Friday, January 15, 2010

Not Dead Yet: The Religious Right

Brad Warner takes the opportunity to take Pat Robertson's recent cynical and absurd remarks over Haiti (something to do with Satan) to proclaim that the religious right "ain't nothin." At the moment that's more or less true, but I'd like to expand a bit on a comment I made at his blog.

Here's some points to consider, Brad:

1. Follow the Money
Pat Robertson made this remark no doubt because he knows damned well that his audience is not well informed. I mean, his contributors give money to his organization and he likely takes a cut, and profitted mightily from his relious TV business. And he's making sure the gravy train continues for his offspring. How much is Robertson worth? Hundreds of millions of dollars. So, Brad? Pat Robertson wasn't talking to you. The religious right might be dead to you, but I assure you it's not dead to the Tea Party movement and I'll have a blog post on that in the near future - I'm hoping it's a "scoop" as they say.

2. Memes: The Nasty One is Dormant
Brad, ever hear of the concept of a meme? It's like an "idea virus," and it can be said to respond to evolutionary pressures. Some memes are good memes and some seem to be quite harmful. It's TBD as to why, other than strict evolutionary baggage, a "Kumbaya" meme hasn't emerged as virulent as an SS Stormtrooper meme, and how come when cynical people try to create a Kumbaya meme, they wind up creating Up with People.

But I digress.

Virulent memes can be like virulent viruses; an ancestor of the current H1N1 virus was the one that killed tens to hundreds of millions in 1918-1919, and they can crowd out healthier memes in the same way as E. coli can give you some bad intestinal effects at the expense of the healthy bacteria that abide in your gut.

So it is with the religious right. Although Focus on the Family, the Family Research Council, and all the creationist guys are highly marginalized, they are still clawing for a comeback in Texas through the schools, and they still have a ridiculously disparate influence in Washington due to "The Family", and they have infiltrated the US military in ways that are detrimental to unit cohesion and readiness (Google "Military Religious Freedom Foundation."

Yes, Brad, Falwell's dead, gays are coldly tolerated outside of Texas, and even medical marijuana's legal. But, in the world of Christian fundamentalists and "evangelicals," and theocrats, Sarah Palin is a martyr. And a hockey mom with lipstick.

And the meme which is relatively dormant right now could emerge more virulent than ever because cynical folks like Pat Robertson and Brit Hume will act in the spirit of IGMFU. (Trivial digression: Christoper Plummer - one of the most highly underrated actors of my lifetime - patterned his performance of a cynical minister in 1987's "Dragnet" after Pat Robertson. I haven't seen it written down anywhere, but just watch the freakin' movie! And get out your goat leggings.)

3. Liberty Requires Vigilance
PZ Myers, Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, the ACLU, the Human Rights Campaign, Larry Flynt, the guys at talk2action, the folks who brought to life, Stanton Peele and lawyers acting on the basis of his work, the internet infidels, and countless others and contributors, and demonstrators and political activists pushed the religious right to its current state. But by no means is it permanently rendered harmless. Impermance will dictate, of course, but the only way to prevent a disaster of our negligence and laziness later is to be aware and dilligent now and in the future.


Chris said...

Dawkins, Myers, and Harris are crusaders against fundamentalism? Seems they do an awful lot to propel their brand of fundamentalism to new heights. You like strawberry, Roberterson like vanilla. Lay it down.

Mumon said...

If dedication to reality is fundamentalism I stand accused. If you haven't read "The God Delusion," please do so.

Chris said...

The 'God Delusion' can be mostly dismantled by anyone with an 8th grade history education. Stalin killed more people than all religions combined....and he was a rabid fundamentalist of the atheist persuasion.

"Dedication to reality." Any good Buddhist understands the murky nature of pinning a tail on that donkey. You obviously haven't had your rice. Keep sitting.