Friday, August 16, 2013

about identity

One of the fascinating college professors I had told us that in medieval times if one ask a stranger in Europe, "Who are you?" they would be likely to answer, "I am a Christian,  I am from (name of city or village), I am (name) the son of ___,." Since medieval times Europeans and Americans, I think, have passed through a sea change in identity. Now we would tend to first say our names and we would not likely mention our religion ... that is most of us. At least until some topic comes up such as politics. Politically, we have regressed back to identity, at least among Republicans. "I am a Christian, I am a Republican, I hate abortion and the doctors who perform them ..."
Salman Rushdie is quoted in Salon (link here) as saying we more and more identify ourselves by what we hate or oppose. I think the Christian Right in America and the other fundamentalist groups worldwide - jihadists, Hindu nationalists, etc.) are hurtful.
The absolutist Christian Right, having aligned itself with the Republican Party, gives a patina of righteousness to all things right wing, and consequently paints all things not right wing as satanic. It is just one of the factors killing American politics. And it is as phony as an alcoholic tent revivalist.
Just to take one issue - children. The Christian Right focuses on one thing - abortion. I don't need to tell you about the death threats, the harrassing ... But after a child is born the Republican Christian Right is perfectly willing to leave that child's health and safety to fate. They don't want that child to get free health care, enough good food, a safe home or any other factor that is important to life. So the Christian Right does not believe in the sanctity of life. Now when the child reaches the "age of accountability" the Christians feel obligated to make sure they have heard the gospel. Then, if the child rejects Christianity they can just go to hell -  and in the meantime they will be happy to make life a living hell on earth. And Christians are just so happy about prison rape.
Christians aren't. Not the ones we hear yelling on the news. George Carlin had it in a nutshell - "If you are pre-born you are precious. If you are pre-school, you're fucked."
Let's work at taking the Christian patina away from these hate-filled people. Let's get religion AND the corporations out of our politics. Then we might be mature enough to have a useful discussion about a culture of life.

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