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arendt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-28-04 08:19 PM
Original message
Chairman George's Dominionist Guard (essay - long)
Edited on Sat Feb-28-04 08:59 PM by arendt
I did a few hours research about Dominionism - these people
are not only insane, they are criminally insane. Fundamentalism
has just as high a mutation rate as AIDS. Its very hard for the
immune system to keep up with such an attack.

As usual, a long essay, but I have tried to point people to a good
website to understand what we are up against. The good news is that
a lot of other fundies have done our homework for us already.

--------------------

Chairman George's Dominionist Guard
by arendt

1. Our Great Leap Backwards

Just as the 1958 "Great Leap Forward" ruined China's economy
and discredited Mao, the Reagan/Bush 1980s deficit binge and
send-manufacturing-to-Asia deindustrialization strategy ruined
the U.S. economy and elected Bill Clinton. After both debacles, more
pragmatic people moved in to clean up the mess. And, both groups
of pragmatists were undermined at every step by unrepentant,
outraged ideologues. In each case, the ideologues managed to
grab back power within a decade.

In both cases, they went on to launch full-blown Inquisitions,
carried out by ill-educated, but fanatical followers. These
inquisitions were directed at anyone perceived to have an
education, to be disloyal to the maximum leader, to not have
the "holy" book memorized, to not salute fast enough.

...."Mao had long nurtured a deep hostility toward the educated,
....whom he associated with the discredited Confucian system...
.... He distrusted intellectuals, disliked specialization, and clung to
....his view that the peasants, not the workers, were repositories
....of basic virtue and the driving force of the revolution."

..The Xenophile Historian
..A Concise History of China; Chapter 8: CHINA SINCE 1949

..http://xenohistorian.faithweb.com/china/ch08.html

In both cases, the leader was supported by a small gang of
extremist ideolgoues/propagandists, who, in turn, depended
on the backing of the leader for their high position. In China,
they became known, infamously, as the Gang of Four.

2. Auditioning our Gang of Four

In America, we have a glut of reactionary media mouthpieces
and hit men, but to keep the stories parallel, let's focus on only
four: Arnold Schwarzenneger, Rush Limbaugh, Mel Gibson, and
Pat Robertson.

Already, the comparison is in some difficulty. That is because
Mao's Gang actually were committed Ideologues. Except for
Robertson, the "family values" gang consists of:

- one Hollywood opportunist and libertine with a worse history of
..sex and drugs than 100 Bill Clintons;

- one hypocritical, draft-dodging drug addict with a closet homosexuality
..rumor that won't quit as he lives, childless, with wife number four;

- and one deranged Hollywood star who thinks that Christianity is
..synonymous with sadomasochism, that God is his producer,
..and that no one should read anything anti-Semitic into his
..revival of the German passion play plot-line of nasty, gay Jews.

At least Robertson's ideological commitment is clear. Who but a full-blown
ideologue could schizophrenically flip from overt anti-Semitism in the
early 1990s to frothingly pro-Zionist Armageddon lust within ten years?

But, then again, Goerring was a drug addict, Goebbels was part
Jewish, and Himmler thought he was the reincarnation of Henrich the
Fowler. Sanity and consistency are not the strong suit of ideologues.
But the quick resort to violence and thuggery - real in the case of
the Nazis, verbal and Hollywood virtual in the case of the Bush
Gang - is the real common ground of all ideologues.

Another difference to be noted is that Mao and the Gang of Four
were playing without a safety net. They were out front and identified
with their movement. They had no multi-million dollar Swiss bank
accounts upon which to gracefully retire if they lost. Bush and his media
thugs are clearly the hired help. If they screw up, the worst they
can expect is to join Gerald Ford playing celebrity golf in Palm
Springs.

In America, the big money stays quietly behind the scenes. Who
has ever heard of the secretive Council for National Policy? How
many Americans know that this group of Dominionist Theology-
dominated movers and shakers auditions candidates, such as
George W. Bush, for ideological purity in secret speeches? Heck,
unless you are one, how many Americans know what Dominionism
is? Way less than the number who know Drew Barrymore's current
cup size, that's for sure.

3. Swimming the Yangtze, Jumping the Shark

Regardless of the ideological commitment of our propaganda
meisters, the effectiveness of their agitation is quite clear. They
have successfully built a cult of personality around George Bush.
Of course, when your corporate masters effectively are the
Ministry of Propaganda, this is more a matter of raw power than
of any media skill.

