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Taking a ‘Wrecking Ball’ to Religious Conservatism in Politics

“We all know that this country was founded on a Judeo-Christian ethic but the Judeo-Christian ethic was a Protestant Judeo-Christan ethic, sure the Catholics had some influence, but this was a Protestant country and the Protestant ethic, mainstream, mainline Protestantism, and of course we look at the shape of mainline Protestantism in this country and it is a shambles, it s gone from the world of Christianity as I see it.” – Rick Santorum, 2008 (source: “Up with Chris Hayes”)

We saw what happened recently when modern women were aroused by Pres. Obama’s free contraceptive mandate. Religious conservatism just hit another snag in Virginia, with Transvaginal Probe Bob possibly getting the message. A report from RHRealityCheck:

But after speaking with Jeff Caldwell, McDonnell’s press secretary, it seems the Governor is not so eager to go on the record with his previously-held position.

I asked Caldwell if the governor really intended to sign a bill that met the standard of Virginia’s rape statute. When put in those terms it seemed the Governor’s office balked.

“The governor will review it if it passes and will see what the final language of the bill is,” said Caldwell.

I pressed and asked Caldwell if this is a new position for McDonnell, if he was backing off a bit as his statement suggested. Mr. Caldwell flatly said, “No, he’s generally a pro-life candidate, I don’t think we are being inconsistent.” (Generally?)

Caldwell refused to say if Governor McDonnell would sign the state-sanctioned rape bill or not.

Chris Christie vetoing marriage equality in New Jersey is one man standing against a turning tide that puts him in good steed for the vice presidency, that is, providing Romney wins Michigan. Compare Gov. Christie to Gov. McDonnell, another veep hopeful, and Transvaginal Probe guy Bob looks like the perfect veep for Rick Santorum. Though he could ease the mind of religious conservatives, always ready to commit state violence against women, if Romney ends up winning.

The quest for the Republican nomination has become a contest based on extremes, as in the right-wing primary voter can pick their pet cultural peeve and someone will feed that proclivity.

As serendipity would have it, Joyce Arnold wrote about another aspect of “Wrecking Ball” today. I assign stories, topics and subjects to people who are guest writers here; unlike many other new media sites. Joyce’s beat is obvious, when she’s not railing against the oligarchy and the two party system she’s taking on the points raised so well by Occupy, with her signature “Queer Talk” column on Saturday. However, she and I didn’t plan like-minded posts on Bruce Springsteen’s new album, they simply rose to the top of our minds separately through the same UK Guardian article.

To say I revere Bruce Springsteen’s place in the pantheon of American music is not putting it mildly. We’ll have to wait to hear the whole CD, but the spirit behind “Wrecking Ball,” as described so far, fits a piece of art hitting its perfect political moment in time.

As a deeply spiritual Episcopalian, however rebellious in practice, what Mr. Santorum has been saying on the campaign trail is outrageous, so when I heard the quote above I wasn’t surprised.

In a discussion on “UP with Chris Hayes” this weekend, there was a glaring omission, in my opinion. One of the reasons Protestantism has declined is because of the sexual revolution and women’s freedoms manifesting. Most churches have not bothered to modernize and adjust to the economic and personal shift in women’s lives, which have been tectonic. The rise of women’s economic and personal freedoms has thrown religious institutions into a panic.

It’s notable that Rick Santorum doesn’t mention what the pedophilia catastrophe inside the Catholic Church has done to throw light on the celibacy dictate. With men in the highest positions covering for their own for years, it’s offensive women remain ostracized from Catholic Church leadership simply because they are female. Oh, women are welcome, but only as part of the laity.

Contrary to The Atlantic article that created a furor recently, there are obvious reasons parts of America are getting more conservative, while our country clearly is not. The information in the article coincides with the declining work availability for men and the competition of women, I think, which has spurred a growth in traditional and evangelical church interest, as well as Mormonism, among religious conservatives.

But it’s also about a stacked deck and two political parties beholden to Wall Street and big corporations, big money and inside interests over all else.

It’s about a withering middle class with no strap to stairway to the middle class.

It’s about the place writers, musicians and other artists play in our society, which is an important one when the art meets a political topic that resonates with a moment in history.

“Wrecking ball” is exactly what independent-minded people, no matter the political party, need to take to religious conservatives in the 2012 election season. People who think they have a right to strip women of our fundamental human right to control our own life, which starts with our body. People who think gays are unequal. Religious conservatives who think the First Amendment is for religious institutions, but not the individual.

It’s about a political war on women taking place in state after state that is threatening the freedom of the majority voting populace, which is being waged by religious conservatives who feel they’ve lost a grip on America and want to put us all back in our place.

Last time Phyllis Schlafly and the fundamentalists won. But it’s the 21st century now and this time they won’t. In fact, they’ve already lost, they just don’t know it yet.

