As I’ve found from reading comments on this site, non-Americans are continually astonished by the extreme degree of both religiosity and idiocy of Republicans in America. Without living here, it’s hard to apprehend how soaked in God our country really is. And if you do live here, it’s so common that you barely notice it. If you want a graphic demonstration, here’s a two-hour-plus video of the “Thanksgiving Family Forum,” a meeting of six Republican presidential candidates in Iowa. They include
Congresswoman Michele Bachmann
[ex] Speaker Newt Gingrich
Congressman Ron Paul
Texas Governor Rick Perry
Senator Rick Santorum
Start at 36 minutes in if you want to skip the opening prayers, Pledge of Allegiance, and other religious and and patriotic requisites and get right to the insanity of the candidates themselves.
Or, better yet, just skip the video and read Rick Saletan’s piece in Slate, “Rule of the Lord,” which summarizes what these politicians have in mind for America. Here are a few salient quotes:
What we are seeing is a wider gap between people of faith and people of nonfaith. … Those of us that are people of faith and strong faith have allowed the nonfaith element to intimidate us into not fighting back. I believe we’ve been too passive. We have maybe pushed back, but as people of faith, we have not fought back.
Somebody’s values are going to decide what the Congress votes on or what the president of the United States is going to deal with. And the question is: Whose values? And let me tell you, it needs to be our values—values and virtues that this country was based upon in Judeo-Christian founding fathers . . . in every person’s heart, in every person’s soul, there is a hole that can only be filled by the Lord Jesus Christ.
American exceptionalism is grounded on the Judeo-Christian ethic, which is really based upon the 10 Commandments. The 10 Commandments were the foundation for our law. That’s what Blackstone said—the English jurist—and our founders looked to Blackstone for the foundation of our law. That’s our law . . . I have a biblical worldview. And I think, going back to the Declaration of Independence, the fact that it’s God who created us—if He created us, He created government. And the government is on His shoulders, as the book of Isaiah says.
Unlike Islam, where the higher law and the civil law are the same, in our case, we have civil laws. But our civil laws have to comport with the higher law. … As long as abortion is legal—at least according to the Supreme Court—legal in this country, we will never have rest, because that law does not comport with God’s law. . . The idea that the only things that the states are prevented from doing are only things specifically established in the Constitution is wrong. Our country is based on a moral enterprise. Gay marriage is wrong. As Abraham Lincoln said, the states do not have the right to do wrong. … As a president, I will get involved, because the states do not have the right to undermine the basic, fundamental values that hold this country together.
And Newt Gingrich, who argues that we should abolish the courts’ power to review the constitutionality of laws:
I am intrigued with something which Robby George at Princeton has come up with, which is an interpretation of the 14th Amendment, in which it says that Congress shall define personhood. That’s very clearly in the 14th Amendment. And part of what I would like to explore is whether or not you could get the Congress to pass a law which simply says: Personhood begins at conception. And therefore—and you could, in the same law, block the court and just say, ‘This will not be subject to review,’ which we have precedent for. You would therefore not have to have a constitutional amendment, because the Congress would have exercised its authority under the 14th Amendment to define life, and to therefore undo all of Roe vs. Wade, for the entire country, in one legislative action.
Don’t think for a moment that if religious candidates like these get the upper hand, they won’t do everything in their power to convert their religious values into laws that apply to all of us. And accommodationists wonder why we’re so hard on religious belief! Because, of course, only rarely is such belief a purely private matter. If you think you have God-given truth and morality, it’s almost imperative that you try to impose your values on everyone else, including those who disagree. It’s the Inquisition in latter-day form.
If one of these Republican clowns get elected, it will require the complicity of the religious “moderates” we’re supposed to coddle. Remember that not everyone supporting these people is a fundamentalist or Biblical literalist.
h/t: Tom C.