Endless Curiosity

February 10, 2009

Acting Against their Interests: The Religious Right

Filed under: Republicans — Alec @ 12:52 pm

Personally, I don’t understand the Religious Right. Well, actually I think I do, and it’s got nothing to do with their professed beliefs.

What motivates the Religious Right when it comes to politics is their fanaticism about abortion and gay rights. But if abortion and gay rights are so bad, where’s the fanaticism about Leviticus 20:9 “For every one that curseth his father or his mother shall be surely put to death“?

And where’s the fanaticism about Leviticus 20:10 “And the man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbor’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death“?

Obviously the fanaticism of the Religious Right has little to do with what the Bible says.

So what does this have to do with acting against their interests? Nothing. Just comments I felt like making.

Where acting against their interests comes in is the way that the Religious Right votes for Republicans.

First, what do they hope to get out of it? The Republicans have been in power for much of the last 30 years. 8 years of Reagan, 4 of Bush Senior, and 8 of Bush Junior. And what have the Religious Right to show for this? Roe v. Wade still exists, and there’s vastly more acceptance of gay rights and gay marriage than there was 30 years ago.

But even if they did have their way and abortion was banned and gays were…. what? Banned? … what next? How would the world be seriously different? Republicans would still have widened the gap between rich and poor, still have prevented a rational health care system from existing, still have made life difficult for the working poor.

If the Religious Right believes that by banning abortion and gay rights, they would see the Rapture, they probably should read the Book of Revelation again and know something about it. Written by an angry young man on the island of Patmos, it wasn’t even wanted by most of the early Christians (before the Canon was created). Described by Thomas Jefferson as “the ravings of  lunatic“, it’s a weird book and as D.H. Lawrence said, it is the most un-Christian book in the New Testament and yet has had more influence than all the Gospels.

But the craziness of the obsession about Revelation is that the book tells us that 144,000 people will be saved in the Rapture, 12,000 from each of the 12 Tribes of Israel. So what is it with the Religious Right – they all think that out of the roughly 2 billion Christians, they will be one of the 144,000? There’s a 0.0072 percent chance – not very good odds.

But where the Religious Right really acts against their interests is in assuming that the Republicans actually want to ban abortion and do something about gay rights. Of course the Republicans don’t want to do anything. They’d lose their fanatical base if they satisfied that base. Then the base would start voting for rational things like decent health care, a good social safety net, real family values, and so on. Which would be anathema to the Republican bosses.

It’s in the interests of the Republican leadership to convince the Religious Right that they want to satisfy the desires of the Religious Right. But it’s against the interests of the Republican leadership to actually satisfy the desires of the Religious Right.

More weird people.

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