About the Name of this blog

This blog's title refers to a Dani fable recounted by Robert Gardner. The Dani live in the highlands of New Guinea, and at the the time he studied them, they lived in one of the only remaining areas in the world un-colonized by Europeans.

The Dani, who Gardner identifies only as a "Mountain People," in the film "The Dead Birds," have a myth that states there was once a great race between a bird and a snake to determine the lives of human beings. The question that would be decided in this race was, "Should men shed their skins and live forever like snakes, or die like birds?" According to the mythology, the bird won the race, and therefore man must die.

In the spirit of ethnographic analysis, this blog will examine myth, society, culture and architecture, and hopefully examine issues that make us human. As with any ethnography, some of the analysis may be uncomfortable to read, some of it may challenge your preconceptions about the world, but hopefully, all of it will enlighten and inform.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

What Would a Right Wing Christian Nation Look Like?


There would be very little difference between an America made in the mould of the religious right and Afghanistan under the Taliban.  The only major difference would be the Burqa.

I understand that is a very offensive statement.  It is offensive because most Americans believe the dominant religion of the country is Good and Righteous.  It is even more offensive because it is true.

Let’s examine some of the truths espoused by the religious right and their impact on the United States if they got the power to enact them.  I’ll start with the low hanging fruit.

Abortion – This would be outlawed, even in cases of rape, incest, and to save the life of the mother.  Some man forced himself on you; sorry, you must have your rapist’s baby.  Your dad and uncle raped you, too bad, have the baby.  Your pregnancy will kill you, that’s life, at least you have a few weeks to say goodbye. 

As an example of just how extreme this anti-abortion movement is, consider this.  For years federal abortion funding laws have permitted exemptions for rape.  In the current congress they are trying to remove that exemption. From an article on this issue:

“Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), introduced a proposal that the rape exemption be limited to “forcible rape.” This would rule out federal assistance for abortions in many rape cases, including instances of statutory rape, many of which are non-forcible. For example: If a 13-year-old girl is impregnated by a 24-year-old adult, she would no longer qualify to have Medicaid pay for an abortion.  Other types of rapes that would no longer be covered by the exemption include rapes in which the woman was drugged or given excessive amounts of alcohol, rapes of women with limited mental capacity, and many date rapes.”

Apparently, unless a woman is beaten into submission, she asked for it.  Isn’t it nice when you can blame the victim?  And again, the general thought about rape is that the woman is asking for it if she gets raped.  I would like to remind you of Kathleen Passidomo’s statement, “There was an article about an 11 year old girl who was gang-raped in Texas by 18 young men because she was dressed up like a 21-year-old prostitute.”

Moving on.

Contraception – Alabama is attempting to enact a life begins at the moment of conception law, known as Personhood.  Colorado has twice defeated the same law because it literally outlaws any form of contraception that acts on a fertilized egg.  This includes the morning after pill, the regular pill and even IUD devices.  The only option available for women to control their own fertility would be a diaphragm, which is as unreliable as a condom; devices that are also under attack from the religious right.

From the Chicago Tribune:
“…an increasingly vocal group of Christian conservatives is arguing that it's time to mount a concerted attack on contraception." Anti-abortion activist Joseph Scheidler's argues that "Contraception is more the root cause of abortion than anything else."

Try to wrap your brain around that logic.

Continuing on to the third issue in unholy trinity of thought that you must ascribe to in order to be a good Christian conservative.

Homosexuality – Forget the discussions on gay marriage or Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, many modern evangelicals want to re-outlaw homosexuality.  It is not only in Uganda where “Kill the Gays” bills are introduced.  Merrill Keiser, Jr., a DEMOCRAT (really, I can’t believe it either) ran a primary campaign against Senator Sherrod Brown advocating capital punishment against homosexuals.  "Just like we have laws against murder, we have laws against stealing, we have laws against taking drugs -- we should have laws against immoral conduct," Keiser says.

Even when not advocating killing homosexuals, many leading Republicans advocate returning homosexuality to a criminal status.  The Montana GOP has that as part of their party platform.  Then there’s Rick Santorum who said,

“We have laws in states, like the one at the Supreme Court right now, that has sodomy laws and they were there for a purpose. Because, again, I would argue, they undermine the basic tenets of our society and the family. And if the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything. Does that undermine the fabric of our society? I would argue yes, it does.”

This is a candidate for President of the United States of America.  You can Google this statement, just don’t do it at work or around anyone else, because the results of a Google search on Santorum are not exactly acceptable in any sort of environment.

And by the way, if we don’t have the right to consensual sex in the home, where can we have it?

Which leads to the next tenant of the Religious Right.

No sex – except for procreation, and within the bounds of heterosexual marriage.  This includes pre-marital sex, affairs, or just recreational sex.  Forget abstinence only education, how about an abstinence only life?

From the Seattle newspaper:
“Extramarital sex and sex outside marriage should be made illegal and prosecuted, according to a nominee for the Alaska Judicial Council, which nominates state judges.  Don Haase of Valdez, a former president of the right-wing Eagle Forum of Alaska, was nominated to the post by Alaska’s Republican Gov. Sean Parnell.”
Let’s take government out of your lives and put it back in the bedroom where it belongs.  Without Telescreens and Thought Police, how will they monitor this?  I guess eliminating Big Government means something different to these people.

Now onto the truly Talibanesque concepts.

