In this partisan time let me preface my thoughts by saying that I am NOT a Democrat or Leftist. Nor am I an atheist or anti-religion. Anyone who has read even a few of my articles will know that I attack partisanship anywhere, Left or Right.
I have great respect for Mr. Cooper of NewsRealblog. I find his writing and analysis to be almost always intelligent and insightful. Then there are those times when he tells us that following his sub sect [Conservative] of his sect [Protestant] of his religion [Christianity] somehow makes people immune to groupthink.
In addition I do NOT have a shred of respect for either party in the mentioned video. I have not even watched it.
I am writing here about Mr. Cooper’s response to the simple statement:
Matthews: “The group in this country that most resembles the Taliban, ironically, is the Religious Right.”
Mr. Cooper might be surprised to hear it but the majority of Americans would more or less agree with that statement. When it comes to their views on Constitutional secular government and their visions of a “godly” society they [the Religious Right and Taliban] are like twins separated at birth.
The paradox of the partisan mentality is their ability to believe the unsupportable. They believe that all criticisms of the opposition are likely to be true but that none of the accusations leveled at their group ever are. When it is put that way everyone agrees that partisanship is bad. What partisans will never agree to however is the idea that they themselves are partisans. After all, how can you be a partisan when you are right?
One thing I have always admired about the Jewish religion is that it teaches one to accept criticism, even by enemies as a grace. They are taught to be thankful for an opportunity to think about how they can be a better person. I hope Mr. Cooper will take my response in this spirit.
Let me ask Mr. Cooper a question. Which present day American group’s tactics most resemble the Taliban’s? Of the groups active today who other than Fred Phelps’ minions would even come to mind? The terrorist tactics of the 60’s and 70’s have passed from virtually all politically active groups in America. What remains is Phelps’ scare tactics of Hellfire and emotional intimidation. And from where does the Phelps fringe emanate? The Religious Right.
Mr. Cooper tried to show that the Taliban are known for things the Religious Right is not. Unfortunately the examples he chose remind non Religious Right folks more of the ways in which they do resemble each other.
Cooper: “The Taliban are known for wanting government to uphold the strictest form of Sharia law. They even add additional laws to it. They are especially known for their degradation of women. Women are kept in oppressive attire and wife-beating is legal.”
Can it be that Christian Conservatives truly cannot see the shadow of the Christian Right-wing in those words? Is it not an open fact that the “Religious Right” as embodied in the statements of its leaders seeks a world that is very similar to the Taliban’s?
Pat Robertson has lamented many times about Christians not being allowed to interpret the Constitution to dominate all others in the name of Christ. When did Jerry Falwell ever shy from seeking to make his personal religion the law of the land?
If you narrow your focus to only look at America then yes, Virginia the native group that stands out as oppressive towards women and children is the Religious Right.
Let us pause and define another term; Religious Right. This is no more a synonym for Christian Conservative than Obama is for “liberal”. The Religious Right is unyielding, partisan and does not question the “truth” they wish to force on the rest of us any more than the Taliban do.
The only real difference between the far Right and the far Left is the source of their “truth”; God or Man. The only real difference between the Taliban on one side and Phelps and his less obnoxious brethren on the other is how violently they impose their worldview. Both are inimical to a secular, Constitutional society.
Please do not take the wrong message from my words. The Christian version is not as vicious as the Taliban because of the core message of Christianity and the influence of Western Enlightenment thinking. But, they both seek theocracy in their own words.
Any ideology can be used for evil but historically Christianity has shown itself to be able to bounce back from the edge. In contrast Islam and Marxism are designed to PROMOTE aggressive partisan behavior. It is the people who use Christianity or Islam or Marxism to be tyrants that are evil. We should not obscure the similarities of those that seek to misuse power.
Should I not be sad when Christian Conservatives, who embrace all The Constitution stands for, turn a blind eye to the religion some evil-doers use to justify their goal of tyranny?