Friday, October 19, 2007

America's Mullahs

by shamanic

Reading the first page of this article, does anyone else hear echoes of early reporting about the role and lifestyle of Ayatollah al-Sistani in Iraq, who never leaves his home but custom and politics require that everyone important in Iraq, including American military and civilian leaders, see him and receive his support?

And when did evangelicals decide that they had a right to a fits-like-a-glove candidate? The rest of us weigh the pros and cons of each imperfect office seeker and often end up holding our noses to vote. Why are evangelicals above this venerable American tradition?

Everyone in contention in the Republican field has clearly indicated that he will appoint judges who will find on the side of the evangelicals' treasured "core beliefs", but what's so frigging special about their core beliefs? Everyone has those, after all.

I read Paul Weyrich's essay on a hypothetical evangelical third party repeatedly last night. I started to write a post on it, but couldn't find the right tone for what I wanted to say. I think what I want to say is this: Yes, the Christian right has the opportunity to build what could be an enduring minority party in the United States based on religious idealism, but it's a bad, bad idea. That party would draw the most divisive and extreme elements of America's faith communities, would support the most hateful and, frankly, personal type of legislation, and would alienate everyone else.

It is bad for America and it is bad for people of faith, of which I am one.

Nations older than our own survived eras of great civil unrest as religious factions warred amongst themselves. What Weyrich and his fellow travelers are suggesting - an overtly religious political party in the United States meant to sow a narrow interpretation of Biblical law into our nation's laws - is dangerous, alienating, and diminishes both the body politic and communities of faith that thrive in our diverse country.

Please take a breath, gentlemen. We all vote for the lesser of two evils more often that we care to, but it's how the system works, and it works well enough.

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