About Rationally Speaking
Rationally Speaking is a blog maintained by Prof. Massimo Pigliucci, a philosopher at the City University of New York. The blog reflects the Enlightenment figure Marquis de Condorcet's idea of what a public intellectual (yes, we know, that's such a bad word) ought to be: someone who devotes himself to "the tracking down of prejudices in the hiding places where priests, the schools, the government, and all long-established institutions had gathered and protected them." You're welcome. Please notice that the contents of this blog can be reprinted under the standard Creative Commons license.
Thursday, August 03, 2006
Why the religious right is so darn scary
Notoriously, the deciding factor in winning Ohio for W. was the fact that conservative Christians managed to put an anti-gay marriage amendment on the ballot, which in turn drove high numbers of so-called “values voters” to the polls (why is it, exactly, that someone's sexual orientation is a value, while waging a war on false pretenses isn't, is beyond my ability to fathom).
Now the mid-cycle elections of 2006 are coming up, and Republicans are scared shitless because they run a serious risk of losing control of either (or, even better, both) houses of Congress. Their unwavering commander-in-chief has managed to get himself the lowest approval ratings on record for a seated President, and polls favor the Dems nationwide on almost every issue imaginable.
So the Republican party is looking again at the Christian Right to dig them out of the hole, particularly in swing states such as Ohio. The New Yorker's article does its usual high-quality, in-depth job of presenting the situation and the main players involved. There is no need to go into the details here, or even to actually mention the names of some of the nutcases featured in the story. What I would like to present instead is a small sample of actual quotes from these people, to give you an idea of why this whole thing is so darn scary. Ready? Here we go:
“[We are calling for a spiritual army to] track down our adversary, defeat him valiantly, then stand upon his carcass.” (Notice the same bellicose rhetoric that made the Holy Inquisition famous.)
[talking about Islam] “I do not believe that our country can truly fulfill its divine purpose until we understand America was founded, in part, with the intention of seeing this false religion destroyed.” (So much for living in an open, multi-cultural society.)
“Abortion is also an economic issue. It has killed millions of American consumers.” (The quintessential marriage of Christianity and capitalism. What Would Jesus Say?)
[about the upcoming elections] “This is a battle between the forces of righteousness and the hordes of hell.” (Remember that they are talking about free elections in a democratic country...)
I'm so glad I kept my European passport.