During the recent (2012) American election campaign, several Republican (GOP)/Tea Party candidates got some (probably) unwanted publicity by making out-of-the-box and extreme comments with Religious Right Wing overtones on topics such as church and state; legitimate rape; rape and God’s plan; same-sex marriage; the literal creation-in-six-days Bible, and so on. Not that extreme out-of-the-box worldviews were confined to politicians and wannabe politicians. There are a whole potful of organisations and individuals from shock-jock media personalities, news commentators, televangelists, and lots more who routinely come out with outrageous foot-in-mouth and extreme Right Wing points of view, nearly always with a Christian religious slant. I learned a lot about the extreme Right Wing by following the US election campaign unfolding. Here’s my summation based on what exposure I had over those many, many, many endless months while the campaign coverage was in full swing.
The Religious Right aren’t going to pay any attention to this, but no matter, here goes.
What are the issues the extreme Religious Right are frothing at the mouth about and is it cosmically significant?
The Literal Bible:
Their Point of View: Since the Bible is the infallible God’s Holy Word, all Biblical Books, Chapters and Verses; all versions of the Bible; all translations of the Bible; were under His Almighty editorship, and therefore, how can you not take the Bible literally. If God says that life, the universe and everything were created in six days, then that’s absolute fact. If God says that the first man was made from dust and the first woman from that man’s rib, you’d better believe it. If Genesis relates that Lot’s wife was turned into a pillar of salt, it was so (and if the Bible says it was so, it was so and you could sprinkle her onto your fish-and-chips). If the Bible acknowledges the existence of unicorns, then unicorns exist (or existed). And so on and so forth from Genesis to Revelation.
My Point of View: All you need to do is find one logical contradiction, one fallacy, one bit that goes so against the grain; that being the case, the entire Biblical house of cards has to come tumbling down. Let’s just say that entire books have been written pointing out in exquisite detail Biblical contradictions, fallacies, and untruths that only Blind Freddy with an absolutely closed mind (my mind is made up, don’t confuse me with facts) can fail to acknowledge what to everyone else is the bleeding obvious. If, and that’s a big if, God exists, He is not infallible, His memory is faulty, or He didn’t bother to oversee the master editing of His Holy Word. If He couldn’t or wouldn’t ensure Biblical accuracy, well what does that tell you about the bona fides of the Almighty?
Their Point of View: Since God created life, the universe and everything in roughly the year 4004 BCE, and since God created all life forms in the form to which we see them today, then the entire concept of natural selection and biological evolution is nonsense. There’s not enough time for evolution to have happened. There is no need to evolve a giraffe since God created the giraffe. Since God created Homo sapiens there is no need to postulate that human beings evolved from apes. Evolution is all absolute rubbish.
My Point of View: I fail to see what is so hard for anyone to comprehend here. Evolutionary theory should be obvious to even blind Freddy (a synonym for the Religious Right). The logic is ironclad. Parents (of any species) give rise to offspring that are NOT identical to themselves. That in itself is evolution – a change. Some of those offspring may be better adapted to survive long enough to reproduce more offspring in turn vis-à-vis some of their brothers and sisters. Those ever so slightly better able to reproduce will pass on more likely as not some of those positive features to more offspring than their less adapted siblings. Over time, those better adapted leave behind more descendents than those less well adapted who leave behind fewer offspring. That sort of feedback mechanism ensures evolution, which is just change over time. Evolutionary theory is however backed up by physical evidence; fossil evidence for starters, not to mention firsthand eyeball observations of evolutionary change happening in the here and now.
Their Point of View: Life, the universe and everything is so perfectly constructed and interrelated like some fitted together zillion piece jigsaw puzzle that only a Supreme Deity could have pulled it off and put it together. A clock requires a clockmaker; or as Fred Hoyle put it, a tornado doesn’t rip through a junkyard and assembles a Boeing 747.
