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Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Left Behind

I have been in search of the theocratic "Dominion" ever since Democratic Underground made me aware of its victory. For you who have not had the pleasure of spending time at DU, BusHitler's massive successful conspiratorial endeavor to suppress votes for Kerry and overcount votes for Republicans served as the proof that this theocracy was now in control of the United States.

You may scoff, but it makes sense if you accept their axiom. If Bush won by manipulating the voting, his vast conspiracy had to take over a number of states, and not just the states, but the individual election boards in the voting districts as well. So it follows logically that this is at least a half-vast conspiracy, a.k.a. the Theocracy, a.k.a. the Rethuglican Theocracy.

So I went in search of this theocracy, because frankly I'm feeling a bit peeved at being left out. Not only was I left out, but I have asked among my acquaintances and friends who are dedicated church goers, and we've all been left out. I asked Mormons, Brethren, Assembly of God'rs, Catholics (and considering the amount of money I've dropped in the plate over there, they owed me an honest answer), Baptists, Southern Baptists, Presbyterians, even a Methodist - the list goes on and on. I could find no one who had been invited to be a part of this theocracy. No one. I have located a couple of extremely progressive northeastern Episcopalians who believed in the theocracy and blamed it for the declining membership of the ECUSA. But I could find not one person who had been invited to participate. Now that's security.

Not a single one of us got the memo:
It happened quietly, with barely a mention in the media. Only the Washington Post dutifully reported it.[1] And only Kevin Phillips saw its significance in his new book, American Dynasty.[2] On December 24, 2001, Pat Robertson resigned his position as President of the Christian Coalition.

Behind the scenes religious conservatives were abuzz with excitement. They believed Robertson had stepped down to allow the ascendance of the President of the United States of America to take his rightful place as the head of the true American Holy Christian Church.

Robertson’s act was symbolic, but it carried a secret and solemn revelation to the faithful. It was the signal that the Bush administration was a government under God that was led by an anointed President who would be the first regent in a dynasty of regents awaiting the return of Jesus to earth. The President would now be the minister through whom God would execute His will in the nation. George W. Bush accepted his scepter and his sword with humility, grace and a sense of exultation.
See how far out of it we are? Most of us were unaware not only of the symbolism of the act, but of the act itself. We'd never even heard of the scepter. All efforts to unearth Bush's acceptance speech were unavailing. Amazingly, there was a unanimous agreement that we did not believe Bush to be a minister of anything. Maybe that's why we were excluded. Oh - and another thing - most of us still believed the Medicare program existed, based on the fact that we all knew at least one person who was receiving benefits; we had not even realized that Bush had done away with it:
After that he arranged for the dismantling of the Medicare program entirely, based on the method outlined by his religious mentors.
See how far out of the loop we are? We don't even get the political information. I guess the press has been taken over by the Dominion as well.

But after extensive research, including a serious study of Liberal Larry's militant opposition against the Theocracy, I did uncover the reason why all of us hadn't heard of it - it's a secret:
Today, Dominionists hide their agenda and have resorted to stealth; one investigator who has engaged in internet exchanges with people who identify themselves as religious conservatives said, “They cut and run if I mention the word ‘Dominionism.’”
Ggiven my own behavior, people will also cut and run if you start talking about fingers of ectoplasm reaching down from the ceiling. Religious people are funny that way. Close-minded and so forth. The confusing thing is that I don't understand why they are now hiding, given that it is documented that the Domionion has already taken over:
This article is the documented story of how a political religious movement called Dominionism gained control of the Republican Party, then took over Congress, then took over the White House, and now is sealing the conversion of America to a theocracy by taking over the American Judiciary. It’s the story of why and how “the wrath of God Almighty” will be unleashed against the middle class, against the poor, and against the elderly and sick of this nation by George W. Bush and his army of Republican Dominionist “rulers.”
Oh, I have asked all the military types I could find about the Dominion's army. Every single one of them claimed to be serving in some branch of the US Armed Forces, like the Marines, Army, Air Force or the Navy that takes its orders from military officers. Perhaps it is the Coast Guard that is the armed force of the Dominion (although Bush and his scepter are the Commander in Chief of the armed forces). The Marine said not to worry if that was the case. He said even the Army could fight off the Coast Guard.

