This article begins by wondering what Marshall Applewhite was thinking as mixed the poisons for the Heaven’s Gate cult, before they committed mass suicide. And then it leaps immediately to describing what the Republican party is doing.
Republican Roy Moore, removed from the Alabama Supreme Court for his erratic behavior and banned from the mall for harassing teenage girls, has cloaked his campaign for the Senate in the language of “spiritual warfare.” As such, he is the most apt representative of the Republican Party in our age of cult politics. Moore is pitching himself as God’s candidate and his voters are slopping it up like poisoned applesauce. The party of “family values” is about to send a known sexual predator to the Senate because God wants them to. This would be startling, except they already used the same reasoning to put a known sexual predator in the White House.
The same magical reasoning infects Republicans tax reform plans. We are in the eighth year of continuous job growth, the eighth year of economic expansion, and the eighth year of a head-spinning stock market boom. Corporate profits are at record levels and the economy has been redlining at full-employment for almost three years. By any marginally credible economic reasoning, this would be an ideal moment to raise taxes, curb debt, make investments in public infrastructure, and just generally do the things one does at the peak of a long economic expansion.
At this moment, why are Republicans trying to slash taxes for the wealthy? Why would someone castrate themselves and commit suicide? Because that’s what the cult demands.
I don’t think it’s a stretch at all, especially since the Republican cult stitched itself mouth-to-anus with the Religious Right decades ago. If you want to see an egregious expression of this behavior, watch this interview by Anderson Cooper with a Moore spokesperson — she’s got nothin’ but her insistence that Moore is a godly man who tried to support God’s commandments and the Declaration of Independence says we’ve got a Creator, and that’s all that matters, and all of his wacky statements and the court decisions can be ignored.
I think we atheists have been thinking small. We try to get religion out of government, but what we really need to do is get this cult-like religious behavior out, no matter whether it’s tied to a named and admitted religion or not.