Sunday, April 02, 2006

GOP As 'God's Own Party'

I think the entanglement of religious fundamentalism with the governing of America has ascended to levels where the propogators of such policy can no longer hide it.

Starting with confining their fights to topics such as abortion rights and gay marriage, the religious right has been emboldened enough to expand their agenda.

The current climate allows the questioning of evolution, the dismissal of global warming concerns, a holy war against stem cell research, and so on. These folks even seek to use the government to force brain-dead people to remain on life support.

So, it was interesting to read a column in today's Washington Post by Kevin Phillips. The story, "How the GOP Became God's Own Party," was written by a man who predicted the upcoming attempt at the theocratic hijacking of American politics.

Mr. Phillips, a former member of the Nixon Administration, had once published a seminal work on the changing political landscape that was referred to as the "political bible of the Nixon Era." So I suppose Phillips, as much as anybody, can assess the transformation that so few in the mainstream media are willing to admit is occurring.

Among many interesting assessments, Phillips writes, "No leading world power in modern memory has become a captive of the sort of biblical inerrancy that dismisses modern knowledge and science. The last parallel was in the early 17th century, when the papacy, with the agreement of inquisitional Spain, disciplined the astronomer Galileo for saying that the sun, not the Earth, was the center of our solar system."

But his most most compelling assertion is how the current GOP has merged this fundamentalism into what is essentially, a 3-headed monster:

"In addition to its concerns with oil and terrorism, the White House is courting end-times theologians and electorates for whom the Holy Lands are a battleground of Christian destiny. Both pursuits -- oil and biblical expectations -- require a dissimulation in Washington that undercuts the U.S. tradition of commitment to the role of an informed electorate.

"The political corollary -- fascinating but appalling -- is the recent transformation of the Republican presidential coalition. Since the election of 2000 and especially that of 2004, three pillars have become central: the oil-national security complex, with its pervasive interests; the religious right, with its doctrinal imperatives and massive electorate; and the debt-driven financial sector, which extends far beyond the old symbolism of Wall Street.

"President Bush has promoted these alignments, interest groups and their underpinning values. His family, over multiple generations, has been linked to a politics that conjoined finance, national security and oil. In recent decades, the Bushes have added close ties to evangelical and fundamentalist power brokers of many persuasions.

"Over a quarter-century of Bush presidencies and vice presidencies, the Republican Party has slowly become the vehicle of all three interests -- a fusion of petroleum-defined national security; a crusading, simplistic Christianity; and a reckless credit-feeding financial complex. The three are increasingly allied in commitment to Republican politics. On the most important front, I am beginning to think that the Southern-dominated, biblically driven Washington GOP represents a rogue coalition, like the Southern, proslavery politics that controlled Washington until Abraham Lincoln's election in 1860."

While many progressives are keenly aware of the dangers presented by the religious right, it is comforting to hear it spelled out so keenly by a man who has more credibility on the subject than most.

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