Religious Right Sells Out America
Wednesday - July 26, 2006
Ah, all the Rev. Billy Bobs of America won another one last week.
President George W. Bush, in his infinite stupidity, vetoed the first bill of his six-and-one-half year administration: a bipartisan measure that would have eased the limitations that W. himself placed on stem cell research.
In six-and-a-half years, W. couldn’t find a single congressional measure worthy of his scorn - until lawmakers passed a bill that might well lead to alleviating the misery and extending the lives of people with diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, spinal injuries and who knows what else.
In doing so, W. aligned himself with the worst of his Republican brethren, the ones who support His Idiocy on the basis of a half-dozen issues - beginning with opposition to abortion and gay marriage, including prayer in the schools and ending in every American’s so-called right to tote a gun, and the crying need for a constitutional amendment to ban flag-burning.
Talk right, veto right on those issues and the Billy Bobs will allow W. to execute a disastrous foreign policy that has destabilized the Middle East and mired our armed forces in the midst of an Iraqi civil war.
They’ve allowed him, via his tax policy, to shift wealth radically from the poor and the middle class to W. and his family’s own class, the wealthy, all while running $250 billion-$500 billion deficits every year of his presidency.
They’ve allowed him, via tax-cutting policy and his war-making, to add $2.5 trillion to the national debt, driving it up to just under $8.5 trillion.
They’ve allowed him to carry sheer presidential incompetence to new heights, best exemplified by the staffing of the Federal Emergency Management Agency with political hacks and the consequent depopulating of a great American city in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
Worst, I suppose, is that they’ve allowed him to make a fool of us before the world - yea, even unto ourselves.
Have we ever witnessed anything more supercilious than W. at the G-8 conference last week, stuffing food into his mouth while talking to British Prime Minister Tony Blair, dismissing the fighting between Hezbollah and Israel as something that could be handled by a Kofi Annan phone call or a couple of diplomatic stops by Condi Rice.
The list could go on and on and on. W. and his handlers - Rummy, Karl and Dick - have, with the aid of the pastors and reverend fathers, suckered Billy Bob America, north and south, east and west, in every red state.
And beyond: They even suckered Tony Blair.
Don’t misunderstand. I respect everyone’s religion: Jew, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, whatever. Read the papers. This life is difficult. People marry and divorce. People suffer from horrible ailments. People die. People suffer from depressions. People become addicted. Crazy people kill innocents.
For many, many people, their religion gets them through the awful days and nights of their life. And that is wonderful.
But there is another church, and we all begin attending it at the age of 5. All of us, even the Billy Bobs, believe in what goes on there even more than we do in the religious rites of the temple.
It’s called school, and it is the church of reason. The Billy Bobs ask us “to believe.” Teachers - even those who home-school - ask their students to observe, understand and learn. Observation, understanding and learning gave us the Renaissance, the 18th century Enlightenment, and the industrial, scientific and digital revolutions, germ theory, rocket science, brain surgery and the need for flossing.
You name it - if it’s improved your life, schools, colleges, universities and research laboratories have provided the basis for it.
What goes on in the church of reason has given us our long, happy, healthy lives, and few enjoy longer, happier or healthier lives than Americans. Indeed, our greatness as a nation - politically, economically, scientifically, militarily - comes from our regular attendance at the church of reason.
President Bush and the Billy Bobs would undermine the church of reason. They would put pastors in charge of the research lab. They would allow the reverend fathers rather than the trained physicians to define life.
That’s a step back into the dark ages, and W. and the Billy Bobs should be ashamed.
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