"The Republican Party of Texas affirms that the United States is a Christian nation."
Texas Republican Party Platform, 2002
"We oppose the teaching of ... critical thinking skills and similar programs that ...
have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority."
Texas Republican Party Platform, 2012
He [God] is using me, all the time, everywhere, to stand up for a biblical worldview in everything that I do and everywhere I am. He is training me. (Tom DeLay, R-TX, Majority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives, and a convicted felon)
Despite the results of the 2012, U.S., presidential election, a small group of religious extremists have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. Don't be fooled by Obama's election and reelection. As Jon Stewart put it in the video below, the Democrats had no plan for "decisive action" in 2006, when they won the elections during W's second term. They had and today still have no consistent unifying ideology; a large number of Republicans — e.g., those among "The Religious Right(eous)" — do.
Only after the bizarre level of massive incompetence, numerous scandals, the outright lying of the Republican power holders, and the meltdown of the American economy (before which, McCain was leading in the polls!) could the loose coalition of Democrats beat the more highly organized, righteous, right wing Republicans in 2008. And only after a bizarre primary contest in which the Republican party nominated a Mormon (who could not fire up their fundamentalist/evangelical base) who they forced to do flip-flop contortions into and out of absurd political positions, could the Democrats squeak by with a narrow victory in which they just won 50% of the vote.
In 2008, the Republicans had replaced Bush with a more competent ideologue. (Note: We must admit that it would be hard to find anyone less competent, so this is intended to be damning with faint praise ;-) Though McCain was no fundamentalist fanatic, he knew where his Republican bread was buttered. He knew what he needed to do: He chose a ludicrous and absurdly dangerous running mate who was able to activate the Republican/Religious Right alliance. Palin was so bizarrely incompetent and dangerous that there was some negative fallout. A number of non-religious, right wing Republicans, true political conservatives, abandoned McCain in disgust and horror.
Yet, despite the disastrous results of the prior eight years of Republican leadership, after pandering to the Religious Right by choosing Palin, prior to the economic collapse, McCain shot ahead in the polls! And, amazingly, though Obama ultimately won a decisive victory, almost half (47%) of all Americans voted for McCain! Given the Religious Right's "lock" on one third of the American electorate, if the Republicans maintain their alliance, they need to attract only 1 in 4 other voters to win a national election.
It took a truly astounding amount of deception, greed, incompetence, and destructive actions on the part of the Republicans to enable the Democrats to get just 3% more than half of the votes. Indeed, even after the debacle of the Bush years, once McCain chose a fundamentalist running mate, he became the front runner in the polls, and very likely would have remained there if the economy hadn't started to hemorrhage and had his religious fanatic running mate not turned out to be a dim-witted flake.
The 2010 Scott Brown, Republican victory in Massachusetts — where the candidates were vying for the seat left vacant by Ted Kennedy's death — is a case in point. Brown stood opposed to everything Kennedy had worked for. He was running in one of the most liberal states in the U.S. on a platform that was as conservative as the Bush/Cheney agenda. And he won.
While there may be many reasons for his victory, one stands out. As Nate Silver — the developer of the historically most accurate, predictive, political analysis based on the most up to date polls (www.fivethirtyeight.com) — said, “the energy, focus and enthusiasm of those in the online right has been something to behold, and will be a force to be reckoned with even if their candidate should lose this race.” He called it 3 to 1 Brown before election day. Though Brown lost that seat when opposed by a gifted communicator (Elizabeth Warren), note that he still received 46% of the vote. Again, note that he came within four percentage points of winning in one of the most liberal, Democratic states in the U.S., during a presidential election year in which the Democrat received 61% of the state vote (to Romney's 38%). When it comes to understanding the power of religious enthusiasm, we ain't seen nothin' yet.
And we say that despite the fact that Obama was reelected in 2012. Romney's harebrained tax policies that would benefit the richest of the rich and the amazing the Romney flip flops — that demonstrated unequivocally that he was a focus group marketed product, not a man of any conviction whatsoever — weren't enough to give Obama a decisive edge. Fortunately, Romney was a devout Mormon. Despite the fact that Christianity in general has its own fantastic beliefs, the majority of fundamentalist Christians think that Mormonism is a crazy cult (which it is). That is the only reason Romney couldn't just walk away with the election; the classic alliance between the religious right and the rich oligarchs operated at less than full efficiency. Watch out if, unlike what happened in the 2012 primaries, the right gets it right and learns to nominate fully fanatical fundamentalists with a modicum of intelligence.
