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Friday, April 08, 2005WHY RELIGIOUS PEOPLE SUPPORT BUSH'S LIES
Dr. Gerry Lower, Keystone, South Dakota
To para phrase Michael Kinsley (The Limits of Eloquence, Slate, Nov 14, 2003), How can one's current beliefs be accepted as being "transcendentally correct" if one has recently stated beliefs quite the opposite. How can one say "up" and point "down" and then turn around and say "up" and point "up"? In that regard, "George Bush's powers of persuasion are apparently so spectacular, at least to some, that almost all the pro-Bush voices in Washington and the media have remained pro-Bush even when "pro-Bush" means the opposite of what it did five minutes ago."
The truth of "up" and "down" does not matter in Bush World. All that matters is the power to dictate which is which, control mania exemplified. Bush World is a religious manipulation unfettered by the restrictions of knowledge and elementary logic. In this regard, Kinsley gives too much credit to Bush's "powers of persuasion" and not enough credit to the gullibility of religious conservatives.
While external fears still linger in the American cultural air, the Bush administration is no longer supported by those with a dire need for vengeance or for protection from Saddam Hussein. George Bush increasingly gets his support from internal fears on the part of his religious supporters.To admit that the war on Iraq was launched and is maintained on immoral ground (because it was based on religious attitudes, fabrications and fear-laden hype) would be nothing short of a crisis of self-identity and self-concept for religious fundamentalists.
How can Old Testament believers possibly be immoral? How can the people of the "Good Book" possibly do wrong in the eyes of their all-seeing and all-knowing Old Testament God? How, indeed? How can the religious right wing come to terms with Bush's lies and failures? The answer is that they simply cannot. They have no choice but to rest their case on fabrications and transcendental self-righteousness.For religious fundamentalists to admit error would be to denigrate their heavenly source of authority and themselves for abiding supernatural authority. It would require admiting their humanness and fallibility. It would require giving up on the notion that George Bush's words are somehow transcendent (when they do not even transcendent the realm of dirty lies).
America's neofundamentalists have, in the western religious tradition, locked themselves into an untenable position by their own beliefs and actions. There is no escape from religious blunder, no way to return to empirical reality without losing control over both the faithful and reality.This is always what happens when one administers violence based on "transcendent" belief. There is simply no way, in case of failure, to cover one's ass honestly and intelligently. In the face of lies and failure, Bush's support is no longer based on belief in his policies and practices.
His support is based increasingly on the need of his followers to maintain their religious self-identity as "compassionate" conservatives and would be "Christians." This fear of losing one's religious self-identity on the part of Bush's supporters will ensure that the Bush agenda of capitalistic neoimperialism, however inconsistent that might be with the values of Democracy, will be preserved and fulfilled to the extent possible, until it all falls for its utter lack of honest truth and human values.The more encompassing freedoms beneath Jefferson's democracy are "freedom from fear and ignorance," freedoms which cover considerable ground. It was freedom from the fear of religious oppression, for example, which demanded the separation of church and state.
Bush World thrives on religious fear and ignorance, and Bush's policies and programs will remain transcendent in the eyes of his loyal followers.Wake up good people. The Bush administration has dumbed even good religious people down such that they can no longer make a distinction between the values of democracy and the values of religious despotism, between the values of Christianity and the values of Old Testament vengeance-based religion, between the values of fairness and equality and the values of crony capitalism. Because they have sacrificed themselves to Bush's "god," most religious people in America no longer know what they are talking about.