As Americans, we are often told what is “right” by random and sometimes popular voices based on their interpretations of the Bible that happen to agree with their own gross prejudices and misconceptions of society. It is frightening just how powerful the communal singularity has become, when the very same sentiments are echoed from campaign pulpits and from within the halls of Congress.
For anyone having paid attention over the last few weeks, the recent presidential debates covered many topics pertaining to the future, longevity and sustainability of our American nation. Surprisingly, however, in stark contrast to much of the headwinds coming out of the Republican Party over the last four years, many social issues went unheard.
As I have personally lamented time and again on this blog, the empowered social conservatives in this country have long played their card as a means of distraction from the “real” issues facing the country. Perhaps to their dismay, the debates themselves made little to no mention of divisive social memes like abortion, equality (with the exception of equal pay for women), contraception, gays in the military, or the advancement of wholly-secular legislation in a nation of varying and often conflicting religious backgrounds (except for one question asked of the VP candidates on how their faiths affect their candidacies).
Racial undertones – perpetuated time and again by Republicans – went unaddressed, while the subject of social inequality played safely on the side of facts and statistics rather than the typical rhetoric of “us against them” exploited largely by the Right wing.
As rated by most reputable news outlets across the board, the Obama/Biden ticket reportedly won 3 – 1 against their competition during the debates that focused largely on the economy, foreign policy, energy independence and national security. Social conservative issues went largely untouched and unspoken to this dismay of the RIght, which is why it is no surprise – to this angry blogger, anyway – that Republican candidate Mitt Romney chose this time above all to allott his first and only Senate endorsement for Republican candidate and staunch social-conservative Richard Mourdock.
Less than twenty four hours after the momentous endorsement, Mourdock, a Right wing conservative so affected by his Christian “values”, publicly noted his firm belief that pregnancy as the result of rape should be considered a “gift from God”.
“I’ve struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize that life is that gift from God,” said Mourdock, re-affirming his staunch advocacy for a pro-life agenda that rejects the idea of there being “exceptions” for abortion cases. He then added “[a]nd even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”
Later, after much ridicule from the press, bloggers, and the vast majority of thinking Americans, Mourdock added: “It is a fundamental part of my faith that God gives us life. God determines when life begins. I believe in an almighty God who makes those calls…there are some things in life that are above my pay grade.”
If this sounds utterly ridiculous to you, it should. However, it falls in line with much of what has been spewed from Right wing land throughout the campaigns. From VP candidate Paul Ryan’s insistence of redefining rape as a “method of conception”, Todd Akin’s claim that a “legitimately raped” vagina can magically subdue and destroy sperm and Rep. Steve King’s assertion that no women ever get pregnant from rape anyway, Mourdock’s statement falls directly in line with the religiously dogmatic narrative used to sway votes away from legitimacy.
This is enough to alarm and appall any thinking American to the utmost degree – that collective religious and social shortcomings could so disgustingly dictate entire political agendas and effectively drive a wedge between common sense and knee-jerk activism.
Just this week, overly-popular, conservative talk-radio nut and former (too crazy even for) Fox News employee Glenn Beck asserted that fellow Mormon cult member Mitt Romney was the one candidate on the ballot being “guided by God.” Tom McClusky, Vice President of the Family Research Council, tweeted a comparison of Todd Akin to Martin Luther King, Jr., saying both were “arrested for standing up for what is right.”
But there is something far more disturbing here. The insistence of imposing the supposed will of an omnipotent force – in these cases, “God” – is not only the stuff of mythological fantasy, it is also anti-American; it forces one to question the motives and intentions of the ideologues perpetuating the ruse of an unquestionable, infallible, “almighty” ruler whose whim and/or mystical “plan” supersedes all free thought and free will. As if to say that we Americans should recognize this “King of Kings” as our one, true leader. And in him and him alone we trust.
“I believe in an almighty God who makes those calls,” Mourdock said. Think about that. How explicitly condemning is this idea to Americans, and to humanity? That we have no say over our thoughts, actions and laws? That we cannot do right by our men, women and children? That we cannot protect and defend what we love, empowered by truth and reason? That we cannot favor science and evidence above holistics and magic?
To this point, the “divinely inspired” right are purposely asserting their own seemingly Godly-condoned actions and legislation as being of a “higher order” than rational, common sense. Their views on science, sexuality, gender roles, ethnicity, and even economics are so far beyond truth and fact that it is completely reasonable to think that – in 1000 years from now – our successors on this planet will look back at our history in the same way that we look back on the tall tales of Greek and Roman mythology. How is Hercules not the same as Jesus? Or Gilgamesh not the same as Noah? Or Joseph Smith not the same as John the Baptist? Or Moses not the same as fucking Superman?
We hear them defend their actions with terms like “God’s plan” and “God’s will.” And to most people who would argue that in nearly every possible scenario the succession of God’s plans do not seem to follow any sort of moral, ethical or downright sensical code or order, “true believers” would simply answer with “God works in mysterious ways.”
We see, hear and read idiots (yes, idiots) like Kirk Cameron and Pat Robertson try to tell us what is “right”, based on their interpretations of pre-selected, minutely filtered texts of the Bible that happen to agree with their own prejudices and misconceptions of society. And while one may argue that these particular characters hold little to no sway over politics, it has become frighteningly evident just how powerful the communal singularity has become, when the very same sentiments are echoed from campaign pulpits and from within the halls of Congress.
During the election of 2008, an obscene amount of airtime hours were dedicated to determining just what, if any, was Senator Barack Obama’s true faith. During last Spring’s hearings over the Obama Administration’s proposed contraception mandate, an entire panel consisting of male, religious leaders was asked to weigh in on women’s health issues. In this month’s Vice Presidential debate, the two seasoned politicians were ask to draw conclusions over just how strongly the Catholic faith in particular affects their politics. Mind you, these two men are in contention to serve next-in-line as ruler of the free, democratic world.
Sadly, too many in this country are concerned with in which imaginary stories in particular these men place their beliefs, and how strongly they remain committed to a two-thousand-plus year old text written by men in caves seeking to exploit the most profane elements of a mostly-illiterate, male-dominated Middle East desert society.
Turns out we seemingly have more in common with the Taliban after all.