...."At first Mao stayed out of sight in central China...but then the
....72-year-old chairman made a spectacular reappearance. On
....July 16, photographs were published of him swimming in the
....Yangtze river, which was intended to prove he had extraordinary
....vigor. The Red Guards reacted as if they had seen the Messiah
....walking on water
, and Mao returned to Beijing in triumph,

...."Mao's next public appearance was in Tiananmen Square,
....where he wore a PLA uniform, donned an armband of the Red
....Guards
, and received the adulation of thousands of young
....supporters. The rally ended with cries of "Ten thousand years to
....Chairman Mao," a salute once given only to emperors."


..http://xenohistorian.faithweb.com/china/ch08.html

Just as Chairman Mao participated in media stunts to build his
"cult of personality", we saw George the Posuer yell through a
bullhorn at the WTC site, don a codpiece-padded flight suit,
and brandish a blowtorched turkey while surrounded by hand-
picked, loyal troops in the middle of a military base in Iraq.

4. Let the Games Begin

With the media orgasm over the pornographically violent Gibson
"Passion" conveniently coinciding with the whipped-up, free-floating
hysteria and moral panic over gay rights, the Bush Cabal is moving
into the Cultural Revolution phase of its campaign to get rid of what
Mao called the "four olds" (old culture, old ideas, old customs, and
old habits).

Bush's hard core fundamentalist followers are on record as despising
the tolerant culture of urban America, the progressive ideas espoused
in our 200 year old Constitution, the customs of open government,
polite speech, and political compromise, and the habits of fiscal discipline,
religion-neutral government, and minimal domestic military presence
in peacetime.

Like all murderous mass insanities of the modern era, the target
of the violence will be anyone who might actually understand the
culture that the deliberately dumbed-down masses have been
manipulated to hate.

The evidence of membership in the demonized group can be any
talisman that has acquired a cultural significance: a book, an article
of clothing, a style of decoration, an SUV, a latte, a Volvo, sushi.
This may seem comical, but it is no exaggeration. Pol Pot shot anyone
with a wristwatch or eyeglasses, the Taliban killed schoolteachers, and
the Red Guards tormented university professors, driving many to
suicide.

...."the infamous Red Guard student brigades went on a rampage,
....destroying anything associated with pre-1949 China or the West.
....Targets included tight trousers, jazz records, silk clothes, mah-jongg
....sets, antiques, classical and foreign literature, religious objects,
....and even pets...

...."In all areas, from surgery to nuclear physics and beyond, Mao's
....words were law. Application of the wisdom of Chairman Mao, as
....contained in the little red book, Quotations from Chairman Mao
...Zedong, was to lead to miraculous achievements. Placing political
....purity above economic growth, the Red Guards hampered production
....and research.


..http://xenohistorian.faithweb.com/china/ch08.html

Today we have serial extremist David Horowitz and the wife of
the Vice President, Lynne Cheney, creating a blacklist and setting
up a witch hunt on campus and in the Volunteer Organizations
community. We have the upteenth incarnation of creationism
censoring science textbooks in Georgia. We have the President
interfering with basic biotech research on religious grounds.
We have an Attorney General more interested in prosecuting
pornographers than terrorists.

This anti-intellectual salon, feted in Washington soirees, has been
delivering their agitprop to the fundamentalist masses for decades.
And, just like the Red Guards, those fundies all wave one book.
One book that contains all the truth that they think they need to know.
And God help anyone who tries to tell them different.

5. Dominionism: Two Testaments good; One Testament better

Any attempt to produce a typology of the floridly psychotic rantings
of the various extremist "gospels" of fundamentalism would be a
waste of time in an already overly long essay. Someone needs to
write a DSM for fundamentalism. Lacking such, I will cut to the chase.

In the last decade, the heavily mocked, "Dispensationalism" of
"rapture" infamy has been subtly hijacked by a new cult called
"Dominionism" or "Reconstructionism". Whereas the Dispensationalists
believed that all they had to do was wait, and the Apocalypse would
happen; the Dominionists believe they must take action in this life:

...."The Church is God's instrument to take dominion back from Satan.
....Jesus cannot or will not return until the Church has taken dominion
....by gaining control of the earth's governmental and social institutions."


http://www.rapidnet.com/~jbeard/bdm/Psychology/cor/dominion.htm

That is, these people believe they have to "make possible" God's
return, like he can't do it himself. Since this "gospel" originated among
hyper-Calvinists (i.e., predestination believers), we already have a
contradiction which has already been pointed out by Dispensationalists:
The Antipas Ministries website calls such human dictation of God's
plan for what it is: sorcery, conjuring. There is plenty of Christian
opposition to these people.

