For all her crazy talk, Christine O’Donnell has finally managed to talk her way into becoming a nominee for senator in Delaware, running as a member of the Republican Party. Despite canceling appearances on the teevee talking head circuit this morning, early observations are that she can talk the talk; as for walking the walk, the jury that will judge whether her crazy is congenital or not wont be heard from for a few more weeks.
First things first. Those several dozen fribbling issues we keep finding in her baggage are unlikely to weigh her down. Like using campaign contributions for her personal expenses— such things aren’t even ethical problems for most Republicans, including their religious right. When it’s one of their own, (with the temporary and inexplicable exception of Turdblossom) they’re perfectly willing to call it “tenacity,” or “necessity,” or some other kind of “tea” word.
But there are much larger issues swimming around in her ideological cauldron, excreted by the latest loony fringe notion of the week, like: “The government has been stolen by Muslims,” and WE TEH PEOPLE must rescue it! Um, so that we can use it, for example, to um, force the victims of rape and incest to carry the spawn of their attacker(s) to term, and thereby force our entire society to deal with the spread of one of the worst forms of mental degeneracy known to modern man.
Why? Because the “value” this notion is founded on and derived from— and that they fervently believe in no matter how obviously immoral and crazy it may be to normal Americans— is supposedly inspired by some version of a 2,000 year old moral code found in the Bible.
It’s possible I suppose, that O’Donnell and the religious right genuinely believe they are doing the highest good they can when they defend any unborn fetus’ supposed rights to body, mind, personality, and identity, regardless of the circumstances that brought such unholy pregnanciess about. They’re not.
But don’t misunderstand. It’s not that they think they know the mysteries of person-hood, or can prove exactly when an organized collective of cells actually becomes a real “person”; or what mind is; or what consciousness and self-consciousness are; and more especially, what the true nature of spirit is, as it somehow indwells the human mind… (because if it didn’t indwell mind, neither they— nor anyone else— could know God at all.)
No, they just claim to somehow know it’s God’s doing, and that’s good enough for them. When sufficiently unraveled, you’d find it’s their best understanding of their various personal religious experience, no matter how meager or fraught with error it may be. And when their ideological rubber meets the road of reality, those confused and error-filled notions must still stand for their authoritative experience of God, and thus their highest moral and ethical convictions.
Yes, it’s fine that they are willing to act on the perceived truth of their religious convictions. I applaud that. Religion quite often acts unwisely, but at least it acts. After all, any God worth his paycheck, any God worthy of his divinity, requires nothing less. What’s wrong with that, however, is the increasingly clear and grotesque disparity with ordinary human values, even secular ethics, morals, and values.
It doesn’t matter what you filter them through, whether it be agnostic, atheist, scientific, humanitarian, or some other intellectual frame. Most intelligent, sane people can figure out what their highest moral choice is, based on whatever relative understanding of truth, beauty, and goodness they honestly have, judiciously applied to the case at hand. And when it comes to so-called liberals and progressives— especially the (yet-to-be-recognized-as-a-player) religious left— they must possess an every-bit-as-clear picture of their highest moral, ethical, and spiritual understanding of realty as their counterparts on the religious right.
What’s more, they must find ways to effectively demonstrate to all Americans what constitutes the truth of real progress, both in morals, ethics, and real values. If they do not, they simply will not be able to defeat those who do, despite how backward those morals and values may be.
Abortion is primitive birth control; no doubt about it. But in America, as much as we might personally abhor such a choice on whatever grounds, a majority of us recognize that freedom must allow that it always remain a personal choice; not one dictated by our government or a religion.
In America, when an immoral and humanly repulsive act of rape or incest results in a pregnancy, We The People— as determined by fair elections and voting majorities— reserve the right to “Render unto Caesar— to say whether it is wise, or even ethically sound to insist our representative government deprive even one citizen* from exercising their right to control their own bodies.
