11/17/2005

Daily Kos: The War against Right-wing Theocrats finally begins for real (updated)

The War against Right-wing Theocrats finally begins for real (updated)
by GlennGreenwald [Subscribe]
Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 05:41:27 AM CST

The first four years of the Bush Administration, particularly after 9/11, were characterized by a highly unusual, and at times downright creepy, uniformity of opinion. It was almost impossible to find a Republican anywhere expressing any criticism of George Bush -- on any issue, ever. And other than a few humiliating attacks launched by the party's most extreme elements against so-called GOP moderates made for the purpose of showing who was Boss in the GOP, Republicans almost never spoke ill of one another either, despite glaring differences in their views on a whole host of critically important issues.

In many ways, over this time period, the GOP more closely resembled a cult than a political party, and the cohesiveness of the cult was centered around Personality -- a glorification of, and blind reverence for, George W. Bush. But all of that is changing now

According to the survey, 70 percent of weekly churchgoers and 76 percent of self-described Evangelicals agreed that "Christianity is under attack" in this country -- a conclusion that is hard to square with their growing influence in Congress, the White House and the courts, he said.

Sixty-nine percent of Evangelicals and 60 percent of weekly churchgoers said there should be "organized" prayer in public schools, according to the survey, and 89 percent of Evangelicals agreed that religious symbols "like the Ten Commandments" should be displayed in public buildings. More ominously, only 26 percent of Evangelicals and 31 percent of weekly churchgoers agreed that "courts should protect church-state separation."





We are talking here about a group of religious fanatics which, despite its extremism, is gaining more and more power over America's domestic policies and is shaping federal law in almost every sector to comport with their religious dogma. The fact that only a small minority of this movement believes that the church-state separation should be preserved says all one needs to know about their ultimate goals -- goals which they are closer than ever to achieving, with 3 years still remaining in the Administration which is giving them a virtual free run at shaping domestic policy.



The explosiveness of this rift within the GOP is nicely illustrated by the reaction of National Review's Jonah Goldberg to the ADL's long overdue stance.  Driven by the deep personal fear which characterizes virtually everything that he thinks and writes, Goldberg yesterday attacked the ADL for this speech, because Goldberg is petrified that the ADL, by criticizing this theocratic movement, will make them angry. He beings by melodramatically lamenting that the ADL "is making a horrible, horrible mistake," and then launches this telling, name-calling criticism of the ADL's stance:


Indeed, it strikes me as a form of cowardice to turn your energies against philo-Semtic (sic) Christian conservatives at a moment when real anti-Semitism is thriving in so many other quarters. Liberalism isn't Judaism and Judaism isn't liberalism. He'd be well advised to keep that in mind, for the sake of Jews and liberals alike.


Goldberg apparently thinks that, "for the sake of Jews," the ADL should avoid criticizing "Christian conservatives" because to do so is to associate itself with liberalism, which can only endanger Jews. He argues that the theocratic longings of Christian conservatism ought to be ignored by the ADL because the group's energies are better directed towards fighting what he calls "real anti-Semitism thriving in so many other quarters."


What powerful forces exhibiting "real anti-Semitism" does Goldberg think the ADL should be condemning instead of the church-state attacks being launched by the American Religious Right? Where are these threatening circles of "real anti-Semitism" which the ADL can do anything about? Goldberg doesn't say. Is it found among impotent, powerless Ward Churchill-type academicians? Among Muslim rioters in the French slums? Among clownish neo-Nazi groups with membership lists in the hundreds?


In case Goldberg hasn't noticed, Christian conservatives are the dominant political force in the United States. They control the White House, the Senate Leadership and the House. Virtually no domestic political decision of any significance is made without their prior approval.



The notion that it is cowardly to stand up to this powerful group, but would be somehow brave to castigate some fringe neo-Nazi group or International A.N.S.W.E.R. rally of 20 people, is exactly backwards. The ADL's decision to finally denounce this genuine, significant threat to religious and political freedom took courage precisely because doing so required Foxman to condemn the most powerful political group in the United States.


Indeed, the ADL's courage is starkly illustrated precisely by contrasting it with Goldberg's rather pathetic fears. It is the warrior Goldberg who, unsurprisingly, is the coward here. He is counseling that the Christian conservatives not be criticized because they will get angry and provoking that reaction should be avoided for "the sake of Jews." By admirable contrast, Foxman is alerting people to a threat posed by this group notwithstanding its power and undeterred by the prospect that they will not like him for it. "Cowardice" is what is driving Goldberg, not Foxman. And, as is so often the case, Goldberg knows that he is driven by fear, which is what causes him to label others as "cowards."


This war has been a long time coming and it is long past the time that it plays out. But better late than never.

The combination of Will's column and the ADL's condemnation of the Christian Right suggest that it is becoming increasingly clear that people are finally awakening to the severity of the threat posed by these thinly disguised theocrats. For the last 4 years, the same fear which is still causing Goldberg to wet himself has deterred all but a few from publicly warning of the agenda of this movement, but as Bush's popularity whittles away, so, too, is this fear. And finally, the true agenda -- and rapidly increasing power -- of these religious extremists is being recognized.


UPDATE: Looks like the much-heralded support of Jews by the Far Religious Right is conditioned upon the willingness of Jews to remain quiet and nod in agreement when theocrats issue their decrees -- just as Jonah Goldberg fearfully recommends they do. Listen to this thuggish and overtly threatening response to Foxman's concerns from Dobson's Focus on the Family:


Tom Minnery, Focus on the Family's vice president of government and public policy, called Foxman's speech "perplexing." Noting that the evangelical groups Foxman cited are staunch supporters of Israel, Minnery told the Forward, "If you keep bullying your friends, pretty soon you won't have any."


How long can the GOP manage to keep these scotch-taped coalitions together? Not much longer -- at all -- from the looks of it.



Daily Kos: The War against Right-wing Theocrats finally begins for real (updated)

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