He must not know about the secret awesome power of the Dominionist power ray, which is so secret that I haven't been able to find a link to it anywhere. But it must be there, because this same article containing all the documentation I keep quoting claims that there are only 35 million Dominionists. So I asked myself the logical question "If that is the case, how are they going to maintain control of the government?" And that's how I figured out about the power ray. Keep an eye out for it.

Now you may be laughing, but you have no idea just how dangerous and seditious this Dominion thing is. For one thing, it believes in the Declaration of Independence:
First, Jaffa means by the term “original intent” that the Constitution must be interpreted according to what it meant when it was originally adopted. It is a revolutionary and brilliant idea that will allow the Dominionists to effectively repeal most of the judicial decisions made in the last century. [43]

Secondly, if we take Jaffa and the Dominionists at their word and go to the Declaration of Independence, we can see just how radical the conservative revolution and Dominionism are. The only portion that is ever quoted publicly are these words:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,”
Could it be any more terrifying? Could it? That "consent of the governed" thing is pretty seditious, isn't it? It turns out that the Dominion is intent upon having judges who are strict constructionists of the Constitution and representatives that have been elected by the people and represent the people. Dire stuff, but it does explain why they are so worried about guys like Scalia, who is demonstrated to be part of the conspiracy:
At this point, Scalia demonstrates the absolute brilliance of the judicial rule created by neo-conservatives that requires a judge to determine the “original intent” of the writers of the Constitution. As Scalia himself describes it, “The Constitution that I interpret and apply is not living but dead…It means today not what current society…thinks it ought to mean, but what it meant when it was adopted.”[54] Once the original thinking is determined, the judge can enforce the Constitution only as a document that is bound by the time zone in which a particular passage was written.
At this point, naturally I was appalled at my own stupidity for not recognizing the extent and horror of the Theocracy. Because Scalia is Catholic, and Robertson isn't, so now we see that they are all united in some horrifying conspiracy of legal theory involving the perversion of laws by insisting that they mean what they originally did when they were adopted. "Can a civil society long survive such a doctrine?" I asked myself in fear, shock and loathing, as I reeled over to my fainting couch.

But I am feeling a bit less forlorn today, because Dr. Sanity claims that the whole theocracy thing is some sort of psychological fixation diverting fear of Islam into fear of Christianity. I found this quite surprising, because my instant instinctive response was "What good is that going to do?" Yet she seems determined about her thesis:
Displacement is a psychological defense mechanism where there is a separation of emotion from its real object and then redirection of the intense emotion toward something less threatening.

When was the last time you heard of a Christian fundamentalist nation? When was the last time that Christianity killed non-believers and tortured those who ran afoul of the religious laws?
Well, all I can say is that DU was convinced (and may still be) that it was only a matter of weeks after the November elections before the gays were going to be rounded up and sent to concentration camps. But I haven't been able to find the camps either, so Dr. Sanity may be correct, especially when I consider Lawrence vs. Texas.

There is one small quibble that I have with Dr. Sanity's theory. I suspect that the real object feared is the genuinely vast centrist coalition in this country and that the intense emotion against that coalition is being recentered toward the Republican party. There is a real debate about the Constitution and how it should be interpreted, but it isn't centered just among the religious, that's for sure.

For one thing, I am not happy about how the taking clause is being interpreted to allow governments to take property from one person in order to give it to another that the government feels will give them more money. If the Supreme Court doesn't rein this in then I will feel that it is time to slip a few judges with different ideologies on to the court before our entire society becomes dominated by corporations and rich people. I'm convinced the average citizen feels the same way. It is one thing for the government to condemn property on the basis that a new public facility is needed; it is quite another to condemn private property so that Trump can build his umpteenth casino and go bankrupt on his umpteenth bank.

Update: I found it! I found the theocracy! Carl at No Oil For Pacifists has issued a fatwa against Pat Robertson for claiming that judges are greater threat than terrorists.

Hey now! No one admits they are members of the Illuminati, but they control the world's money supply, right? See... No one admits that they are aliens who have made a secret pact with the US government to allow the aliens round up the homeless people in New York and send them to the planet Klulkimy as a food source, do they? Yet there is no other explanation for where all the homeless people went after Giuliani closed down half the shelters. See!

