March 25, 2003

Bush Tightens Bible Belt

Last night, I watched one of my favorite movies, “Footloose.” The movie strikes a chord with me because it involves a big-city kid and his fight against a religiously uptight town that does not allow music or dancing.

I always enjoy seeing Kevin Bacon awaken the repressed people of Bomont, particularly John Lithgow’s fiery preacher. “Footloose” is a classic in every sense of the word (How’s that for an Andrew Hebert impersonation?).

The more I watch George W. Bush profess his divine mission of peace through war, the more I think that the United States will soon be like that uptight town in “Footloose.” Bush is a highly spiritual man; religious conservatives praise Bush for governing according to his born-again beliefs. For the rest of us, this prospect is somewhat disturbing.

Whatever his personal beliefs might be (and, for better or for worse, they do seem sincere), Bush gives off an air of arrogant public piety. In terms of expressing his faith, Bush is more like Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell than he is like Jesus.

In his faith-based reality, life in America would turn into a huge revival tent where the person who declares this relationship with God the loudest wins. Guess they missed Matthew 6:5-6; but hey, the Bible is a big book.

Bush’s messianic complex has shone throughout his time in office. From the first moment, his support for John Ashcroft, school vouchers and “faith-based organizations” (read: sermons before sustenance) and his disdain for contraception and sex education showed that his word was bond with the word of God.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, however, Bush seems to feel outright invincible. Such an attitude is dangerous in public office. We need a president who does not see himself as infallible. Bush seems to sincerely feel that he can do no wrong. This divine delusion explains why he has undertaken unilateral war on Iraq at the expense of worldwide and domestic support.

The basic teachings of major religions (love your neighbor, don’t hurt / steal / lie / murder / rape / get mad, etc.) can be a wonderful thing when actually executed. Look at Martin Sheen, for example; a devout Catholic, he credits his moral views for his activism in politics and humanitarian efforts. Former President Jimmy Carter remains one of the most devoutly spiritual men ever to hold the office. Never forget that right-wing Christians do not have the lock on morality.

Religion is like milk; though hailed by billions as a source of health, alternatives exist for those who don’t like the taste. It does not take dogma to be a good person. Indeed, dogma has been the source of all of the most devastating wars throughout history.

This fact is something Bush should consider. He responded to the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks by calling for a “crusade” against terrorism. That’s a strategy and a half: respond to religious fanatics who accuse you of being their enemy by declaring that you are their enemy in a religious war. Holy wars should have rendered extinct by intelligence and logic centuries ago. This must be the Second Coming.

In war, is God really on our side? A better question might be, why are we forcing God to take sides at all? In any case, it is undemocratic and sacrilegious to think that God selects presidents. On the other hand, the Christian Right can if we let them; they’ve already succeeded in marrying church and state at numerous levels. Being that the Christian Right tends to be overly prudish and censorious, they’re not exactly who I want governing my life. Church can be great, but it shouldn’t be a polling place.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Logically, one fights fire with fire.
To fight ideas, you must have better ideas. Thus, we have Al Quida (Muslims) vs. Christianity.

Q. Why did the U.S. attack a second or third-rate island nation in 1941, killing millions and dropping 2 atom bombs on 2 of their cities????
A. Pearl Harbor.

Yes, Japan pulled just ONE sneak attack against U.S. and killed 2,300 Americans.

Muslims pulled ELEVEN sneak attacks on U.S. The last being 911 in which 2,900 Americans were killed!!!!!!
Not even Kennedy, Carter,Johnson nor Clinton dared to condemn the American response to Pearl Harbor.
Our response to 911 has not been nearly as severe as our response to Pearl Harbor.
The Democrats' furor over the present war will not stand scientific examination, comparison or contrast.

The Sage of GA

1:07 PM  
Blogger Ian McGibboney said...

Your "logic" has all the leaps of a Monty Python witch trial.

"Fighting fire with fire" is exactly what Bush does, except that he directs his fire in places other than the original attacking fire. In the process, he starts another fire, just as he did by turning Iraq into a terrorist hotbed.

Not that I would support the framing of a religious war even if we had continued the fight against the right people. The way I see it, fundamentalism and fanaticism are bad no matter whose name they are practiced under. I want no part of either side if that's what this is.

Also, I don't think we had any right to nuke Japan. Your reasoning (to use the word loosely) assumes a lot of things that I don't agree with. Namely, that we should use excessive force against a state whenever we are attacked, and should use the worst attacks in our history (Hiroshima and Nagasaki) as a basis for comparison.

And don't even get me started on "scientific comparison." Since when have conservatives based anything on THAT?

3:17 AM  

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