Women’s Rights – Forget them.  They are not acceptable in a biblically based America.  As Michelle Bachman (another Presidential Candidate, where do they find them, under a rock?) said “The Lord says be submissive. Wives, you are to be submissive to your husbands."  And this woman wants to lead the free world.  What if her husband tells her, no you can’t enact a progressive tax policy. (like she actually would.)  Would she submit to her husband like the bible orders her to?  Would she be a puppet leader?

That isn’t the scariest attack on women’s rights though.  This is from the From the Institute of First Amendment Studies and talks about the highly popular Promise Keepers Movement:

“In Seven Promises of a Promise Keeper Tony Evans admonishes men to "take back" the leadership of their homes from their wives, saying that "there can be no compromise" on this issue. Women are instructed to submit to their husbands, "for the sake of your family and the survival of our culture."

PKers are told that women want to be dominated by men in an affectionate paternalism. In 1993, when Dobson addressed a PK rally, he hailed his audience as "50,000 hairy-chested testosterone-driven males," and told them, "Nothing matters more to a godly woman than that a man accept spiritual leadership for her and her children."

His sentiments are echoed in PK-endorsed publications, which tell women that they were created by God for male enjoyment. The book Promises, Promises: Understanding and Encouraging Your Husband, is sold at PK stadium events and contains essays by wives of twelve prominent Christian leaders, many of them PK supporters. It characterizes Eve and all women since as "gift[s]" from God "designed especially" for men.”

Women may not have to wear the Burqa, but they will have to submit to their husbands in all things.  Is this America?

And the best for last.

This is a Christian Nation – This is the core of all of the others.  The religious right wants to make this a Christian Nation.  There have been calls in South Carolina to secede again to form the Christian States of America.  Others have set their eyes on a higher prize: making Christianity the National Religion.

From Politics USA:
According to David Barton, we’ve been getting it all wrong, folks. The First Amendment didn’t establish freedom of religion; it established Christianity as the official religion of the United States, even though it says “”Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”

If you aren’t a Christian, beware.  This from Mother Jones Magazine:

Last week, legislators in Tennessee introduced a radical bill that would make "Material support" for Islamic law punishable by 15 years in prison. The proposal marks a dramatic new step in the conservative campaign against Muslim-Americans. If passed, critics say even seemingly benign activities like re-painting the exterior of a mosque or bringing food to a potluck could be classified as a felony.

The Tennessee bill, SB 1028, didn't come out of nowhere. Though it's the first of its kind, the bill is part of a wave of related measures that would ban state courts from enforcing Sharia law. (A court might refer to Sharia law in child custody or prisoner rights cases.) Since early 2010, such legislation has been considered in at least 15 states.

And while fears of an impending caliphate are myriad on the far-right, the surge of legislation across the country is largely due to the work of one man: David Yerushalmi, an Arizona-based white supremacist who has previously called for a "war against Islam" and tried to criminalize adherence to the Muslim faith.

Tennessee's SB 1028 goes much further, defining traditional Islamic law as counter to constitutional principles, and authorizing the state's attorney general to freeze the assets of organizations that have been determined to be promoting or supporting Sharia. On Monday, CAIR and the ACLU called for lawmakers to defeat the bill.
But it's not just Muslims who draw Yerushalmi's scorn. In a 2006 essay for SANE entitled On Race: A Tentative Discussion (pdf), Yerushalmi argued that whites are genetically superior to blacks. "Some races perform better in sports, some better in mathematical problem solving, some better in language, some better in Western societies and some better in tribal ones," he wrote.

Yerushalmi has suggested that Caucasians are inherently more receptive to republican forms of government than blacks—an argument that's consistent with SANE's mission statement, which emphasizes that "America was the handiwork of faithful Christians, mostly men, and almost entirely white." And in an article published at the website Intellectual Conservative, Yerushalmi, who is Jewish, suggests that liberal Jews "destroy their host nations like a fatal parasite." Unsurprisingly, then, Yerushalmi offered the lone Jewish defense of Mel Gibson, after the actor’s anti-Semitic tirade in 2006. Gibson, he wrote, was simply noting the "undeniable Jewish liberal influence on western affairs in the direction of a World State."

Despite his racist views, Yerushalmi has been warmly received by mainstream conservatives; his work has appeared in the National Review and Andrew Breitbart's Big Peace. He's been lauded in the pages of the Washington Times. And in 2008, he published a paper on the perils of Sharia-compliant finance that compelled Sen. Minority Whip John Kyl (R-Ariz.) to write a letter to Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Chris Cox.

And these are the people trying to take control of the United States?  If they gain power, would this even be America anymore?

Under this vision of this country, there would be no abortion, no contraception, no homosexuality, all of which could be punished by jail or even death.  Not only would women have few rights, they would be required to submit to their husbands.  (And trust me, they would have to have one, if only to avoid being denounced as a Lesbian)  Finally, you would have to be Christian.  Non-Christians, if they were even permitted to be here would be reduced to a second class citizen status. 

And if you are a Christian, you need to ask yourself, would you be considered the right kind of Christian.  (And if you’ve read this blog post this far, you probably are not.) 

It is time to throw off this kind of thinking.  This is a free country, there is Freedom of Religion.  As such the far right can spew this kind of hate.  However, their rights end at my body, at my mind and my soul.  It is time for us to reject the Medieval thinking that fundamentalist propaganda espouses.

One last thing, after researching this blog, and searching the terms that I used to find my documentation, Google now thinks I am a Republican. With their tracking system, every search I do now leads me to evangelical sites.  I think it was the last search I did on making this a Christian Nation.  I don't even want to think what the Santorum search did to the database.  I’m off to Google tons of info on Quantum Physics and evolution to try to clear the system. 

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