by Rosemary Gray-Snelgrove
A few months ago, when telling some ‘secular progressive’ friends about information I found startling in the book “Theocons”, they dismissed my enthusiasm for the discoveries and its pertinence to their lives both as residents of Canada and as non-religious people. Simply not relevant.
I recently pointed out that Rick Santorum was a major Theocon supporter and contributed to their journal. Still didn’t impress anybody, so I may have to follow this thread alone. But I have a few more comments to make in this forum.
A Nation Under God
The motivating belief among Theocons (the theologically driven Conservatives) is that God calls them to bring the nation back to the beliefs of the founding fathers, by gaining political power and in various ways (through legislation, policy, budget priorities) bring people back to the God-centred action. This is defined as fundamentally Christian belief, articulated most precisely by Roman Catholic teaching.
As described previously in this blog, the doctrine of “just war” has been reactivated, and America is called to assert its dominance among nations. This is what God wants because the U.S. is a nation pledged to God.
Other basic goals – now familiar to all who follow the nightly news — include rolling back gay marriage and many gay rights, repealing laws permitting abortion, halting stem-cell research and use, altering gains on consensual euthanasia, removing funding from family planning and birth control meds, and returning women to the primary role in child care and managing the home.
If one lets this sink in, there is no need to wonder or shake our heads at the policies touted by Santorum or his southern competitors for the top Republican job. If you truly believe that God, as Father, Judge, Mighty Planner, with the whole world in his hand, wants you to struggle politically toward fulfilling his wishes, you don’t think you have much choice. There is a right way and it’s your job not just to uphold it but to promote and if necessary, fight for it.
Many of the Fox News commentators, in print and on screen, seem to sober observers like opportunistic buffoons. But I’m realizing that many of them mean what they say. They are convinced that the rest of us are going to hell, and perhaps dragging their children along. “STOP!”, they shout. They believe they have heard the word of God, received divine knowledge, and that God will lead them to victory if they march forward in faith and praise. Onward Christian Soldiers.
What About The Rest of Us?
While other creeds (Jews and Muslims in particular) should be able to stay in the country (by virtue of the recognition by the well-informed that they come from the same family of God as Christians), their public and private behaviour would have to conform to the dictates of the Christian leadership. There appears to be distain for the wider range of religious belief, but non-believers (secular progressives) are the most detested and feared.
Some infrastructure, to support the future rolling-out of religious laws and amendments to inadequate laws, was put in place during George W. Bush’s two terms. Committees, boards, panels, were created and peopled by serious conservative thinkers. They persist, in preparation for the day of victory.
Which is Worse?
I don’t know whether war with Iran or implementation of the Theocon social legislative agenda would bring the worse outcomes. Either way, Canada is certainly not going be free of impacts.
A recent opinion blog (Brian Stewart, cbc.ca, March 14, 2012) contained some sorry statistics about the social results of the last several overseas wars conducted by the U.S. As our Prime Minister continues to fail to speak out against talk of invading Iran, we should be aware of what war has cost our neighbour.
Apart from the bankrupting cost, and the maiming and death of combat, the following are reported:
- 30% of returning soldiers develop serious mental problems within 3 to 4 months of coming home
- 25% suffer from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)
- As many as 300 suicides annually by veterans
- Failed suicide attempts, over 1,500 a year
- Sexual assault among troops – 19,000 military men and women assaulted by fellow soldiers in 2010
- Domestic violence increased over 30% among military families between 2006 and 2011
- Drug and alcohol abuse rates growing over the years of combat
A belief that God wants war, that it can be declared ‘just’ according to the religious principles of a country’s leaders, is not something we can lightly accept, even if we aren’t sure what we can do about it. At least we can work to prevent our country’s leadership from buying in.