How serious are the Christianists?
Sam Rosenfeld and Matt Yglesias are wrong. The movement to establish an American theocracy is serious, relentless, and very, very dangerous.Emphasis added. I often find myselft wondering how alarmist Internal Monologue should be about the Christian Theocratic movement in the United States. Sometimes they seem like harmless dupes of the Republican plutocrats (though now that I think about it, they do plenty of harm in that role), but then I think about the prevalence of Creationism, "Abstinence Only", Anti-gay bigotry, and the rest of their agenda and how far it has penetrated into mainstream American life. And I think about their persecution complex. And their eschatology. And their blind support for Bush and his ilk. And I find myself agreeing with tristero.
But the fact that I find christianism utterly repulsive when it's not just silly doesn't take away from the fact that many, many Americans are deeply attracted to it. Many more Americans have trouble distinguishing between the more diluted versions of christianism and their own desire to have a meaningful place for religion and national pride in their lives.
It is a serious mistake to underestimate these people. They have more cash, and more followers than we do. More importantly, they know, as we yet don't, that they are in a culture war. And they know, as incredible as it surely sounds to Rosenfeld and Yglesias, that the culture war is a continuation of the ancient struggle between the priests and the philosophes and ideals of the Enlightenment. Go ahead, Matt and Sam, read what they actually say. Listen to their speeches. That's what this is about.
I think a key component of this fight against Christianism is ripping away the protective veil of automatic respect that crazy, hateful ideas get when they are presented as religious ideas (e.g. all who don't believe as we do are going to burn in hell, and it is right that they will). In this respect, I am in agreement with Sam Harris, author of The End of Faith (see sidebar).