Monday, February 26, 2018
The Last Gasp of the American Taliban?
The other day I was on Facebook and it's getting scary when it comes to America. I didn't expect to be living under a religious right resurgence at this late age. Some of us fear Christian fundamentalists turning militant. My status as an ex-Christian may make things even more sticky for me. It's funny in all my IFB churches, they talked about the persecution of Christians, now I fear persecution from another angle.
I had this Republican friend dissing Native American Heritage Month and Black History month. He is married to another friend. His mostly conservative friends all cheered this. What could I say? I asked them "How come celebration of different cultures is bad to you folks?" They got angry. One lady who looked and acted just like Betty Bowers got strident. I wrote, "So celebrating other cultures is evil now?" and she wrote to me, "Political correctness must die!" and "It's a waste of time to argue with your ilk!"
I wrote an article, I regret now on this blog: Putting Down One Group Won't Elevate Another.
While I retained some liberal views during my sojourn into fundamentalist Christianity, their viewpoints affected me too. I was seeped into the alt-right world and fundamentalist churches. How can I even explain how right wing news and even alt-right conspiracy crap affects people's minds? The constant fear-mongering is extreme. They do train people to be afraid of everything including other races. It puts out this world view that is really pretty sickening. Even if I rejected the Republican party and some of it's extremes, it affected me even as I fought with myself inside. By the way because I was in the bible prophecy, fundie Christian world, I believe I have lost some of my old Christian and conservative readership even here since the deconversion. Many have left since I left the faith. I have to go where life and my own mind has taken me. Watching Trumpsters shout against cultural celebrations tells me the racism is alive and well and Trump has given it permission to come out in full force.
Breaking away from fundamentalist religion has cleared my head a lot. Other people who deconvert from Christianity often deconvert from it's poisonous politics. I am one of them. What is weird is as all these Republican people on Facebook dissed Native American Heritage month, is that people have asked me if I am part Indian or Native American. I don't know what I am until I get the 23 and me or Ancestry.com money together. I don't want to claim I am an ethnic group I am not, but it makes me wonder. If people are going to reject even the celebration of a culture so important to America, with it's dances, art, pow-wows and more, what am I to think? They are just mean. They want life to to be this narrow world. I have noticed that most people with these views are all self-avowed Christians especially of the evangelical and fundamentalist variety.
The racism is definitely coming out.
My views have since changed I wrote the "Why Do Some Liberals Think All White People are Rich? . While I still understand that neo-liberalism in the Democratic party has made it more akin to the center-right in other nations and there is elitist support of the oligarchy. I didn't understand what exactly the term "white privilege" meant in both articles. I still worry about division between races being made worse , but it is obvious since Trump has brought out racism that laid dormant that those who warn about "white privilege" definitely have good points to make and I started listening. If anything all the racism pushed by the right, will serve to keep everyone economically oppressed. It's all intertwined, the racism, the prison system of mass incarceration, that gives almost free labor to endless corporations, the sexism and the endless authoritarianism.
One thing that woke me up, is on Facebook, while I held these attitudes, I was openly protesting police brutality against black suspects on Facebook. One case that really got to me is when they strangled a man with asthma whose only crime was selling cigarettes without tax stamps. The cruelty was astounding. His name was Eric Garner. What frightened me as I filled my then wall protesting deaths of black suspects via police brutality, is I noticed only my liberal friends seemed to care. The Christian friends weren't answering. Some even posted things in defense of police, and memes that seemed to infer that the people who died "deserved" what they got. This growing cruelty really upset me. It is one of those many puzzle pieces that built up to my deconversion. Conscience took me out. I couldn't follow a cruel god of a cruel religion anymore.
And it still goes on today, this line between people with no empathy. The American Taliban is inherently racist. I wrote about the growing meanness in my old small rural town. Why is there so much contempt for the poor in a community full of poor people? One reason I did not move back there, is I feared going back no longer being working class but more poor. It looks like my instincts were correct.
Sometimes I feel like some conservative, fundamentalist, right wing/Tea Party Baby Boomers [yes there are liberal Baby-Boomers too], want to burn this place down as they shuffle off this mortal coil. I have hope in young people who may finally stand up. I hope they do. Generation X has been too silent in the face of too much nonsense. Maybe our hope will be in millennials or Generation Y. They are far less religious. I hope they realize a better world is possible instead of giving up for the dystopian world so many of the Christians seem to picture that is based in fear and control.
Have you ever wondered about that? When I was young, one still imagined the future as having flying cars, and cured diseases and hope. Today especially in right wing circles, it's like all darkness. Like getting old isn't hard enough, I have to be marched off at gunpoint to the FEMA camp to be guillotined for not taking the mark of the beast? But even for the non-bible prophecy extremists, on the right, hopeful futures are wiped away, it's all about the money masters and their control of you. Young people are all "entitled snowflakes" who don't deserve everything certainly no liveable wages and no happiness. The politics of resentment and no hope rule on the right and in the America. They are angry. Instead of wanting better for young people they want WORSE.
