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I Wish the Wingnut Fantasy Were True

Sometimes I read columns by Christian right figures in which they pretend that America is a nation overrun with humanism and secularism and think, “If only that were true.” It’s amazing to me how they’ve managed to convince themselves that they are a poor, persecuted minority in a country they still largely (though not entirely) control. Mychal Massie’s latest column is a perfect example, as he complains about our “godless nation” that is doomed.

We as a nation have slowly accepted and pompously come to believe that wisdom begins and stems from us. Secularism is the view that all things religious should be excluded from daily public living, specifically pertaining to political and social concerns.

This is the kind of thing the wingnuts always do, use vague phrases like “daily public living” (or the even more popular “public square”) to make it sound as though we evil “secularists” want to make it illegal to say anything religious in public. And that’s a lie. But then he goes even further and claims that we’re trying to ban religion from the home too:

Thanks to secularism, the mindset today is that God and religious opinion should be relegated to a church on Sunday morning. Courts have ruled with increasing frequency that, depending on the circumstances, religion has no place in the home.

Really? Which courts, exactly, and in which cases? Good luck finding them.

The created have determined they are above the Creator. Dennis Fisher writes: “Every age has its own thoughts, ideas, and values that influence the culture, ‘the spirit of the age.’ It is the kind of growing consensus that morally lulls us to sleep, gradually causing us to accept society’s latest values. This is the world’s peer pressure – a satanically inspired system of values and ideas that cultivates a lifestyle that is independent of God.” (“The Spirit of the Age,” ODB.org, Dec. 3, 2012)

Boy, isn’t that true! Like how the “spirit of the age” in the latter half of the 19th century lulled people to sleep and made them accept the satanically inspired system values and ideas that taught that slavery was wrong and should be illegal, in direct contradiction to the commands of God in the Bible. And then the “spirit of the age” a few decades later when we actually gave women the right to vote. And to get divorced. And to think and have careers and stuff. And then later we actually allowed different races to get married and treated those of other races as legally equal. And now we’re treating gay people as human beings, not as people merely to be killed by stoning. Hmmm. Those seem a lot better values and ideas than the ones offered in the Bible. I think we should keep them.

And funny that this argument about man elevating himself above God was used, virtually word for word, to oppose all of those things. Funnier yet that those who use them today pretend that they were never used to support slavery because they have now accepted those terrible humanist values themselves on all the older issues we’ve already fought out. It’s like every new battle over civil rights is a day in the movie Groundhog Day, with no one aware that they did the same things the day before.

In my column “No foundations, no future,” I wrote, “I defer to Thomas Jefferson – governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” (WND.com, July 22, 2003)

An expanded understanding of Jefferson’s words is that government reflects the mores of society. We have become a humanist society, and our government reflects same.

From your lips to God’s ears (irony!).

Comments

  1. says

    governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

    I assume God is mentioned in there somewhere. (Who has time to read all that!??)

  2. Sastra says

    Secularism is the view that all things religious should be excluded from daily public living, specifically pertaining to political and social concerns.

    What he’s really objecting to is the secular belief that political and social concerns should always be open to public debate. If you think a proposed law is unfair you need to be able to argue your point on the details: you can’t simply claim it’s wrong because God said so — and you’re just passing this information along.

    Secularism isn’t just about keeping keep religion and politics separate. It also entails that when they can’t or won’t be kept separate — and you insist on using your faith to make an argument — then your “faith” is now up for debate.

    People are going to tell you that no, you got God wrong — that’s not what God wants. God isn’t like you think it is. Worse, some people are going to argue that God does not exist and will kick your butt on that if they’re allowed to do so. It’s considered a “faith” belief for a reason, and usually kept “special” and “private” for a reason. If it’s no longer special or private because YOU have taken it out to use as a political or social rationale among people who don’t share your special, private faith, then you’re in for a rude awakening.

    That’s what niggles them. They think the intense deference and respect they grant to God ought to transfer to everyone — and then reflect back on them. It doesn’t.

  3. typecaster says

    I assume God is mentioned in there somewhere.

    That would be this part:

    “I have sworn upon the altar of god,eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.”

    As it happens, I tend to think that most of the things Jefferson wrote are within the penumbra of that statement.