Bruce Bartlett on Where the Right Went Wrong from on Vimeo.

TM NOTE: A draft of this column was inadvertently made live during editing process, so rewrite of this piece was public. A Stupid Tech Mistake on my part, apologies.

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5 Responses to Taking a ‘Wrecking Ball’ to Religious Conservatism in Politics

  1. secularhumanizinevoluter February 20, 2012 at 6:39 pm #

    “People who think gays are unequal. Religious conservatives who think the First Amendment is for religious institutions, but not the individual.

    It’s about taking a wrecking ball to candidates like Rick Santorum who believe his faith makes him superior, something that would be extremely dangerous if given the power of the presidency, which the majority of women in this country, from all political stripes, will make certain does not happen.”

    I know I’m sounding like a broken record but the truth has an annoying habit of doing that. As long as we engage in this superstitionbased magical thinking called religion we are screwed. Today it happens to be magical thinking that we like…tomorrow the venom and hate of santorum/mittens and the repugnantklaner/teabagger base.

    Free your mind. Approach life and all around you from the reality based universe and treat each other like members of the same tribe and species…cause we are.

    And if you can’t do that and must cling to the invisible friend in the sky…at least RESPECT THE FRACKING CONSTITUTION!

  2. Ga6thDem February 20, 2012 at 7:58 pm #

    I think you’re right that religious conservatives have lost and I think they know it. They already have admitted that they are losing the gay marriage issue.

  3. Joyce Arnold February 20, 2012 at 9:51 pm #

    Unplanned that we both were looking at “Wrecking Ball” and making connections, but cool that we did.

    Having been the target of the “religious right,” most specifically as a lesbian, but also as a woman and as a liberal, for however many years, I’ve paid close attention. That’s been necessary, in part, in order to oppose what they so clearly want to impose — their own faith perspective — and in part for self-protection purposes. Of the many negative, hurtful things done by some of these people is this: they’ve succeeded quite well, in the U.S., in becoming the “face” and “voice” of Christianity in general, when in fact, many who identify as Christian do not share their interpretations. Allowing them to define what it “means” to be a Christian is giving them power to do even more harm.

    It’s been obvious for some time now that they know that fewer people are accepting their interpretations. Most likely that’s a big part of the reason some keep pushing the extremes even further out. It isn’t new in their theology — that the “homosexuals” are bad, women should be controlled, etc. Some of the voice messages I got a decade or more ago were as ugly and extreme as anything I hear now. But what has changed, I think and I hope, is that more people are speaking out and challenging their right to impose their beliefs on others.

    • Taylor Marsh February 20, 2012 at 10:19 pm #

      I know!  Thought about postponing it for another day, but then just decided to let serendipity rein.

      I keep looking at gas prices & other events surrounding the hike. A lot hasn’t yet played out in this election season.

      The Supreme Court decisions coming down could get very interesting.

  4. mrpister February 21, 2012 at 2:04 pm #

    lately I’ve begun to wonder if the Cold War had its good points (if the Cold War had any).  By that I mean that since the “fall of communism” in 1989, the Masters of the Universe burst forth in righteous piety to lecture the former Soviet nations as to how an economy should be run.  The enonomic geniuses of the 1920′s, reborn now with a religious zeal are freed of any big thinking and can concentrate on all the little stuff that matters (to them).  Once we were forced to look beyond the horizons of the oceans.  Now we get to play with the water in the toilet.

    It’s as if the intellectual jacket once worn by the United States is now just way too big…there is no one to fill it.  So, the new emphasis is on those things just BEGGING us to return to an 18th century ideal.  Whereby there were no gays (they just dare not exist), women were barefoot and obedient, and labor was something that while necessary to build empires, would have no seat at any decent banquet table.

    This may be an aside, but it amazes me that now, in 2012, the answer to a collapsed economy is austerity.  Shortly after World War II, Harry Truman was presented with the stark choice of either resurrecting the economies of Greece and Turkey, or allow the Soviet Union to take over by default.  Now, the EU (or the Banks, to be more accurate) are deliberately bringing Greece back to what it was in 1946.  Would the Masters of the Universe be getting away with this if there still were a Soviet Union?

    And so it goes with social issues.  We’re being reminded, a la Orwell’s Animal Farm, that everyone is not created equal.  Therefore we should revel in inequality, whether it be economic, gender, race, or sexual preference in nature.  By yearning for the days of old, the neo-puritans are tossing red herrings from a barrel as fast as they can.  The damage done by inequality is covered over with this pseudo outrage.  “Religious Freedom” my ass.  The dominance of a religious belief through government is one of the goals of these people.  And most Americans are asleep at the wheel.

    A modern day “conservative” has a dried up prune for a heart, and a peanut for a brain.

.... a writer is someone who takes the universal whore of language
and turns her into a virgin again.  ~ erica jong