Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Religion + Politics = Verbal Warfare

It's starting to amaze me now how many bloggers/writers are prone to analyzing the analysis of someone else's analysis of some well-researched bit of writing. And now here I am doing the same. Quite the feat of mental masturbation, eh?

In The Atlantic, Ross Douthat analyzes Damon Linker's review of Charles Marash's Wayward Christian Soldiers: Freeing the Gospel from Political Captivity. He asserts that the rise of religion in politics started not with the Bushies, but in the late 1970s, and that the polarization of the parties began with the Nixon era. Therefore, this snippet was curious to me:
The parties have grown more polarized vis-a-vis one another since [Nixon], true, but our politics in general have grown vastly more peaceful, even as arguments over civil rights and Vietnam have given way to arguments over issues like abortion and gay marriage. Which ought to suggest, at the very least, that there's no easy correlation to be drawn between the influence of religion on democratic politics and the tendency of democratic peoples toward division, self-righteousness and violence.

So Pat Robertson's on-air assertion that perhaps the U.S. ought to assassinate the godless commie from Venezuela -- just words?

The late Jerry Falwell's stating that 9/11 was God's response to our lax attitudes towards feminism, paganism, abortion, the ACLU, and homosexuality -- this was peaceful preaching?

McCain's spiritual advisor, John Hagee, blaming Hurrican Katrina on the fact that New Orleans had a gay pride parade the week before the storm -- just telling it like it is?

The fact that no single serious candidate for president is able to make his/her case for being elected without professing a deep religious faith -- just a flesh wound?

And, for me, the Swift-Boating of Obama, alive and well in Maureen Dowd's column today -- a white old-timer in an Indiana restaurant waves an approaching Barack Obama off, telling a reporter, "I can't stand him. He's a Muslim. He's not even pro-American as far as I'm concerned." -- aw, shucks, now, he's just messin' around!

Self-righteous enough for you? Non-violent? Maybe limbs and lives aren't being lost, but the infestation of Christianism into modern politics is certainly verbal warfare, in my opinion.

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