Thursday, February 08, 2007

The Religious Right: Campaign of Immorality

The new radical right, or religious right as it is often called, is hysterical over alleged moral and social issues. They claim to be offended and disgusted with the social environment and the moral degradation thereof. In their view nothing currently demands more immediate and serious attention than the social moral decay of America.

This extremist minority has become, since the late seventies, one of the more proficiently mobilized political factions in the U.S., demanding that their agenda be taken seriously and dealt with accordingly.

It is first worth noting that this faction, while referring to themselves with such titles as “the moral majority,” are neither moral nor in the majority. It is further worth noting that while they maintain their immediate concern is the moral crisis of society they not only fail to acknowledge serious moral crisis – such as civil rights of the past and present - they sometimes even hold real crisis in contempt. Their primary concern is political in nature rather than moral. For if their concern were merely moral they could simply live their lives according to their own moral standards while others lived their lives to their own moral standards, but they wish to legislate their pernicious ideologies making their movement explicitly political.

They spend vast amounts of energy deriding vulgar language and depictions of sexuality claiming that such things are indicative of the decay that is our culture all the while opposing abortion and thus women’s rights, same-sex marriage and thus gay rights, welfare programs and thus ignoring the plight of the impoverished, etc. They not only oppose abortion rights, but, they also predominately oppose all aspects of women’s rights won by the feminist movement which is exemplified, to provide one example, in their accusations of working women having neglected their children’s needs.

In light of the real social crisis in America, such as the stagnation and increasing poverty of the lower class, the abysmal nature of both the medical and educational programs (for example: the attempt to destroy social security or the teaching of maniacal propaganda to children, i.e. creationism and abstinence only sex education), the absolute disregard for fundamental aspects of a free and civil society (as in the disregard for habeus corpus and the barbaric support of torture), the vilification of Hispanic immigrants, the disastrous effects of the drug prohibition (such as the ever increasing evolution towards a police state and the disregard or blatant contempt for the fourth amendment), the fascist program of legislating hate and bigotry (such as constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage), the overt hostility towards progressive goals long since won by the social movements (such as the hostility towards the success of the feminist and civil rights movements, i.e. the anti-abortion pro-submissive-housewife and the anti-affirmative action ideologies), etc. I believe these all serve as far more pressing issues than the utterance of “fuck” or the depiction of a breast.

While the fanatical religious right clamors on in their intolerant and exclusionary neo-fascist political campaign which seeks to undermine four decades of social progress and insure no more is made, there are serious and dire social and political crisis which demand attention. As is so often the case with the religious, those making so much noise about their moral principles are, in theory and in practice, the most perverse pariahs of morality; for it is worse than immoral to neglect the real injustices and depravities of society, it is to be complicit with them.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

As a member of the so called Radical Right I take great issue with your small minded attack on my beliefs. The current poor state of the American experience I believe is a direct result of the SECULARIZATION of todays society. Many Humanists practice a form of situational ethics that allows for the actor to do as he wishes and rationalize his actions on the basis of his own FEELINGS. This is due to the lack of a corresponding MORAL/ETHICAL framework as in the Judeo/Christian religious ethos.
God bless..... Marine for Christ

Anonymous said...

Furthermore you attempt to lay the blame for a myriad of society's ills at the feet of Religon.
Correct me if I'm wrong but wasn't Martin Luther King Jr. a REVEREND?! His ministry and political struggle were supported by massive numbers of Christians.
Just as an aside I would also like to remind you of all of the religous peoples who have died defending your right to whine, as a direct result of thier conviction to freedom! MfC

JDHURF said...

anonymous said:

As a member of the so called Radical Right I take great issue with your small minded attack on my beliefs. The current poor state of the American experience I believe is a direct result of the SECULARIZATION of todays society. Many Humanists practice a form of situational ethics that allows for the actor to do as he wishes and rationalize his actions on the basis of his own FEELINGS. This is due to the lack of a corresponding MORAL/ETHICAL framework as in the Judeo/Christian religious ethos.

This is fundamentally false, read my Defending Morality post. I will simply point out that your belief that Judeo-Christian dogma is the best repository for our ethical intuitions is pure fantasy.

Furthermore you attempt to lay the blame for a myriad of society's ills at the feet of Religon.

This is also false, you should have paid more attention to the post as you read it. I do not blame religion for societal ills. I blame the religious right - the extremist political movement - for both ignoring and compounding specific societal ills, not for creating them. The blame, as laid out in my post, is laid at the feet of the ethically perverse religious right, not religion in general; many religious organizations and individuals fight on the behalf of the principles and causes I spoke of.

Correct me if I'm wrong but wasn't Martin Luther King Jr. a REVEREND?! His ministry and political struggle were supported by massive numbers of Christians.

