I really shouldn’t wade into this . . .

There is the most unbelievably ridiculous column up on the Washington Post today by Kevin Phillips who is promoting his book “American Theocracy: The Perils and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century”. I read the Washington Post everyday, but they really demean themselves by giving a forum to such nonsense. I’d hate to see them go the way of the grey lady and become a newspaper only foaming at the mouth lefty crazies care about. This guy actually starts his column by saying:
“the United States approaches theocracy when it meets the conditions currently on display: an elected leader who believes himself to speak for the Almighty, a ruling political party that represents religious true believers, the certainty of many Republican voters that government should be guided by religion and, on top of it all, a White House that adopts agendas seemingly animated by biblical worldviews.”
Now, let me say up front, I don’t like G.W. Bush. There are a whole variety of reasons for this, but his excess of religious motivation (I think too many evangelicals allowed themselves to see what they want in him and doubt he’s really “one of ours”) is certainly not one of them. So, I’m not come at this as a Bush apologist. However, just to show you how unbelievably stupid Mr. Phillips’ premise is – his book is being published at the point where more and more religiously motivated people are becoming disillusioned with President Bush for a wide variety of reasons. Many, many people are coming to the conclusion that religious folks were never more than pawns for the president to use to get in office and whose views will always take a back seat to powerful business interests. But never mind reality – Mr. Phillips and those who are going to take his red meat herring certainly aren’t ones to let themselves be swayed by little things like reality.
All in all, it is abundantly obvious that Mr. Phillips knows no real-live religious folks other than the caricatures he sees on TV. There are just so many things wrong with his premise that it would take more time than it’s worth to deconstruct how ridiculous his thinking is and how completely and utterly removed from reality it is. Kathy Shaidle does a rather nice job of poking fun at Mr. Phillips over on beliefnet.com (ack- religion! the religious right is taking over the internet – be afraid, be very afraid), so I’ll just quote from her March 22 column:
American liberals have been predicting the rise of “Theocracy USA” for more than 25 years, since Ronald Reagan won the White House with considerable help from the “Religious Right”. (Odd how an honest-to-God “born again Christian” Democrat’s occupation of the Oval Office during the previous four years didn’t inspire similar concerns…)
It’s 2006, and still no sign of concentration camps for homosexuals (you’ll find those in Cuba, actually). Yet nothing can dampen the Left’s feverish “Handmaid’s Tale” delusions of persecution . . . It’s awfully sad to watch otherwise intelligent people caught up in such misguided, not to say self-absorbed, terror: the fear that somehow, someday, in ways never clearly articulated, the paranoid individual’s sacred right nay, their very duty to abort fetuses, smoke pot, watch porn, get sex change operations, and marry their hamster might just might be challenged, never mind abolished, by somebody, somewhere. Theocracies do exist, of course. Attempting to escape an imaginary one, an American author stumbled upon something like the real thing. Gay journalist
Bruce Bawer was so horrified by the “Religious Right” that he fled New Amsterdam (Manhattan) for the European original. Yet the enlightened, tolerant, multicultural liberal paradise of Bawer’s imagination turned out to be a seething hotbed of Muslim fundamentalism. In various European nations, he and his boyfriend were gay-bashed, politicians were murdered, terrorists were cheered and women were regularly “honor killed” in broad daylight–and, incredibly, not one of the perps was a “right-wing” Christian or white supremacist skinhead. Funny, that. Bawer’s flawed, infuriating, but invaluable book about his experiences, “While Europe Slept,” will receive far less attention than “American Theocracy.” The chattering classes don’t wish to have their strangely comforting dreams of impending doom disturbed by anything as tedious as the truth.
The fact of the matter is that Mr. Phillips and his ilk have No idea what a theocracy is or looks like. The very reality that he can make such ridiculous and demonstrably false claims, get a publishing deal and be subjected to nothing worse than people like me ridiculing him is a demonstration of how far we are from a theocracy. The fact that he can apparently move about in a world where there are no actual right-wing Christians and he must watch Jerry Falwell on TV like the rest of us must watch lions on the National Geographic Channel shows how out of touch with reality this guy is. Having a president who is a Christian doesn’t make us a theocracy. Having our laws reflect the values of the majority of the country (ie Christian) makes us a democracy, not a theocracy. I’m sure it can be frustrating to live in a culture where your worldview is a minority POV, not embraced by most of your countrymen or even your president. Mr. Phillips can write a book claiming that the planet was seeded by pink aliens to harvest organs from, if he so chooses, however, what is really disturbing is that a the Washington Post would provide a forum for such flawed, illogical thinking. I would have hoped that their standards of fact and logic would be higher than that. Then again, this is a paper which brought in a plagiarist to represent a conservative POV (because there just wasn’t anyone better, ya know) and was attacked by readers for providing the blog as a sop for the right. Because , well, liberal columnists exist for all of our benefit, but conservatives columnists are merely a sop. When are they going to start teaching logic in schools again?


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