  4. jnorris says

    It’s amazing to me how they’ve managed to convince themselves that they are a poor, persecuted minority in a country they still largely (though not entirely) control.

    We see Christians as a majority in the USA. The Really True Christians©, like Mychal Massie, see themselves as the minority they are. Really True Christians© do not recognize moderate or liberal Christians as anything except as demons or worst.

  5. says

    Mychal: “Courts have ruled with increasing frequency that, depending on the circumstances, religion has no place in the home.”

    It appears that Mr. Massie lives in a tent under the back staircase of the Alabama Supreme Court.

  6. Sastra says

    jnorris #5 wrote:

    We see Christians as a majority in the USA. The Really True Christians©, like Mychal Massie, see themselves as the minority they are.

    True. I remember an old IRC discussion I got into with a fundamentalist Christian. As I recall it was about popular movies and how they so often had a scene where a main character would say something like “God, I’m not sure if you’re there, but I would really like your help right now, please, dear God.” The fundamentalist presented this as a secret Hollywood ploy to undermine faith — because look, you were supposed to doubt that God was there.

    I told him that, on the contrary, I saw this type of scene as endorsing the idea that, even if you doubt, you can still call on God. Try to believe. The writers were pandering to a faith-friendly audience.

    That viewpoint had apparently never occurred to him. And, for my part, I guess I had never looked at this as something which could be interpreted as anti-faith. Depends perhaps on what level of certainty is supposed to please God.

  7. Jordan Genso says

    Courts have ruled with increasing frequency that, depending on the circumstances, religion has no place in the home.

    When they make a statement like that, what do they expect to get out of it? Do they think the conversation will go something like this:

    You know what. That argument convinced me. I’m now going to support the theocratic fight against the secularists. Mychal Massie, where do I sign up?

    Oh, before I join your side though, based on that superb argument, do you mind if I take a look at those court cases you say have ruled “religion has no place in the home”? It’s not that I don’t trust you or anything, it’s just that since this is such a big commitment, joining your side in the fight against secularism, that I want to make sure I’m not basing the decision on false pretenses.

    On second thought, nevermind. There’s no reason to think you’re misleading me. I’m in. The picture you’ve painted is just too scary that I have to agree with you.

  8. penasquito says

    I know that feel, bro.

    The other day on my radio, Roger Hedgecock said that Obama shut down all oil production in the western US. Their imagination sounds like an awesome place to live…

  9. Crip Dyke, MQ, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    I called it 1995 on queer marriage. The Loving case was decided less than 20 years after Perez in California did the same thing on the state level.

    I said we would have the high court deciding similarly less than 30 years but more than 10 years after the first state ruled that the constitutional right to marry could not be abridged on account of gender. And I said that the first state to do so would be within 10 years of the failed attempt in Hawaii.

    Massachusetts in Nov. 2003 gave me the latter prediction. There’s no way that the supremes will be providing a ruling including an unambiguous statement that the right to marry can’t be abridged on account of gender in the next year.

    But more interesting than my brief moment of bragging is this:
    If you read the arguments justifying the banning of [legal recognition of, but sometimes also performance of] Quaker marriages England in the 17th century, of interracial marriages in many places from the 17th to the 20th (well, 21st really), of interfaith marriages in Ireland from the 17th to early 20th centuries, of certain marriages among the poor or those with disabilities from the 19th to the 20th, and even of the attempts to deny recognition to marriages among members of the various royal families of Europe in the late 18th but especially the 1st half of the 19th century, you find the exact same arguments again and again and again.

    All these marriages were said to: 1. break down the family, 2. offend god/s, 3. spread disease, 4. spread drug/alcohol use, and 5. promote promiscuity.

    Yeah, those Quakers. Paragons of the rock n roll era with their drug-fueled, promiscuous, high-risk sex acts, their hatred of family get-togethers, and their notorious rejection of anything and everything that smacks of promoting respect for the divine.

    Them.

    Look, if the frickin’ quakers were getting called all those things, if folk in Ireland get called those things because someone whose church votes down placing women in authority over men falls in love with someone whose church won’t consider placing women in positions of authority over men, if the British royal family are told that there marriages must be disrespected and unrecognized for exactly the same reasons that we are told queer marriages must be disrespected and unrecognized, I’d say the other side is playing a pretty bad hand.

