could handle.
Would you just sit around and moan if periodically a van came down your street and you watched as your gay neighbors, your neighbor who had a private abortion, or liberal speaker-outers were loaded up and hauled off?
Not for long …
That’s the naivete behind the assumption that making a law enacts a specific morality which everyone will observe BECAUSE we are all afraid of the law and the consequences of breaking it.
That’s the tragedy that could come to pass so long as our public patriotism has the substance of tissue paper and we live afraid of paper tigers.
America has a chance … lest all the rebels die.