But, trying to be brief, the Dominionists want to apply only the Old
Testament (Mosaic) law, and they want an Old Testament theocratic society.

...."Reconstruction seeks to replace democracy with a theocratic elite
....that would govern by imposing their interpretations of "Biblical Law".
....Reconstructionism would eliminate not only democracy, but many of
....its manifestations, such as labor unions, civil rights laws, and public
....schools.

...."The enforcement of Mosaic Law will involve the application of the
....death penalty for such capital crimes as murder, rape, kidnapping,
....bestiality, incest, adultery, fornication, homosexuality, idolatry (any
....non-Christian or non-fundamentalist Christian religion), witchcraft,
....'unchangable rebellion' in adolescent children...and perhaps Sabbath
....breaking. The reconstructed society will regard dissenters and heretics
....as treasonous war criminals at war with the law and society. The
....reconstructed society will also be characterized by the rights of
....private property, a free market economy bordering on libertarianism,...
....the abolition of 30-year mortgages, a monetary system based on the gold
....standard, the tithe rather than public taxes financing most social welfare,
....restitution of wrong rather than imprisonment for many criminals, and
....voluntary slavery for purposes such as the restitution of a wrong or the
....desire for financial security."


Excerpted from the 12/90 and 1/91 issues of "Israel My Glory"
quoted at http://www.rapidnet.com/~jbeard/bdm/Psychology/cor/notes_on.htm

Are we getting the picture yet? These guys are pre-medieval authoritarians
who make the Taliban look enlightened. They are prepared to overthrow
democracy in the secular realm, and hijack Christianity with a lunatic
interpretation of the Bible, invented out of whole cloth in the last 30 years,
that is in complete contradiction to the "end times" theology of, not only
all mainstream Christian religions, but also the earlier fringe sects of
Dispensationalism. They are prepared to execute your adolescent children
for the crime of being adolescently stupid.

Traitors, heretics, and judicial murderers - yet they propose to set themselves
in judgement of everyone else.

6. First, We Kill All the Teachers

Dominionism is not religion; it is extremist political agitation, based on
a distorted, heretical reading of the basic text of all Western religions.
As with all totalitarian systems, it wants complete control of society. To
attain such, it intends to monopolize all education. To "re-educate"
teachers or replace them with committed theocrats.

Is the concerted assault of the GOP on public education any surprise,
then? Not when you understand that it is part of a psuedo-theological
program of thought control:

Florida House Speaker admits he wants to close public schools
http://www.sptimes.com/2004/02/27/Opinion/Wooly_bully.shtml

And, like Mao's Guards, the Dominionist armies are recruited amongst
the rural, the uneducated, the unsophisticated, the unspecialized. These
are what Hannah Arendt referred to as the "superfluous people", created
by the mass industrialization and subsequent mass unemployment
inevitable under laissez faire economic conditions. These are former small
businessmen, former small farmers, formerly self-sufficient people.
Now, they are deeply frustrated victims, looking for a scapegoat for
their victimhood.

Their leaders are what the Spanish political scientist Jose Ortega y Gasset
called "learned ignoramuses", that is, people who have made money with
some narrow skill, like dealing real estate, starting a pizza empire, writing
a hot computer program - but, other than that, lacking a wide understanding
of history, government or political science. In short, ignorant thugs.

Their so-called theology is a farrago of misinterpretations of Christianity,
under broad attack by their fellow fundamentalists. If the broader society
had any idea of their beliefs, there would be agitation for internment
camps for these demonstrably treasonous and murderous people.

7. Then, We Ruin the Economy

I have essayed, many times, that there is a tacit agreement between corporate
and fundamentalist opponents of US democracy. In that agreement, the
fundamentalists allow the corporations to loot America. In return, the
corporations give "dominion" to the Dominionists over the wreckage of
our once great country. This was my hypothesis based on the behavior
of the Bush administration. To my horror, this hypothesis is confirmed by
religious scholars:

...."Reconstructionists are convinced of the eventual collapse of the American
....economy and the social breakdown of the American republic. They believe
....that whenb this collapse of the present apostate civilization takes place,
....the Kingdom of God can be developed in the world by the remnant that
....survives the collapse through the adoption of a medieval, feudalistic type
....of economy and lifestyle."

