Monday, March 19, 2012

Absolutely Terrifying

Articles like this one make me want to emigrate again; go back to Europe or to Australia or Japan... Or the fuckin' Moon. Someplace where the question of legal abortion as a basic right of a woman has been settled and is not forever used as a mouthwash of whoever is the political flavor of the week

http://freethoughtblogs.com/lovejoyfeminism/2012/03/19/my-rights-as-a-pregnant-woman-or-the-lack-thereof/

I cannot describe how viscerally I despise religious fundamentalists.

In fact, while I recognize and appreciate an individual's need for spirituality, I have a deep, deep distaste for all organized religion (yes, I understand that going to church does not equate with being a nutcase and that there are plenty of decent people who would never think of encroaching on other people's lives and freedoms.)

The USA was supposed to be the most progressive place on Earth, the leader of the free world. Instead, it increasingly appears to be a backwater cesspool  of religious fanaticism, with misogyny and xenophobia that come come with it. Why are the nuts allowed a public voice? Where are all the reasonable people? The answer "They are there but they are too nice so you cannot hear them because the crazies are so much louder" is just not acceptable.

For those not familiar with Hammel on Trial,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamell_on_Trial

http://www.hamelltv.com/

here's a bit that comes to mind

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E5NzP_yPaNc&feature=artist

"You take a low road, I'll take a lower road..."

Because being nice and reasonable doesn't seem to be working very well.






17 comments:

Alex said...

The USA was supposed to be the most progressive place on Earth, the leader of the free world. Instead, it increasingly appears to be a backwater cesspool of religious fanaticism.

Actually, many of the early settlers were religious fanatics who wanted to be able to get their fanaticism on without interference.

Why are the nuts allowed a public voice?

The Bill of Rights. (Don't worry, it's mostly null and void at this point, and should be completely null and void within another decade.)

Where are all the reasonable people?

Busy working and/or blogging about more trivial things.

chall said...

I read a piece yesterday (and I can't find it now but i'll keep looking) about all these various legislations working their way threw different state governments right now. Look at Georgia - where they propose that women should keep the still born fetus inside of them until "natural delivey" since "that's how the pigs and cows do it"....

As for progressive... ehh... not as long as you mix it with "religious fundamentalists". They are never progressvie, never mind if they call themselves christians, buddist or muslims.

(note, I'm calling myself a christian, but a progressive liberal chirstian. Anyway...)

chall said...

I read a piece yesterday (and I can't find it now but i'll keep looking) about all these various legislations working their way threw different state governments right now. Look at Georgia - where they propose that women should keep the still born fetus inside of them until "natural delivey" since "that's how the pigs and cows do it"....

As for progressive... ehh... not as long as you mix it with "religious fundamentalists". They are never progressvie, never mind if they call themselves christians, buddist or muslims.

(note, I'm calling myself a christian, but a progressive liberal chirstian. Anyway...)

Alex said...

Less flippant reply:

Historians tell me that the US has gone through ups and downs of religious fervor over the past 230 years. That shouldn't be very comforting, because the ups and downs can span decades and have very real consequences in those decades. However, it does mean that what we're seeing can be reversed over time, for however much or little that's worth.

This is a particularly interesting time, because this time conservative Protestants and conservative Catholics seem to be very much on the same side. In previous generations there was significant theological and tribal mistrust between the groups. On the other side are secularists of every sort, moderate Christians, Muslims of every sort, most Jews*, and (for obvious reasons) adherents less numerous minority religions.

Also, there's significant immigration of Hispanics, who are predominantly Catholic. Traditional Catholics are very much on the side of evangelicals on (most) reproductive matters, but views on societal safety nets and militant adventurism are very different. At this point the Catholics are the junior partners in the religious coalition, but depending on how long this wave of religious fervor lasts, Hispanic immigration could have a substantial impact. What that impact is will depend on how the new coalitions form in this changing society.

We live in interesting times.

*Many conservative Protestants are fervently pro-Israel, but that's not quite the same as being favorable towards the lifestyles of devout Jews in the US. And many Jews in the US are wary of socio-political alliances with people who want a whole bunch of Jews gathered in Israel so that the End Times can come about, complete with an apocalyptic war in the Middle East and the return of Jesus to smite all non-Christians.

chall said...

Found it: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/soraya-chemaly/womens-reproductive-rights_b_1345214.html

I might not agree with it all, but it's pretty sad reading to see it summarized like that.

pramod said...

My unscientific explanation, having lived through a few ups and downs in religious fundamentalism in India is that people turn to religious wingnuts when the economic outlook is bleak. The problem is that this is a self-sustaining system because religious wingnuts (with a few exceptions) aren't very good at fixing the economy.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if I agree with everything in that HuffPost article either, but good summary of the madness.

"This is not about freedom of religion. If it were, we would, for example, allow Christian Scientists to refuse to pay for coverage of life-saving blood transfusions for employees. "


I said the same thing recently-why aren't proponents of the law being forced to respond to this excellent point? Are journalists part of the problem?

