Occasional blogging, mostly of the long-form variety.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Theocracy Round-Up

(Cross-posted at The Blue Herald)

America is not a theocracy — thank god.

And Happy Easter, if you celebrate it!

Those statements aren't in the least bit contradictory, and that's part of the point of the Blog Against Theocracy weekend, which will be (officially) concluding today. Most of all, Blog Against Theocracy celebrates our wonderful First Amendment. The website lists a bevy of participating bloggers.

As it turns out, I wrote several pieces about the authoritarian religious right and theocracy activists in the month prior to Blog Against Theocracy.

"The Social Tolerance Charts" examines the claims of intolerant people that opposing their intolerant political agenda is somehow umm, intolerant:

As the Declaration of Independence states, all men (and women) are created equal. Religious theocrats and other authoritarian conservatives wish to upend the core principles of our country’s founding to impose the rule of Animal Farm: Some are more equal than others. Let’s be honest — intolerant people can be extremely obnoxious. But tolerant people uphold the principle that ‘I may hate what you say, but I will fight to the death for your right to say it.’ (In contrast, intolerant people will fight for you to burn in hell.) Ironically, intolerant groups use their freedom to try to strip it from others, and seek to destroy the foundations of the very system that grants them freedom. Part of the price of a free society is that intolerant people must get their say — if they did not, their cause would win even if their individual group did not. However, the best way to oppose dangerous speech is to speak out one’s self.

"The Religion-in-Society Charts" is a long piece examining the rhetoric of religious authoritarians in greater detail:

The essential point to remember is that the religious right and other theocrats are not seeking justice, fairness, or equality. They are seeking privilege and power. Furthermore, religious right leaders already possess privilege and power over their followers. They are seeking to expand that power over those not in their group, and over the government and society itself.


On this note, the authoritarians of the Christian religious right are not merely trying to share their faith. Their approach seeks to strip others of choice, even though this contradicts their own faith’s tenets about the primacy of human choice (choosing the good, choosing God, choosing to do good works, repentance, etc.). As noted in our social tolerance discussion, they feel people cannot be trusted to choose anything for themselves, because then they might choose something the authoritarians don’t want. Part of the social contract in America is that other people are allowed to do things you may not like, just as the reverse is true. Many of the religious right believe in American exceptionalism and would consider themselves patriots. The central lie of the religious right is that anyone who opposes them is anti-religious. In truth, on a systemic level, the religious right are anti-American.

"The Case for Writing More Accurately About Religion" dissects David van Biema's cover story for Time, "The Case for Teaching the Bible." While van Biema's heart seems to be in the right place, he fails to acknowledge that America is not a theocracy and also propagates false stereotypes of liberals being ignorant of the Bible while conservatives are devout.

"The Conservative Brain Trust Takes On: Freedom of Religion!" examines how three members of The Corner at the National Review Online demonstrate staggering ignorance of (or possibly disdain for) the First Amendment and the rule of law.

Highlighting positive discussions about faith and religion are "On Faith and PostGlobal," "Bill Moyers on Faith & Reason" and "A Way to Talk About Religion."

Finally, here's the VS categories for Blog Against Theocracy, the religious right, authoritarians, religion, and faith.

Meanwhile, here's the Blue Herald categories for the
separation of church and state, the religious right and religion.

(For the next post in this series, "Religion and Poetry," click here.)

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