Friday, May 30, 2008

Politics and Religion, Again

The legacy of the Reagan "revolution" is seen in low tax rates for the wealthy (financed by a rapidly increasing national debt), in anti-intellectualism, in a scorn for the institutions of government, in hostility towards affirmative action and welfare spending, in the exaggerated notion of American exceptionalism and a related preference for unilateral militancy in foreign affairs, and particularly in an alliance between the GOP and an aggressive and ambitious religious sect.

The separate threads of this legacy have come together in the Bush administration to weave a knotted and ragged rug. Some of those knots -- economic insecurity, war in Iraq, corruption, division at home, and alienation abroad. And the painful recognition that religion and politics, once carefully and wisely separated, are now hopelessly entangled.

Forty-eight years ago, John Kennedy was able to call upon shared American values and traditions to put down the force of religion in politics; Mitt Romney in 2008 had to apologize for his faith and try to package it to suit the Evangelicals who run his political party. That's how far we have fallen.

In New York, the governor is being assailed by Republicans for ordering state agencies to comply with existing state law that gives legal recognition to married couples from other states. Why? Because some of those couples are same sex couples, and this offends the religious beliefs of the Republican base.

John McCain, having ditched Rev Haggee and Rev Parsley now faces an angry bunch of Evangelicals. They should of course be embarrassed by these two nutjobs. They should be apologizing to McCain - but that's not how theocracy works. The politicians serve the church in a theocracy, so these folks are mad at McCain.

Barack Obama, who found God just in time to launch his political career as a believer (smart man), now has had to apologize, renounce, reject, another preacher whose Trinity pulpit performance offended some folks (I thought it was pretty good myself).

Thank you, Ronald Reagan.

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posted at 9:50:00 AM by Neil

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