More criticism of President Barack Obama is motivated by prejudice than we care to admit to ourselves. We are prone to take snippets of information and see each snippet as a support to our already-decided prejudices. Of course we cannot admit them to ourselves because we are uncomfortable seeing ourselves that way. We all do it, to a certain extent. But those with the strongest feelings on most subjects are often the most bigoted, the most patriotic, and the most hateful. It is an extension of how "perfect" we see ourselves, and how threatened we are when our "facts" are proven to be wrong or full of prejudice. We need only to look to the "biblical" defense of slavery, or the savage religious wars that have gone on between Christians and Jews, Protestants and Catholics, Orthodox Christians and Roman Catholics, Christians and Muslims, Jews and Muslims, and the absolutely "certain" actions by missionaries to others. How about a dose of reality?
"The government of the United States is not in any sense founded upon the Christian religion." -John Adams (1735-1826)
Do you wholeheartedly support the U.S. Constitution? Are all American citizens guaranteed equal rights? Should any one person or one group be able to foist their beliefs on another? Do gays have just as many rights as straights? Do gay people have the same rights in marriage as others? Do you believe the definition of marriage is a religious or legal responsibility? Do you believe gay people choose to be gay? Or are they born that way? If you think people make a choice to be gay, how do you explain that there are gays throughout the animal kingdom? Science has proven that people are born with an attraction to the same sex, so why do you differ? The majority of people in the world are not Christians, so why should we force a certain type of Christianity on others in the U.S.? Should the majority be able to restrict the rights of minorities? Only a small minority of people are born with red hair; should we restrict them in any way? Only a minority of people are born left-handed; should we restrict them in any way? In your mind, did God create people who are left-handed, with red hair, or gay? Who determines what restrictions, if any, should be placed on gay people? In a democracy, what equal rights do gays have with others? Why would you limit rights to just certain, specific minorities? Should a minority be protected from a majority? In your mind, what, specifically, is different about two gay people marrying? Would you be opposed to two gay people marrying if they were of different sexes? What is it about gay marriage that is different in your mind? Just because you use a religious book to make your point about gay marriage, should that legally be interpreted that way for non-believers? Who gave you the right to decide in a democracy? Do you know that one of the main characteristics of a democracy is the protection of the rights of minorities? What, in your mind, is worse: gay marriage or pedophilia? If you prefer civil unions instead of marriage for gays, what restrictions would you put on the individuals in a civil union? Are nations that give legal approval to gay marriage any more immoral than nations that do not? What actual statistics can you show to indicate gay parents are anymore less fit to raise children than straight parents? With the divorce rate in the U.S. now over 50%, are you still saying that straight marriage is better than gay marriage? Would you treat your gay child any differently than your straight child? How deeply have you researched this subject? Would you treat a gay married couple living next door to you differently than a straight couple? How many straight couples do you know who stay together in marriage for convenience, or because of social pressures, or for religious reasons? Have your religious leaders given specific evidence to support their contention that straight marriage is better than gay marriage? Should a gay partner be kept from making final decisions concerning a committed partner's last rights and other last-moment decisions? Should a gay teacher hide his/her sexual orientation from his/her students? Should a straight teacher do the same? Should a gay person be given all the rights of a straight person to serve in the military to defend this country? Have you ever had a deep conversation on this topic with a gay person? Or are you uncomfortable discussing such things with a gay person? Does it make you at all uncomfortable that gays have certain restrictions placed on them in the U.S. that are not placed on straight people? Do you think that gay people are a threat to children? Do you think that gay people are more immoral than straight people? Where would you go to have a serious discussion on this subject with someone else? Are you ambivalent on this subject, choosing to ignore it and hope it goes away? How many gay people do you know...well? If you draw your conclusions on this subject from the Bible, do you follow some statements in the Bible that children or parents should kill family members who do not follow antiquated biblical principles? Why is this different? Why do you select out certain biblical passages and not others?
[Note please: may I call on the liberal/progressive readers of my blog to stand back and remain silent for awhile. I want to learn what the conservative/right-wingers have to comment without their feeling the necessity to respond to others who leave comments. I want to have a chance to hear them clearly. Therefore, be considerate in only making comments pertinent to this specific blog post. Thank you.]
The furor over a Islamic community center being built somewhat near the site of the 9-11 terrorist bombing in New York City is confusing to behold. I understand the deep feelings of the victims families, but once again we have others who are patriotic "posers" speaking up with insane comments. Please stop and think. When we limit one person or one group from equality, we are on a slippery slope.
We are already well into campaign rhetoric, TV ads, mailings, press releases, speeches, etc. The political party out of office always seems to know much better how to run the nation. But this time there is no question who got us into the mess we find ourselves today in the U.S. The Republicans showed they do not know how to run the nation and even more obvious is their misuse of power.
While the Democrats do not represent the common man, though I wish they did, the Republicans have definitely been taken over by war and greed corporations. There is no room for honest democracy in either party. While the conservatives attempt to unify their party behind a mantra of lower taxes, reducing the debt, limiting government, stopping illegal immigration, and flying the U.S. flag all over the world, the liberals, as usual, are fighting among themselves.
Our religous arrogance and confusion come forth every time we show our rush to judgment about someone else's religion. The world is loaded with self-proclaimed members of a wide menu of religions. The actions throughout history by religious people have left millions of dead bodies scattered around the world. Religion and war have become regular bed partners. We judge, therefore we kill.
One measure of the honesty and truth of religious self-proclaiming is in the continuing number of people around the world who go to bed hungry, have no access to clean water, have no health care, etc. Yet the wealth, the clearly measured wealth of the world has increased immensely. Where is there religion put into action? Why are there still billions of people in the world living is such squalor? It is easy to simply toss it off as, "there fault."
I have spoken to large and small audiences across Europe from east to west, and throughout North America on the subject of right-wing Nazism and fascism, and the American corporations who lifted Hitler to power. Further, I played my interviews of politicians and other leaders from the Nazi time on my radio talk show. It is near impossible to reduce this subject to the space here, but here is my best, condensed attempt...
"We stand for the maintenance of private property...We shall protect free enterprise as the most expedient, or rather the sole possible economic order." -Adolf Hitler
Glen Beck and Sarah Palin didn't start it. They are just the latest example of right-wing extremism, and it has been present in the U.S. for well over a century. But it has learned to hone its presentation to sound more acceptable to the American people. Henry Ford wrote in his "Dearborn Independent" that Fascism, Nazism, and Hitler were all preferable to growing left-wing power. Greed capitalism saw in labor unions and voices of the people a danger to their protected place in American society. Actually, since the Industrial Revolution there has been an ongoing struggle between greed capitalism and left-wing movements. Child labor, tax breaks, slave wages, etc. were the expressions of greed capitalists. Forced equality and socialism were expressions of extreme left-wingers.
However the right-wing political movement in the U.S. has refined its approach. They have had to mask their intentions in order to sell the American people on right-wing extremism. Terms like Fascism and Nazism were seen as foreign and enemy sounding. Cloaking it in God and patriotism worked better here. And so at least since Ronald Reagan's presidency, right-wing politics has tried to present itself as God-fearing, patriotically American, etc. It has snuck under the radar until now it feels comfortable openly challenging minorities and left-wing thought. Unless it is forced to unmask, it will survive and thrive. The Tea Party movement is tailor-made for God and patriotism.