....http://www.rapidnet.com/~jbeard/bdm/Psychology/cor/notes_on.htm

These peoples' goals make Chairman Mao look like an Enlightened monarch.
At least Mao thought he was creating an advanced socialist state, removing
what he thought was medieval, namely Confucianism. The Dominionists
actually desire to recreate medieval feudalism! And just for good measure,
they want to bring back slavery.

The Dispensationalists merely went to bunkers in Montana to wait for
the End Times. The Dominionists want to blow up the whole society
to achieve the End Times.

8. Constitutional Terrorism Alert: Code Red

This agenda is not merely being talked about by the kind of "radical
academics" who have been the phony boogeyman of the right for
decades. It is being put into action by a powerful group of US Senators,
led by Zell Miller, who have introduced legislation to begin the process of
removing control over their brand of religion from any kind of review by
any kind of judge. They call this act of treason, the Constitution Restoration
Act of 2004.

http://www.yuricareport.com/Dominionism/ConstitutionRestorationAct.htm

This, plus Bush's punitive proposal for a Constitutional Amendment to
demonize gays signals an active attempt by an illegitimate and paper-
thin majority to repudiate the U.S. Constitution and replace it with a
theocracy.

Chairman Mao would approve of such ideological purity and such total
disregard for everyday common sense, much less scientific knowledge.

Intellectuals - unless you relish being brutalized, sent to farms in the country,
and having your libraries and labs burned in scenes reminiscent of
Savonarola, I suggest you get your heads out of the clouds for long enough
to avoid the knives that are out for you.

Citizens - if you like living in a middle-class democracy, you better turn
off the corporate media tranquilizer drip and pay attention to reality.

The Cult of Chairman George and his Dominionist Guards is upon you.


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Karenina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-28-04 09:12 PM
Response to Original message
1. Excellent!
:kick:
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Jim Warren Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-28-04 11:18 PM
Response to Original message
2. When I see arendt post
Edited on Sat Feb-28-04 11:19 PM by JimWar
I know it's usually worth reading
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arendt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-28-04 11:41 PM
Response to Original message
3. bedtime kick - please kick if you liked it. thanks. n/t
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arendt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-29-04 09:41 AM
Response to Original message
4. Sunday AM Kick - Come on folks, you read the paper on Sunday...
Think of me as the in-depth article.

arendt
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arendt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-29-04 12:29 PM
Response to Original message
5. another kick - I can't believe not one substantive comment on this. n/t
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arendt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-29-04 03:10 PM
Response to Original message
6. kick
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Mari333 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-29-04 03:17 PM
Response to Original message
7. great , sent this one out everywhere n/t
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arendt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-29-04 06:01 PM
Response to Original message
8. Thanks to those who kicked; any substantive comments? n/t
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Lindsay Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-29-04 06:27 PM
Response to Original message
9. First, kudos to you
for all the work you've done in researching and writing this.

There's an awful lot to take in, and I'm fairly slow in developing a response to even the simplest thought. :think:

I'll add something, though...if you read the wording of the proposed FMA,

"Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution or the constitution of any state, nor state or federal law, shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups."

it looks (to me) like they are actually trying to outlaw anything but religious marriages. Certainly it doesn't say so directly, but we know this bunch is very accustomed to saying one thing and meaning another.

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smirkymonkey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-29-04 06:37 PM
Response to Original message
10. I think you are absolutely correct
Edited on Sun Feb-29-04 06:38 PM by smirkymonkey
about Dominionism as an extremist political agenda and not a religion. In fact, most of them wouldn't know a true spritual experience if it bit them on the ass.

The strange thing is, the agenda of the most powerful in the cult leaves none of the spoils to the least powerful, yet the least powerful are unwavering in their support, believing that they will reap their rewards in the "Kingdom of God". Religion is only a mind control tool in this game.

Someone(forgot who, Engels?) said that religion is what keeps the poor from killing the rich. I believe this explains why the fundies and the neo-cons make such compatible bedfellows.

I think the only way to break this disturbing trend is to somehow create a division within the ranks. However, the devout seem almost impenetrable when it comes to factual information. Perhaps the hypocracy of the leaders, something so incredible (like MIHOP) needs to be exposed, so as to break through the veil of denial. I fear for the future of this country, as I don't believe they are going to give up or go away quietly.

