Monday, February 13, 2012

Santorum, religion, delusion, fantasy, and the one percenters

[Photo from here]

Religious delusion and fantasy live on.  And it seems natural that such delusion and fantasy would crop up in Texas 'cause it grows like cotton in that state which also features a creepy, religious, fantastical and delusional governor as well as many creepy religious, delusional legislators!

In Houston there's a tree with a scar.  Big bunches of Houstonites believe that the scar on the trunk of the tree looks a lot like the Virgin Mary of Guadalupe.

I am not making this up.  Folks come by to look at the scar, to kneel and pray at the scar, to leave flowers and candles and other memorabilia at the scar.  This has been going on for about two years.

Actually, this kind of nonsense goes on around the world on a daily basis.  It's really sad but is another manifestation of the fact that many of our friends and neighbors are living in the 16th century and know nothing of what science, philosophy, psychology, theology and even biblical studies have discovered over the past 300 years.

For example, a growing number of biblical scholars have become convinced that the Jesus of the gospels didn't exist; he's as mythical as Osiris or Zeus.  In fact, the gospel story as we have it today is a compilation of material representing a number of 1st century Palestinian figures.  The birth stories in Matthew and Luke are totally mythological.  There was no Mary, mother of Jesus, because there was no Jesus.  Thus, there is no Virgin Mary of Guadalupe!

This would be no more than an interesting story published under "weird news" if it were not indicative of a larger problem which is that more and more people reject reality in favor of religious or political beliefs that have no substantial foundation whatsoever.

Thus, Roman Catholic bishops in the United States dare pressure our politicians to bow to their ridiculous religious fantasies, one of which posits there is a god who doesn't want people to control the number of children they bring into the world.  It has been long acknowledged that the reason the Vatican is opposed to birth control has less to do with theology than with the fact that the Roman church wants as many children born to the "faithful" as possible so as to ensure the continuing legacy of the Roman establishment.

The Roman church is not a democracy but a totalitarian system.  Old celibate men running about wearing dresses make the rules.  That's okay for Catholics but the bishopricks insist they have the right to make the rules for the rest of us.  Ironically, something like 98% of the faithful think the hierarchy is all wet when it comes to birth control and don't follow their church's rules anyway.

But it's that mindset that believes it is privy to the mind of some god that drives these fanatical bishops  as well as Catholic politicians such as Santorum.  Thus Santorum is convinced it is his duty to become the president of the United States so he can impose his Catholicity on the rest of us.  He is stupid and he is dangerous and he doesn't live in the real world. 

The United States is not a Christian country.  For one thing, as a seminary professor once pointed out, a country cannot be "Christian."  Only people can become Christians for Christianity has to do with persons and a person has to make a personal commitment to become a Christian!  But in a sense that's not really relevant for our founding documents and our tradition holds to secular values and our Constitution establishes secular rules that are fair to all the diverse people that make up our nation.

It's quite amazing that someone like Santorum can gain the votes of the so-called "evangelical" right-wing Christians.  [Please note these people have always in the past been called "fundamentalists" and have been out of the mainstream of evangelical Christianity].  Santorum is a Roman Catholic, for god's sake!  If the fundies had their way just a few years ago, a Catholic wouldn't be able to hold public office today!

So, there's been a shift of monumental proportions in the political and religious landscape in recent years.  The delusional and ignorant have been sold a bill of goods and believe the founding fathers were Christians and meant this nation to be run under god's law as they interpret it.  The truth is quite different!  The founding fathers, by and large, were not Christians by any stretch of the imagination.  Some paid lip-service to the Anglican church, but there was not an "evangelical" among them and some, such as Jefferson, thought Christianity a dangerous delusion.

Having said that, the prevailing sentiment has remained "Protestant" in a generic sense.  Roman Catholics were suspect of all sorts of deviations as were Jews and Unitarians.  Members of such groups would have had a difficult time getting elected to any office 250 years ago.  Catholics remained suspect up until John F. Kennedy said clearly that his oath of office superseded his commitment to the Vatican and even then a lot of fundys didn't believe him. 

Today, for some, that thinking has changed.  A new "religion" has taken hold.  It's called "conservatism," but there isn't much these folks would conserve.  Rather, it's a radical re-interpretation of Christianity which is less about theology than political ideology.  And this political ideology is miles apart from anything we can find in the teachings of their mythical Jesus.  It is an ideology built on the "me-first" syndrome; an ideology totalitarian in structure in that it attempts to impose its beliefs upon all the people and because it fantasizes that the god it has created in its own image desires all people to bow to its ultra-conservative, quite radical, ideology.

Santorum is the perfect candidate for this ideology.  It oozes from his pores.  As a result, he would strive to see passed whatever laws necessary to ban abortion for any reason, to disallow any form of contraception (as the ideology states clearly that sex is merely and only for procreation, not recreation.)  In an Santorum world, masturbation would be illegal.  Homosexuality would be considered a crime and treated in a court of law as such.  Santorum would step beyond the outlines of Vaticanized faith to abolish the teaching of the foundation of all science, evolution.  Creationism would rule in the public schools, and artifacts and practices of the Catholic/Christian faith would be welcomed, such as bibles, crucifixes, prayers at school assemblies, chaplains for the sports teams, special priests to counsel wayward students, etc.

It could be argued that many evangelical conservatives would disavow some of Santorum's ideas and plans for the nation.  That may well be true.  However, the ideology allows for such a disavowal.  Santorum, for the so-called evangelical right-wingers, is useful primarily to get rid of President Obama.   The goal of the GOP, which for all practical purposes is a fundamentalist Christian ultra-right wing party, would see Santorum elected as a fill-in, a temp, until the "right" person could be found.  The conservative movement, in spite of its diversity, is bound together in its hostility and hatred for Mr. Obama.  That hatred and hostility has carried over to anything that Obama has done, wants to do, or plans to do, to benefit the country as a whole.  So, the goal at first is to send Obama home. 

Notice I have not mentioned Mr. Romney.  Mr. Romney is ultimately going to be unable to capture the fealty of the evangelical conservatives, not merely because his conservatism is suspect based upon his previous beliefs and actions, but simply because he is a Mormon.  Say what you want about Mormonism, but it is not a Christian religion no matter how much it would like to be or claim to be.  And Christians know that.  Mormonism is a blight upon the earth.  It is hostile to Christianity.  It competes on a daily basis with Christianity.  Its doctrines, beliefs and practices do not attend to Christianity in any form.

Romney may win the nomination.  But he won't have the hearts of the evangelical Christians.  He will be a luke-warm candidate.  Unless, and this is possible, the hatred of the Christians for Obama overrules their hostility to Mormonism.

If, however, Santorum wins the nomination, it will be like a 2nd grader going up against Einstein.  From an intellectual perspective it will be a bloodbath.  The trouble is, most conservatives have the mentality of a 2nd grader so that gives Santorum some juice.

A final, very important factor, has to do with the one percenters.  They are one in their desire to rid the land of Obama and will do, literally, anything to achieve their goal.  They have convinced many Christians they have the right plan for the nation even though it is anti-Christian in its goals and ultimately fatal to the American dream.  And they have lots of money.  When the Koch brothers and their ilk can put together $100 million for the sole purpose of defeating a sitting president, anything can happen.  And I mean anything!  These are not nice people and they are not used to not getting their way!  Furthermore, one percent of 300 plus million amounts to a fairly large group.  Seeing as how they control the great majority of the resources of this country they are a formidable foe.

Hang on to your hats, it's going to be a long, hard ride.  I'd say may the best man win, but the odds are stacked against him.  I mean get real, he's half white!