I really enjoy your show, which (unfortunately) here in CT, airs Sunday mornings at 7am on WNPR. My only complaint is that it's so early (for me), that I'm usually half asleep listening to it. (Smile)
Anyway, the show I heard this Sunday morning (11/7/10) talked about torture. At one point, it touched on how (conservative/fundamentalist) church-going Christians were most inclined to rationalize or accept the use of torture by the US Government. That really got my attention.
I think you could do an entire show based on the way - in my humble opinion - conservative politicians disingenuously exploit so-called Christian values to their advantage ... to promote people's support for their political agenda.
I first began to think about this when I heard Ronald Regan talking about the old USSR. At one point, he referred to the USSR as the "Evil Empire". It struck me that he used that phrase in a very calculated way: He intended to frame the debate on how to deal with the "USSR Problem" in terms of a fundamentalist religious dichotomy: that of Good and Evil.
That perspective is one that most every working class, fundamentalist/conservative church-going citizen from Middle America could relate to. And it frames the debate into a basic choice: We, as God's chosen people have a religious duty to fight the Godless Soviets. Onward Christian Soldiers.
Over the years, I believe that approach has been perfected and continues to be exploited to this day. Witness how Islam and all Muslims are demonized and used to spread fear amongst the average citizens as a way of justifying a never-ending War on Terrorism that is hugely expensive in terms of both money and bloodshed.
It seems this approach has a much greater appeal to such people than if these politicians were to come right out and say,
"Would you please support us in training and deploying your husbands/wives, sons/daughters and/or brothers/sisters to kill Godless/Heathen foreigners who live in a foreign country with tremendous natural resources (like oil!) that our corporate handlers covet dearly? And even if they do kill people (in direct contradiction of the 10 Commandments), this is Manifest Destiny, after all. And even if your loved one is killed, you'll be comforted knowing that s/he died patriotically doing God's Will to support this great Christian Country of ours ... and s/he will, of course, be buried in Arlington National Cemetery."
OK. A little sarcastic, I realize. And I appreciate this might well be too politically controversial, even for NPR or wherever. But I am sincere in my belief that this bastardized marriage of religion and politics is immoral, reducing Christianity (for that matter, all Religion in America) to the status of hand-maiden to politics ... and reducing our once-proud military to the status of Mercenaries.
It's not for nothing, IMHO, that the US Government grants churches and other places of worship Tax-Exempt status: Can you imagine what would have happened during, say, the Vietnam War, if the Pope had gone public with his plea to "stop the killing in this immoral war? Remember the 10 Commandments? Killing is immoral, even if ordered by your government!"
Half the guys fighting over there were from the lower-class and Christian, if not Catholic. The war would have come to an end even sooner than it did. And the reason the vast majority (like, what?, 99%) of Priests, Pastors and Rabbis did not make such a plea is because the US Government would have revoked their tax-exempt status. A very effective way of preventing any serious, religious institutional resistance to the immorality of the wars that politicians launch to benefit their corporate masters.
Well, I'm rambling (Smile). I'll let it go at that. Hope you'll consider doing a show along those lines. However, if you don't, I'll understand .. and I'll keep listening to your show. (Smile)
Take care, Richard Bowen
PS If you're interested in looking at how this use of Religion by Government and the Special Interests behind government policy has a history going back centuries, watch the Robert DeNiro movie, "The Mission". Shows how government, even 100s of years ago, used the Church to their ends ... supporting the Church in sending in Missionaries who proselytized for a Christian God, breaking down the cultural underpinnings of the native society by destroying their religious mores/spiritual mythology ... making them easier to conquer and control ... and ultimately exploit their natural resources for the State and its backers.
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