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Someone asked me recently why I thought there was no such thing as a
"Culture War."

I think "Culture War" is just a political slogan. It is used by the Right
wing fundamentalists who want to fool people into believing that they
constitute at least half the nation's population. They do not. It is used
in a similar fashion to "The Moral Majority." It didn't take many years to
figure out that they were neither moral nor a majority. They were a small
group of people who dream of a totalitarian society with themselves in charge.

Fundamentalism is by its very nature totalitarian. If Jerry Falwell, Pat
Robertson, and most of the Bushites get their dream world, there will only
be 27 amendments to the Constitution and the first will be modified to
explicitly require gun ownership. The amendment we now think of as the
first will be gone. Freedom of the press, freedom of speech and especially
freedom of religion will be gone. After that amendment, which has so long
been a thorn in their side, is eliminated, then they'll turn their
attention to the 14th (equal protection) because it is obvious that some of
the animals are more equal than others.

The fundamentalists arrive at all this by the most twisted logic
imaginable, but their very logic demonstrates what they desire--religious
totalitarianism. The quote below is from the American Atheist newsletter:

>Commentator and former presidential candidate Alan Keyes recently told
>Agape Press, a religious news service, "There is a difference between
>constitutional government and judicial dictatorship." He cited a
>recent federal ruling ordering Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore to
>remove a Ten Commandments monument from the state's Judiciary
>Building. For Keyes, the first phrase of the Bill of Rights which
>declares, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of
>religion" prohibits judges and courts from stopping many practices
>having to do with government promoted religion.
>
>Whether the Pledge, or school prayer, or the Commandments, "It means
>what it says," argues Keyes, "and what it says is there can be no
>federal law which deals with the subject of religious establishment.
>What it means, therefore, is that if you're sitting on the federal
>bench you've got no lawful basis for addressing or interfering with
>this issue."

by "this issue" obviously, he means the courts cannot use the 1st Amendment
to protect us from one of the other branches of government trying to make a
government religion. He means that anyone who violates the 1st Amendment
cannot be prosecuted for doing so.

There is no culture war. That vast majority of Americans are tolerant
people who want to live and let live. We are proud of our heritage of
allowing all Americans to worship as they please. We are proud of the
fact that Americans are a free people and we consider equality before the
law to be a sacred principle.

For example, I think that Americans will eventually see through the empty
rhetoric of the fundamentalists in regard to gay marriage. I think they are
already beginning to do so. Americans are uncomfortable with unequal rights. We
all know how hard it was to extend equal rights to Black people, but it
wasn't the young hippie dippy protesters (my generation) who extended those
rights. It was their conservative parents who had the political power to do
it.



------
Let Me Tell You A Story: http://www.coganbooks.net


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The following comments are for "The Culture War"
by susanb55

great piece
This is a great piece, susanb55! It is well-written, and packs quite a punch.

The radical right-wing that you refer to has been around for a very long time. I have a book titled The Radical Right which was published in 1964, when the US public was still smarting from the McCarthy debacle. If I were to change all the names in the book, and substitute modern counterparts, you would find the scenario indistinguishable from the events of today.

The US seems to go through this nonsense at least every thirty or forty years, and so far it has only served to bring out the best in people in the long run.

When the McCarthy hearings were brought to a timely end, what was most surprising was how anticlimatic an affair it was. McCarthy stepped over the line, his peers said, "That it! You're out of here!" And that was that.

The whole debacle was surreal and confounding. Though a right-wing, professed anti-semite, McCarthy's right hand man, and one of the worst offenders, was Jewish. This is reminiscent of Adolphe Hitler, whose mother was thought to have been at least part Jewish.

My paternal grandfather, who was born in Lyons, Colorado, often said of the States that, "You'll find the best and the worst in this country." And so far, the best has always won out.

Your piece is yet another example of that.

