At What Cost the Culture Wars?
Photo Credit: A.M. Stan
It seems that Tony Perkins is everywhere these days. Head homophobe for the Family Research Council (FRC,) he’s doing the TV rounds, paddling as fast as he can in the face of the unthinkable Supreme Court decision. More likely, he’s using the very large platform given him by the media to trumpet the grave moral danger confronting good Christians. Luckily for him, (despite his past involvement with Klansman David Duke and the white supremacist Council of Christian Conservatives) Senior FRC Fellow Ken Blackwell is there at his side. When Tony, the gleamingly groomed man-boy tells FOX News that polygamy is certain to follow same sex marriage, spin the dial and you’ll find Ken on another channel warning that incestuous unions aren’t far behind. Regardless of which way the Supremes rule this time around Tony and Ken, being far from stupid, see the writing on the wall and, knowing that this particular battle is already lost makes a person wonder, what else is going on here?
Things are tough these days if you’re a card-carrying Dominionist. To a one, they were humiliated in the summer primaries, obliterated in the November elections and now, the supposedly religiously conservative Supreme Court is threatening to go anti-family. To put a positive spin on all this sturm and drang, there is this: if DOMA goes the way of Obamacare, then perhaps President Obama really is the anti-Christ. In that case, all is not lost - at least the End is near.
Unfortunately though, we’ve seen this movie before but this time, the combination of nukes, planetary destruction and quietly apocalyptic politicians doesn’t necessary bode sanity. Two generations ago, when American youth were burning flags and dropping acid, a deep-pocketed, religiously conservative opposition, up in arms about the degradation of society, went to work birthing with little or no fanfare to build what ultimately became the American Dominionist machine. It certainly behooves today’s more rational thought leaders to consider how effectively the culture wars have played out over time when it comes to rallying the faithful because we find ourselves today facing a similar kind of anger within the disenchanted religo-conservative ranks. Like Frank Sinatra crooned, “Except that life keeps runnin’ in cycles - - first there’s laughter, then those tears.”
Today’s laser focus on Prop 8 and DOMA at the Supreme Court is reminiscent of being in the presence of a very good magician. While all media eyes turn to the drama of same-sex marriage, Dominionist Christians steadily and quietly chip away at vital church/state issues at the state level. Arkansas then North Dakota enact the most restrictive abortion laws since Roe v Wade, while at the same time, shuttering state Planned Parenthood clinics, all to scant coverage. On March 28, 2013, The New York Times writes a front-page story on school vouchers and how they’re changing the face of public education, and TV pundits yawn. Worse yet, they put Tony Perkins on. Like the Friday news dump, these announcements come while the press is busy looking the other way.
Our attention deficit disordered public can see New Orleans destroyed one year then, eight years later, still gawk in horror and surprise when New York goes under water. But the stock market is at a record high and so climate change can wait for another day. Strange bedfellows though they may seem, corporate interests meld too often and too readily with bootstrap religionists. The planet-killing Koch Brothers and other energy providers have much to gain from anti-science Dominionist stalwarts possessed with the knowledge that God gave mankind all the resources he’d need to sustain him until the Rapture, thus global warming is naught but a hoax. Rupert Murdoch, Roger Ailes, Rush Limbaugh and the like unscrupulously benefit from their sheep-like audiences, a hefty percentage of whom order their days around the Bible.
In a world where profit trumps life, Monsanto poisons the food supply, alternative energy solutions are scuttled at every turn and spin-meisters trade earthquake and cancer-inducing fracking to economically depressed areas, with the promise of minimum wage jobs. Even President Obama’s State Department puts out a business friendly and clearly jiggered report on the Keystone pipeline stating “The pipeline will not have [a] huge impact on climate, and will have little impact on meeting the United States' energy” Translation: We won’t reveal what forcing millions of gallons of chemically laced water deep into the earth at high pressure will do to the environment. We do know that if we can get the deal past the environmental zealots, the Koch Brothers will become even wealthier. For a supposedly evolved society to laugh in the face of literal climate and environmental destruction for the sake and stupidity of the almighty dollar bodes ill for the planet’s long-term health.
Meanwhile, after a decade of self-destructive wars, wars that have no meaningful end, wars whose cost, while off the books, bankrupted our emotional and financial reserves, we’ve only to look to the Halliburtons and the Northrop Grummans to understand the whys and the wherefores. Financially brilliant corporate titans know well that without the political support of a ginned up End Times bloc, they don’t have the political support needed to feed their machines. And so they dance.
Last but never least is the conjunctionwhere Dominionists meet the Bomb Iran crowd. I wrote in an earlier article, “That a nation so intent upon monitoring worldwide nuclear capabilities so willingly looks away from its own brand of religious extremists(high ranking military officials) who are rooting for the end of the world - extremists in the position to carry nuclear payloads - is tantamount to watching Nero fiddle while arsonists set fire to Rome”. I would add to that it took The Military Religious Freedom Foundation’s vigilance to expose the Department of Defense ‘Jesus Loves Nukes’ class, forcing them to shutter his twenty year program. Bryant Jordan, the associate editor and White House correspondent for Military.com reported, “Air Force missileers may no longer get decades-old, Bible-centric ethics training, designed to help them resolve moral or religious doubts about the use of nuclear weapons.” It’s hard to imagine things could get crazier – and scarier – than this when it comes to the very dangerous behind the scenes efforts of religion backed capitalism but stay tuned. That is if you dare to look away from the Culture Wars.