This is a re-write of a column from 2005. I’ve cut a few paragraphs, and tightened the language, but the main point is likely truer today, in the face of the possible election of fundamentalist Sara Palin on the national stage, and the possible passage of Proposition 8 on the local stage.
America is under attack — again. This time though, the terrorists are not the Muslims, the Japanese or the Godless Communists. In fact, it is the God fearing, Bible waving, pontificating pupils of totalitarianism. Our most dangerous enemy is not, in fact, North Korea, (though they scare the heck out of me!), nor is it a man in a cave. The most dangerous threat comes from those nicely dressed, overly polite people who always seem to be carrying a casserole dish.
Our republic is under attack from the church lady and her biblically run household. They are the ones to fear. They who blindly follow what some self-aggrandizing preacher says, without rational investigation, are the scariest of scary creatures at this time in our history.
The Republicans have figured this blind following thing out, and are using it to their advantage to reconfigure our republic. With the federal government and most of the state governments firmly in the hands of the Republicans, they are quickly, and not quietly, turning our country into a theocracy.
President Bush is the head of the Republican party, as such, his faith based initiatives; his position on the death penalty/abortion debate; his force feeding of Jesus Christ by way of programs that the federal government is supporting; his miserable AIDS policies and contraception policies; his outright intolerance for people whose lives don’t precisely mirror his own amoral, soulless life; and his pontifications of being “needed by his country and chosen by God,” are all direct corollaries to the totalitarianism that we put away 60 years ago in Germany, and that our forefathers fled from in 1620.
Religion does not create a fabric of society. Religion creates a communal touchstone for arrogance, bigotry, intolerance, hatred, and creating “otherness.” Religion creates a mechanism for people who are all abdicating their thought-life to others, to feel commonality, one-ness, and “part of.”
Religious teaching blinds people to the wonders of the true fabric of our society, the warp and weave of the people who comprise our America, the differences that make us a strong country. There is a reason why inbreeding is bad for a species. The same rule applies to society. When we all think, act, and dress the same, breakdown is near.
There are people who think I am wrong, that the Republicans are only doing the “right” thing. That they are bringing America back to morality. I can only surmise that they lost no member of their family, extended or otherwise in the holocaust, or possibly, they don’t believe the holocaust happened.
There are still others who believe that it couldn’t happen again. They don’t read much. It takes but a cursory examination of the first section of any large metropolitan newspaper to see that the atrocities continue, on the African continent, Central America, Asia, and the Middle East.
If you feel, or believe, that in America we do not have atrocities, and we never will, I would like to point out to you that we used black men in Tuskegee to study the long term effects of syphilis, without their knowing or consent.
Some will say that, “it was a different time,” and “we’ve learned from then, not to do that.” They would be wrong. In 2005 the Associated Press reported that children in foster care have been used by our government as guinea pigs for drug tests.
These would be the same children who are trotted out when the religious Republicans want to spout off about the value of life, and the importance of two heterosexual parents in a household.
The Republicans like to talk about their culture of life and their traditional family values. They are using that canard as a way to argue for the passage of Proposition 8, but I fail to see how letting my friends Dave and Alonzo, who have now had five commitment ceremonies, domestic partnership registrations, and finally a wedding, harms anyone.
The founding fathers knew what they were doing when they instituted a separation of church and state, they just didn’t go far enough. There needs to be a great wall between the religious zealots on the one hand, and the leaders of our country on the other.
I believe there should be a religious test of faith for anyone who wants to be a leader. It should be that anyone who is a regular church member is barred from a position of leadership.
I’ll take a Godless heathen over a religious zealot judging me any day.
David Pisarra is a family law attorney focusing on father’s rights and men’s Issues in the Santa Monica firm of Pisarra & Grist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (310) 664-9969.