World history is replete with examples of nations dominated and controlled by religious regimes, and in nearly every case they were extremely authoritarian and restrictive. In the modern era the example that stands out as typical religious regime is Afghanistan under Taliban rule, and there are similarities to Puritanical America as far as strict adherence to religious ideology. When this nation’s founders wrote the Constitution they specifically included, in the First Amendment, a provision to prohibit religion from interfering in government or the private lives of citizens, and it has been a protection against theocracy for 231 years. Christian conservatives and Republicans have waged a ferocious battle to prevent a religion they hate from imposing its laws on the American judicial system regardless there is no evidence Islamic law is supplanting the Constitution. However, it is premature to praise conservative Christians for upholding the ban on religious interference in government because according to a plank in Republican Party’s official platform, they intend on pursuing puritanical policies on par with Sharia Law that would make the Taliban proud.
If Republicans are successful and enact their platform’s provisions, Americans can breathe a sigh of relief that they will never be judged according to Sharia Law, but they will be held accountable to Old Testament edicts and it is a warning of how close America is to succumbing to a “puritanical form of Muslim fundamentalism.” One committee member boasted that “the platform appears to be the most conservative platform in modern history,” and instead of realistic proposals, Republicans adopted positions steeped in ideological purity that defines the party as angry, white, patriarchal, and paranoid. One of the committee’s co-chairs opined that “This is a document that the majority of the American people are going to find that they agree with,” and it defines a party that, like Willard Romney, is out of touch with the American people and the twenty-first century.
The GOP platform harkens back to 18th century colonial times, and it relegates women to roles typical of puritanical America. One of the most discussed planks was about anti-abortion language that ended being there are no exceptions whatsoever, and includes saluting states with informed-consent abortion laws like Virginia that brought transvaginal ultrasound to the nation’s attention. Governor Bob McDonnell, Party Platform Chair, defended the absolutist anti-abortion language and claimed the issue of a rape exception was a detail to be left up to states and Congress. However, based on the presumptive vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan who recently referred to rape as simply one “method of conception,” rape is not a valid exception for an abortion. Ryan, and the broader Republican Party, has consistently voted to limit access to abortion even for women who are victims of rape and incest that Missouri senate candidate Todd Akin advocates.
McDonnell was lying that states and Congress will decide whether or not rape is an exception to the anti-abortion plank because the GOP platform endorsed a Human Life (Personhood) Amendment that makes it perfectly clear that all unborn children deserve 14th Amendment protections. Since the 14th Amendment requires all persons to receive equal protection under the law, the practical effect of a Human Life (Personhood) Amendment would render any law allowing for any abortion in any case unconstitutional, including state laws. By including an Old Testament edict in the platform, Republicans signaled they are intent on restricting women from enjoying the same 14th Amendment protections a single-celled zygote deserves, and effectively makes them subservient to a rapist and his progeny. About the only thing Republicans did not include in their platform were provisions to keep women in the home and repeal their right to vote, but that prospect is not far off.
The Republican platform should please main street, tea party, Christian conservative, and libertarian Republicans that share common support for slashing taxes, regulations, and environmental protections and vehemently oppose women’s rights, gay marriage, and gun laws. Fortunately, some extreme proposals did not make it on the platform, but it did not stop attempts to include a provision abolishing the federal income tax or labeling voting fraud as political terrorism.
Republicans did include provisions to encourage Arizona’s immigration law, immigrant self-deportation, returning to the gold standard, auditing the Federal Reserve, and because one committee member likened gay people to drug users and polygamists, a national prohibition on same-sex marriage. If those are not extreme enough, there are calls for a constitutional amendment abolishing tax increases, denying women a role in combat, and a new double-layered border fence. The platform is not the most conservative platform in modern history, it is the most extreme in modern history and defines Republicans as angry, white, patriarchal woman-haters that have no place in America.
It is unclear what happened to the Republican Party in the past three years, but there is little doubt the election of an African American President helped coalesce the various factions into a devout religious and anti-government racist bloc. There are pundits who claim Republicans are motivated foremost by disgust with the weak economy and an intense dislike of President Obama, but like Paul Krugman said, Willard Romney and Republicans are banking on amnesia and the hope voters don’t remember that President Obama inherited an economy that was already in free fall. However, amnesia notwithstanding, there is no reasonable explanation for the rush to right-wing extremism and religious frenzy that drives Republicans to want to revert to the Dark Ages or to repeat the same mistakes that put the economy in the shape it is in. It is as if any sense of reason, compassion, and pragmatism has vacated the GOP and their reversion to religious fervor and anti-government mindset is a desperate last-ditch attempt at dragging America back to an imaginary utopia.
The Republican platform is the product of a group that mistrust experts, see issues in stark black and white, have no appetite for compromise, are pro-business, and anti-government. However, what is most frightening of all is they are deeply rooted in religion and see a decline in American values they are hell-bent on correcting by establishing a conservative Christian theocracy regardless the will of the rest of America. It is evident in their anti-abortion plank and the hateful opposition to taxes, government, regulations, and gay rights that may fit in puritanical colonial America, or Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, but not in 21st Century America. Whether they acknowledge it or not, this is the 21st Century and imposing a puritanical form of Muslim fundamentalism will result in fulfilling radical Islamists greatest dream; the demise of America.