Great job, by the way! :yourock:
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arendt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-29-04 08:55 PM
Response to Original message
11. But, does Mao and the Red Guards have any resonance TODAY?
Thanks for the two substantive responses.

But, you focussed completely on the fundies.

The whole point of the essay was to put the fundies
in the CONTEXT of absolutist mobs of the 20th
century: Mao, Pol Pot, the Iranian Ayatollahs, the
Taliban.

DUers under 30, do you even know what the
"Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution" was?
Do you know what "the little red book" and
the "Red Guards" were?

If nobody gets the allusions I am making, then
I might as well just join in with the general
"choose a side and start bashing" mentality.
But, when I do that, the idiots win. They have
reduced the terms of the debate to their own
extremely low common denominator of
mindless hatred.

One goal of the essay was to replace the somewhat
gentle term "culture war" (which sounds like a
singing contest to me) with the much nastier
term "cultural revolution". The rightwing was
horrified by the Chinese Cultural Revolution's
excesses. But they are blind to the fact that they
are doing exactly the same thing here.

The essay tried to bring out the commonalities
between anti-intellectual mobs, whatever their
names. They all go after teachers as "polluters"
of the society, of their children, etc.

There is nothing new and nothing nice about
Dominionism. Equally, there is no guarantee
that they cannot accomplish here what they
have accomplished elsewhere in societies
where the middle class has been vaporized
by idiotic or deliberately destructive economic
policies.

DUers over 50: does this have resonance with
you? Do you want to experience a Cultural
Revolution?

Please, give me some feedback.

arendt
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arendt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-29-04 11:25 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. KICK - please feedback: Red Guards mean anything to you? n/t
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Lindsay Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-01-04 12:00 AM
Response to Reply #11
13. Oh, you're not the only one who sees the parallels
with the Cultural Revolution.

I can't recall who it was...Atrios or Billmon, maybe?...or Krugman?...who commented about 2005 budget publication, which is filled with pictures of *. Whoever it was said the only thing missing was a picture of * swimming the Yangtze.

FWIW, I think you're very right in looking at Mao and the Cultural Revolution as a parallel for what we're seeing here. (I'm old enough to remember with horror.) But it seems to me that what resonates more with Americans is what somebody recently called "Jesofascists." And I think the theocratic aspects can't be minimized...while the Cultural Revolution was purely secular. While fundamentalism may be a cover for a lot of politicians, I think it's a mistake to de-emphasize that aspect. They're attempting to use religion as a means of control.
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arendt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-01-04 08:47 AM
Response to Reply #13
15. Thanks. We have an older DUer; can some under 25 DUer please comment?
You are right. It was Krugman. Forgot that.

I agree that theocracy can't be minimized. But, can
it be distinguished from mere Bible-belting idiocy
by the average person?

I thought that there were more than enough fundie-
bashing threads; and I wanted to open a new front
by comparing them to some NEW despicable group.

Also, while the marxists claimed to be "secular", most
scholars now refer to it as a "secular religion". It was
certainly as ruthless as any religion in killing and
torturing its opponents. There was no appeal of its
judgements.

Anyway, thanks for playing.

arendt
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Cronus Protagonist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-01-04 01:40 AM
Response to Original message
14. Kicker - everyone needs to know about the Dominionists
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lapislzi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-01-04 10:17 AM
Response to Original message
16. What role technology?
The technological gap between 21st century America and mid-20th century China is enormous. The Chinese could exploit the lack of an informational infrastructure (such as the internet) to install and maintain their propaganda apparatuses. China existed effectively in isolation for many years. Not so the U.S.

Although I fully expect that the Dominionists have a plan for hijacking any and all information conduits, I think they will have a harder time. It will require a massive dismantling effort, and will likely meet with resistance.

The ignorance of Americans is of a different stripe than the ignorance of Chinese.

These points in no way detract from the brilliance of your essay, btw, arendt. I'm just interested in your take on it.

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arendt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-01-04 10:35 AM
Response to Reply #16
17. Two points on technology
1. The rural ignoramuses who are the backbone
of the fundie movement are totally captive of
their propaganda apparatus. Their preachers
tell them not to trust any information source
but the preacher. They are unreachable by 21st
century technology because they are living in
the 11th century.

