Tuesday, November 2, 2010

R.I.P. Religious Right

I watched some of tonight's election coverage, first on MSNBC, then on NBC, and then on the local news. MSNBC had only their liberal talking heads on, which was amusing. Lots of hand-wringing over the loss of the House. Some pontificated about the implications of the Tea Party groundswell for the future of the Republican party. Some played armchair coach and mused about the new division of labor in Congress. Who will be the quarterback? Who will punt? Will the Dems get to the finish line with a crippled offensive line? Tom Brokaw spoke about today's zeitgeist, the anti-incumbent sentiment, the average person's view of the economy, the high cost of war.

I didn't hear anything at all about what I think is the most important take-away this election season:

FINALLY... voters who don't believe in selecting politicians based on a misguided attempt to impose Christianity on the whole country are in the MAJORITY!!!

"Taxed Enough Already" a.k.a. Tea Party, has displaced the Religious Right as the engine behind the Republican Party.

I'm old enough to remember the so-called "Moral Majority." The movement was started in the late 1970s by Rev. Jerry Falwell, who also founded Liberty "University." (He died recently and if I ever go to his grave I'll be sure to save up a big loogie and drink a quart of water so I can show my appreciation properly.)

Anyway, this "majority" was supposedly "moral" because a vast majority of Americans are Christians and believe in the Ten Commandments. Jerry Falwell and a few other religious misleaders thought it was time that this sleeping giant woke up and imposed Christianity on the country. The Republican Party thought this was a fine idea and exploited these idiots because of the vast numbers they could command. And command is right! After all, Jimmy Carter was a "born-again" Christian and that seemed to give him an edge with this supposed majority. In order to defeat him, they had to take the South. Racism was not a winning strategy with enough districts to do the trick so they needed a new master plan.

This unholy alliance accomplished its goal. In 1980 Ronald Reagan defeated Jimmy Carter and politics seemed to have changed forever. Poor Ronnie was forced to pretend to be religious in order to stay in their good graces. Fortunately, his experience in such winning films as "Bedtime for Bonzo" taught him how to cuddle up to subhumans. And the subhumans who parroted their televangelists and pastors really only needed to hear him parrot the same few things once in awhile. Their misleaders could fill in the blanks on a need-to-know basis.

From then until now, politicians have pandered to the fundamentalist wing of Christianity in order to gain power. First it was just the Republicans, but eventually the Dems figured out that they had to spew the same words in order to stay in the race, literally. "God Bless America" is the final line in almost every speech or press conference nowadays. Because you know how a Jewish song really represents a "Christian" nation!

The 1970s also brought the feminine side of the Religious Right the fore, with Phyllis Schafley in the lead making a career of telling women not to have careers. Uppity women had started something called the "Women's Movement" in the 1970s. They weren't satisfied just to be able to vote. They wanted to do EVERYTHING and ANYTHING that a man could do! Of course the "Moral" majority objected to this on Christian grounds. Nevermind the three Marys at the tomb, Christ letting two women wash his feet over the objections of his apostles, and a few other passages that could be lassoed into supporting women's rights. But on the whole, the Bible is not on the side of women, and the Religious Right made sure to incorporate suppression of women's rights into their agenda.

I have known a lot of religious women who voted the way their husbands told them to. They quote about how a woman should be subservient to men in all things, the man is the "head" of the household and blah blah blah blah. If women wanted their place in society, what would the place of the man be??? The doghouse? Shining shoes? Changing diapers?

Uhhhh sometimes.

They lost that one, too. Ineffectual men now have to compete with blacks AND women for jobs! What next? Illegal aliens who don't even speak English? FAGS???? Oh noes!!!


After the end of the Reagan administration, the Moral Majority folded as an official group, but the damage had been done. They had brought Christianity and politics together and they gave ineffectual men a megaphone to drown out the people they wanted to victimize. These are the people who often decry the silliness of "political correctness" but they have successfully bullied politicians and pretty much everyone in the country into showing respect for their backwards beliefs. Out of 365 Representatives, only one is openly atheistic. How many are "in the closet" thanks to the Religious Right and its many bully pulpits?

30 years after the rise of the Religious Right they are now reduced to being represented by dumbasses like Christine O'Donnell and Sarah Palin, and they both lost their respective elections. The movement is now a cariacature of itself, with nobody taking their promises seriously. Dubya gave them everything they wanted and yet there are still uppity blacks and women going to college and working in high-paying fields. Mexicans are working in low-paying fields. Gay people want to make their relationships official in the eyes of the state. Dubya put evangelicals into high-level government positions, assured us that God had called him to trump up the evidence for blowing Iraqis the hell up, and praised God openly. Ahhhh they finally had "their man" in the hot seat.

At the same time many of their televangelists and the megachurch preachers have turned out to be not quite what they thought. Apparently being "moral" isn't guaranteed when someone is born again. The politicians they elected were just as bad. They had gay sex, gay anonymous sex, gay sex on crack, sex with hookers, sex with foreigners, sex with subordinates, sex with married people, sex with kids, and who knows what else? And some of them also got into money trouble despite "prosperity theology" offering such promise.

So now the fundamentalist voter is not voting on "social" issues. Now that they've had a taste of theocracy they're not so hot for it. Now they want a prosperous nation. They want competent (if smaller) government. They want to "take their country back" from the black guy, the libruls, the foreigners, the people they don't like, but Christianity is in the back seat with the exception of religious bigotry, which is always popular.

That's the big news of the mid-term election, in my opinion.

There are probably more Sarah Palins and Christine O'Donnells waiting in the wings for their turn to embarrass themselves, but I think we're in the end-times for fundamentalist control over American politics. The strange bedfellows that elected Ronald Reagan seem to be having marital difficulty.

Wiki article:


Rhacodactylus said...

Hmm, I guess I take your point, but I disagree that many people's motives were non-religious. If I say I prefer a theocracy because of my religious beliefs one year, it doesn't make it any less of a theocracy because I say I prefer it for tax reasons.

Anonymous said...

Did you see Michael Moore on Lawrence O'Donnell? He was talking about this, too. I don't think the religious Right is going away any time soon. I do think, though, that more blatant racism is being used to appeal to people than has been used since the 1960's. Code words like "Muslim," "immigrants," and "illegals" are the key to appealing to white - and black -people's fears.

LadyAtheist said...

yep, and "take our country back" from whom? non-whites! They never used that rhetoric before.

GearHedEd said...

Just a quick point:

There are 435 representatives in the U.S. House, which of course makes the percentage of atheists openly serving in Congress even less...

Otherwise, carry on.

LadyAtheist said...

whoops! Thanks for the correction

Loren said...

I wouldn't want to be too complacent about the Religious Right -- I think that they are laying low. I also wouldn't draw a sharp line between the teabaggers and the Religious Right either -- some of the teabaggers are just plain RR.