My Point of View: The fallacy here is the assumption that there was total chaos (an unassembled jigsaw puzzle; clock parts lying on a bench; a junkyard that had all the bits and pieces necessary for a Boeing 747) and then a snap of the intelligent design fingers and low and behold a zillion piece jigsaw puzzle is assembled; a clock starts ticking away; a Boeing 747 is all fuelled up and ready for takeoff. Forgotten in this equation is is time, and lots of it and probability theory. If you sit down at the poker table, you’re not likely to be dealt a Royal Flush, but by manipulation of what you throw away and what you gain, you increase the odds of ending up with one. That’s evolution, from chaos to finished product. Then too, over the course of a lifetime and thousands of games and hundreds of thousands of hands, the odds of you getting dealt a Royal Flush right off the bat increase. It will probably happen, if not to you then to someone else, like your opponent. Time and probability help turn chaos into complexity. There’s a long, long, long chain of events twixt chaos and a Boeing 747, and a lot of time required, like 13.7 billion years worth. That’s hardly a quick snap of the intelligent design fingers. In any case, any scientist can easily point out that that zillion piece jigsaw puzzle not only has a few pieces missing but some pieces haven’t been assembled intelligently at all. If a perfect God created a perfect human being (intelligent design), how come many of us acquire back troubles?
Their Point of View: Same-sex relations of a sexual nature are unnatural and God doesn’t like it (probably because you can’t do your ‘be fruitful and multiple’ thingy bit).
My Point of View: My position is that what two (or more) consenting adults do behind closed doors is none of my business. It has no bearing on my life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. What two married adults, same sex or opposite sexes, do behind closed doors is none of my business. Ditto that life, liberty and happiness bit. The only issue I haven’t quite come to terms with is whether same-sex couples should raise children. In theory it shouldn’t matter; in actual practice, given the realities of human culture and society and worldviews, all else being equal, it might be better if children weren’t raised in a same-sex atmosphere, but I’m still fence-sitting on that.
Equality in Marriage
Their Point of View: Marriage is between one man and one woman – full stop. All else is an abomination in the eyes of God.
My Point of View: If two men, or two women, wish to marry, it’s no skin off my back. Different strokes for different folks, that’s my motto.
Their Point of View: Contraception/Birth Control is an attempt to thwart God’s ‘be fruitful and multiply’ commandment and therefore it is a no-no.
My Point of View: Some couples don’t want kids (shock, horror, blasphemy). Some couples cannot afford kids. Some couples have jobs and lifestyles not suited to parenthood or raising a family. Which is the better option, no conception in the first place and an unwanted child in poverty that’s ignored, or conception in the first place with no grief on down the line? Besides, if you’re not bringing a new life into the world, at least you’re not condemning that non-life to an eventual death.
Their Point of View: A human life starts at the moment of conception. Therefore, abortion, a post-conception act, must be murder, which God forbids (though God kills Himself, but that’s another topic).
My Point of View: Until such time as a foetus has a reasonable chance of surviving outside of the womb, the foetus is part of the anatomy of the mother. The mother has the right to decide about what happens to her own anatomy. Abortion is okay. Once that foetus crosses the threshold, then, unless the life of the women is endangered, no abortion. If the pregnancy isn’t by consent, say via rape, inside or outside of marriage; same distinction. But since the rape induced pregnancy will be known about quite some time before the foetus can survive outside of the womb, the mother can make an informed decision to abort or not abort as she sees fit.
A Woman’s Place
Their Point of View: In the Bible, men and women are not created equal. Therefore, marriage between a man and a woman is not an equal partnership. Women just gotta know their place, which is in the home, barefoot and pregnant, cooking and sewing and providing sex on demand! That’s obvious since in some churches or religious institutions equal opportunity/affirmative action is denied the female of the species. Last I heard the position of Pope was open to men only!
My Point of View: I have no trouble with the concept of the ‘house husband’ or the wife being the ‘bread winner’. Hubby can cook and wash the dishes; the wife can instigate or demand sex on even days of the month; vice versa on odd days. Further, a woman should be given every opportunity to prove that she’s as dumb as the male of the species. Let’s hear it for Pope Mavis the First.
Church and State
Their Point of View: Church and State should be one and the same, with of course Christianity being the sum total of both and the be-all-and-end-all of all things.
My Point of View: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and IMHO, the current American separation of Church and State ain’t broke.
