Sunday, August 15, 2010

We Don't Have To Be Nice Anymore: Is Christofascist Tough Love Gaining Ground?

This is how evil advances in America - 

one weak-kneed group of kind-hearted, wimpish people at a time. God has not called us to be nice, he has called us to be good, and being good will occasionally call us to stand firm in the face of evil and stare it down.

 - Brian Fischer, Focal Point, 7/21/10 

When Barack Obama dove into the Ground Zero Mosque Debate, he expressed a fundamental  American tenet: to be kind and tolerant of everyone. Of course, he qualified his statement by implying that he didn't necessarily agree with the wisdom of building an Islamic cultural center just blocks away from New York's infamous site, but the sentiment threw the Christian Right into a near-violent tantrum of Islamophobia. Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association pre-empted Obama's statement by saying that absolutely no mosques should be built at all:

"Permits should not be granted to build even one more mosque in the United States of America, let alone the monstrosity planned for Ground Zero," Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association wrote this week on the AFA website. "This is for one simple reason: each Islamic mosque is dedicated to the overthrow of the American government."
That's what you get when you elect a man named Barack Hussein Obama about whom you know nothing other than the fawning, worshipful puke served up by the liberal media all through the campaign and for most of his first year and a half in office.
The rhetoric of the Christian Right is getting dangerously vitriolic. Forget the calls for the death of Obama: these were considered to be the squeakings of church mice like James Manning and Wiley Drake (and Pat Robertson's edicts have been on the wane for the last decade). No,  the Lou Engles and covert Reconstructionists of today's Christofascism*  don't put their faith in imprecatory prayers, but instead focus their prayers (sung by rock bands) on a Christian-only nation ridding its country of perceived enemies whether they be Muslims, gays, atheists, feminists ... o.k., it's a rather long list. 

Bryan Fischer's pronouncements - that we should deport all Muslims, that gays are a threat to the entire country, that Christians are commanded by God to be "good" but not necessarily "nice" - are  foolhardy statements that nonetheless reflect the inner core of Christofascism. If people distance themselves from Fischer, it's only because they don't want their true agenda to be known just yet. Sound like a conspiracy theory? Maybe, but even the most far-out theories can have a grain of truth in them.

Today, more and more people are taking on the titles of "theocrat" or "Reconstructionist" with only a slight brush to the side: i.e., they don't take as much offense at those labels as they used to. Yes, I've read The American Spectator article on the misuse of the term "Reconstructionist," but I still think that Sharron Angle is a Reconstructionist ....disguised as a complete ditz.

Love The Sinner

Most Christofascists believe that if you repeat the "Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin" slogan a certain number of times, anyone will believe your intentions are good. The LSHS ideology has been around a long time: it's good PR. But they also know that only a miniscule portion of their adherents believe it, much less practice it. LSHS grates against human nature: which one of us loves the person who stole our food? our shelter? our clothing? 

Pat Robertson, The 700 Club television program, January 14, 1991:
You say you're supposed to be nice to the Episcopalians and the Presbyterians and the Methodists and this, that, and the other thing. Nonsense. I don't have to be nice to the spirit of the Antichrist. I can love the people who hold false opinions but I don't have to be nice to them.
Maybe it comes down to this: the Christofascists of today simply tout their stance as one of "tough love." E.G.: Bryan Fischer said that deporting all Muslims may actually be compassionate, since they would get to be with "their own kind." A monstrous statement, to be sure, but one that had conviction.

The Lies
Another reason I think that Christofascist Tough Love might be gaining ground is that old lies are brought out and brandished with impunity:

The Gay subculture is one of the most violent subcultures out there.  Government studies show gays are 20 times more likely to be abusive or abused in their personal relationships.  This reflects an inherent emotional instability that is not conducive to good order or discipline. 
The author of the piece above was referencing a thoroughly debunked 40-year-old statistic. Whether or not he knows it's a lie is, of course, another story: it's the same old lie repeated in every one of the Family Research Council's donation pleas. Along with it are the "facts": gays have a shorter life-span by 20 years, gays are unstable because their suicide rate is 6 times greater than "normal" people, and gays always have HIV-tainted blood. 

But lies are gaining ground in the fact that, given support (like a moronic congressman), they reach the ears of the general populace:  The Rachel Maddow show (rightly) poked fun at Rep. Louie Gohmert (R., Texas) and his assertion about supposed "terror babies." (See below). We all laughed, but think of this: how many people had to believe in "terror babies" before it came to Gohmert's attention? Where did the story originate? And despite the ludicrous presentation Gohmert made, how many believed him because he was made to look like a fool on Anderson Cooper 360? Sometimes more support is gained when an adherent to the cause is ridiculed by the "liberal" media.  America loves an underdog. 

It may seem contradictory for a religious group based on the teachings of Christ to espouse such potentially violent ideologies: wasn't Christ "good-hearted" and "nice" to people? Aren't we "good" because we are "nice" to people? Doesn't our own Statue of Liberty declare how "nice" and compassionate a country we are? Unfortunately,  "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free" is, day-by-day, becoming an anachronism when compared to a Christofascist's  "tough love" stance on immigration and Muslims. And even occassional shots of "Love the sinner" - given to anaesthetise people from the pain of Christofascist's demonization of gays - are giving way to overt lies and distortions.

Periodically, the cry will go out that the Christian Right is dead or that Christofascists are losing the culture war because their numbers are shrinking. This assertion, however, does not consider the fact that no matter what their number, their hate has become louder, yet more insidious, if that's possible. They have concentrated their strength, condensed it, and  even localized it. Their national screeds and bloviators, like Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council and Lou Engle of The Call, are spearheads they hope will inflict serious wounds into a diverse democracy. The Values Voter summit, unfortunately, grows every year. Their screams concerning freedom of speech and freedom of religion grow louder with each of their setbacks or obstacles; e.g. October will be a tipping point in the Fred Phelps saga - in as much as they've distanced themselves from Phelps,  they will most certainly support a Supreme Court decision for Phelps. Their kind of freedom  must trump the kind of emotional vandalism Phelps heaped upon the families of war casualties. 

And they will continue to trumpet lies and distortions through people like Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh. They will continue to support creationism, homophobia, Islamophobia. They will continue to foster the image of a militaristic Jesus and eschew the "kind-hearted", "bleeding hearts" and "nice" people in favor of the  aggressive, political religious. 

I realize that these last points make me sound polemic, but how can I sound balanced when faced with the biased, the unbalanced? 

How can any of us be patient for human rights and equality when faced with aggression that is threatening to rob us of the "kind-hearted"?

* While some may balk at the term "Christofascism" the Christian Right's politically aggressive stance has lately paralleled fascism too much to be ignored:  overt NATIONALISM, SEXISM, combination of RELIGION AND GOVERNMENT, protection of CORPORATE POWER, disdain for INTELLECTUALS and THE ARTS ... And in the end, the best explanation was by Sinclair Lewis: "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross."