church and state

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“You Got Your State in My Church!”
“No! You Got Your Church in My State!”

“The party of Lincoln and Liberty was transmogrified into the party of hairy-backed swamp developers and corporate shills, faith-based economists, fundamentalist bullies with Bibles, Christians of convenience, freelance racists, misanthropic frat boys, shrieking midgets of AM radio, tax cheats, nihilists in golf pants, brownshirts in pinstripes, sweatshop tycoons. . . . Republicans: The No. 1 reason the rest of the world thinks we’re deaf, dumb, and dangerous.” - Garrison Keillor

Maybe when I’m sixty-something, I’ll be able to deliver a rant like Garrison Keillor.

So with the U.S. political campaigns in full swing since, oh, about 2008, there is a lot this week for independent, thinking, rational, reasonable people in the United States to be really, truly, extremely, monumentally pissed off about.
I vacillate between days when I want nothing whatsoever to do with social media or news, because I know that as soon as I stick my big hairy nose in it, the likely result will be barely restrained paroxysms of Incredulous Rage, and days when I succumb and just submerge myself in the newsfeed.
In the last year, mainly since the Republican primary campaigns got into full swing and the Occupy movement lodged a spike of fury just under my rib cage, my political awareness setting has gone from “Apathetic Idler with Better Things to Worry About” to the “Molten Red Line of Imminent Seizure.”
Before I set loose the oncoming rant, a bit about my political leanings. I am a center-slightly-left Independent voter. I have never been a member of any political party. My voting history has been a mix of both parties, except for when I voted for Ross Perot.

How about a quick recap? 

1.      Since the 2010 elections, extreme right-wing evangelical politicians in statehouses across the U.S. and in Congress, all of whom are backed by the Tea Party, and are thus, Republicans, have enacted over 1100 pieces of self-righteous, moralistic legislation, which are gleefully being signed by Republican governors, legislation that chews away at women’s health care and abortion rights, that dictates what happens (and doesn’t happen) inside uteruses all over this country, and all of it so steeped in shame, hypocrisy, pseudo-science, and pseudo-Christian fundamentalist ideology that the line between Church and State went by about two years ago at 120 mph while the Tea Party had their foot stomped against the gas pedal of their brand new Dodge Ram king-cab with smoke stacks, silver-chased girlie mudflaps, and spiked cattle guard. “Fuck you, ladies. We’ll be the ones to decide who fucks whom, but we’ll let you decide what to do with your rapist’s baby; you were asking for it anyway. Now, get on home.” 
2.      Mitt Romney used a national tragedy--the murder of Ambassador Christopher Stevens--to attempt to score political points--with a smirk on his face--by blaming President Obama for attacks by insane Islamic fundamentalists with agendas, who got really pissed off about an (awful, stunningly, really, truly, staggeringly, mind-numbingly awful) anti-Islamic film made by an insane Egyptian Christian fundamentalist with an agenda, a film that was promoted by an insane American Christian fundamentalist Terry Jones, who started a furor in the Muslim world two years ago for burning copies of the Koran.

3.      The Republican presidential campaign is so steeped in brazen lies and distortion that real news headlines are difficult to distinguish from headlines in The Onion. Even Fox News said that Paul Ryan’s speech at the Republican National Convention “was an apparent attempt to set the world record for the greatest number of blatant lies and misrepresentations slipped into a single political speech.” With the sheer volume of corn-flecked bullshit spewing forth from my laptop screen, my Incredulous Outrage account has racked up enough points for two first-class roundtrip tickets to Hell. Who wants to go with me? I’ve been a voter since 1988 (you do the math), and I’ve never seen anything resembling this level of mind-boggling douchebaggery. 

4.      Just when I think I can’t get any more pissed off, Mother Jones magazine releases a video wherein Romney calls 47% of the U.S. population shiftless losers, who “pay no taxes” and don’t “care for their lives.”  

So yes, every day, the news brings fresh reasons to loathe Mitt Romney and everything the Republican Party has become.

In a recent article in the Washington Times, former Republican governor of Connecticut Lowell Weicker says that the Republican Party has abandoned inner cities and minorities while pandering to religious conservatives, rural communities and the middle and upper classes, and a swing back to the political center is nowhere in the foreseeable future. “The Republican Party has changed from being a party of fiscal conservatism and social moderation [to] become a ‘praise the Lord and pass the ammunition’ party.” 

This correlates with a scathing article, Goodbye to All That: Reflections of a GOP Operative Who Left the Cult”, by Mike Lofgren, a former GOP insider on Capitol Hill for 28 years, who left the party in 2010 in part because he saw the “broad and ever-widening gulf between the traditional Republicanism of an Eisenhower and the quasi-totalitarian cult of a Michele Bachmann.” He is not a fan of the Democrats (neither am I), but “nothing ... quite matches the modern GOP.”
So while we’re on the subject of Michele Bachmann, let’s talk about a little history. As in, she knows as much about American history as your average Kalahari Bushman. In this video, she displays with great eloquence and pious reverence for the Founding Fathers just how batshit crazy and stone ignorant she is. Lemme sum it up for you: she says “that the Founders who wrote [the Constitution] worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States ... [men] who would not rest until slavery was extinguished in the country.”
So, yeah, I think I woke the neighbors with ragged screams of profanity when I saw that clip.

Yeah. Um. Where can I possibly begin...

Constitution: 1787 
Many of our revered Founding Fathers owned slaves. Thomas Jefferson fathered children by one of his slaves. It is written into the fucking Constitution that slaves constituted three-fifths of a free person.

