November 19, 2009

Teabagging for Jesus

Start with a fundamental lack of understanding that many of the same services on which one relies are paid for by the same taxes one hates having to pay. Add a deep but highly selective mistrust for government (i.e., it really only applies to Democratic officials). Toss in a pinch of racism and a sprinkle of serious delusion (e.g., birthers, deathers, czarists, etc.). Heat to a rolling boil over the fires of misinformation and extremist propaganda provided by Fox "News" and right-wing talk radio. Now add several measures of Christian extremism. Congratulations, you have cooked up a tasty Bachmann protest that would make Sarah Palin proud!

As atheists in the U.S. watch this debacle, one of the primary sources of intrigue is the role which Christian extremism is taking. If a recent article in The New Republic is to be believed, it is an expanding role.
Well, this time, the Tea Partiers brought their Bibles with them. “It’s a bailout for the abortion industry!” one speaker on the steps of the Capitol cried. And before Bachmann took the stage, a preacher from Maryland led an opening prayer that praised the Almighty for “the torch of liberty lit in this land,” followed by a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. “One nation, UNDER GOD, indivisible…” the protesters chanted, yelling out the phrase that deserved special emphasis.
This is precisely the sort of observation of which atheists should sit up and take note. If you are like me, you are growing somewhat weary of the whole anti-health care spectacle. It is stressful to be reminded day after day that one is surrounded on all sides by idiots. One needs to turn off the news every so often and escape. And yet, if this article is correct, we may be seeing the early stages of something that should be cause for great concern.

As Christian extremists, led by those opposed to reproductive rights, enter the already volatile mix, we are forced to wonder how much worse things may get before they begin to improve. In the last week, I have found myself starting to ponder what I believe may soon become inevitable questions. What happens if the U.S. continues to become increasingly divided along political lines? Is there a point of no return beyond which there will be no clear way forward?

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Tags: Bachmann, Palin, Christian extremism

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