Religion and Freedom, Religion and Slavery
This kind of religious influence was what the Founders had hoped would happen.
The Danger of Religious Tyranny
Today, religious fanatics and bigots like Rick Santorum or psychopathic opportunists seeking their backing, like Mitt Romney, are destroying this foundation for American liberty and democracy. Along with their incessant lying, which destroys political debate and the discussion of ideas on which democracy depends, they are also destroying the country by casting their arguments in very narrow terms, and then making those issues so central that compromise is impossible. Political discussion that can enlarge citizens' understanding is replaced by self-righteous shrieking as we see in the falsely named "pro-life" movement that spreads death and suffering for real people while unctuously puffing about their devotion to zygotes. That their motives have nothing to do with life and everything to do with control and domination have been revealed for all but the most blind to see by their recent assaults against contraception and violence against women legislation, even to the point of permitting doctors to lie and occasionally prohibiting them from telling their patients the truth.
The requirement for a secular context within which citizens could make their case to other citizens is rejected as "anti-religious" when in fact it is pro-religious. In its place, they would install rule by privileged groups the worst members of which would rise to the top as genuine spiritual scum, something that we have observed happening whenever religion and politics become indistinguishable. Oppressing other views comes naturally to such people. Some of Santorum's supporters have said as much, although others are more circumspect.
Either they rule us, or they seek to destroy the country. There is no third option. Under such circumstances the stakes of winning or losing rise to become unacceptably high. No one who values women's freedom, be they man or woman, can afford to let these people rule us. No one who has any faith other than the most irrational and mindless reading of the Bible can afford to let them rule us either. Nor can anyone who has no faith. History is very clear where these people go when they have the power, and the graves of millions testify to their methods.
For the moment, right-wing Catholics are united with right-wing Southern Baptists, right-wing Pentecostals, and right-wing Mormons in a wholesale assault on America's best traditions. Their political leaders, such as Santorum, have made it clear that forms of Christianity not like his are not really Christian. Given that they claim America is a "Christian" nation, it takes little imagination to realize what they would do to liberal Christians once they have consolidated power. Totalitarians of the right and left have always been clear as to what they would do, and their future victims have refused to believe them, until it was too late. Now we are facing a similar challenge.
The logic of their positions would turn them against one another after having gotten rid of the wrong sorts of liberal Christians, Pagans, and likely Jews. This is what Christianist totalitarians have always done since the Roman Empire. Today in America, it is as if the worst people from times that repeatedly drenched Europe in war and massacre have crawled like mindless zombies out from the mass graves of mutual religious slaughter to do it again. And most of these zombies are Republicans.
If they do not attain power, their alliance with a powerful element of the corporate oligarchy now dominating this country prevents any pushback against the power of wealth. The Southern Baptists in particular served to support Southern oligarchs against poor whites and blacks alike by splitting them and weakening their ability to see what they share in common. Now they are doing the same on a national scale. Their threat comes not only from what they want to do to the rest of us, but also from their efforts to divide the country to facilitate the rule of wealth.
Our road to safety and a more secure liberty requires calling out these demonic servants of a Sauron rather than a deity, and doing so at every opportunity. Very importantly, this includes as Americans taking back our history from their lies. Hopefully this column gives my readers plenty of truthful ammunition for doing so.
Gus diZerega is a Gardnerian Elder with over 25 years practice, including six years close study with a Brazilian shaman. He has been active in interfaith work off and on for most of those 25 years as well. He has conducted workshops and given presentations on healing, shamanism, ecology and politics at Pagan gatherings in the United States and Canada. Follow Gus on Facebook.
Gus blogs at Pointedly Pagan.