So, what follows on this page continues to hold regardless of the outcomes of the 2008 and 2012 elections. Just consider 2008: Despite their massive incompetence and the intentional deregulation of the banking industry that had brought the world to the brink of disaster — while producing seven figure fortunes for those responsible (and to whom they gave massive tax breaks!) — the Republican/Religious Right coalition, overnight, was able to regain its momentum. Prior to the actual economic meltdown, all McCain had to do to leap ahead in the polls was to nominate for vice-president a fundamentalist ninny with a junior-high-school mentality who believes that Jesus will return in her lifetime!
If the Republican/Religious Right coalition could come close to winning a national election in that context — i.e., when they had held power for eight years and had accelerated the development of more than one global crisis, including a worldwide economic meltdown (Remember the political truism: "It's the economy, Stupid!") — consider just how strong their established stranglehold on American politics must be. And they know it.
So, while they attempted to — and failing by only 3% of the vote, almost did! — create a true miracle, i.e., by almost winning the 2008 election, the Religious Right immediately began preparing for the future. They blew it in 2012 by being unable to field a politically competent fundamentalist, though they sure tried with some bizarre possibilities (e.g., Bachmann, Santorum, and Perry). And they are already preparing for the next round. Are we?
"One of the biggest changes in politics in my lifetime is that the delusional is no longer marginal. It has come in from the fringe, to sit in the seat of power in the Oval Office and in Congress. For the first time in our history, ideology and theology hold a monopoly of power in Washington. Theology asserts propositions that cannot be proven true; ideologues hold stoutly to a world view despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality. When ideology and theology couple, their offspring are not always bad but they are always blind. And there is the danger: voters and politicians alike, oblivious to the facts." Bill Moyers: Democracy in the Balance
This page begins a discussion describing how we got here and how the media, even the progressive media continues to underestimate what is the most important story in modern American politics and, because of its wide ranging impact, possibly the most ominous phenomenon facing our species.
We want . . . as soon as possible to see a majority
of the Republican Party in the hands of pro-family
Christians by 1996. (Pat Robertson, Denver Post, 10/26/92)
"The Secular, Pagan, Feminist, Lesbian Abortionists Did It!" From "Jerry & Pat's Loony Tunes Hour" (two days after 9/11)
Note that when
Black describes a danger posed by the blind faith of the terrorists, that same danger is posed by those who oppose them, if they too are guided by blind faith. Maybe it is true that the insanity of believing that, following God's instructions, America would be welcomed as a liberator when it invaded a land with which it shared no cultural or religious identity is not of the same order as the belief in 72 Virgins in exchange for suicidal mass murder. After all, the latter is a ten on the IRS (the Idiocy Richter Scale), while the former is merely an eight.
Yet in this case, the idiocy and ignorance of "God told me to invade Iraq," which was "a mere eight" on the IRS has caused more needless, excess misery and deaths — due to intentional deception (Saddam's WMD's), absurd expectations ("We'll be greeted as liberators."), incompetent planning (or rather no planning for how to manage a country of 30 million Arabic speaking, America hating Muslims after "Mission Accomplished") — than the original events of 9/11. Regardless of the degree, religious insanity always blinds us to some degree, causing actions that are divorced from Reality.
Among "likely voters," 75% in Arkansas and Alabama believe that the Bible is literally true
Sat Aug 26, 2006 3:01 PM ET
Not surprisingly, the Bible Belt region lives up to its name with states like Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee and West Virginia containing the highest percentage of those who believe the Bible is literally true. Alabama and Arkansas came out on top as 75% say they believe the Bible is literally true. West Virginia (70%) and Tennessee (68%) are close behind.
The northeast region of our map represents the other extreme. In Vermont and Massachusetts, only 22% of those respondents believe the Bible is literally true, the lowest percentages in all states surveyed.
Earlier this summer, a national survey found that 54% of American adults believe the Bible is literally true . . .
In Alabama, Democrats and Republicans both share high levels of belief on the authenticity and literal truth of the Bible . . . The states differ, though, when the question is dissected by respondents' ages. Percentages of those agreeing with the Bible's authenticity are in the high 70's across all age demographics for Alabama. In Arkansas, however, percentages are actually higher for younger voters. Eighty-one percent (81%) of those 18-29 and 83% of those 30-39 believe the Bible's literal truth and then the numbers drop off, hitting a low of 66% for voters ages 50-64 . . .