  10. jonmoles says

    It’s the overreaction of people who know how tenuous their position actually is. Information is getting harder and harder to control, working its way through the cracks of the propaganda machine. The continued economic and cultural oppression of the plutocrats and theocrats has caused more and more of the populace at large to wake up and react against how much they are being screwed over. When nutbags like Santorum realize that the curtain is starting to be pulled back, they have to jump on it before anyone gets a glimpse of what’s really going on.

  11. criticaldragon1177 says

    Ed Brayton,

    I wish America was more secular as well. I find it ironic that America, the first Constitution to enshrine the Separation of Church and State in its constitution today seems to have the most people of any western country, wanting to do away with secularism. Now I could be wrong, I haven’t been reading that much about what’s going on in other nations right now, that’s definitely the way it seems to me based on my knowledge.

  12. raven says

    The Really True Christians©, like Mychal Massie, see themselves as the minority they are.

    The favorite xian pastime.

    Who is a Real xian and who is a Fake xian.

    The only way to really establish that is to fight wars, which they used to do. The Real xians are the ones that are still breathing at the end.

    I don’t know why they even bother. Who is a Real xian and who is Fake evolves quite rapidly depending on political expediency. Mormons were Fake xians until the fundie party nominated Romney.

    Fortunately, the Mychal Massie’s are a minority even among all those who claim to be xians.

  13. thisisaturingtest says

    @#5, jnorris:

    We see Christians as a majority in the USA. The Really True Christians©, like Mychal Massie, see themselves as the minority they are.

    Then they’ve made themselves a minority, so they can make themselves martyrs; in both cases, they’re only so by choice, which is not quite the same as the actual functional definition, only a self-serving pretense to it.

  14. wscott says

    The Really True Christians©, like Mychal Massie, see themselves as the minority they are.

    There’s certainly some of that. But more common is the belief that Christians are the majority, but have lost control of their government and cultural institutions. Hence the whole “Moral Majority” thing. Basically, they think this is pre-apartheid South Africa and they’re the blacks. Yeah, you should be laughing at that comparison. But I think that drives a lot of the paranoid rage, because they genuinely believe that cnotrol of their country & society have been “stolen” from them by the immoral minority.

  15. Ichthyic says

    Thanks to secularism, the mindset today is that God and religious opinion should be relegated to a church on Sunday morning

    I’m actually finding it hard to disagree with this. I do indeed feel that religious opinion should be relegated to churches.

    though I’m no ogre. I see no reason to limit it to just sunday.

    I mean, that would be like throwing them all in concentration camps or something.

  16. matty1 says

    Courts have ruled with increasing frequency that, depending on the circumstances, religion has no place in the home.

    When they make a statement like that, what do they expect to get out of it?

    You know

  17. bradleybetts says

    “The created have determined they are above the Creator.”

    Assuming for a moment that there is a creator, why on Earth shouldn’t we be “above” Him? After all, humans created the computer, and they can do a lot of things we can’t. There is nothing to say that a being cannot create something that is superior to itself. We are morally superior to God, for a start, so if he is real I would certainly say we are “above” Him.

  18. chrisdevries says

    Ugg…these people really don’t know what secularism is, do they?

    All we’re advocating is that no tax dollars go towards religious activities (in legislative bodies or anywhere else), and that religious organisations be subject to the same laws that non-religious organisations are subject to. We absolutely believe that individuals should still have the right to practice their religion however they want as long as their practice doesn’t infringe on others’ rights, and that civil servants cannot use their job to proselytise (for or against a religion) or to further a religious agenda.

    In other words, people paid by tax dollars working for public institutions cannot actively or passively promote their religion (or advocate against another religion) or impose their religious values on the people who pay their salary.

    This is why legislative measures banning same-sex marriage are so blatantly anti-secular (and should be illegal): there is no non-religious reason to prevent members of the same sex from enjoying the same marital benefits that opposite-sex pairs enjoy. Legislators are imposing their religious values on everyone else.

  19. w00dview says

    It’s amazing to me how they’ve managed to convince themselves that they are a poor, persecuted minority in a country they still largely (though not entirely) control.

    Well, see Ed that’s your problem. Because they merely just largely control the country and do not have complete control, that means they are the most persecuted minority in the US. That is the definition of oppression in the fundie dictionary anyway.

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