However, as anyone who is even remotely acquainted with history knows, MLK Jr. and his campaign of “non-violent resistance” was inspired by Gandhi, who was inspired by Jainism. Furthermore the “massive numbers” of Christians who supported him were not the religious right extremists of today; that is elementary.

Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

JDHURF said...

anonymous said:
Many Humanists practice a form of situational ethics that allows for the actor to do as he wishes and rationalize his actions on the basis of his own FEELINGS.

I would also like to point out that you are simply conjuring up arguments, this is a staw-man. Humanist ethics in general is not a subjectivist moral calculus, humanist ethics actually repudiates both subjectivism and relativism. Feelings are subjective, therefore they serve no purpose in an objective moral calculus, such as utilitarianism, and such subjectivity does not constitute any part of a humanist ethics.

I shall also point out that fundamentalist Christian dogma adheres to an authoritarian morality – which, by definition, is not objective – and as I point out elsewhere on this blog, more often than not, condones and encourages outright immorality.

Anonymous said...

it is just cultural conservatism which is rather entrenched and given importance by religion.

Rev. Moe said...

As a Humanist myself, I agree with most of jdhurf's post, and his response to the other commentator here.

Mr or Ms Anonymous, I offer for your consideration that what you choose to believe is NOT the word of some "god", but rather the words of men - many men, over the course of thousands of years. THEY created the rules and tenets you live by, and through their prejudices and lack of insight, helped to create the very problems facing our world today....

1. Gays face discrimination because of what is written in the Bible and other religious texts, such as claims that their sexuality is an "abomination". Yet those words, like everything else in the Bible, were written by men who were guided not by some illusory god, but by their own prejudices, fears, and desire to control their follower's behavior.

2. Women have been and continue to be subjugated - most notoriously in countries like Afghanistan, but also here in the US, where a woman performing the same job as a man with the same level of competency still earns less than her male counterparts. Why? Because the Bible, Koran, and so many other religious texts (again, written by men who wanted to set themselves up as the dominant half of the species) claimed that women were less worthy, less "clean", less valuable, and prone to "drive" a man to "sin" (as if most would never sin without a woman's "help"!).

3. Poverty has long been considered by at least some religious sects as a "just punishment" for those who have committed some offense against "god". The poor, like women, are deemed less worthy and valuable because some preacher decided that "god" didn't like the poor person's behavior or attitude. Quite often these religious groups will offer "alms" to the poor, but even that comes with a price (attempts to convert). A family I know well experienced that very thing last Thanksgiving - a free turkey and trimmings was offered and advertised in the local paper, but the organization conveniently left out of it's ad that the price for the "free" meal was being intensely questioned about their personal beliefs, being subjected to a lecture about getting "saved", and being derided for their lack of interest in conversion.

So yes, I think the author here is quite right in his assessment that the religious right is more interested in forcing it's severely limited and short-sighted morality on the world than it is in actually solving any of society's problems.

Rev. Moe said...

I would also add this:

On the issue of abortion rights (another case of the religious right trying to legislate morality and deprive even those women who do not share their faith of their right to control their own body), the fundamentalist Christian, the Catholics, and many other religous sects seek to end abortions for any reason.

What solution do they offer for all those unwanted children? Are they not condemning at least some of them to a life of poverty, suffering, and perhaps abuse? Are they willing to take those children into their own homes and provide their support until their 18th birthday?

No - of course not. They do not care what might happen to the child if the mother is forced to give birth. They care only about forcing others to live by their rules.

Well, that is one reason I am glad to live in a semi-democratic society (I use the prefix because we do not live in a true democracy). For now, at least, our laws take into consideration that those who do not share the fundamentalist Christian faith still have rights, including the right to live by their own moral code, and not yours.

JDHURF said...

Great responses rev. moe, I agreed with all of what you said. I am glad that you point out that many of these radical Christians who wish to end abortion have no serious or workable alternative and they couldn’t care any less for the child once it is born, I believe that is an accurate claim. I also agree that we do not live in an entirely democratic society.

Rev. Moe said...

I have often wondered if part of the reason the religious right is so determined to force everyone else to live by their set of rules and moral code is not simply due to the fact that they envy the freedom enjoyed by those of us who are not bound by such antiquated ideas and dogma.

Perhaps it is too difficult for the average fundamentalist Christian to avoid the "temptations" of modern society, and so they want to remove those "temptations" from everyone in order to make it easier to follow their own rules.

Rev. Moe said...

I almost forgot this, and I thought it might interest you:

My husband recently observed that since fundamentalist Christians are so often quoting verses from the Old Testament to support their ultra-conservative views, and since they seem to want to turn the entire nation/world back to those antiquated values and moral codes, it would seem what they are really practicing is fundamentalist Judaism.

After all, what is the point of calling yourself a Christian if the religious philosophy you actually practice is more closely associated with the very old-school Jewish dogma that Jesus allegedly condemned as being false and misguided?