People Are Laughing at My Country – And They Should Be

“There will be Satanic forces…We are not… up just against human beings, to beat them in elections. We’re going to be coming up against spiritual warfare.”  – Pat Robertson, Road to Victory, 1991

“Satan has his sights on the United States of America.” Rick Santorum,  Ave Maria University, 2008.

Why has my country become the laughingstock of the world? Well, look at the comments above: you need look no further than Rick Santorum, who embodies all of the craziness of America’s Christian fundamentalists, a guy whose worldview, frighteningly, most closely matches that of the majority of Republicans. As Jason Easley wrote here yesterday, it’s a chilling thought. Santorum is telling the world that Satan is attacking America. Gay people destroyed our economy. Fixing marriage will somehow fix everything. And this guy is currently the Republican front runner. How far we have come from the heady days of Barry Goldwater!

There once was a time when Americans could feel smugly superior to the rest of the world because of our power, our technology, our industriousness, and our science. We represented the future. Now, we wake up in the year 2012 and find ourselves on the express train to the thirteenth century. Rather than science we have superstition; we have thrown out the germ theory of medicine to which so much is owed and replaced it with prayer. People laugh at us. And they should. Because Rick Santorum wants America to represent the past.

I would laugh too, were I not weeping.

Look at what one of our two major political parties is telling voters:

  • When God is angry, he kills birds. Why is anyone’s guess.
  • When God doesn’t want to kill birds he can send tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunamis and other things we once knew as natural disasters to do some truly obscene Old Testament-style slaughter, killing the innocent with the guilty.
  • When it doesn’t rain, the drought is not to be explained by way of the science of meteorology. How can it be, when supposedly the only cure for a drought is prayer? Never mind that this has the same success rate as sacrificing virgins.
  • Gas prices are also controlled by God. Apparently, he makes them high when he is pissed off about something. He will lower them, we are told, if enough people pray for him to do so. Never mind that it never actually works (see the comment above about virgin sacrifice).
  • You can pray abortion out of existence. So far it’s legislation that’s stripping women of their reproductive rights, not God. The level of hypocrisy here is staggering; at least take those offensive signs down or put your money where your mouth is.
  • People don’t exist because of a sperm meeting an egg but because God decided that a person should exist.
  • Zygotes are people – but women are not. How else to explain the near constant of an embryo’s life being worth more than the potential mother’s?
  • Global warming isn’t taking place because it can’t be taking place: God said he won’t destroy us by flood again, etc. God will take care of us.
  • The economy is not based on or governed by economic principles but by God. Farewell greed, not to mention supply and demand. If we pray hard enough and repent, God will fix the economy too.
  • God decides which countries will be powerful and successful. He once chose Rome. Now he has chosen the U.S.
  • God chooses rulers for countries, not voters. Inexplicable is his choice of several competing politicians. Perhaps a divine personality disorder might explain it? Again, if they really believe this, why do they bother to vote?
  • Abstinence works despite all the evidence pointing to the contrary (but it has to work because contraception is evil). Yeah, abstinence is the only 100% certain form of birth control but you have to practice it 100% of the time and that’s where the problems begin. Ask Bristol Palin.
  • Gay marriage will somehow destroy heterosexual marriage, an argument as illogical as their claim that neutrality toward matters of religion is actually an attack on religion.

These are beliefs the rest of the world began to abandon with the Renaissance and most had been pretty thoroughly rejected by the time of the European Enlightenment. There is a reason God scored a big goose-egg in the Declaration of Independence and in the U.S. Constitution.

We know the claims made in the above list are a bunch of hooey. We know why there are animal (including bird) die-offs. We know what causes various natural disasters, including tornadoes, hurricanes, and tsunamis; there are no mysteries there. It is no coincidence that earthquakes can take place on both sides of the Pacific – the Ring of Fire is explanation enough – pinning it on God is absurd when you have tectonic plates shifting. We also know what controls the price of gas and God has nothing to do with it. Ditto for the creation of life. We know where babies come from and it’s not God but vigorous and often mutually enthusiastic sex. The list above is crap and the modern world understands it as such and so there is no mystery at all why people are laughing at my country; it is no less than it deserves.

It is Americans, after all, who allowed the situation to get as bad as it has. There is no excuse at all for 2010.

How did this happen? How did the most advanced industrialized nation on earth, one committed to liberty, come to the brink of a superstitious, backward-looking theocracy?

A small group of racist white evangelicals saw their position of privilege begin to erode, and they panicked. The election of a black progressive Christian as president while a cause for celebration for forward-looking Americans (and most foreigners) was as the sounding of the gong of doom to these white fundamentalists. Here was a black guy who had the audacity to become president when he should have been serving them their breakfast, taking care of their garden, or doing maintenance at their summer cottage. At the best best he should be the White House gardener, not the occupant of the Oval Office. We all knew racism still existed; but many of us weren’t prepared for the shameless audacity with which so many conservatives expressed it.

Look (and let’s be honest about this): it doesn’t matter what President Obama does; it never did. Because no matter what he does or doesn’t do, he will always be a black man and the secret truth at the heart of conservatism is that only white Christian people (and then only the right type of Christian because mainline protestants are “gone from the world of Christianity”) are “real” Americans. America was made by God for white Christians and if the First Amendment doesn’t establish Christianity as a state religion than it damn well ought to!

Fundamentalists of course love what they’re hearing. That goes without saying. It feeds all their preconceptions: They are being told exactly what they want to hear, they are being told exactly what they already want to believe or do believe. Group psychosis has never been more popular since the Nuremberg rallies. The truly sad part is that so many otherwise intelligent liberals are still in denial regarding the threat to our democracy posed by these lunatic theocrats. All of them should pay a visit to TheocracyWatch. Read the entire site and then come back and tell me we’re panicking over nothing.

And here’s the deal whether you want to hear it or not: if the theocrats win in 2012, the Great American Experiment, born with such hope and optimism for an enlightened human future, may end like the snuffing out of a guttering flame. Like so many world empires before, the American empire will no longer be a culture in which people live but a place future scholars will study. For the American people things will be far worse, not academic at all, for we will have lost the flame that lights the demon-haunted darkness Carl Sagan once wrote about, and descend once more into an era best lost to history.

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