So. No. A fetus does not have the same status as the self-aware, self conscious, moral individual— who should not be forced to relinquish her right to make decisions only she can make as a potential mother. The hypocrisy of stripping a self-aware, self conscious, moral individual of their rights, in an attempt to honor those same rights in an unborn fetus, is only one of many ethical hypocrisies generated by the holy book fetishists of the religious right. And if such religious hypocrites increasingly gain elected power in our government, the separation of church and state will come under attack in ways that will grow more ominous.
What are we to do with such intransigent and confused people. The answers may surprise you, even though many of you should have seen it coming. In addition, many secular liberals and progressives will simply refuse to read and understand the writing on the nation’s cultural wall. America, like never before in her tumultuous history, must finally “get” religion— as in “grok”** religion.
But you’re not alone, progressive secularists and agnostic liberals. As a so-called Christian nation, it would shock most Christians if and when they ever came to understand, that many of them are, in reality, unwittingly secularists. Religion as it is practiced by a huge portion of Christianity has become largely a ritualistic exercise of the ideas of men; not the teachings of Jesus.
Socialized Christianity stands in need of new contact with the uncompromised teachings of Jesus; it languishes for lack of a new vision of the life of Jesus on earth. But the chances of that kind of insight happening seem slim indeed, since most religious fundamentalists must have the truth forced upon them. Why? Because evolutionary religion— the religions of men— make no provision for change or revision of their ideas. Unlike science, religion simply has not learned, or refuses to provide for its own progressive correction.
Such correction is virtually impossible, because religions command the respect of their followers because they believe it is The Truth; “the faith once delivered to the saints” must, at least in theory, be both final and infallible. Thus they resist any progressive development, because they know that real progress is certain to modify, or even destroy the world as they conceive it. Therefore must change and revision always be forced upon it.
And if Christianity persists in neglecting its spiritual mission while it continues to busy itself with social and material problems, the spiritual renaissance we so desperately need must continue to await the coming of new teachers of Jesus’ religion; men and women who will be exclusively devoted to the spiritual regeneration of men. Only then will these spirit-born souls quickly supply the leadership and inspiration requisite for the social, moral, economic, and political reorganization of our troubled world.
• • •
It required a mighty influence to free the thinking and living of Americans and Europeans from the withering grasp of the totalitarian ecclesiastical domination by the church— evolutionary religion. Secularism did manage to break the bonds of church control, but now fundamentalist religionists feel like their backs are against the wall, whipped into stupor by the propaganda machinery of our corporate overlords. They think they can see secularism threatening to establish a new and godless type of mastery over their hearts and minds. And to the extent that secularism is behind such propaganda, their concern is valid. But they will never prevail over the undesirable aspects of secularism with the confused and outworn trumpet blasts of the Middle Ages; the obsolete ethics and morals of 2,000 years ago.
Of course, no one will ever convince the religious right that a secular world is the answer, because it isn’t. In fact, a tyrannical and dictatorial political state is the direct offspring of scientific materialism and philosophic secularism. Observe that secularism no sooner freed us from the domination of the institutionalized church than it sold us into slavery to the state, and the machinations of secular corporate power. (Check the average personal debt of Americans if you doubt what I’m saying is true.)
If you’re starting to realize that the gauntlet of the century is down, good for you. Now is the time to rouse yourself, to gird yourself, and to act. The struggle immediately before us in November is for a whole lot more marbles than you will ever know.
* A citizen— a person with the realized sacred person-hood that the religious right attempt to confer on a fetus— a potential human being, yes— but one that cannot yet manifest personality or a personal identity; not to mention a single human thought. In the eyes of God and reflective man, you’re simply not a person until your consciousness can actually reveal to you that you are one; and that simply cannot happen to the potential being in the womb.
** Grok: To “grok” is to share the same reality or line of thinking with another physical or conceptual entity. In an ideological context, a grokked concept becomes part of the person who contributes to its evolution by improving the doctrine, perpetuating the myth, espousing the belief, adding detail to the social plan, refining the idea, or proofing the theory.