As expected, strong connections exist in most of the states surveyed between the percentage of those who answered affirmatively on the Bible question and their positions on abortion and same-sex marriage.
The national survey was of all adults. The state surveys consisted of Likely Voter samples . . .
Rasmussen Reports is an electronic publishing firm specializing in the collection, publication, and distribution of public opinion polling information.
NEWSWEEK Poll: 90% Believe in God The latest NEWSWEEK poll shows that 91 percent of American adults surveyed believe in God — and nearly half reject the theory of evolution. By Brian Braiker Newsweek
March 30, 2007 - A belief in God and an identification with an organized religion are widespread throughout the country, according to the latest NEWSWEEK poll. Nine in 10 (91 percent) of American adults say they believe in God and almost as many (87 percent) say they identify with a specific religion. Christians far outnumber members of any other faith in the country, with 82 percent of the poll’s respondents identifying themselves as such. Another 5 percent say they follow a non-Christian faith, such as Judaism or Islam. Nearly half (48 percent) of the public rejects the scientific theory of evolution; one-third (34 percent) of college graduates say they accept the Biblical account of creation as fact. Seventy-three percent of Evangelical Protestants say they believe that God created humans in their present form within the last 10,000 years; 39 percent of non-Evangelical Protestants and 41 percent of Catholics agree with that view.
[Editor's note: That means that about half of the total population of the United States believes that God created humans less than 10,000 years ago. As we know, unlike almost all of the industrialized modern world that accepts the theory of evolution, America is on a par with Turkey. Such beliefs persist despite the fact that numerous lines of evidence indicate that humans were in North America more than 20,000 years ago. Indeed, human bones have been discovered in California that have been conclusively shown to be more than 13,000 years old! Fortunately for fundamentalist Christians, Americans appear to be relatively unaffected by reality. In response to such persistent delusions, we are promoting a much needed new slogan for humanity, "Reality: Love it or Leave It!"]
This is about religion, about the incredible organizing power that can be wielded by religious groups in any kind of competition (e.g., military, political) with other groups. This is about how a small group of Republican strategists targeted a religious constituency to expand the base of their party, and how a small group of religious extremists targeted the Republican Party to bring the United States government under religious control.
This is also about our need to organize with equal effectiveness, or passively watch as the Christian Right continues its takeover of America. George Bush's plummeting approval ratings and Obama's election may have given some a false sense of relief that the worst is over and the pendulum will swing back toward the center. As documented in the first video on this page, the 2006 election may also have fostered such an illusion. However, there is nothing to substantiate this wishful thinking. The fact is that all the viable presidential contenders who were not religious extremists already, from Hilary Clinton to Barack Obama to John McCain to Mitt Romney, had all been tripping over one another in their attempt to pander to the religious sector of the electorate. It is now an accepted political reality that one must pander to the Religious Right to win a national election. George Bush went down, the Religious Right may even suffer further setbacks, but they are still reveling in their growing political strength and organization.
After the Religious Right's takeover of America is a bit more complete, we can expect to become involved in the next round of the showdown — the ultimate "gunfight at the OK Corral" — between American Christian fundamentalists and those who have similarly taken over the Muslim world. To these religious fanatics, our future is literally dictated by the Bible (or the Koran). This means that our leaders believe that, if we act in accordance with the script they believe these books contain, we need not think any further about the effects of our actions. If we are acting in accord with what we believe is God's will, good results are assured.
The human world is in extreme danger because the same insane (but highly effective) organizing power of religion is available to fundamentalists in the Islamic world.
In an op-ed piece in The New York Times (June 16, 2009) columnist Thomas L. Friedman wrote:
"During the past eight years, in Iraq, Lebanon, the Palestinian territories, and, to a lesser extent, Egypt, spaces were opened for more democratic elections. Good news. Unfortunately, the groups that had the most grass-roots support and mobilization capabilities — and the most energized supporters — to take advantage of this new space were the Islamists. That is, Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza and the West Bank, the various Sunni and Shiite Islamist parties in Iraq and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. The centrist mainstream was nowhere.
One of the most important reasons that the Islamists were able to covertly organize and mobilize, and be prepared when the lids in their societies were loosened a bit, was because they had the mosque — a place to gather, educate and inspire their followers — outside the total control of the state."
