If fundamentalist culture warriors won…

How would life in this country change if religious fundamentalists managed to “take it back?” A few predictions:

 The nation would be christened the United States of Christian America.

 Independence Day would be replaced by a day commemorating our rebirth as God’s favorite country.

 The Constitution would be discarded, the Supreme Court abolished and the Bible enshrined as the law of the land.

 Under “Stand Your Ground for The Unborn” laws, women could legally shoot their doctors dead for mentioning the health hazards of unlimited pregnancies.

 Due to the impending Apocalypse and Rapture, the Environmental Protection Agency would be abolished as irrelevant.

 The Department of Christian Education would forbid lessons on sex, evolution and environmental science while requiring curriculum on abstinence, Genesis (either version) and humanity’s right to use the planet however it wants right up to the End Times.

 An “infidel brain drain” of academics, researchers, scientists, executives and artists to other countries would leave us dependent on people with degrees in Bible studies.

 To meet a Christian Communications Commission (CCC) mandate to uphold the sanctity of traditional marriage and families, broadcasters would present endless reruns of “Father Knows Best” and “Cheaper by the Dozen.”

 All forms of commerce, business and entertainment except for religious broadcasts and reruns of “Father Knows Best” or “Cheaper by the Dozen” would cease from midnight Saturday to midnight Sunday.

 Facebook’s biggest growth in pages would be for prayer circles. Popular phone apps would include “Ultimate Heretic Hunters” and “Born-Again Birthday Cupcakes.”

 Contraceptives would be illegal. Abortionists and homosexuals who failed to heed loving Christian appeals to renounce their sinful ways could be executed.

 The “War on Porn” would beget a black market in banned books, DVDs and contraceptives, which would beget billionaire crime bosses.

 Christmas ornaments failing to meet the “Jesus is the reason for the season” standard would be banned.

 Halloween would be marked by prayer vigils and re-enactments of the Salem witch trials.

 Prisons would be turned into Christian re-education centers and executions (by hanging or stoning) would be public.

 Adults who failed to reproduce would pay deadbeat taxes as noncontributing members of society.

 In addition, single females 18 years or older would pay a spinster tax until they entered holy matrimony.

 Applications for jobs, college, passports, drivers licenses, marriage licenses, mortgages, leases, credit, loans, government benefits, guns and library cards would require checking one of the following boxes: “Born again,” “Christian,” or “Heretic.”

 Checking “Heretic” or failing to check any box would be grounds for denial of the application.

 Rates of depression, domestic violence, suicide, alcoholism and drug addiction would skyrocket, while funding for any form of treatment except prayer would disappear. 

 Our borders would be closed to any immigrants who didn’t swear they had accepted Jesus as their personal savior. The Department of Holy Land Security would deport alien heretics.

 Mexico and Canada would plead for help in coping with millions of illegal immigrants seeking asylum from oppression in God’s favorite country.


American jihadist

Don’t let the dorky sweater vest fool you. Beneath that benign-looking garment beats the heart of an extremist, a radical more akin to the Islamic fundamentalists of the Taliban and the ultra-orthodox Jews of Israel than to mainstream Americans. If Rick Santorum and his fundamentalist fans ran this country, we’d have a Bible-based theocracy thrust upon us, a dictatorship of the most divisive, judgmental and intolerant among us.

If you believe that contraception is immoral and any sex except conjugal attempts to procreate is sinful, he’s your guy.

If you think “abortionists” (that inflammatory, demonizing term for doctors who perform a legal operation) ought to be punished, he’s your guy.

If you think our Constitutional rights ought to be limited to conform with Biblical precepts, he’s your guy.

Already, a state legislator in North Carolina (who said on taking office he’d pray for the Lord’s guidance) has suggested public hangings for doctors who do abortions, lumping them in with rapists and kidnappers.

Already, fundamentalists in state legislatures are trying to give legal personhood status to the unborn “from the moment of conception,” however that would be determined. This would enable birth control, abortion and even in vitro fertilization to be criminalized.

Phyllis Schlafly of the Eagle Forum wants single mothers and parents of adopted children punished with higher taxes as a way to promote “traditional” families, which she defines as married heterosexual couples raising their own children.