I understand the frustration of the OP. It's important to try and keep an overview--what the heck is going on? Otherwise we get drawn into the madness.

For example, I am in evolutionary biology and I know it is important to fight the forces that are increasingly trying to keep acceptance of evolution out of the schools. But something seems really off about the fact that we are even having a discussion about using the bible as a biology textbook!?

After a while having the conversation starts to seem normal, that is the real danger.

Cherish said...

There is an up side: the fact that all of these are happening is quickly eroding the GOP power base, and even GOP supporters are starting to think Obama makes more sense than anyone in their own party.

The real question is if that will continue into the voting booth. I sure hope so, as I, too, am sick of the nutcases.

Anonymous said...

Just reacting to the "where are all the reasonable people" point. I am an active member of some organized Christian denomination, and actually a fairly conservative one, and I fully support your point, your emotions, and your anger. I do not quite understand how it is even possible that they (those who call themselves "christians" there in the TV) do what they do, and say what they say. But that is the point - they are much more vocal not because they are smarter, or more educated, or more correct in anything they say, but because their "position" gets support. The whole "christianity" thing, the whole religion thing in general is just a disguise. People want to feel righteous, especially if it comes at the expense of others. And making an anti-abortion law is one of the easiest ways to achieve this wonderful goal. Especially for a male (I am male, so I can understand that).

There's nothing new about that. If you want to feel good about yourself - find somebody who is weaker than you, convince yourself that they are evil, and then fight them! This way you will always win, just by design. A very adaptive strategy!

To sum up: I fully support you, and I insiste that the problem is not with the religion itself. By the way, it is really hard to be religions in America this days, seriously. Almost on a daily basis you have to explain to somebody that you don't actually participate in a witch hunt, do believe in evolution, etc. etc. People are weird here =(

Anonymous said...

"The USA was supposed to be the most progressive place on Earth,"

As a native USian, this always puzzled me. How did we get that reputation, when *this* is how we behave?

GMP said...

Anon at 6:41 PM, it's Hollywood: most of what the world sees are popular movies that largely depict life in big cities. I think most people who have never lived in the US have absolutely no clue how religious the populace actually is. For my husband and me this was definitely the most shocking component of the "cultural shock".

Anonymous said...

"The USA was supposed to be the most progressive place on Earth,"


Lets see, last developed country to ban slavery, last OECD country to ban racial segregation. I think the actual record has always been a patchwork of advances (woman suffrage) and missteps (like the recent Arizona laws or the patriot act) so much so as to make the claim of "most progressive nation" rather meaningless, if not altogether false.

Anonymous said...

"The USA was supposed to be the most progressive place on Earth,"


Lets see, last developed country to ban slavery, last OECD country to ban racial segregation. I think the actual record has always been a patchwork of advances (woman suffrage) and missteps (like the recent Arizona laws or the patriot act) so much so as to make the claim of "most progressive nation" rather meaningless, if not altogether false.

Alex said...

Regarding us being latecomers to outlawing slavery and racial segregation:

You know how Communist countries have official names that make it sound like they're trying too hard, i.e. "The People's Free and Democratic Republic of Lower Whatsitstan"? Our incessant talk of freedom, and our talk of exceptionalism, are sort of similar. We talk quite loudly about freedom and principles and democracy, probably more loudly than most countries. Though we are hardly the only country to practice political ancestor worship, our near-deification of the Founders is pretty intense.

The elites of both parties in this country support the erosion of civil liberties in the War on Terror, but one party pretends that they support these things only in narrow, carefully-considered cases, while the other is quite open and proud about how expansive the infringements are. That party is the same one that talks the most loudly about "limited government."

Again, they're trying too hard.

Anonymous said...

"it's Hollywood..."

Aha. So Hollywood's US is not just "wishful thinking," but "deceptive advertising" and perhaps even "entrapment?" A scary thought.

I'd offer that, in my experience, the relevant cultural divide is somewhat by region as well as by city/rural; the far West Coast and New England and even "The Rust Belt" are less religious (or less churched, less organized-ly religious, less authoritarian-ly godly) than the Old South and the Midwest and so on. I find those latter regions rather culture-shock-y myself; suddenly it's not "safe" to leave the cities.

Anonymous said...

Regarding "what the US is like". There is some very interesting data regarding population density and voting patterns. Basically there's a pretty big Urban - Suburban - Rural divide. Urban and rural areas can really seem like different worlds, even when they are in the same state.

Also I agree that tough economic times correlate with an uprise in religious fundamentalism. People are looking for answers, it is presented as one.

Anonymous said...

I don't think it's bleak economic outlook that increases fundamentalism. We're in a recession now, but the last 20 years in the US have been pretty much the opposite of "bleak" for most people. (And yes, I know that middle class incomes are stagnating, and that economic inequality is growing rapidly. Despite that, people are by and large able to lead very comfortable lives.)

My alternate hypothesis is that religious fundamentalism rises when it seems like society is about to stop being religious. It's a fight-or-flight response, and they've chosen to fight. All the societal trends are against religious fundamentalism, so they're asserting themselves as strongly as they can.