War on Christmas
Their Point of View: Christ is the spirit, meaning and embodiment of Christmas and therefore the two cannot be separated.
My Point of View: The Religious Right object here since in their POV the War on Christmas is the removing of Christ from Christmas. Well, so it should be too, for two reasons – there’s in all probability no connection between the birth of Jesus and the 25th of December; there is no reason to believe that Christ actually ever existed. You cannot have a Christ in Christmas if Christ does not exist and no body has ever proved that Christ ever existed, in the same way as say Alexander the Great, Napoleon, Cleopatra, Joan of Arc or Henry the Eighth have been proved to have existed. Further, there are many with worldviews that exclude Christ (real or otherwise) from their belief systems and who resent having a Christ in Christmas shoved down their throats. And besides, anybody who is anybody and who lives in the real world is fully aware (thanks to January bills) that the spirit, meaning and embodiment of all things Christmas is consumerism and the more of that the better.
Cause and Effect
Their Point of View: The Religious Right Wing tends to make a lot of cause-and-effect assertions which they could never ever in a month-of-Sundays (and then some) prove in any court of law, yet they go on and on and on making these assertions as if these statements were absolute fact. For example:
* Disasters like Hurricane Sandy, Hurricane Katrina, a massive killer tornado outbreak, or any other ‘natural’ act causing death and/or destruction are the direct result of God’s wrath because America (or any other Christian nation) is wicked and has turned her back on the Almighty.
* American soldiers and police officers killed in the line of duty died because God hates fags and America is a fag-loving society, or at least accepts them into society, into the police force and into the military.
* Mass shootings in schools are the direct result of prayer that has been banned from these public institutions.
My Point of View: As I said above, none of this can be proved and ultimately has as much substance and significance to the population as any other fantasy statement presented as fact.
Some Other Looney Points of View
I picked up most of these one-off Religious Right Wing bits throughout 2012.
Their Point of View:
* Church attendance should be as close to compulsory as makes no odds and an atheist tax imposed on those not attending church.
* Belief in manmade global warming/climate change is an insult to God because He provided us with the gifts of fossil fuels which He intended for us to use.
* Gays, atheists, Muslims, and other undesirables shouldn’t be allowed to hold any positions of authority.
* All undesirables should be deported.
* Gays should be put to death; in fact any punishments for any Biblical sins should be carried out in the ways the Bible dictates, like executions that require stoning to death.
* Religious instruction and prayer should be made mandatory in all public schools, as well as the Ten Commandments displayed prominently.
* All elected officials must take an oath affirming their belief in God and the literal Bible.
My Point of View: Very loud raspberries for each and every dot point. Actually I think the extreme Religious Right Wing should be deported as undesirables, starting with the membership of the Westboro Baptist Church.
Their Point of View: The extreme Religious Right Wing are not happy campers and they keep threatening all and sundry that we’re a collective Sodom, Gomorrah and Babylon all rolled into one wicked society; God is pissed; God’s wrath is upon us; God’s gonna kick our ass sooner rather than later; and in fact it’s just gloom and doom times ahead. The end is nigh. Hell is gonna become very crowded very quickly unless we repent, Repent and REPENT!
My Point of View: We’ve been hearing that sad and sorry tale for generations, and then some. It is high time for the Religious Right Wing to put up or shut up. Prove God exists and has all those wrathful traits you assign Him. A Sherlock Holmes story reads as being perfectly plausible, but you cannot use that story and therefore conclude that Sherlock Holmes exists or existed. And so by the way, you cannot use the Bible to prove the Bible, anymore than you can use a textbook that says it is true as proof that it is true. You need independent verification, for the existence of Sherlock Holmes or the truth of the Bible. And that’s where the Religious Right collapses in a heap of rubble. There is no independent source. Maybe the Religious Right can make God show His face for the first time in way over 2000 years, but if they can’t back up all their huffing and puffing then they should just exit, stage left, from society, for good. Never have so few spouted off so much hellfire and brimstone hot air over so long a time frame and have so little to show for it. And here you probably thought just politicians were the real huff-and-puffers. Not even close, unless of course they are associated with the Right Wing of the GOP/Tea Party!