Sunday, February 19, 2012

Quote of the Day

"I've repeatedly said I don't question the president's faith. I've repeatedly said that I believe the president's Christian -- he says he's Christian. But I am talking about his worldview, the way he addresses problems in this country, and they're different than most people view it in America."

-- Rick Santorum on CBS's Face the Nation this morning

That follows this little gem spouted off to, of course, a Tea Party rally in Ohio yesterday:

"It's not about you. It's not about your quality of life. It's not about your jobs. It's about some phony ideal, some phony theology. Oh, not a theology based on the Bible. A different theology."

Now take a look at the clock on your computer screen, or on your phone, or grab a calendar and remind yourself what the date is. What the year is. Force yourself to confront the fact that in the year 2012 a supposedly rational human being -- a man running for the highest office in the United States and not a fucking mental patient strapped to a bed in a padded room -- is taking his directives from a 2,000-year-old magic book and criticizing the man currently holding the highest office in the United States for supposedly not doing the same.

Sure, there are other countries where this much deference is given to superstitious nonsense by government and governmental leaders. You know what we generally call those countries? The Third World. Or the Middle East. Ironically, the areas Santorum and the rest of the right try to subtly and not-so-subtly paint Barack Obama as being from and beholden to.

Just four months ago I mentioned how this was coming -- yet again.

"Faith No More" (Originally Published 10.11.11)

I'll try to make this quick, since as I said I'm kind of pressed for time right now.

Chances are by now you're aware of the fallout from last week's Values Voters Summit, the annual event in which the hard-right Evangelical nutjob segment of the electorate gathers to throw King James Bibles at the feet of Republican leaders to see who will be the last one standing after beating his or her competition to death with one. This year, everybody seemed to be gunning for one guy: Mitt Romney. Poor Mitt got it hard from both ends, so to speak, as his place on the speaking roster happened -- through what I'm sure was complete coincidence -- to fall between Dallas megachurch demagogue Pastor Robert Jeffress and psychopathic talk radio host Bryan Fischer, both of whom have railed against Romney's Mormon faith as an insult to the one, true God.

Jeffress, who astonishingly is the cuddlier of the two, merely referred to Mormonism as a cult while lavishing praise on Rick Perry for supposedly being a trustworthy follower of Jesus Christ; Fischer took it three or four giant steps further, saying not only that a proven Christian and a proven Christian alone should be our next president, but that Sharia law is coming to take over our courts, homosexuals are a threat to the public health and the reason we haven't seen a successful attack on the contiguous 48 since 9/11 is that crowds sing "God Bless America" during the seventh inning stretch at major league baseball games. And no, I'm not making that last one up.

Romney, to his credit, tried to take the high road in his reaction to all the hyper-pious pummeling. Of course at something like the Values Voters Summit, the high road doesn't need to be very high; the Lincoln Tunnel towers over the discourse at this thing.

So is Mormonism a cult? Was it, for the most part, the brainchild of con-men and has it been perpetuated by the power-hungry and adhered to by the weak and desperate? Is it a lunatic belief system that should have no place influencing American politics? Yes on all counts. But here's the thing: That makes it no different than any other faith-based religion.

Fischer and Jeffress have always been despicably hateful fuckers whose opinions needed to be pushed so far to the fringes that they practically vanish into the ether. But at this point more than any other in our recent history, this country does not have the luxury to concern itself with with ridiculous contrivances like which ancient superstition a candidate aligns him or herself with -- whether he or she passes some religious purity test by properly genuflecting before the right god.

Over the next few months, as the campaign ramps up, you're going to start hearing a lot more proclamations of faith from those running for the highest office in the world. They'll talk about how their belief in Jesus or whatever-the-hell guides them, and what's more, they'll do it largely as a theatrical act of indulgence, as a means of cynically pandering to those they feel they need to pander to in order to get elected. Their command performance may not always be at the whim of blatant sociopaths like Jeffress and Fischer, but it will certainly be as a show of respect to the supposedly benign faith of which these men have become extremist purveyors and arbiters. And that faith, while something I disagree with wholeheartedly as a rational human being, should at the very least be a personal choice and a personal choice only -- it should be something that at all times is excluded from American politics.

At this fragile point in our nation's history, the fact that our presidential candidates will feel that they have the latitude, even for a moment, to gush metaphysical politics-as-usual platitudes is simply terrifying. Discussing something as abstract and ineffectual as faith at this moment is akin to extolling one's own favorite lottery numbers. Neither offers a concrete method of action. Faith will never defend this country's people from the ongoing threats to their livelihood. God won't save us from the mess we're currently in.

We need something more than wishful thinking, and we don't have the time to talk about anything less.