2. Every new communications technology has a
brief window of "wild west" freedom, in which
counter-dominant-culture activists can mobilize.
The dominant culture rapidly moves to assert
control over new media; and we are seeing that
now with RIAA attacks on copying, Microsoft
"trusted computing" snooping, and the monopolization
of the internet by a few large providers who
already censor. (Read threads at DU about what
AOL blocks.)

My opinion is that the business community has
yet to figure out a way to shut down the activists
on line without shutting down 24/7 global business.
So, for the moment, at least until November, we
can continue to organize. But, the GOP have from
$200 to $500 Million to spend in that period to
simply buy up all the airtime and smother our
message.

Just my opinions.

arendt
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lapislzi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-01-04 11:05 AM
Response to Reply #17
18. Welcome to...Your Dystopian Future!
arendt, won't you tell the faithful what they've won?

What is the hope for any organized resistance? IRA-style, cells of 3 maybe?

I'm trying to keep this kicked because I think it's important.
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arendt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-01-04 11:15 AM
Response to Reply #18
19. Thanks for the kick
Our first hope is that other religions wake up
to these dangerous nutjobs.

I don't have numbers, but there are increasing
numbers of non-Christian immigrants: Hindus from
India, Buddhists from China, Moslems from all over.
There are increasing numbers of native-born citizens
investigating these religions.

Those people need to stand up for their religious
rights and remind people that religious FREEDOM,
not religious government, made America great.

arendt
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arendt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-01-04 12:14 PM
Response to Reply #19
20. Oh, and scientists need to stand up - and they seem to be doing so
Scientists have been slagged by fundies for over
a century.

Unfortunately, they are well aware of the basic
rule of brawling: never get into a fight with
someone really ugly - they have nothing to lose.

Scientists want to think, not fight. Hopefully,
someone wants to claim the crown of the departed
Steven Jay Gould (and all the exposure he got, too)
by standing up for science.

Why do morons like Falwell get hundreds of times
the exposure of gentle, intelligent people like
Carl Sagan and Gould? Why does media amplify the
worst in our society instead of the best? (rhetorical
question, of course).

arendt
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lapislzi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-01-04 01:14 PM
Response to Reply #20
21. You've answered your own question
scientists are tarred with the brush of intellectualism. Remember the term "pointy-headed liberals?" "Eggheads?" This sort of anti-intellectual putdown was going on during the candidacy of Adlai Stevenson. Nothing new there.

Thinking for oneself, inquiry for inquiry's sake, pure research and philosophy; these have gone out of fashion.

It is so very much harder to take the high road, to take Gandhi's and MLK's road. Hate is simple. It requires no reflection on the part of the hater; merely blind allegiance to a leader or ideology.

Why bother to think when there's TV?
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arendt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-01-04 01:44 PM
Response to Reply #21
22. Scientists need to see "The Trial of Galileo" a few more times
Protestants need to remember that it was
Protestant Europe that used science to get
out from under Catholic reaction. It was
no accident that Newton, Liebnicz, Hooke,
Leewonhoek, and all the real innovators in
early science were Protestants.

The fundie anti-science bias should be an
affront to Protestants in general. Why its
not baffles me.

arendt
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lapislzi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-01-04 01:56 PM
Response to Reply #22
23. Sadly, science no longer serves them politically
Historically, the Protestant suppport for Reformation/Renaissance has to be examined in its context along with the emergence of European nation-states (i.e. the Helvetian Republic--the perfect Calvinist state). In an age of emergent capitalism, it made good political and economic sense to construct a God that blessed the elect with wealth. It was an age of materialism--at least that much hasn't changed. Fundamentalist Christians still believe that God will bless the elect with outward signs of favor: wealth and power. This belief, which also drove the Puritans, colors national policy today.

The political philosophy has been as perverted as the spiritual one.

We are actually dealing with an entirely different animal now. One that has been permitted to cherry-pick the bits and pieces of Calvinism that it needs to move to the next phase of what it believes to be God's plan. It's no wonder the Falwells and the Robertsons have no problem getting in bed with the Gibsons and Scalias. Same game, different name.
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arendt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-01-04 03:28 PM
Response to Reply #23
24. No one has ever called the rich on the demise of the Protestant Ethic...
Some noise has been made about the fact that
the 3rd or 4th generation heirs of the Robber
Barons just live on the loot and contribute
nothing, whereas the earlier Barons at least
made the loot.

