Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Election and The Religious 'Right': The Future?

One of my great concerns, as many of you reg readers know, is the topic of government and religion. Unfortunately, atheists and agnostics often seem to believe they are the only ones concerned about this. I'm here to say it ain't so!

Let me say it one more time: Government and religion should be entirely separate. Period. I am quite confident in my belief and I sure as hell don't need the government to reinforce it. Nor do I want them, in any way, to do so.

I don't like prayers at political governance meetings, despite who is delivering the words, and never will. This is reinforced because of the tie between the Pledge of Allegiance and the prayer in such meetings which particularly disgusts me.

Unless you are a closet theocrat, you see the need for separation of church/state. Our founding fathers may have used the word God, but that doesn't mean, BTW, your God which is part of the problem, nor does it mean that God works in politics. Let's hope not, anyway, though everyone claims a piece.

Those that I read regularly and respect--from religious perspective and not--see the line.

This election in particular gives us the chance to look at what we are facing in the future, and why. From Palin's Assemblies of God to McCain's Episcopal turned Baptist thinking. From Joe Biden's Roman Catholicism to Obama's Rev. Wright. Add hard right Haggee.

It's a nutso mix of what should be 'who cares'. Well, who cares? Apparently we do.

And in some cases, we should.


Before we get to the actual issue of the hard right religion of Palin and now how the GOP has to reinvent that label to stand within their party, there is something I need to talk about again. And again. And again.

When Palin was announced I was one that knew who she was. Not because of politics, but because of her assault on wildlife, particularly wolves. As you know, I rescue domestics, have transported many, many non-domestics to rescue, but my background is in science, land use and the environment. All those things crashed head-on with Palin.

Palin was the multi-headed monster. She was in opposition to my heart, my education, my social conscience, my activist and professional (yes, organizer) work. Not to mention, she did everything to cull the worst of us all.

I would have been far more gentle on Palin had she gotten out there and just told Obama to flat-out fuck off. In essence, that would have been far more honest.

She also scares the holy crap out of me in terms of her religious beliefs and how they translate to public policy and decision making. And I say this in the more understandable religious shadow of the LDS Church (and others) that just bought and paid for the changing of a constitution in favor of their moralist interpretation of rights.

This is why I spent SO much time on Palin. She was, and is, dangerous. Far more dangerous than McCain and those that support her "thinking" are inherently dangerous for different reasons.

In fact, the aerial wolf hunting commercials put out by Defenders of Wildlife (DOW's 527) were probably the singular most effective adds in the election televised and on line. There are HUGE numbers of rescue and animal welfare sites on the web. Unless you are part of that world, you wouldn't understand. Trust me.

The visuals in the DOW add didn't parse words. They graphically show the horrible slaughter of Palin's policy which, as it turned out, was not her first and only slaughter of truth. It primarily reflected what turned out to be evidence of Palin's ignorance and cruelty. There is far worse footage, believe me.

During the campaign, and something you may have missed, was Palin's continued attack on listing of species. My blog has several accounts where, thankfully, Palin lost and several are in progress. These are NOT unconnected ramdom events. They have much to do with the thinking of Palin, how she views God and this planet.

If one is a dominionist and a 'rapture times" kind of person, the election obviously isn't really about stability or concern but about defending one's own in light of end times. There is no sense in doing any saving, especially of animals. Certainly no sense or need to be concerned about the environment. And since God calls the shots, obviously global warming is not human made, something Palin recited time and time again. These ideas and actions are not unconnected. They ARE connected.

This is not to say she doesn't have to respond to issues in governance, she does (which is why Phyllis Schlalfy's support is such great humor and something, frankly, Saturday Night Live competely missed... sadly). But the responses you are seeing are those of someone that clearly does not believe that God/science are different things. Science holds no place. God's dominion does. End of story, end of understanding and education, end of action.

Welcome to the rapture. Be sure to put labels on your bags.

This is not an aside. DOW pitted the uneducated dunce using technology to abuse animals in the name of science so that hunters could shoot more of the wolf's prey for fun against reality in pictures. It pictured who she was: brutal, cruel, willing to lie, unsupportive of science, willing to hide data, and generally in support of unfair and bad practice something reinforced by media as time went on in various ways.

The only thing DOW left out was God. Thank heavens. It's not their job.

The video and campaign by DOW was brilliant. Brilliant. I cannot say it louder than BRILLIANT.


There isn't a part of me that doesn't try to recognize God's love--the good-of- God--in everything. I have a perspective. I am human. I have views, prejudice, etc. I am not the final judge.

Thus, I don't share it that way, and as a political partisan, I don't parse it that way, either and I confess I near despise those that do.

What I see is not the truth of others and I will NOT make it so. It is just MY understanding, not the understanding of the universe and I don't impose it.

In the secular world, we are bound by ties of neighbor, employer, worker, lover, friend, police, government, president, military, migrant... and on the list goes. For the better part of 2000 years of Christian history, we've argued about whether God does or does not come into play in these decisions or society, now, globally. Of course, there was a lot of rebuke before. I don't have the answer to that. Nor am I interested in that answer. I do have a strong opinion on the current issue, though.

The answer is now irrelevant. And the GOP and its right wing have made sure of that.

The premise of unimportance and importance is leaving the ground of God. Good. People are witnessing environmental changes that are so severe that even most believers in God understand, now, that it is WE--US--ALL OF US that must go beyond religious dogma to science: that which asks questions, measures, tests, and reviews all results same and different and makes recommendations based on those studied results. It is science, not God, that leads us forward in the human context of how to deal with a problem we have created.

But those of us that believe in God, as scientists and affectionados of science, understand that WE are responsible. We don't mess up the kitchen and hope for a miracle the next morning without cleaning, ourselves. And we don't ask God to do that, either.

God and science can and do exist together and always have and one has little to do with the other.


So now, I ask after wandering through my own thinking about God, that you wander through yours.

But before you do--and before I did--I read this short article. And while it is just one of very many out there right now, this one said the most to me, personally.


There are those that would so despise our views of freedom, God and not or mixed, that we just dismiss them. Don't. That is what lead to the last eight years.

We simply cannot ever do that again.