‘We have met the enemy and he is us!’
--the late great Pogo
Back in 1981-82, I spent a year as a member of the Moral Majority and interviewed nearly all of the most prominent leaders in the so-called “religious right.” I was a sensitive child of the fundamentalist culture that had supposedly spawned these hate-filled groups and this self-righteous movement And, I felt a personal obligation to go into their dens of iniquity and confront them with their lies and misrepresentations—about the teachings of Jesus, about the great history of our beloved United States of America.
My book, “God’s Bullies,” was published in the early fall of 1982 by Holt, Rinehart & Winston and, although it did not sell very well, it received very good reviews and it can still be found in nearly every public library in America. [Some of the comments on the book can be found under Books on this website.] By an editing error, the book carried two subtitles, one on the cover and another on the inside. I wrote and liked both of them: “Power Politics and Religious Tyranny” and “Native Reflections on Preachers and Politics.”
Now, I have to recall with some embarrassment and a little humor that I pushed my publisher to get this book out before the 1982 elections because I felt the religious right was a passing phenomenon, a mere blip on the national political scene. We needed to get the book out because the religious right would no longer be a force in future elections and my findings would no longer be relevant. Boy, was I ever wrong. Twenty-two years later, the religious right is now more powerful than ever. It is no longer a mere radical lunatic fringe, but a force that has quite literally taken over our government. They threaten the very fabric and framework of our democracy and the role religion has played in our society since 1776.
Many millions of us awoke with a heavy heart and a severe headache on Wednesday, the morning after the November 2, 2004 election…and not just from the alcohol we consumed watching the dismal returns from the election. We simply could not believe that a majority of our people had fallen for the lies and misrepresentations of George Bush and his administration. What made this defeat all the more painful was the fact that faced with one of the most immoral administrations in history, most of those who voted for Bush did so because of his stand on “moral values.” We are faced with an administration far more corrupt than that of Richard Nixon and a war that is far more senseless and unnecessary than Vietnam. And, yet, the people clamor for more of the same. You would think that the lessons of religious excesses would be apparent to the most simple minded among us as we read the tragic headlines from the Middle East. But, the truth is, we are now confronted with our own homegrown ayatollahs who are every bit as much a threat to our way of life as the ayatollahs in Iran and Iraq and Saudi Arabia.
It would be easy for those of us who saw our idealism and faith in America shattered by this election to just slink away and hide out. But, we cannot, we must not do that. Our voices are needed now more than ever. Sometimes it seems like the forces against us are so overwhelming, our cause of peace and justice is hopelessly in vain. However, we must remember that the great crusades for what is right in the past were not won in a day.
My boat may be small and the ocean vast, but I must row with all my might, raise my tiny voice and hope that others will join me in their own way. We must remind our candidates, John Kerry and John Edwards, that the battle is not over. We have just begun to fight. We need them now more than ever. And we must pick ourselves up and begin again. Thanks to the early efforts of Howard Dean, we have built a grassroots organization that came within 3 percentage points of toppling a popular president in the midst of a foreign war. We must never forget that and we must keep those forces mobilized for the continuing battle for what is just, what is right.
My own little part will be this daily log. I will offer commentaries of my own and input from various friends and acquaintances, folks I’ve never met, from all over the world. I will also offer authentic quotes and lessons from the Holy Bible and the founders of our great country. Please pass all this along to friend and foe; I welcome input from all sides. You can always contact me at email@example.com. I am doing this blog with the help and cooperation of Jackie Helvey of www.uniqueorn.com. If you need a website, drop her a line. Now, let’s get to work.
LESSONS FROM OUR PAST:
James Madison: “During almost 15 centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in most places, pride and indolence in the clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity, in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution.”
John Adams: “The United States of America governments have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature. It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of Heaven, more than those at work upon ships or houses, or laboring in merchandise or agriculture; it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the us of reason and the senses.” [These quotes from Madison and Adams are taken from Richard Reeves’ column, published November 6, 2004 in the Raleigh News & Observer.]
LESSONS FROM THE HOLY BIBLE:
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
www.commondreams.org is the best daily resource on progressive articles published world wide. I rely on it daily.
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