November 04, 2004
voting to hate
after reading Andrew Sullivan's comments via CSTB, i thought i would reprint the text from an e-mail i sent earlier today:
i think Jon Stewart summed it up well last night when he said "i think in the
end, it just comes down to guys kissing" or words to that effect. put another
way, he said (speaking as a conservative) "we don't much care for 'Will &
Grace', so take this". that's the only "values" argument that can be made by
the conservative side considering that anyone with a 3rd grade education can
see that this president's "values" include lying, war-mongering, plundering and
lying some more. the Republicans certainly have little regard for the well
being of many of the people that vote for them - their jobs are being lost and
the rolls of the insured continue to shrink as corporations are allowed to run
the country more and more. but if you surround all this crap with Jesus, it's
like moths to the flame.
i know some people take offense at this notion, but the more i've been thinking
about it, the more the gay rights movement is very similar to the racial rights
movement that took decades to play out. one look at the red states is all it
takes to realize that the battle lines are almost exactly the same. meanwhile,
gay marriage bans are popping up across the country much as inter-racial
marriage bans did last century. the big difference in this case is the way so
much of the argument is tied up in religious dogma that there's very little way
to combat. like the Muslim fundamentalism that contributes to the violence and
hatred in the world, so does Christian fundamentalism (a bit more indirectly).
but whereas most Muslims try to distance themselves from the jihadists, most
Christians are only all too happy to line up behind those who would do
injustice to the teachings of Jesus.
as pissed off as i have been the past two days, moving to another country isn't the answer. but what is? how do we effectively achieve change to make this country better? the Democrats certainly don't know - they couldn't be more lost and there's no way America is electing Obama president. but we're seemingly stuck with them. should we all start running for office?
Posted by jamie at November 4, 2004 12:07 PM
I know many would consider me intolerant or at least impolite for saying so, but I think the most basic problem here is religious belief and its hold over people.
I was raised to believe all sorts of absurd things, like "Jesus is the son of God, and also IS somehow God, and there is this other thing called the Holy Spirit that, trust us, exists, even though we can't explain what the hell it is," but when I got old enough and motivated enough, I thought about these things and realized that not just my own religion, but all religions, are complete bunk. That truth becomes more and more obvious to me all the time, and while it may be "elitist" to say so, anyone who can believe in any religion is, to me, a gullible moron. That includes most of my family and a few of my friends, but I don't care anymore about seeming tolerant or respectful of beliefs that I find ludicrous, and I am not going to keep my anti-religion feelings quiet anymore.
Religion is the problem that is allowing this culture war to flourish. The real battle is ordinary working people against the super-rich and corporations, but the Republicans are so skillful at manipulating the religious faction that they're blind to that.
And here's why: religion is all about believing what you're told, conforming to what your neighbors do and think, and not questioning any of it for fear of going to hell (and/or being shunned by family or your community here on earth).
In other words, religion is fundamentally undemocratic. You can't speak your mind in church. You can't trust yourself to decide what's right and wrong based on observation and analysis of the world around you--you have to just read the Bible and take it at face value. You have to sit there in church, listen to what's being said, and believe it. If your preacher tells you that Democrats are evil and you better vote for George Bush, than that's what you do.
It was amazing to me as a teenager the first time I opted not to mumble the prayers at mass along with everyone else. Listening as an almost-objective observer, it struck me how robotic, how totally unspiritual, these rote prayer recitations are. I know it's different at many African-American churches, where people (at least in the movies) sway and clap and spontaneously break out into joyous proclamations. But the end the result is the same: don't think for yourself, think and do what the church tells you to.
Certainly, liberal we-love-everybody Unitarianism and new agey Buddhism are not as dangerous to our social fabric as are fundamentalist Islam or Christianity, but I am willing to lump all of it together as humanity's worst invention.
I've heard all the positive arguments in favor of religion: it gives some people a community who might otherwise not have one, prayer can actually have positive effects on people because their thoughts are concentrated in a positive direction, Christianity has a strong bent toward social justice (though I'm not so sure this matters to most Christians anymore), etc. But just look at the history of the Catholic Church for millions of examples of how wrong and dangerous and hateful an institution can be.
In addition, even in this modern age, most major religions still make a point of keeping women down. For the life of me I can't figure out how women in my family can be so loyal to the Catholic Church when it deems them unworthy of being priests (not to mention how it glorifies female virginity).
I'm already reading commentaries suggesting that the Democrats need to engage religious people more actively to gain support in the so-called heartland. The Democrats can do that if they want, but I say the best chance for true progress is if intelligent people with a secular worldview start standing up and calling religion what it is: a bunch of nonsense.
I am fully ready to engage in a serious war against religion and the dupes who wield it as a political weapon. Who's with me?
Another way to improve this country might be to make sure people get a decent education. And that's exactly why the Republicans will keep underfunding education.
On the U.S. Census Bureau's site I just found a table that ranks the states (and D.C., which is #1) on the percentage of people over 25 who have college degrees. Not surprisingly, 12 of the top 15 went for Kerry, and all of the bottom 16 went for Bush.
Of the eight people I know that would consider themselves a relgious Christian, I know 7 of them voted for Kerry if that makes you feel any better, Jim.
Well said, Jim, I agree with everything you wrote as someone who experienced the same thing. Religions blow. Even the ones that aren't as bad as Christianity, the worst, are still bad--i.e. Buddhism is pretty cool until you're a woman who wants to go into a temple. Bite me. Anyway, I also second Dan's point b/c I know many Jesus lovers who are liberal, my wonderful Nana for one. A super devout Catholic, she also volunteered her entire life for the NY State Democrats. I just think it's important not to generalize. It's a point I was trying to make to a friend on Sat who was fairly rightful bashing Christianity but kept saying "Catholics." I think all religions suck and are repressive. But we're not going to get anywhere generalizing and judging. There has to be a way to reach out to these people and make them really see that their religious beliefs and their political leadership is getting them no where.
Everyone just stay positive and active. That's the only answer. Yes, Jamie, that could mean running for office--you totally should! :) I'm going to devote every waking minute to getting DC to have the same rights as everyone else in this country. It's an inaurguable argument and it's about fucking time we had a Rep and two Senators. Let's think big and get it through a Republican-controlled gov't. Think big and do big. And when all else fails, there's always real estate on the moon...