11.10.2006

Who Won?

What happened this November? Democrats? Republicans? Conservatives, Liberals, Moderates? Who won and who lost?

My feeling is that the United States has just successfully defended itself from an attack by religious "fundamentalists."

Over the period since the Reagan presidency, the rise of the religious right and subsequent toadying by the Republican National Committee, the supporters of radical religious theories have tried time and time again to insert them into the corporate beliefs of the American people.

They have had successes and they have had failures. The successes have happened when the fears of people were manipulated.

Who could possibly benefit from this? People who create marketing engines fueled by fantasy benefit from it. Who are they?

Televangelists.

Television allowed the evangelist to be in thousands of places at one time, enabling him to pass a collection plate on unprecedented dimensions. Making money on a scale never considered possible by the preacher with a tent and a station wagon.

Competition among televangelists ensured the message delivered would gradually change to meet the expectations of the viewers. Miracles, angels, good guys and bad guys, basically getting God involved in everything, denying the precept of free will.

In an atmosphere of protestant theological revolution, evangelism became THE core belief supported by literal biblical interpretation in the late 1960's.

Later, mainstream churches reacted by adopting the wish-fulfillment fantasies and evangelical thrust of the fundamentalists in order to stem the loss of market share. Today there are few places where the direct intervention of God in everyday events to preserve the good humor of his worshipers is rejected.

The televangelists became as powerful a force to be reckoned with as the mainstream churches. Finally, politicians took notice after the evangelists began knocking on their doors asking about prayer in school, the abolition of abortion, and sex education in schools.

Each side took advantage of the other. Venal politicians got support from the religious and promised them access to the halls of power. The politicians adopted a religious camouflage in order to get support for their own pork. One thing led to another.

Finally we made the move from being against aborting fetuses to being against the destruction of any totipotent cell that has the potential to become a human being to make the religious happy. But we also rejected good science for the benefit of corporate support.

Unfortunately for the religious, the outright rejection of reality never works. You just can't walk on water. Neither can you pretend that a single cell is a teeny tiny human being. Finally the fantasy starts crumbling around the edges and the images of happy Iraqis are replaced by sad ones, the triumphant little blastulas are replaced by friends with parkinson's begging for help, spending cuts bump against the end of our ability to create efficiencies, and alternative institutions prove no better at serving the public than public ones. Some are worse. For instance a religious health support institution that rejects helping black homosexual men.

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