The key to a functioning democratic republic is not a common
righteousness. Rather, it's a harmonious diversity in which there is an
appreciation for differing perspectives buttressed by an on-going tradition of
keeping sacred the long-time legal reverence for individual rights and
It's THAT freedom the we have seen denigrated through political
rhetoric that portrays America as a global victim somehow authorized to
extract vengeance against imprecisely defined "others";
that insists we can justifiably redress perceived wrongs
against us with belligerant and rash behavior contrary to what even our
president has described as "core values."
It's THAT freedom that we have seen denigrated through
religious social rhetoric that portrays American Christians as a social
victims somehow authorized to assert themselves at the expense of the Bill of
Rights - attempting to formalize social vengeance against imprecisely defined
that insists they can justifiably redress perceived wrongs
against "others" with belligerant and rash behavior contrary to what even our
president has described as "core values."
Although it may not be necessary that those reading these lines
immediately get out of their pajamas, turn off the computer and go picket the
nearest Christian service, it is necessary that we pay attention to the voting
patterns and habits of the last 15 years. In particular we ought to note the
increased intensity of so-called "moral-values" voters who have been
apparently stampeded into the only political action required of them by their
own activist Christian politcal celebrities.
They must continue to vote every two years.
They must be stampeded into keeping our
Christian-in-the-White-House IN the White House, accompanied by his re-elected
loyal congressional Republican crusaders on their horses with flags flying,
lances ready and swords drawn.
I see the "showdown" as not between conservative and liberal
Christians nor as between conservative Christians and a coalition of every
other citizen in this country.
What I see is the possibility of conservative Republican
congress persons (are there any radical religious Republican women elected?)
driven by the radical religious horses that got them there actually going so
far as to legislate something that seriously alters how life is lived in this
I see these foolish people - remaining however a minority and
not representative of traditional conservative Christians. I see these foolish
people triggering a showdown between right/left and liberal/conservative that
explodes in an uncontrollable way - forcing everyone to choose sides when they
badly would not want to choose - a choosing that literally has no socially
redeeming value for the foundation of human freedom and personal rights in
It's one thing to enact laws the keep taverns 200 feet from
churches. It's something else to enact laws that seriously alter our national
habitual understanding of - for example - our Bill of Rights and a separation
of church and state.
If that happens, these radicals who thought changing the laws
was all that was needed will have no clue as to why rioters don't "play fair"
just because "it's the law now." They will not be prepared to cope with mass
refusals to quietly allow themselves to be taken off to jail instead of
rioting and striking back.
If Taliban-like laws were enacted we could see narrow-minded
militant literalists become self-appointed God-approved executioners of the
new laws - acting against the gay, non-Christian, politcal liberal or
abortionist in the tradition of those who perpretrate hate crimes.
The first time a jury in a community dominated by literalist
thinking found such a person not-guilty I think these radical religious
politicians would find themselves with more than they could handle.
Would you just sit around and moan if periodically a van came
down your street and you watched as your gay neighbors, your neighbor who had
a private abortion, or liberal speaker-outers were loaded up and hauled
Not for long ...
That's the naivete behind the assumption that making a law
enacts a specific morality which everyone will observe becase we are all
afraid of the law and the consequences of breaking it.
That's the tragedy that could come to pass so long as our
public patriotism has the substance of tissue paper and we live afraid of
America has a chance ... lest all the rebels die.