Posted by: Harold Knight | 04/06/2012

“Reappropriating History for God and Country”

Weariness and loss of engagement in political activities are not necessarily concomitant with incipient old age. They are, however, my current reality. I can’t go out demonstrating and marching. I can’t lick envelopes at anyone’s campaign headquarters (that’s a no-brainer because for twenty years or so I haven’t discovered any campaign I’d want to be a part of). All I can do is write in my own cranky and undisciplined manner about issues that bother me. And run and hide the rest of the time.

I’ve come to a place where my brain can’t think through what I want to say, mainly because issues that bother me are so overwhelmingly numerous and so bizarrely entrenched in the pubic mind (in public discussion) that thinking or trying to write about them is simply, well, simply exhausting.

Therefore, I’m going to chicken out (bow out?) of trying to write on some topics and let people who have already done so—and have done so better than I ever could—speak for me. This is such a post. It deals with the unprecedented capitulation of American thought and politics to the most perverse and dangerous religious domination possible. And I quote:

The Religious Right’s “political gospel” in the twentieth century marked the broader American right with an overarching emphasis on patriotism and American exceptionalism. Its constituents were convinced that America was founded as a Christian nation but secularists were leading it away from God; thus, many advocated limited government, especially at the federal level where secularism was perceived to be dominant. Moreover, they championed a form of economic individualism that sanctified free-market capitalism, called for an end to governmental regulation of business, and repudiated social programs that aided the poor since such efforts were perceived to undermine voluntary, private charity and transfer wealth through taxation from the productive to the unproductive members of society. Corollaries to these basic beliefs included:

Bob McDonnell, Christian Governor

Bob McDonnell, Christian Governor

rejection of the “false” idea of separation of church and state; maintenance of a strong and effective defense establishment; freedom to own, carry, and use firearms; teaching creationism and America’s spiritual heritage in public schools; voucher systems to fund private Christian schools; and deemphasizing cultural and racial diversity in public life. These principles established the core of the Religious Right’s political platform.

What binds this complex agenda of the Religious Right is the desire to protect what they see as the “American way of life.” A brief survey of this group’s political activity helps to explain why the United States in the twenty-first century has been characterized by draconian responses to perceived threats. Politics in the United States, in general, has adopted the pattern of political involvement put forth by the Religious Right.

Pierard, Richard V., and Charles McDaniel. “Reappropriating History for God and Country.” Journal of Church & State 52.2 (Mar. 2010): 193+.  (This article is available online at  http://jcs.oxfordjournals.org/content/52/2/193.extract ).

With the continuing ballyhoo over abortion in state legislatures, especially the tyrannical law in Virginia (the anti-abortionists apparently will not stop until they have made abortion virtually impossible in every state, one state at a time) I have been on a sort of one-person crusade to get people to think about whether or not we want “Politics in the United States, in general, [to follow] the pattern of political involvement put forth by the Religious Right.

The New American Way

The New American Way

This is the first presentation of writings by others I will quote at length here in hopes that you will find them thought-provoking enough to read them through. I will continue to write my own postings, but they will be interspersed among postings like this one.

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