12 Danish To Go
The recent violent reaction — during the first week of which 12 (twelve) divine human beings lost their lives (the death toll, as of 2/22/06, exceeded 140!) — to a dozen Danish cartoons epitomizes the incredible absurdity that such beliefs can reach. Most of the cartoons, which weren't particularly offensive by Western standards, were considered blasphemous for the simple act of depicting Mohamed. (In the video below, you can see one which also poked fun at Islamic fundamentalism: Terrorists are greeted at the entrance to heaven by Mohamed, who declares, "Stop, stop! We ran out of virgins.")
This "sacrilege" led mobs into the streets to engage in violence. It is likely that many of those in the mobs in the video were also out on the streets dancing for delight on September 11, 2001! But the absurd eagerness to murder human beings because of a drawing, and the ugliness of ecstatic celebration when thousands of innocent people lost their lives are missed by those who believe their actions are in accord with the Will of God.
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Just like the rioting Buddhists in 2001
This is all too reminiscent of the time when the Taliban destroyed two giant statues of Buddha that had been carved out of the side of a cliff almost 2,000 years ago. Buddhists all over the world took to the streets and started rioting and killing one another. Wait a minute . . . that didn't happen. Hmmmn. Not all religions are alike. Maybe that's why Yoism claims to be closer to Buddhism.
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Hmmmn. All those religionists keep telling us that, without religion (and, of course, theirs foremost), people would be out of control. A belief in God is required as a basis for moral behavior. Right? Well, the only group that is under-represented (less than its percentage of the general population) in U.S. prisons are atheists. And those immoral Buddhists, who unlike the Islamists did not go rioting, don't believe in God. Maybe we do not need to fear immoral atheists, or do we?
For Questions about Levees, Hurricanes, War, Even Fiscal Policy:
What can you do to keep America great? According to George Bush, you could pray.
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So don't worry. The Taliban couldn't have been wrong.
"A person who is guided by God will never be misguided." (Osama Bin Laden)
Think about that: To a far too dangerous degree — and steadily increasing in the U.S. over the past 40 years — our world is being run by people whose openly stated goal is to rely solely on their interpretation of what God wants.
God told me to strike at al Qaeda, and I struck them. And then He instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did. And now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East. If you help me I will act . . . Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. (W, The Shrub)
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When God tells you to do something, why bother to examine Reality carefully? After all, it would be
an affront to God to doubt His instructions. You can exaggerate and even lie about the reasons for your actions. After all, what's a little "white" lie when it comes to getting people to join you in following God's will? Later, when your deceptions are discovered, you can even crack jokes about the whole thing.
The explicit goal of such "visionary leaders" is not to use any other source of knowledge or analysis to decide how to act. In these leaders' belief systems, more than secondary, superficial use of other sources of knowledge to guide our actions is an affront to their "God."
If you think that's just a joke, consider this gem:
We don't have to protect the environment, the Second Coming is at hand. (James Watt, Secretary of the Interior)
Yes, that was said by the person who oversaw the use and protection of America's natural resources, our lakes, rivers, forests, and national parks. But that shouldn't surprise you. After all, the loopy wolf was appointed to guard the hen house by the President of the United States, who said:
For the first time ever, everything is in place for the Battle of Armageddon and the Second Coming of Christ. (Ronald Reagan)
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Osama Bin Bush? C'mon. That's an Overstatement.
OK. You're right. George Bush was not a terrorist who selected as a target large groups of noncombatants and intentionally tried to murder as many as possible. However, even though a case could be made for the need to use military might to oppose terrorism and those who support it, even if the use of force was justified, and even if one tried to minimize the violence done, there was simply no excuse for incompetence guided by religious delusions. There was no justification for action based on wishful thinking and a willful turning away from Reality. The fact is that our world is confronted by a battle between the fantasies of the likes of Osama Bin Laden and George Bush, a battle that has already led to the deaths of many, many innocents; and there is no end in sight.
Remember that revealing phrasing, when The Shrub made an overt call for a crusade against the "Axis of Evil." That unmistakable message to his base of Christian fundamentalists was no slip of the tongue. While we cannot ignore terrorists who viciously attack civilians, Americans were told that their only choice was to become embroiled in an endless war of attrition in which some of them would die, vital resources would be squandered, their well-being would be threatened and manipulated by terror alerts, and some of their freedoms would be forfeited.
