February 19, 2012

Culture War 2.0 or Same Old War?

culture war"Contraceptives, religious freedom: Are we in a new culture war?" was the title of a recent article on CNN.com by Brianna Kellar and Eric Marrapodi. The argument appears to be that abortion and gay marriage have been set aside by the right and replaced with contraceptives and talk of a "war on religion." They go so far as to refer to "culture wars 2.0." But this is all part of the same culture war, one that has been waged by the Christian right for some time now. It is a religiously-motivated war on modernity, and it has many fronts.

The religious right has been waging a war against women for some time. They opposed suffrage and continue to oppose feminism, contraception, abortion, and other measures of equality. Like their Taliban colleagues, many would prefer that women not work outside the home and focus instead on having as many children as possible. They don't even want women to have a voice in the decisions they seek to make on their behalf.

Like the war on women, the religious right has also been fighting against equality for LGBT persons. They wish to deny them legal rights in areas such as adoption and marriage. They want to keep them out of the public schools and the military. They oppose any effort to increase tolerance because they fear it might interfere with their religiously-motivated bullying.

And of course, they are also at war with atheists, immigrants, liberals, the poor, and virtually everyone else who isn't exactly like them. In fact, if you are not a wealthy, heterosexual, Christian, conservative, English-speaking, White man, the religious right most likely considers you an enemy. What they fear is that you might help take society in a direction they do not want to go. That is, progress is what they most fear.

If anything, the fact that contraception and a fictional war on religion are in the news now shows just how desperate the religious right has become to find something around which to rally. They've picked the wrong fight here, but I suppose that is not exactly new either. They have considerable experience being on the wrong side of history.