Adding: Matt Osborne digs up and expounds on a Santorum speech from four years ago in which God's Favorite Candidate® enlightens us to the real threat facing the United States of America during this tumultuous period in our history. You guessed it: Satan. Again, please keep in mind that someone who believes that a fallen angel, a creature now residing in hell and responsible for all the bad in the universe, is at war with a heavenly creator and is now seeking to control the destiny of our country -- this guy is considered completely sane. Not only sane, he's the current frontrunner for the Republican nomination for President of the United States. People who believe nonsense like this are usually put on Thorazine drips.


pea said...

I swear, I hate those motherfuckers. They need to be edumacated in what separation of church and state means.

Chez said...

They believe that it protects religion from governmental intrusion but not the other way around.

kanye said...

Did you read the President's comments from the National Prayer Meeting a couple of weeks ago?

He talked about "falling to his knees with regularity,", let me go find the actual quote:

“I have fallen on my knees with great regularity since that moment -- asking God for guidance not just in my personal life and my Christian walk, but in the life of this nation and in the values that hold us together and keep us strong. I know that He will guide us. He always has, and He always will. And I pray his richest blessings on each of you in the days ahead.”

I saw these remarks as delivered. There was no hint or allusion that he was speaking metaphorically. He literally does this to help him decide matters of national policy.

Turns out that the "man running for the highest office in the United States," an the man running the highest office in the United States have a bit more in common than many are willing to admit.

Chez said...

I think that while Obama is very likely a practicing Christian, his effusive professions of faith are nothing more than pandering to a crowd he knows he has no choice but to pander to. And while it's embarrassing that he should even have to, I offer that statement as a compliment rather than a slam.

namron said...

"To the poor, God can only appear as bread and butter." -Gandhi

If the GOP has to turn their election meme from jobs to religion, then Obama wins in Johnson-Goldwater like fashion and the GOP loses the House.

Anonymous said...

It makes the rest of the western world collectively roll its eyes and mutter "fucking americans".

And then we read about shit like museums that have dinosaurs and humans coexisting, and our heads explode.

Krissy said...

Slightly off-topic but Pennsylvania legislators declared 2012 The Year of the Bible. And people looked surprised when I say I won't ever move back to my home state.

Anonymous said...

It baffles me that the GOP candidates can say some outrageous things on behalf of religion and "faith" but mention human influenced Climate Change (for which there is a metric shit ton of evidence) and their spine shatters with denial and crusader-like rage.

stanchaz said...

I'VE HAD ENOUGH! In this Holy War on Religion, of Religion, and by Religion. I SURRENDER! I’m a lover, not a fighter.  Instead... I’m gonna start my OWN religion, and get in on the good stuff: tax exemptions, and lots of taxpayer money to do what I want, in the name of religious liberty. Most definitely! Hey NEWT -wanna join? We’re gonna have open marriages and multiple wives and all SORTS of neat stuff that you’re just gonna love! But don’t you worry your little head Newt: we’ll have no -I repeat- NO nasty stoning of adulterers. None of that stuff. I Promise! As for SANTORUM, he just LOVES to tell other people how they should live. He’ll make us a REAL fine preacher-man. In fact, we’ll make him Saint Santorum. AND fix his Google search results! As for Mr. Obama,  obviously, we’ll need to (severely) demonize him, even further. And his dog Toto too. Last but not least: MITT and RON. Hmmm. Hey, I know. Just for you two guys: if you join we’ll insist on NO TAXES AT ALL for church members…AND human sacrifice of illegal aliens. Out with their hearts! Televised! Live! Whoooppee! WHAT A COUNTRY!  :-)
By the way, please don’t mention the REASON that Mitt Romney’s dad was born in Mexico (i.e. The fact that Mitt’s Mormon grand-dad left the United States in the 1880’s. He went to Mexico BECAUSE laws against polygamy were passed in the U.S. ; Being a Mormon back then, Mitt’s grand-dad wanted to keep his multiple wives. Hey, who wouldn’t?) Bottom line: if we follow the “logic” of the people crying crocodile tears about a non-existent “war on religion”, then the U.S. should have allowed polygamy (and who knows what else) just because a particular religion claimed it as their cherished belief. GIVE ME A BREAK!
Absolutely NO ONE is coming into our Churches or places of worship and trying to tell parishioners what to believe.....or forcing them to use contraception. BUT If the Bishops (and other denominations) want to continue running businesses that employ millions of people of varying faiths -or no "faith" at all- THEN they must play by the same rules and rights that other workers have and enjoy...especially if their businesses use our tax dollars (and skip paying taxes) in the process. This is not a “war on religion”. It’s a war on women and men who simply want to plan their families and control their future. Now that’s REAL religious liberty!
p. s. I come from a religious background. I know that their are MANY good people out there, in various faiths (and outside of those faiths); many good people searching for answers, for community, for a this all-too-harsh world. There's only one thing I can say to you: think for yourself, be yourself, trust yourself. Don't just accept something because it comes from a "voice of authority". That’s why you have a conscience: to choose, not just to follow....