All this under Obama. Imagine the impetus of having a kindred spirit in the White House.

An exhaustive, five-volume study of fundamentalism worldwide edited by two Americans argues that it’s a political phenomenon and is inherently totalitarian. Its goal is to realign all aspects of a nation’s society and government according to rigidly defined and strictly enforced religious principles. There’s nothing democratic or broadly representative about it.

Rick Santorum has a right to his views and is entitled to run for President. Should he win, however, we’ll see a holy war against the right to live without religious interference.


Photo by Associated Press

Rick Santorum’s views: www.ricksantorum.com

“This is about a country that believes in God-given rights, and a Constitution that is limited to protect those rights.” http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/election-2012/post/rick-santorums-missouri-victory-speech-full-transcript/2012/02/07/gIQAGcUwxQ_blog.html

 “(Contraception is) not okay because it’s a license to do things in the sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be. They’re supposed to be within marriage, for purposes that are, yes, conjugal… but also procreative.” http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/02/rick-santorum-wants-your-sex-life-to-be-special/253104/

 Public hanging comment by Larry Pittman, Republican, North Carolina: http://www.wral.com/news/state/nccapitol/blogpost/10649801/

Rick Santorum’s signed Personhood pledge: http://www.personhoodusa.com/files/Keith%20Ashley/Santorum_Personhood.pdf

Phyllis Schlafly on marriage and taxes: http://www.eagleforum.org/column/2012/jan12/12-01-18.html

The Fundamentalism Project: http://www.illuminos.com/mem/selectPapers/fundamentalismProject.html

Is covering up pedophilia a matter of conscience?

There is no law requiring the Catholic Church to report pedophile-priests to the police. If there were, it’s likely the Catholic hierarchy and its supporters would denounce it as “a stunning assault on freedom of conscience and religion.”

With those words, a Chicago Tribune columnist lays out the case that requiring insurance coverage of birth control for workers in Church-run secular businesses also amounts to a “gross violation of a civil liberty” on Catholics.

Let’s get this straight: The law does not require practicing Catholics to use birth control. But that’s not good enough for the godly. They object when anyone uses birth control.

Catholic authorities are not alone in this stance; it’s shared by Protestant fundamentalists.  It’s not a view shared by most Americans, including the large majority of American Catholics who use birth control.

The important word here is “control.” This isn’t about freedom of religion or conscience, despite the Church’s attempts to frame its resistance in those high-minded terms. It’s about the Church’s furious efforts to maintain control over its members (especially its female members), even though in this case the horse has already left the barn.

If the Church wants more control over its members, it ought to start by exercising more control over the shepherds of its flocks. It sacrificed the moral authority to preach about matters of conscience when it chose to protect the pedophiles among its priests and to cover up their crimes.

Source: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/ct-oped-0207-byrne-20120207,0,3249104.column

Purging the inner Puritan, part two

“Better to give birth to eight children you can’t afford than to abort one you can.”

Four hundred years after their arrival in America, the sexual mores of the Puritans live on.

In fact, they have metastasized into an anti-life, anti-sex, anti-child, anti-woman and anti-earth view held by a sizeable number of noisy, busy-body fringe fanatics who call themselves pro-life. The truth is, they are suspicious of pleasure, distrust women and are frightened by sex. Pregnancy within their narrowly defined view of marriage is a blessing; otherwise, it is punishment for sex.

The above example of this attitude comes from a letter to the editor of a newspaper based in Merrillville, Indiana.

In this view, it’s better for children to suffer poverty and homelessness than for their mothers to make responsible birth-control decisions which might include abortion. This is pro-breeding, not pro-life.

Why do so-called pro-lifers lose interest in the quality of a child’s life as soon as it is born?

Probably because, in this Puritan-influenced view, only the afterlife is worthwhile. Life on earth is something to be suffered through, rather than celebrated and enjoyed. Birth is seen as the beginning of sin and the start of temptations, the event that separates the innocent from the tainted.

This belief would be pitiable, if it didn’t have so much power to distort normal human behavior with the stunting, fearful reactions of shame, guilt and condemnation.