On a serious note though - there is something to be said about the fact that many (fairly) rational (fairly) moderate Americans (like myself) are seriously as afraid of the Christian religious right as they are the Islamic extremists. The fact that Pat Robertson has millions of followers scares the bagebbers out of me. They both believe that G*d speaks to them. They both believe in religious rule. They both believe that 9/11 was the will of G*d/Allah.
Dingo, I have run across the aliens on the net. The reptilians. They have control of the presidency and the Congress, and some of the Supreme Court justices. It must be true, I saw it on the web. Now that you mention the bit about Giuliani it's all becoming so obvious.... They want to eat the homeless. Clearly Rethuglican Reptilians.

As to your serious note, what's so funny is that the "religious right" is composed of quite sane people for the most part who would be appalled at the idea of instituting a theocracy and killing people.

Granted, I'm sure there are a few odd jobs. A certain degree of off-your-meds nuttiness is inherent in a nation of almost 300 million people. But thinking everyone who goes to church wants to live in a theocracy is like claiming that everyone who donates to environmental groups really belongs to Elf and is secretly waiting for the opportunity to blow up your SUV.

Dingo, how on earth can anyone believe that a majority of the citizens of the US would vote people into power who would impose such rules as are described in that article? The constitutional setup is designed to prevent a small coalition or minority group from seizing power, and it works very well.

What does Pat Robertson matter? Or the Masons? Or Opus Dei? Or the Illuminati? Or the Flat Earthers, or Elf? (Who are the Illuminati? Enlighten me, please.)

In our system, federal politicians must be elected at intervals of 2, 4 and 6 years and justices must be appointed for life. That means such a conspiracy would have to control a majority of the candidates for at least 30 years to have a chance.

And you know what? Americans can't even agree on which bases to close in which states. Conflict is built into our system, as well as peaceful ways of resolving it.

I agree that I don't want mullahs, the Pope, or various religious leaders leading the US. But I don't waste time worrying about it because it isn't going to happen unless a majority of people want it to happen. They don't and they never will due to such trivia as the no-divorce rule and the like. Yeah, sure, like you're ever going to get a majority of American men to vote a death penalty for a blow-job and no pre-marital sex! It's never gonna happen, I'm telling you!

Plus, once you get away from stuff like feeding the poor and the hungry the churches don't agree. They are as diverse as our population. Unless, of course, the theocracy guys have that death ray thingie. Keep watching for it.

Honestly, if I were a guy I'd be more concerned about people like Witless Whitney and her fixation upon evil men. Women are more than half the population and we vote in higher proportions than men too. Watch out for those scissor-wielding women, I'm telling ya! Me, I'm prepared to stop shaving my legs when they take control. The vast feminine conspiracy will take one look at my legs and honor me! I will be a legend! But what are you going to do? Huh?
I'm not an evangelical Christian; I'm against compelled prayer in public schools. But I've never understood the anxiety of rational secularists -- dingo qualifies -- about the "Christian Right." They can't point to laws/regulations/policies implementing a Theocracy (or at least none that survive Supreme Court review). And comparisons with Islamic terrorists are nuts--neither Falwell nor Robertson are government officials and so don't exercise police power; unlike radical Muslims, evangelical Christians don't claim faith legitimizes violence or mass murder; and Christians routinely condemn anyone justifying atrocities by the Bible.

Yet dingo and others think Islam the lesser menace:

"[W]hen an anti-abortion terrorist murders a doctor, the New York Times had no problem calling for "the severest possible crackdown" and had no qualms about linking the activities of the mainstream anti-abortion movement with terrorists who murdered Slepian.

But when Muslim extremists brutally murder a filmmaker, The New York Times says any legal crackdown would be a mistake and appears to call for some sort of nationwide cultural sensitivity training to achieve more cultural harmony and transitions to a diverse society."

Despite being secular, the Christian Right isn't a threat. Indeed, most are a positive influence. So, I've returned to Pascal's Wager, which I've updated (though it was pretty good in itself). My modern version is: Who's controlling my feeding tube? This approach was inspired by agnostic liberal Eleanor Smith of Decatur, Georgia: "I would rather have a right-wing Christian decide my fate than an ACLU member." I doubt even dingo would disagree.
So Islam and Christianity are religions. Why does that mean they are similiar? You and I have relatives- yet our families are not necessarily alike.