Turning away from Reality for guidance (in favor of faith-based belief) becomes particularly dangerous when leaders select advisers and subordinates who actively support their particular beliefs. The vital, balancing check provided by Reality is eliminated from decision making, freeing our leaders to act as they wish. And almost always, when our leaders are primarily guided by their religious beliefs, they intentionally surround themselves with management teams that help to insulate them from realistic constraints and concerns. Regardless of whether they are ignoring the reality of global warming in relation to weather patterns and hurricanes or the structural analysis of levees, or whether they are ignoring human nature as it plays out in conflict between ethnic groups, ultimately when our leaders ignore Reality, they make quite a mess.
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No overstatement: "We're not making this stuff up."
Meanwhile, George prided himself on the degree to which he was guided, not by careful analysis of the situation, but by his intuitive sense of what was right, which, in this case, he proudly told people, was what he felt God wanted him to do. To paraphrase the Shrub, "We're not making this stuff up." Consider what one of his aides told a New York Times writer:
The aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." ... "That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do." (NYT Magazine, October 17, 2004, emphases added)
To a far too great a degree, these religiously blinded leaders continue to influence us and shape humanity's future. They continue to exercise undue, crucial influence over our economic and social order. Christian Fundamentalism (allied in the US with corporate, global slavelization) vs complete Islamic submission to clerical Belief Police. Despite the much needed respite provided by Obama — which, as noted above, is unlikely to be sustainable, given the solid hold the Religious Right has on one third of the American electorate — such are the leaders presiding over our military, over the continuing population explosion, and over the care (or rather, the neglect and destruction) of our biosphere.
These are the folks who are shaping the next generation who will inhabit our planet:
We are engaged in a social, political, and cultural war. There's a lot of talk in America about pluralism. But the bottom line is somebody's values will prevail. And the winner gets the right to teach our children what to believe. (Gary Bauer, President, American Values)
Those who control the access to the minds of children will set the agenda for the future of the nation and the future of the western world. (James Dobson, Founder, Focus on the Family)
The Christian community has a golden opportunity to train an army of dedicated teachers who can invade the public school classrooms and use them to influence the nation for Christ. (James Kennedy, Founder, Center for Reclaiming America)
The lethal alliance: The obscenely rich and the insanely deluded
With incredible foolishness and an almost Machiavellian cynicism, rich, elite Republicans — many of whom had no strong religious inclinations — made a "devil's bargain" and intentionally allied their party with religious fundamentalists. German industrialists also foolishly believed they could "make use of" the religiously fanatic Nazis. As you read this, you will see an eerily similar scenario occurring in America as well as in the Muslim world. The rich Saudi rulers ingratiate themselves with the religious leaders (who control the masses) by funding fundamentalist schools and movements all over the world. Increasingly, they are facing the fruits of the seeds they plant and sow: Fundamentalists like Osama Bin Laden and his followers are as eager to overthrow the rich Saudi ruling family as they are to attack the U.S.
The extremely rich are always small in number and they need allies with larger numbers. In religious theocracies, kings have always needed the support of the priests, mullahs, and ayatollahs. Likewise, extreme, fanatic fundamentalists are usually a sizable minority eager to form an alliance that can give their particular sect access to the power with which to impose their ideas on others. To the very degree that a society is not completely cowed and submissive within the iron grip of a murderous dictatorship, whenever these two join forces — each believing the alliance will benefit them — those whose numbers and fanaticism is greater (i.e., the fundamentalists, the revolutionaries) end up seizing power. If you are still skeptical about the danger, keep reading.
So, does religious fanaticism scare you? If so, take a look at what TERRIFIES religious fanatics!
Most of what follows on the next page in this exploration of the rise of the Religious Right was written and revised long before the 2004 election. Unfortunately, the predictions contained therein are already coming true.
While the pendulum may swing back somewhat, if the sane cannot organize themselves within a coherent religious (e.g., Yoism) or pseudo-religious ideology, it is unlikely to stay there (see the Michael Lerner essay here). And it now appears clear that it will not swing back in time to avoid further tragic consequences. Indeed, the damage already done by the forces set in motion may have already made further tragedy of unimaginable proportions inevitable.
As The World's First Open Source Religion, the Way of Yo teaches us to take the perceptions and reactions of other divine humans as indications of our progress (or lack thereof) toward our goal of creating the clearest possible expression of the Truth, as revealed by Yo (Reality). So, if you have any thoughts, suggestions, or comments regarding this page—or any other aspect of Yoism—please send us a message via email. After registering as a user, you can click the "add new comment" button above to leave a specific comment on this or any page that you want other visitors to be able to read. (For comments that are not about a specific page, please use the email option.)