God’s Own Party

Interesting article by Kevin Phillips in the Washington Post today, “How the GOP Became God’s Own Party.” And he has a book out, naturally — yet another one I’ll have to add to my reading pile.

Actually, I don’t hugely care about religion per se. I’m interested mainly in supernatural fact claims, since they make the best contrast to what I really care about, working on a naturalistic big-picture view of the world. I’d really rather not get drawn into those aspects of religion that don’t, for example, mess with physics. (Though it’s surprising how often this happens, at least indirectly.) But the large numbers of people of all faiths who take their religion too seriously (all fundamentalists, but not just them) seem determined to make life difficult for me. So I can’t avoid the political nonsense. Beh!

And while I’m at it — whatever happened to conservatism as a political viewpoint I could respect, even when I disagreed? It seems to be alive in Europe, at least in Britain, but why did American conservatives decide at some point that they could sit down and devour their own brains? What is it with all this mindless worship of the market or Jesus or the military or the disgusting combination of all of the above?

I’m seriously worried about some of this. I spend a good deal of time listening to Christian radio and reading conservative Christian literature, partly because of my strange fascination with creationism. It’s become really ugly in the last five years — every now and then I have to exclaim that some of these Religious Right types are pushing a variety of fascism. I’m not using the f-word lightly. I lived through a right-wing military dictatorship in 1980’s Turkey, and I have some feel for a toxic combination of religion and nationalism, and an environment where you feel you have to watch what you say or else someone’s going to squish you for being disloyal. It seems that’s the direction many in the GOP want to take us.