Saying that Christianity resembles Islam is ridiculous. Pat Robertson may not be everyone's cup of tea, but he has never called for murder, mayhem or massacre.

Somehow, irrespective of Robertsons ideology, I don't see or hear calls to slaughter anyone- or the apologetics for those who do kill in God's name.

There are great distinctions between Christianity and what passes for Islam today.
A minute apart? I'm starting to think me and SC&A represent parallel universes.
Parallel blogiverses? That is funny.

The difference between religious values that are brought into politics by individuals who are committed to them and religious values imposed from a governing elite not subject to removal by the population is huge. The first is the normal course of politics; the second is a theocracy.

Most people who pray believe that to some extent they are guided by that prayer. They pray for inspiration, to worship, to praise, for comfort etc. But seeking guidance from any value system is going to require a person to act on those values.

I can't say why Dingo feels it is so important to intervene and prevent as much carnage as possible in Darfur. I do know that Tom Carter has said he is not religious, yet this is also a pressing priority to him. I feel the same way. No matter how derived, for all of us our beliefs require some political action (I'm sure we have all contacted our Congressmen about this) and political speech.

I'm just not prepared to get frightened about people who believe in God. I'll get frightened when they are running around in masses waving guns and blowing up things. The one thing I think representational governments can't survive is total apathy and lack of attention on the part of the electorate.

When that happens, no matter the outward form such governments evolve toward oligarchies or technocracies, etc. And inevitably, a disconnect between the needs of the population and the goals of the government form. Eventually the gulf becomes so wide that some change in government is sought. Revolutions are a messy business. I am glad that we have a flexible form of government to avoid that, and I can't get offended by the participation of someone whose values or goals differ from mine. That's the norm in a democratic state, not some startling violation of decency.

In addition, we have a set of legal limitations upon the ability of the majority to abuse a minority. If anything, the really religious factions in this country are anxious to maintain those freedoms, because they are acutely in the minority and know it. The US is bucking a trend in the West to marginalize most Christian denominations, Muslims and the Jewish people.

Look at Europe and Canada. In Canada courts have ruled that taking an ad out that cites Bible verses used against homosexuality and fornication constitutes hate speech. In Oslo Jews wearing anything that identified them as Jews were tossed from the Holocaust memorial procession. In France and Germany a public school teacher who is Muslim isn't allowed to wear a headscarf. For that matter, On the streets of Paris Jews are warned not to be identifiable as Jews.

In the US the World Trade Centers were taken down and one of the most secular cities in the country held an interfaith memorial service complete with a Sikh in a turban. I have no question in my mind that our way is better. I want to preserve our freedoms, including the freedom to be openly religious and participate in public life. I don't want a teacher banned from a school because she is Christian, Jewish, Muslim, a mushroom-chomping New Ager or a Wiccan. Once we start going down that road there will be no end to it.

I don't really believe that the mass of Democratic senators is trying to rule out any judges with religious beliefs; I do think they are trying to rule out judges who they think might reverse Roe vs Wade. And I think that the Democratic party is shooting itself in the foot if it gets on the anti-theocracy bandwagon. If they come out and say that they want to make sure that judges who might reverse Roe vs. Wade are the target, they will be given credit for honesty and at least have the chance of appealing to a lot of women, though not as many as a MoDo would think. But at least they won't earn the enemity of a lot of people. Yelling about religion is like insulting someone's mother. It's not ever really forgiven.