Civil War: 1861-1865
You know, Lincoln, abolition, numbers of dead and wounded on both sides totaling over a million.

Fuck you, Michele Bachmann, Tea Party Spokesperson, darling of the American Family Association.

Michele Bachmann epitomizes the dogmatic ignorance of the Tea Party. But if you listen closely, her speech echoes the cadence and language of a sermon. And the Tea Party is in part responsible for the dramatic rightward shift of the Republican Party.

I could go on about the Fundamentalist Freak Show that was the Republican Primary, wherein Bachmann and fellow cerebrally-challenged Rick Santorum (who was recently quoted as saying that the Republican Party “will never have the elite smart people on our side”) were in a weekly Bible-thumping cage match about who could utter the greatest number misogynist, racist, homophobic, ignorant, mind-bogglingly stupid comments. 

It was like watching a couple of Taliban thugs fighting over a severed goat head.
Of course, Newt Gingrich, holding the twenty-year record for the Most Evil, Loathsome Guy In Politics Since Joe McCarthy, sat in the background rubbing his pudgy hands in nefarious glee--at least until his money ran out, and the rest of the GOP pointed at Romney, shrugged and said, “Well, this guy doesn’t suck so bad.”
So if you’re still with me, assiduous, discriminating reader, we can be reasonably assured that you’re not a member of the Republican base whose brains have been turned to puree of elephant vomit by watching Fox News and listening to Rush Limbaugh. 

Here are a few things to consider.

Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum were the most brazenly evangelical of the Republican Primary candidates. They wear Christianity on their sleeves, while spewing hate speech about the LGBT community and extolling the virtues of those bygone days before women had access to things like, oh, birth control, voting rights, and the right to own property.

On religious grounds, Tea Party-backed politicians have introduced over 1100 bills in Congress and statehouses nationwide to limited women’s access to abortions, to birth control, to basic health care.  To date. And all it took was one election while all the reasonable people had their backs turned trying to find jobs.
Over the last twenty years, the sheer number of evangelists jockeying for political office and influence is staggering: Pat Buchanan, Pat Robertson, Jimmy Swaggart, Jerry Falwell, et al. (let’s just say these folks have the Republican Party on speed dial), all of whom are hell-bent on impressing their brand of Christianity on every set of genitalia in the nation, except for theirs (wave to Jim Bakker, everyone!) “Never mind those Jews in New York City and L.A, fuck them. Oh, and Buddhists. Oh, and Hindus. Oh, and Muslims, definitely fuck them. They’re all going to Hell anyway; we may as well help them along.” 

Even to this day, only about 42% of Americans believe that Darwinistic evolution is a real, proven, scientific phenomenon. Even now, in 2012, there is a complete museum in Kentucky devoted to Creationism, and a movement in Texas to have Creationism taught in high school science class alongside the “theory” of evolution. Score a couple more for blind ignorance.  I went to the Denver Nature and Science Museum with my girlfriend and her daughter last weekend, and every time I saw the word, ‘evolution’ and displays about the age of the earth (~4.5 billion years), I got this visceral twinge at the base of my ball sack knowing that some ignorant Creationist was going to see the same thing and tell his kid those were just lies. 

And shall we discuss the innumerable instances of religion digging its way into public schools, or the instances where it’s allowing fundamentalist parents to withhold all secular education from their children whatsoever, as in Virginia. Maybe we should just teach our 4-year-olds to sing in church “Ain’t No Homos Gonna Make It to Heaven” and we can cheer and laugh about how cute it all is.

And two more words: Fred Phelps.

Do we have a corresponding word yet for Christian madrassa?

Yeah, never mind. That kind of thing could never happen here.

Last week, religious extremists killed one of our ambassadors for what they believe is religious justification.

Yup, male extreme religious fundamentalists hell-bent on making sure they keep women in their place attacked the U.S. mission in Libya, hell bent on making sure that their religion is the religion.

We don’t have to look far at all to find the Taliban right here within U.S. borders, and they’re carrying Bibles in their back pockets as they walk down the halls of government with big, fat campaign finance checks courtesy of Citizens United and the American Family Association.

Yeah, that whole thing about the separation of church and state. Those powdered-wig-headed dudes back in the 18th century, some of whom were atheists, might have had a good idea or two. Otherwise, we may as well praise Jesus, and oh, don’t forget to pass the ammunition. The terrorists are coming. Or is it the Tea Party? Hard to tell.




Novelist, award-winning screenwriter, freelance writer, podcaster, biker, poker player, and roustabout, Travis Heermann has sold short stories to print magazines and anthologies such as Weird Tales, Cemetery Dance, and others. His historical fantasy novel, Heart of Ronin, and swashbuckling fantasy novel, Rogues of Black Fury, are available from E-Reads. His YA horror-thriller novel The Wild Boys is forthcoming in December, 2012, by Damnation Books.

2 comments:

sex scenes at starbucks, said...

Yeah, Phelps is brought up a lot. But I went to HS in Topeka and still have family there. My mom sees them regularly and they even protest at her church sometimes.

They might believe some of the shit they spew, but their main goal is to ignite tempers enough to get people to interfere unlawfully with their protests so they can sue them. They are lawyers, all. Run a big firm in town.

Sarah Laurenson said...

It's almost enough to make me move to another country. Almost, except I love this country and I can sure hope to see sense restored at some point when the backlash against gay, women's and minorities' rights quits being so strong. That's what this whole thing looks like to me. People being so afraid of change that they'll listen to someone who is batshit crazy just because they say things will stop changing and actually go back in time some. Trouble is these politicians really want to go back a few hundred years or more.