Conservatism as a political and social philosophy promotes the maintenance of traditional institutions at all costs, and its adherents consider changing those traditions a war on the status quo. Indeed, conservatives have translated opposing beliefs to their ideology as a war on their agendas. Republicans have equated support of same-sex marriage to a war on traditional marriage, and contraceptive use into a war on fertility. Recently, they complain that Democrats are waging class war on the wealthy because they propose raising taxes on the rich to pay for job creation that benefits 99% of Americans and business who will profit from increased spending. In essence, conservatives consider disobedience to their edicts as a war and it is why our democracy is in jeopardy.
There is no shortage of conservative’s perception of war on their core beliefs, and this holiday season brings out the Republicans’ requisite war on Christmas accusation and now, a war on Christianity. Last year, Jim DeMint (R-SC) and Jon Kyl (R-AZ) claimed Democrats were waging war on Christmas and guilty of sacrilege for holding a vote on the START Treaty in the final weeks of December. Recently, Rick Perry accused President Obama of waging war on religion, and also that liberals were attacking Christian’s religious heritage. It was just a matter of time until Republicans injected religion into the presidential race, and although it can be a problematic subject, being Republican means pandering to the religious right.
In a television commercial promoting his religious inclinations and qualifications to be the Republican presidential nominee, Perry coupled anti-gay rhetoric with his perception that President Obama was waging war on religion. Perry said, “I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a Christian. But you don’t have to be in the pew every Sunday to know that there’s something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military, but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school. As president, I’ll end Obama’s war on religion, and I’ll fight against liberal attacks on our religious heritage.” There are problems with Perry’s statement on many levels, but for Perry to claim President Obama is waging a war on religion is a blatant lie and he knows it. In fact, there is something wrong in this country when a major candidate for the presidency uses his Christian credentials as a qualification to be leader of the free world.
In condemning the legitimate legislation ending the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law, Perry combines constitutional stupidity with his bible-based intolerance of gays. When he says something is wrong with a law that passed both houses of Congress and President Obama’s signature, he automatically disqualifies himself as a credible candidate for any public office. His remark qualifies him as an intolerant evangelical fundamentalist, but nothing more than that. Perry’s intolerance of gays puts him on par with the likes of Pat Robertson who this week lashed out at Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s speech defending LGBT rights overseas and the new Obama administration policy to protect people around the world who are jailed, beaten and executed for being LGBT. Robertson said, “This country cannot continue to violate God’s principles and to make a mockery of His laws and think we’re going to get away with it. And when the blow comes, it’s going to be horrible.” Robertson, like Perry, forgets that in America the Constitution is the law of the land and not god or his followers’ fairy-tale book of rules; the Christian bible.
Perry’s perceived war on religion that his dysfunctional imagination conjured up is laughable if it were not shared by many hard-right conservative Christians that Perry is pandering to. This alleged war on religion and nonsense that children cannot openly celebrate Christmas or prayer in public schools is typical of a fanatical Christian evangelical and if Perry believes his own drivel, he would provide proof that President Obama prohibits students from celebrating Christmas. The Constitution however, does prohibit government funded public schools from forcing all children to participate in a Christian celebration as well as prayer in the classroom. In 2008, there were 49.3 million students enrolled in grades K-12 and it is obvious that they are not all devout Christians. For conservatives though, not forcing all 49.3 students to celebrate a Christian holiday or pray to the Christian god is tantamount to a war on Christmas and Christianity.
Perry and bigots like Pat Robertson would have public school teachers lead Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish, Wiccan, and Atheist students in Christian prayers and holiday celebrations because they are fanatic fundamentalists. They would also hold anti-LGBT rallies in the schools and dishonorably discharge decorated war heroes from the military for loving the wrong person. Their vile intolerance and conservative ideology is the antithesis of the Constitutional protections of religious freedom and anti-discrimination laws, and to make matters worse, non-compliance of their bigotry is considered an act of war. Furthermore, Perry has a dysfunction that attributes the 1st and 14th Amendment to the Constitution to President Obama. Does Perry actually believe that the President wrote the 1st Amendment and its guarantee of religious freedom? Or is he just using rhetoric to push his religious cult’s belief that all Americans must be Christians and be intolerant of gays? Regardless of the reason, Perry equates opposition to conservative values as a martial action typical of nearly all conservatives.
There is no war against Christmas, religion or any other subject near and dear to conservative ideologues. However, Republicans have been successful using the war mantra because their adherents are just as intolerant as men like Perry and Robertson. Republicans accuse Democrats and President Obama of waging class warfare because they expect the extremely wealthy to pay their fair share of taxes and fortunately, the American people are not buying the war on the wealthy any more than they buy the war on religion, marriage, fertility, or Christmas. There are very few liberals who want to destroy religion, but they do expect Republicans and Democrats to follow the Constitution. For the past decade, Republicans have been notorious for disregarding the Constitution when it contradicts their religious intolerance and Stone-Age requirements that all citizens follow Christianity’s bigotry against gays.
Conservatives’ perception of opposition to their agendas as war exemplifies their hatred for the U.S. Constitution and fuels their habitual practice of fear-mongering. One would think that with all the serious issues facing this country, both political parties would neglect their personal religious beliefs and actually work for all Americans, but the past three years is evidence that Republicans are not the least bit interested in helping the American people. What they are interested in is inciting hatred and bigotry through fear-mongering and belief that Democrats, President Obama, and Liberals are waging religious war on Christian fundamentalists and the heterosexual population. One thing is certain, Liberals, the President, and Democrats are waging war against intolerance, unbridled corporate greed, religious bigotry, and income inequality and they have an enormous army of decent Americans behind them ready to end the Republican assault on America; the real war.