But I'm going to stand on the idea that Islam, as practiced in a free society, is no threat to the society. There will be fringe elements from the skirts of the Islamic extremists. Well, we have our own homegrown nutcases too. We'll cope with the threat, but we have no need to start suppressing people's peaceful expression of their beliefs now.
To MOM, Siggy, and Carl

"They can't point to laws/regulations/policies implementing a Theocracy (or at least none that survive Supreme Court review). "

- The fear is that if you appoint judges who are willing to find new 'interpretations' of the constitution. You pack the court with Roy Moores, the Pryors and Browns, you have a whole new ball game. Then you no longer have a court that is willing to strike down laws that infringe upon on religion, or promote another. That is why preserving the filibuster is so important. Once you start to consolidate power, there is a snowball effect. One side can stack the rules against the other. How do you think America was able to keep the 'America's Cup' in America so long? It was because the team that controlled the cup was allowed to define the race rules. We were able to stack the rules in our favor. Little things that appear benign can actually be malicious. It is very easy to manipulate elections in subtle ways. For example (and I do admit both parties are guilty of trying to manipulate things to their advantage) the Republicans tried to change the polling places in Columbus minority neighborhoods to more suitable locations. Admittedly, some of the polling places were no suited for handicapped accessibility. BUT, the change in location was requested THREE DAYS before the election and only after the letters informing voters where their precinct was were mailed. The request seemed legitimate, but the goal was blatantly partisan.

"Saying that Christianity resembles Islam is ridiculous."

- I never said that. I was saying people like Robertson, Farwell, and the Mullahs are not so dissimilar.

"I want to preserve our freedoms, including the freedom to be openly religious and participate in public life."

- I want to preserve this also. We just see how as different. I believe that the only way to ensure the freedoms to worship, is for the government to remain secular. It is like we teach kids about sex. Yes, you can wear a condom and be safer, but the only 100% effective way to guarantee you won't get pregnant is abstinence. You can try to allow a little religion and politics to mix here and there and try to make sure it doesn't go to far, but there is the chance it going to go to far and break the condom. You may think you are being 'safe', but the only way to be 100% effective of ensuring religious freedom FOR EVERYONE is to keep the government abstinent.

And, there is a big difference between a judge who is religious, and a judge who rules using biblical verse.

"I'm just not prepared to get frightened about people who believe in God. "

- I am not frightened of people who believe in God. I believe in God. I am frightened of people who think they know the mind of God (Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Rastafarian)

"I agree that I don't want mullahs, the Pope, or various religious leaders leading the US. But I don't waste time worrying about it because it isn't going to happen unless a majority of people want it to happen. ...It's never gonna happen, I'm telling you!"

-Never say never. Romans used to say, "don't worry about ever having an emperor. This is a republic. The people would never let it happen." Look at history. Many of the worlds tyrannical rule was done by the minority. The Nazis were a minority party. The Baathists in Iraq were a minority party. The Baasthists in Syria are a minority group. Rwanda, Burundi, Myanmar, Chile, Argentina, Venezuela, Italy, Spain, Greece, Russia, etc, have all seen minority groups take control of their government. Do you really think Germans thought that they could have ended up with Hitler in 1920? They would have said, 'never could happen.'

"Plus, once you get away from stuff like feeding the poor and the hungry the churches don't agree. They are as diverse as our population."

- In Iraq, the insurgents are made up of many different groups with many different ultimate goals. You have former baathists, you have sectarians, etc. They all have one goal that brings them together... defeating America and driving them out. As long as they are fighting us, they are the best of friends because they share the same goal. If (God willing this never happens) they succeed, then they will worry about each other and will end up fighting each other. But as long as were are there, a common enemy makes strange bedfellows.

The same is/can happen with Christians. They see secularist as the enemy. Once that is done, then they will turn on each other until we whittle down to a single state sponsored religion. It will be Catholic vs. Protestant, then Baptist vs. Methodist, then 1st Baptist vs Southern Baptists, etc.

"Despite being secular, the Christian Right isn't a threat. Indeed, most are a positive influence."

I agree. I think Christianity, in general, is a great thing. I believe it gives many people moral and spiritual guidance and that we are better off as a society with it than without it. I just want to keep it in the churches and not in the court rooms.

"I would rather have a right-wing Christian decide my fate than an ACLU member." I doubt even dingo would disagree."

I would rather have my family making the decision than either of the two groups.

And MOM, my fear of extremist is not limited to the right-wing. I think left-wing exremists are equally as dangerous to our freedoms. That is why I like to keep things down the middle.
Dingo, I think we both feel that the best way to counter extremism is to speak against it, to expose it, and to investigate the underlying claims.

About your idea of the secular government, I'm not so sure. But semantics may be getting in the way, so see my post above about the Rosenberger case and its reasoning. I would love to hear your answers to my questions.
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