( Posted by: gsmonks [Member] On: February 22, 2004 )

RE: Culture War
First, let me preface by saying how I enjoyed your blog. You've well thought out and intelligent opinions and perspectives. Now let me tell you why you're wrong.
First, Jerry Falwell does not embody the culture war, if anything I do. I'm a middle of the roader, who for several years now, after voting Clinton in twice, have become Republican. This is because I've picked the lesser of two evils, and labeled liberalism an insane disease. More on that later.
You said 'There is no culture war.' But there is all the time, everywhere, and in all levels of human relationships (NAFTA or Isolationist/ English or bi-tri-quad-lingual/ socialism or limited government/ and inevitably freedom Of or From religion) The last one you mentioned briefly with Keyes. His interpretations ares quite in keeping with the original intent of the clause, where public religion was not banned, as it is now, merely discrimination proof. I'm sure you've noticed that public schools teach world religion and even practice yoga but they don't teach christianity nor can they have a moment of silent voluntary prayer after meditating on buddah's bliss for an hour. It seems reverse discrimination is the end result of liberalism here.
Does this mean I want a lingam in my courtroom? Of course not. Moore was wrong to force the issue, and he disobayed a higher court (even though I personally oppose federal courts having such authority over states) But I must defend the freedom to express my religion and to have open forums for such expression, even if it offends people. That's what the first amendment does, it offends somebody.
Also the gay thing. Ok, San Fransicko wants to have same sex unions, what's the big deal? Well, if you are comming at it from 'equal rights' you probably think they are oppressed if not allowed. But define marriage, is it a union of just anyone? I'm not going into the poligamy or beastiality argument, but I'll question where we want to go with marriage. Right now, legally, it's a contract between man and woman that gives tax and other breaks especially when children are involved. It's about the family unit, or used to be. Now, if it's about giving partners the same tax benefits, isn't that discrimination against the single person? I would certainly argue so. Why, if childrearing is not the primary reason to give such benefits, should two people be given a better status than myself? What purpose, marriage then? I forsee it's abolishment, for the equal rights of all, thank you liberalism. (I think this will happen BTW, over time, inevitably, and for different reasons) So if same sex want to partner for the sake of partnering, I'm happy for them, really I am. But why are they out to destroy the establishment of the family unit?
Abortion, the largest of the culture war issues is real. Those opposed say it's killing life...they are right. Those for say it's protecting choice...they are right too. Yet these two correct perspectives cannot agree by their nature. I personally think the pendulum swings to self correct things like this, but only until it swings too far and then goes back again.
In closing, I see culture wars all around. That's my beef with the piece. Thanks for reading.

( Posted by: malthis [Member] On: February 22, 2004 )

RE: Culture war
You demonstrate from your very note what I was saying. The reason the far right and far left wing rhetoric is getting very little traction is because most Americans are in the middle of the road. That *is* the usable surface of the road, you know.

I said there's no culture war, not that there aren't conservatives and liberals. Conservative and liberal are political positions, not cultures. Keys--and apparently you--want the provisions of the US Constitution to be unenforceable. Well, sorry, it doesn't work that way. In fact, 20 years after the origin of the Constitution the judiciary made it clear that the constitution was the law of the entire land. All of it.

Yoga is an exercise, not a religion. There is a religion (Hinduism, I think) that incorporates yoga, but nobody worships stretching their calf muscles. World religion classes include Christianity. If you think they don't, you've been given a load of bull. As for open forums to express your religion, there are literally THOUSANDS of places for you to do that. What is objected to, is the idea that you must have a governmental venue to "express your religion." Fundamentalists don't really care in the least that they can pray out on the sidewalk in front of the courthouse. They have every intention of having their prayers IN the courthouse. It is the appearance of government endorsement they crave, not prayer.

I'm glad you are not going into those tired fundamentalist strawman arguments about bestiality and polygamy. Many states define marriage on their books as "a legal union between two competent adults." It is only since all the hoo-ha about marriage they are rushing to change the definition as a union between one penis and one vagina. The tax thing pertains to any kind of marriage. I do wish to see marriage abolished as a legal idea. I'd like to see civil unions be the legal principle on the state and federal level for *all* Americans. Marriage can then be the purview of churches who can marry or deny marriage to whomever they please within their denominations. That is constitutionally protected freedom of religion. Finally I would like for you to go here: http://www.nuuf.org/event3.html and tell me whose family unit is being destroyed.

Susan

( Posted by: susanb55 [Member] On: February 23, 2004 )





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