ephemerol Comments On Religious Freedom In America

"Religious freedom will be protected for decades to come."
ephemerol comments:
Since the freedom to practice your religion, at least to the extent that it does not impinge upon the freedom of others, is not now, nor has it ever been under threat, I think what you meant was, "Religious privilege will be protected for decades to come." Religious privilege to expressly impinge upon the freedom of others. Religious privilege to be intolerant and bigoted.

That may be. We shall see. However...

This is not the first time we've seen something like this happen in this country. Two sides are becoming increasingly polarized. It is not by accident that the political power of each is evenly matched. That is something which is baked into a scenario like this. Like I say, we've seen this before.

As politics, this is not that different from the period between Louisiana becoming a state and the civil war. The south's demographics, never a majority, were dwindling relative to the industrializing north, and those demographics dwindled until only 8 million southern whites were still white-knuckling fully half of the political power in Washington against a population of 19 million in the north—that's 30% of the country pushing around the other 70%. It was only a matter of time until something had to give. Things could not continue that way forever.

The south achieved this with desperate measure after desperate measure. It began with unconstitutionally accepting Louisiana, carved as it was out of new territory, and thus accepting the spread of slavery beyond the boundaries of the original thirteen colonies and into new territory. From that moment on, the south refused to do business unless the business that was done assured them a minimum of 50% of the political power going forward. With each change to either the territories or the Union, the balance of power would be upset and democrats would abrogate the previous limitations on the spread of slavery to allow southern representation to keep pace with the north in the Senate. When Missouri applied for statehood, reaching a compromise would take Congress two contentious years, only being resolved by the balancing effect of Maine. When the Mexican-American War upset that compromise, a resolution in Congress would take four years. As part of that compromise, finally reached in 1850, Southern states dictated that a free California, if admitted to the Union on its own, would only be allowed one free-state Senator. The other Senator from California would have to represent slave interests. Southern politicians defended the sovereignty of southern states aggressively, but felt free to trample on the sovereignty of free states. Every single president was sympathetic to the minority, until the dam broke with Lincoln, the first president to hold abolitionist sentiments, giving birth to the republicans as a full-fledged party. That's when the pro-slave minority finally lost their power, and on the eve of losing that election they immediately began moving to hold onto their power, this time by attempting to create their own wholly pro-slave country.

We're seeing similar desperate measures right now with stealing what was Obama's legitimate supreme court pick, the changing of senate rules to get Gorsuck in, and repealing the Johnson Amendment to turn the churches into political lodges. All of these things are the desperate measures and dirty tricks of the dwindling religious demographic to hold onto a minimum of 50% of the political power despite the fact the prevailing tide is sweeping them away.

But the fact of the matter is, the trend is a slow, inevitable, leftward, secularizing tide. And the longer and more severely the pendulum might swing to the right for the moment, it does nothing to stem the prevailing tide. All it does is permit the sort of imbalance in political power we saw prior to the civil war to grow in Washington once again. And eventually, something is gonna hafta give. There is a limit to how long an underlying trend can be bucked. And the bigger the imbalance, the greater the pent-up political pressure, the more destabilizing it will be for the country, the more chaos it will cause when the religious right finally loses everything, and t he worse the war will be when it breaks out. I only hope that war will not involve guns this time. But the stereotype of rightwingers being really into their guns does not help allay my qualms in that department.

This time, however, instead of slavery vs. enlightenment, what we have this time is superstition vs. enlightenment.

The reason why I say this, is because the republican agenda is more or less the agenda of the religious right. And the religious right's agenda is motivated by a general sense of bible prophecy taken as a whole. Essentially, it amounts to the superstitious fear of a blanket punishment by the christian god if too many people in their country do too many things that he doesn't like, as in the old testament prophets. For some, they're afraid they'll be hurt because he'll "remove his blessing" from the economy. Others harbor old school fears of apocalyptic destruction in the literal sense, à la the book of Revelation. They're afraid their god will punish them indiscriminately for the sins of their neighbor, either because he is somehow only capable of blessing or cursing nations as a whole, a trait which we seem to see exhibited in the god of the old testament, or else because he blames Christians for being unfaithful and permissive because they didn't rise up and put a stop to it.

And because of their superstition, religious people feel the need to impinge upon the freedom of others. Superstitiously, they are afraid they will be injured because of their neighbor's "sins" and because of the assumed inability or else unwillingness of their punishing god to at least punish fairly. And so, they feel the need to rise up and attempt to strip away the same sort of freedom they wish to enjoy from their neighbor. And when they are unsuccessful in their bigoted and intolerant attempts to rob their neighbor of his rights, they then wish to spin that as though they were the ones whose rights were trampled upon, as though equal rights was a denial of their religious freedom. It isn't.

Without these specifically christian fears, socially conservative policies and christian bigotry and intolerance make no sense, and have no reason to exist.

So, what we really have is a nation that's becoming increasingly polarized between the superstitious who fear a lack of christian (reproductive, mostly) morality directly causing cataclysmic national ruin, vs. those with whom the only thing that registers is the enlightenment values of egalitarianism.

When the religious right finally does lose its grip on power, it will happen quickly, over a single event, like an election, or a supreme court ruling, because, at least since the 70's, we've seen the organization of political resistance by the religious right against the secularizing, liberalizing trend. And part and parcel with that must necessarily come an imbalance of power as reactionaries dig their heels in and refuse to accept the way society is trending. If Drumpf gets to pack the Court with rightwing extremists, it will only delay the inevitable, and with that delay, things will get more polarized, the imbalance will create a more politically pressurized environment, and the worse it will be for the dwindling religious right when they finally lose everything.

When the old white guys, who still remember what things were like back when whites still held all the power, back before blacks could vote or be president, back when coal was a thing and atheism wasn't, when they're g one and millennials are starting to get their gray hair, another dam is going to break, and this time it's going to be the death of the religious right as a political force, and the death of the republican party, at least as we know it. It's only a matter of time until something gives. Things cannot continue this way forever.