Also, the whole idea of charitable giving to
the POOR (as opposed to your neighborhood OPERA
company or some such) has also vanished.

How can have a Protestant Ethic without hard
work and without Christian Charity? Beats me.

> One that has been permitted to cherry-pick the bits and pieces of
> Calvinism that it needs to move to the next phase of what it
> believes to be God's plan. It's no wonder the Falwells and the
> Robertsons have no problem getting in bed with the Gibsons and
> Scalias. Same game, different name

But, someone can call them on the fact that HALF of
Calvinism is not Calvinism. Could you please elaborate
on the nature of the cherry-picking so we might find
some ammo with which to bash these faux Calvinists?

arendt
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lapislzi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-01-04 04:34 PM
Response to Reply #24
25. You hit the nail on the head, arendt
I'm no scholar of Calvinism, but it doesn't take one to see that Calvin's ideology has morphed into a social Darwinism of the most vicious order. What we have now is a "fuck the poor" attitude. Someone needs to remind these people about some of that "camel passing through the eye of a needle" stuff that Jesus talked about, don't you think? Early Calvinists took their social responsibilities seriously, precisely because they believed God had ordained them to do so.

Then there's the whole predestination thing. Either you is or you ain't, and there's nothing you can do about it. So how do you bring about the End Times if it's already been decided? Or is your behavior scripted? Such thinking takes one down an endless philosophical spiral, and I doubt that most of the RW zealots have ever even attempted to unravel this contradiction.

The ignorant masses wouldn't know Calvin if they stumbled over him in church, and they wouldn't recognize his eco-political theology either. I yield the floor to Cotton Mather. I can hear him now..."if God loved you, he'd have made you rich like me. Therefore...I need waste no time or charity on you because in the predestined order of things, you are NOT SAVED."

Or some such sulfuric rhetoric.
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arendt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-01-04 04:57 PM
Response to Reply #25
26. Did mainstream Protestants ever stop believing wealth is God's favor?
> Someone needs to remind these people about some of that "camel
> passing through the eye of a needle" stuff that Jesus talked about,
> don't you think?

I think the early Calvinists learned how to dodge that one,
probably by prescribing a humble approach (don't flaunt your
wealth, work even harder) and doing stuff for the poor, as
you said:

> Early Calvinists took their social responsibilities seriously,
> precisely because they believed God had ordained them to do so.

Certainly, the humility and the charity are gone.

I'm trying to remember the book I read that talked about
the lapsing of the Protestant ethic; but I have so many
books.

> Then there's the whole predestination thing....Such thinking takes
> one down an endless philosophical spiral, and I doubt that most of
> the RW zealots have ever even attempted to unravel this
> contradiction.

thinking...RW zealots ==> contradiction.

You can't attack this problem from the bottom. Fundamentalism
is like a black hole. Once someone falls into it, short of
their minister trying to murder them, they are lost to the
outside universe. All we can do is prevent new people from
falling in (especially impressionable teenagers and college
students) and try to expose the hidden agenda of their leadership
to the non-fundies.

Its like the Nazis. One minute they're all for Hitler. The
next minute, the war is over and NOBODY was a Nazi - those
were those OTHER Germans, not us Yankee-loving Krauts.

If we get the leadership, the masses will snap out of the
FUNDIE trance and go into whatever new trance is put in
front of them.

arendt


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lapislzi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-01-04 07:30 PM
Response to Reply #26
28. you'd better hope...
but it's so hypnotic. Everything can be explained away. Once you posit that supernatural being, anything is possible.

Furthermore, it's impossible to engage the leadership in anything resembling reasoned debate. I think it's Douglas Adams who addressed this point in an essay that bordered on the hilarious about religion and respect. I'll see if I can dig up a link for you. The point he was making, in short, was that religion is no more deserving of respect than any other point of view.

Ah, here's that link: http://www.biota.org/people/douglasadams/

And it brings us right back to the Dominionists. They don't have to explain their contradictions. Nobody challenges them, and even if someone did, there would be that claim of divine high ground. There's a no-win situation for you. I don't think the Protestant ethic has lapsed; I think it's been reworked to serve new political ends.

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Malva Zebrina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-01-04 05:15 PM
Response to Original message
27. thank you
I have been watching them for at least five if not more years and convincing myself that it is too far out for any sane human being to embrace.

Not

We have arrived.
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