Finger pointingReading time – 91 seconds  .  .  . 

To the best of my ability to understand them, our far right religious conservatives believe:

  1. That they got it right – about God, about religion, about right and wrong, good and bad.
  2. That anyone who disagrees with point #1 is wrong and eternally damned, because there’s no heaven for them.
  3. That this should be a Christian nation, but not because of what demographics indicate. Rather, they think this should be an expressly Christian America ruled by biblical laws – a theocracy – because of what they think God has said to them.
  4. That following their notion of biblical laws is both required and it is self-justification for pretty much anything.
  5. That compromise in any way from the above is unholy and, therefore, intolerable.

Now, substitute Islam for Christianity, the Qur’an for the Bible and make a geographic adjustment. Somebody please tell me what the difference is between these two groups of fundamentalist, absolutist, arrogant people. I say “arrogant” because these absolutists seem to be saying, “I’m not just right; I’m divinely right.” That’s a lot of turf grabbing for a mere mortal.

Setting aside the Islamist fundamentalists for the moment, explain to me how to deal with the Christian absolutists, because they are making a lot of noise and politicians are getting elected by sucking up to them. Then the politicians are incrementally distorting America to create the theocracy the absolutists want, as recently happened in Indiana. That’s why we need to know how to deal with these people, because this isn’t supposed to be a theocracy, regardless of what Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum  and Sen. Ted Cruz want you to believe. Check with Thomas Jefferson and his pals about that and you’ll see that it’s true.

As for the Islamist fundamentalists, we have the same intractability problem with them. Their world view is steeped in centuries of absolutism, making it a brain contortion to deal with them for those from a Western culture. It’s complicated, frustrating work and every step of every path is fraught with cultural impasses and Through The Looking Glass contradictions.

If you’d like to explore how difficult this is, read Mark Bowden’s remarkable bookGuests of the Ayatollah  Guests of the Ayatollah, which chronicles the Iran hostage crisis. This book was recently recommended to me personally by one of the former hostages whom I met while delivering a leadership workshop. It is a major insight into a critical piece of recent American history. The double benefit of reading this book is getting a peek into the tent of militant Islamic culture in the MIddle-East and its apparent house-of-mirrors world view. Indeed, it provides some understanding of what we will be dealing with for a very long time and with a great deal at stake.

Back once more to our American far right religious conservatives, we need to deal with the challenge they bring, because if this is to remain America, it’s critical that we both stop and roll back the absolutists’ spread of theocracy. What are your thoughts? Post them in the Comments section below.

Source: The Guardian at http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/mar/23/ted-cruz-presidential-campaign-evangelical-christian-voters-gay-marriage-values

Source: The Guardian, March 23, 2015

Note: Click on the bar chart on the left from The Guardian for an expanded view. One way to interpret the results of this poll is that of the 58% of American voters who identify as white and Christian, roughly 2/3 of them see themselves as Republicans and are susceptible to the theocratic appeals espoused by the Bible-thumpers. That’s very dangerous for a democratic (small “d”) America, as these people are reliable voters and because it assaults the First Amendment. That Amendment is part of the U.S. Constitution, which the far right religious conservatives say with fierce absolutism that they honor. That yes-we-do-no-we-don’t  support of the Constitution is the same kind of up-is-down logic used by militant Islamists. Are you afraid yet?


Ed. note: There is much in America that needs fixing and we are on a path to continually fail to make things better. It is my goal to make a difference – perhaps to be a catalyst for things to get better. That is the reason for these posts. To accomplish the goal requires reaching many thousands of people and a robust dialogue.

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2 Responses to Absolutely
  1. Frank Levy Reply

    Jack – in your most recent post you ask us, the reader, to explain to you how to deal with the Christian absolutists, because they are making a lot of noise and politicians are getting elected by sucking up to them.

    One – know who these people are. These people are Christian Nationalists, Christian Reconstructionists and dominionists. Their goals are simple – make America a Christian nation, and replace the Constitution with Biblical law (as they read and interpret it). They are Not Christians in any sense that Jesus of Nazareth would ever recognize. They hate the poor. They are pro-war and pro-capital punishment. They are racist. They oppose equal rights and voting rights. They are pro-fetus and anti-children. They oppose abortion and birth control. They view women as servants to their fathers and husbands. The yare Islamophobic and anti-Semitic. They view all other religions, atheists and agnostics as sinners doomed to eternal damnation.

    They use fear to rally their supporters who are majority white, Christian, and old.

    At the risk of our nation becoming a Christian theocracy, do not assume these people are fringe elements of the Republican Party. They are its core, and its financial base. They have been at this since the 1950’s. They are well organized, extremely well financed, and have access to all the halls of power. They are focused, passionate, and highly motivated.

    Progressives and liberals are none of these. We have forfeited the country to them.

    They wear American flag pins on their jacket collars as a sign of patriotism but hate America and non-Christian Americans.

    They call for strict interpretation of the Constitution when comes to the Second Amendment, but hate the First Amendment. They want to replace The Constitution with Biblical law because it does not specifically say America is a Christian nation, and it does not mention Jesus as our ruler, or God, or Christianity.

    They equate being Christian (their particular version) with patriotism.

    They love war, but not the nation’s warriors. They are happy to send them to fight for our democracy but fail to care for when they return broken and battered.

    They are anti-science, anti-evolution, and want to re-write American history to fit their evangelical, fundamental Christian point of view.

    Two – become informed. Read Kingdom Coming – The Rise of Christian Nationalism.

    Three – VOTE!

    Four – get others to vote for progressive, liberal politicians.

    Five –stop thinking that talking to others who think like we do will change them or anything – unless you are organizing a response to these dangerous anti-Americans

    Six –run for the local school board to defend science and to counter the calls for mandatory school prayer.

    Seven – visit your children’s school, especially their science classes to make sure that evolution, and not intelligent design or creationism is being taught in its place.

    Eight – review your kids and grandkids history and science textbooks for Christian-centric anti-science, distorted historical language

    Nine – write a blog, or post pro-science, anti-Christian Nationalist posts on Facebook and other digital media.

    Ten – join and become active in Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, and/or The Texas Freedom Network, the Democratic Party, or any other organization that opposes these Talibangelists.

  2. Jim Altschuler Reply

    Absolutists and extremists of every stripe are incredibly difficult to understand and nearly impossible to dissuade from their myopic viewpoint. Their “My Way Or The Highway” view leaves no room for negotiation and, therefore, virtually no opportunity for them to live in peace and harmony with those around them.

    Their narrow view of “their world” means they can’t hear, let alone understand, anyone else. Personally, I don’t care what their stripe is — red or blue or whatever. I long ago became tired of bending to accommodate those others who, given the opportunity, would either kill me or throw me off the planet.

    I think it’s time for the far right religious absolutists, the Islamist fundamentalists and any other “intolerant-of-anybody-who-differs-from-them” groups around the world to sit down and shut up! They may have flunked “Works and Plays Well With Others” in school so it’s time they learned to do so from the real world.