Thursday, October 27, 2005

Not Christian enough!

Let's hear it for the conservative Christian community sinking a fellow fundamentalist Christian believer, er, well, not exactly. Miers may pretend her Christian values are fundamentalist values, but not many folks believe her, except Dr. James Dobson, guru of rightist righteousness who granted his approval, at least in public. Dunno what he said behind Bush/Miers' back. Seems Mr. Bush has now officially lost his party; he proved he'd lost the country despite reelection in '04. Skepticism was rife even among those who decided to reelect him to continue his 'good' work for the nation another 4 years.

This 'religious/moralist' tug-of-war within the GOP and the Christian conservative community is a proof of what Sen. Danforth reaffirmed during his visit to the Clinton Library campus earlier this week. In March, Danforth wrote a guest op-ed essentially lamenting the takeover of the GOP by Christian conservatives. Merely religious all-or-none values threaten an easily fractured populus of free peoples who happen to live in the U.S. Most fundamentalist doctrine I've ever experienced is usually of an all-or-none sensibility and in a nation dependent on compromise, their values at times seem undemocratic and insensitive to other folks' models of right and wrong. Springfield, Nashville, nor the Holy See in the Vatican should be consulted for ideas of democratic values because few church denominations are democratic. Almost all have a hierarchy of some sort responsible for assuring dogmatically correct doctrine is disseminated in the name of their particular faith. Southern Baptists have 'watchdogs' as does the Vatican, the Assemblies of God, and a vast majority of denominations are no different.

Reason should guide our legislators, not emotional hotbuttons. There is a good reason our democracy is not governed merely by majority rule. The Senate was a more insular, deliberative body from inception of our present form of government and only since 1913 have Senators been directly elected by voters. The court exists as another counterweight to mere majority rule. If a mere majority were allowed to rule the U.S., there would be no need for the Senate or the President. A court system would still be necessary under a unicameral authority, but the right to review legislation by the judiciary would be inexistent. All law would proceed through the House and no one else; a fearsome thought in the least.

I once held Christian Dominionist leanings, but I couldn't continue to believe in the all-or-none approach because no human has a monopoly on truth. The more perceivers involved in perception, particularly widely differing assumptions, the better for a republican form of government so truth might be more clearly discerned. If one religious group sees a problem and are asked to solve it, they would likely be woefully inadequate in knowledge and experience unless an entire communities' assumptions and experiences are included within the process of solving the problem. I have no qualms about claims that the U.S. is clearly in the camp of Christendom on values personal and civic. However, we have become a nation of includers, much like the Roman Empire as it spread through the known world. The genius of Rome was in diplomacy where newly conquered free populations had an opportunity to become full Roman citizens. The policy made it possible to limit endless insurrection by granting a stake in Roman culture and dominion to the conquered peoples thereby aiding in the establishment of Pax Romana. That philosophical sympathy allowed our nation to become vital through immigration of folks whose values and religious doctrines and faiths aren't necessarily compatible with more dominant ideas of correctness. Political correctness might have been a phrase coined by socialists, but the idea of correctness has been around our nation especially exposed in fundamentalist domination of the religious values debate. The values are less civic and more overbearingly personal. Civic values were described as crucial to the survival of a republican form of government, as Aristotle would advise. These deeply personal values imposed as civic values often lead to bad feeling and a victimization argument for political dialogue which in other parts of the world, particularly the past 5 years, leads to rationalization of bloodshed, even that of innocent non-combatants.

When it comes to the hereafter, the ultimate decision as to how happiness can be achieved should remain deeply personal. Miers sinking by the Christian right is proof of the need to divide religious prejudices from the act of governing 270 million people who don't all share the same experiences, education, or assumptions about the world. One group should not totally steamroll another, establishing a new form of political/religious correctness with a more sinister aim and result. LaHaye and other Christian Dominionists do not have the best interest at heart for a democratic nation. I'm certain they believe they do, but once we have a theocracy, the religious hierarchy may as well start growing beards and wearing turbans (no offense to Muslim American citizens) and fixing elections according the the will of the Supreme Council of Religious Doctrine because that is the type of arrangement we'll all suffer. I am no fonder of Christian theocracy than I am of the Islamic counterpart. Theocracy ultimately failed our culture because the small-minded need to suppress heresy had undermined more important issues of governance for an emerging modernizing Europe.

In historical experience, all-or-none philosophy has led to the deaths of millions and its accompanying destruction. Let's not make the mistake of becoming overly dogmatic in our relgious sentiments in our civic lives or it won't matter a damn whether we 'win' this War on Terror. We'll have self-destroyed our tolerant way of life. Compared to most of the world, we are by far the most tolerant nation on earth. We allow all sorts of believers across our borders legally and we're still the haven for the oppressed of earth. I like who we are now and I hope we don't contribute to the problem in our daily civic lives and create destruction where there is beauty. Fundamentalist Christians are in the process of defining the politically/religiously 'damned' and we all should take note of this ugly situation brewing over the Miers nomination and take steps to avoid catastrophe. Miers should never have been nominated, but the reason and the way she was booted from contention should sound the alarm that religious dogma has pushed too far this time. Forced consensus has traditionally blinded the majority from correct action; let's reach consensus through reasoned debate for once, instead of reaching the correct answer to the world's problems through bullying others to accept a political viewpoint. Miers convictions and predilection have been judged by the 'righteous rightists' and she is damned as unorthodox and unacceptable. Not Christian enough!!!!!!!!


Blogger Askinstoo said...

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3:57 PM  
Blogger Linda Johnson said...

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Blogger karl said...

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5:48 AM  
Blogger Don Elkins said...

ar -- I enjoyed your note. Again, you've hit the situation dead-on. Fantastic writing, and the kind of editorial honesty I wish I could see in the papers -- however, as it would seem, you may have some people unhappy with your posts (deleted comments -- always love those) -- keep it up -- the honesty will draw more people in. You've got me as a fan.

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