To change the way things are we need to understand why at any given moment about a third of our population doesn't care about what is true -- or even fact-based -- but instead live life informed by self-reinforcing beliefs which are proudly non fact-based and rooted in deep-seated resentment that can't be cured because what is resented never actually happened.
These people resist facts in particular and have a loathing of education in general. They act within their own reality proudly maintained within an impenetrable Right Wing Echo Chamber. Here's the latest example:
According to the AP news reports out June 4 June 4, 2010
"Christian Conservatives Target Seated Judges"
SAN DIEGO -- A group of conservative attorneys say they are on a mission from God to unseat four California judges in a rare challenge that is turning a traditionally snooze-button election into what both sides call a battle for the integrity of U.S. courts.
Vowing to be God's ambassadors on the bench, the four San Diego Superior Court candidates are backed by pastors, gun enthusiasts, and opponents of abortion and same-sex marriages."We believe our country is under assault and needs Christian values," said Craig Candelore, a family law attorney who is one of the group's candidates. "Unfortunately, God has called upon us to do this only with the judiciary."
The challenge is unheard of in California, one of 33 states to directly elect judges....Opponents fear the June 8 race is a strategy that could transform courtroom benches just like some school boards, which have seen an increasing number of Christian conservatives win seats in cities across the country and push for such issues as prayer in classrooms.
"Any organization that wants judges to subscribe to a certain political party or certain value system or certain way of ruling to me threatens the independence of the judiciary," San Diego County's District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis said....
Called "Better Courts Now," the movement was the brainchild of Don Hamer, San Diego County's late Zion Christian Fellowship pastor who campaigned locally for California's ban on gay marriage, Proposition 8, and vetted the candidates before he died of a heart attack in March. His fellow Pastor Brian Hendry and other supporters have carried on his legacy, launching the mostly online campaign to replace the incumbent judges -- all Democrats -- with Christian conservatives.
Backers include El Cajon Gun Exchange, a store that encourages customers to fight for California's gun owners and visit the "Better Courts Now" website before voting. Pastors have vowed to spread the word. Hendry said the group had raised about $2,000 last month...
Candelore said a victory would mark only the beginning: "If we can take our judiciary, we can take our legislature and our executive branch."
The culture wars were (and are) really all about sex.
To understand our present we have to "get" the root cause of the sexual, political and social dysfunction created by fundamentalist religion. Those roots aren't just political--they're personal.
It's the little experiences of millions of children growing up in millions of religious homes that add up to the politics of hate and exclusion. My way of telling the story of what the Religious Right did to America is to fold it into the individual story of my own life in my books like Crazy For God.
It so happens that my father (Francis Schaeffer) and I became leaders in the Religious Right. Then I quit. Judging by the (literally) many thousands of emails I've been sent in the last couple of years in response to my examination of religion and politics (in books like Crazy For God and Patience With God and in my Huffington Post blogs) there are lots of bewildered individuals who, like me, were also raised believing that Every Single Word Of The Bible Is True.
These folks are now staggering through life in the grip of a paranoid nightmare. And many people who aren't religious ask:
1) How did the Religious Loony Tunes get to be this way?
2) How can they be stopped from taking us all with them to La La Land?
The real issue is theocracy verses democracy. Everything else is a footnote. That includes issues such as women's rights and the environment. It was (and is) dumb religion that is the root cause of the rape of the earth and the subjugation of women. Put fundamentalist religion in its place -- in other words in the dustbin of history -- and replace it with humanism, tolerant spirituality and science and we will have gone a long way to solving many other problems.
Since all religious fundamentalists share one thing in common -- intolerance of others because they are sure of being correct -- being a religious fundamentalist of any kind should automatically disqualify a person from political office in the same way that anyone who believes that "Natural Law" supersedes our constitution of Bill of Rights has no place in American law.
What today's fundamentalists share is a literal interpretation of their various scriptures. And all the major (theistic) scriptures -- when taken literally -- sanction barbarity and are fundamentally anti-democratic as well as anti-truth policies. They all demand an allegiance to a "jealous God" (in the Bible's words) to whom fundamentalists owe allegiance over and above their country's constitutions or the rule of law or even common decency.
And that is why everything that came from Dad's and my anti-abortion efforts in the 1970s eventually fed into a movement that no longer believes in the legitimacy of our government and threatens violence not to mention tries to impose awful leadership be that from "Christian" judges to someone like George Bush, elected because he passed the Evangelical's moralistic litmus tests.
This latest round of an attack on our judiciary is just another shot fired in our culture war. If we want an American version of Iran: here's the "blueprint"-- just let the folks at "Better Courts Now," impost their "values."
Those values aren't democratic. They aren't patriotic. They are revolutionary and seek to impose a theocracy.
Frank Schaeffer is a writer and author of Patience with God: Faith for People Who Don't Like Religion (or Atheism)
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