And here's one question too, What's wrong with social justice? I always see memes where they mock social justice warriors, so social injustice is something good? Sometimes I wonder if you see God ready to smash you with a fist from heaven ordering genocide after genocide in the Old Testament, that anyone who wants to stand up for humanity is seen as the enemy against God. This is about holding out for power and the status quo of society. If your God is cruel, mean, perfectionist and cold, you will demand more prisons then parks. That's why the religious right loves to lock everyone up. This is why they have no problem with mass incarceration or the new Jim Crow.
There's a reason that show: The Handmaiden's Tale got so popular. Some of us worry that is the future in America. When I started having doubts while still attending churches, I knew people who lived the Quiverful life, who didn't believe in birth control for women. One man at a Calvary Chapel I attended published an alternative magazine calling for Patriarchy and for men to rule and for women to stay at home barefoot and pregnant. There's a reason why so many people homeschooled and said public schools were evil. One strange thing that happened to me, is watching all these Christian girls at these churches train to be midwives, I kept thinking about that book, "The Handmaiden's Tale" which I read in the 1980s even before the Netflex series came out.
One thing that is scary for me, is when I was a Christian, I wrote against Dominionism on Christian websites, as an "antichrist" force and told other Christians not to trust the Republican party. I was a lone voice shouting against the wind and then hadn't questioned the very foundations of the religion yet. I have read books like "The Family" and know about groups like the Council For National Policy. Trump is in with all those Dominionists and they helped give him power. One book, I wish everyone could read is the book "The American Fascists: The Christian Right and It's War on America by Chris Hedges.
With Trump's election, they have gone fascist on many aspects. Rolling back the ADA, giving tax cuts to their billionaire friends, the list goes on and on. Pence is even more overly uber-fundamentalist then Trump who can do no wrong in many evangelical Christian eyes even though he's been married three times and brags about grabbing women on their private parts. Chris Hedge's warnings are coming true. Hell my own warnings on Christian message boards and websites as I wrote against Dominionism are coming true. Trump wanted his militarized parade, I am not sure if that is still going to happen. They have become more authoritarian,and more crazy. So many in my old small rural town have fallen completely under their spell.
Racism, sexism, authoritarianism, militarism, police brutality and many things are growing to make their dystopian dreams a reality. Some believe the system will self correct, and this is the last gasp of people who are aging, and knowing their power is waning but one thing anyone who is a student of history knows even a dying group who is aging out and still holds the reigns of power, can do incredible damage. Even though the Moral Majority are entering their 60s and 70s, that still gives them time to do a lot of harm to people. Why are our states turning redder by the minute? My own is purple and ready to fall. They already passed laws destroying worker's rights.
My fellow liberals and many young people don't realize how backwards and theocratic some places have grown, they don't know this culture from the inside. I was inside it, lived it and I am scared. They don't realize the true agendas that are desired and would be even more horrific for the poor, minority races and gay people. They have become more radicalized, I see the changes even in my old small town that are extreme. Even if young people are more secular by far by the numbers, many of our democratic institutions are in danger. Remember what I wrote regarding what Carl Sagan warned of and the growing antipathy against science in religious circles in America. Trump and his followers have made these things government policy. This is why the EPA was defunded.
I do fear a war or other disaster growing their influence. Worsening economic distress could be used to grow their insanity. All they need is a spark to set it off, and we could all be in big trouble. Just look at the history of Iran, read a graphic novel like Persepolis, religious groups take over nations all the time. We have Southern states while places implode passing laws requiring that "In God We Trust" be put on school buildings that just got shot up with dozens murdered.
Americans forget that one must be watchful of freedom. We are looking a power grab now that could turn into a potentially violent power grab to gain full control. Some of us dream of Trump being impeached. Groups like "Duty to Warn" and the resist movement have questioned his ability to be a fit president, but he has many followers who wouldn't like this. The pastors all praise Trump from the pulpit that makes him sound like the Second Coming. I know what is said about liberals in religious circles and the dehumanizing approach of religious right politics. Polarization is growing in this country and sadly it's leading to more extremism. I do hope that some sanity comes back. We need it. I am seeing more extreme radicalization among old church members, my old town and just very poisonous and uncaring rhetoric. Lack of empathy is being advanced society wide with the narcissists and head sociopaths using these things for more power. This country needs a positive future, not a hellscape borne out of nationalism and extreme religions, that seeks to censor all but the most powerful and wealthy. It's scary, comparing today to the actual future I envisioned when young and disappointing too. Please vote and get involved as much as you can.