“Theoconservativism” – Extremism under the Guise of Religion?

Stephen Wellington Mormon 18 Comments


Being a latitudarian, I hold the separation of church and state as part of my sacrosanct liberality.

This brings to mind a fear expressed by Jefferson:

In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection for his own. It is easier to acquire wealth and power by this combination than by deserving them, and to effect this, they have perverted the purest religion ever preached to man into mystery and jargon, unintelligible to all mankind, and therefore the safer engine for their purpose. —Thomas Jefferson

I fear that this change would encroach on Human Rights issues, Civil Rights issues, and Gay Rights issues.(Including other problems.) I fear that, as history has shown, governments that move towards theocratic rule can issue casuistic laws to quash liberties. But on the other hand, are civil unions the first step to the dismantling of the Mormon perspective of families and their eternal nature? What happens if children are to be adopted and brought up in civil unions…how does this fit into God’s Plan?

It’s difficult.

Another problem I see from this zealousness is that if you are going to change the constitution, then to whose version of “God endorsed” marriage do you apply it too? Would Father Abraham be arrested in America?We all know that one can argue anything with the Bible…or the Quran…

But yet…the church establishment sent out the petition for all its members to quash the civil union movement in America back in 2001/2002. Something I understand, but do not empathise with.

Is theoconservativism extremism or do I just need to be rebuked and told to get back into line? 🙂

Comments

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Comments 18

  1. Yup. It’s extremism. And yup, you need to be rebuked and told to get back in line, cause we sure like our extremism here in the US of A. 🙂

  2. It’s not difficult. Huckabee’s call for his own kind of sharia-law is as anti-Mormon as it is anti-human-rights, in general. He’s a Dominionist. His interpretation of Christianity and the theocracy he’d like to impose does not recognize Mormonism as Christian.

    The separation of church and state is freedom of religion. The two are the same thing. Imposing one religion prevents the free excercise of all others. Inasmuch as Mormons believe that they have faced religious persecution, they should be the first in line to oppose the attempts by Christianist extremists like Huckabee to distort the Constitution.

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    John Hamer – thanks for the response. What are your views on the coming Democrat president elect and civil unions? I hope that it becomes like here where they are able to enter into recognized monogamous unions. However, Christopher Hitchens has said, “Surely gay and monogamy are incompatible.” It kinda made me chuckle at first…but not being an insider to the gay community I am not sure what it is like. My Muslim Iraqi friend here also thinks that civil unions are a good things. But we were both undecided and somewhat hesitant about adoption for gay couples. This is something I would love to hear from you about. If you want to email in response thats cool. Your perspective on this board is invaluable…even if your threat colour is red and mine is ultra deadly pink 🙂

    John Nilsson – from a well traveled outsider I have noticed that “y’all” really do like your familial biarchy.:-) From the land of oppurtunity it seems rather limited. Shame really cuz it could be that you had a revolution to be ruled by 2 families and not one.

  4. In the US, marriage is a state issue. You don’t say, “by the power vested in me by the Federal gov’t,” you say “…by the state of Nevada” or whatever. The Democratic candidates should leave the issue to the states.

    Christopher Hitchens is wrong. The most monogamous unions that exist are lesbian unions, because men are the most likely to cheat and lesbians take men out of the equation. The question of marriage isn’t really relevent to the question of sex. People can have marriage without sex and sex without marriage. A straight couple can have an “open” (non-sexually monogamous) marriage right now. I know gay male couples in both Massachusetts and Canada who are legally married and who are living the lives of fairly traditional, monogamous married couples. So far, civilization has not ended.

    All the talk about adoption and children is only so much “won’t somebody please think of the children?!” populist rhetoric. I could hire surrogate mothers and legally produce all the children I might want starting tomorrow. I can legally adopt all the children I might want too. It’s legal for single parents to have children and to adopt, so that’s not related to the marriage question. The only thing that retaining marriage discrimination on the basis of gender does is discriminate against the child — and the child, by the way, is most likely straight, since gay people don’t sire or raise adoptees who are gay in higher proportions than straight people. The child is discriminated against because he or she doesn’t have the additional safety net that comes from having a secondary adult legal guardian, in case something should happen to the first.

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    Fantastic response John. Thank you for that.

    I must say I like the idea of the State legislation resolution. Something we are not privy too in the UK.

    Also…with these questions I am quite out of my depth as you probably notice. lol

  6. What is amusing to me is that both American political parties have created litmus tests that candidates must pass to be considered legitimate.

    Republicans
    -Pro-life (anti-abortion)
    -Christian (preferable worn on sleeve and proclaimed loudly)
    -Anti-tax, but leave huge debt to grandchildren and great-grandchildren
    -Pro-war (war du jour) also known as strong defense. torture, probably ok
    -Pro business (maximize profits, lower taxes, reward for offshoring)
    -Anti Gay rights (or any rights for that matter including right to privacy)
    -Anti Department of education, health and human services
    -Anti affordable health insurance that may cause for profit health companies, drug companies and insurance companies (our friends) to have to make less money
    -Anti campaign reform
    -Anti illegal immigration (send them all back, but not really cause our business friends “campaign donors” need the cheap labor and besides, maybe they will join the republican party)

    Democrats
    -Pro-choice (pro abortion for any reason and at any time)
    -Tax the rich, in fact, what the heck, tax everyone!
    -Pro immigration (path to citizenship and more votes for us, hooray!!!)
    -Health care for everyone, no charge (except to tax payers)
    -Marriage is ok for anyone with anyone
    -Secular, maybe even atheistic (not Christian, golf on Sunday)
    -Campaign reform (designed to help us, but not the republicans)
    -Anti-war (especially when it turns unpopular)
    -Mo government, mo government, mo government

    Now this isn’t exactly true for every candidate, but close.

    ***Added to help others interprete what I said here 😉 😉 😉

  7. Actually, Jeff — your stereotypes don’t describe the Democrats. Both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are mainline Protestant Christians who go to church on Sundays. Campaign Finance Reform is often suicidal rather than helpful to Democrats and I haven’t heard either bring the topic up — that’s the GOP candidate John McCain’s big issue. Neither Obama nor Hillary has come out against marriage discrimination. The only way to reduce the size of government is to reduce spending and the only time that has happened in recent memory is under the last Clinton administration; under Reagan and Bush Jr. spending (hence the size of govt) has ballooned. Although Obama opposed it, Hillary voted for the Iraq war and Democrats are just as likely to get the US into wars (WW2, Korea, Vietnam, Balkans) as Republicans (Panama, Iraq1, Somolia, Iraq2).

  8. Gee we’re into politics now.

    First thing. As a strict observer of the first amendment, with no Thomas Jefferson fluff about the “separation of Church and State,” I’m pretty conservative on the issue. School prayer, nativity scenes, ten commandments–go for it! That being said, what Huckabee proposes is Constiutioally ignorant, anti-pluralistic, and truly a violation of the most strict interpretation of the first amendment, ” . . . make no laws respecting an establishment of religion.” What Huckabee proposes is an establishment of religion. It is one thing to argue gay marriage, abortion, et. all on the basis of natural law, federalism, and from the perspective of what consitutes a moral citizenry. Quite another thing to legislate “God’s” law, the Constitution be damned.

    This man is scary! And that is coming from someone (me) who is/was? social conservative and has just found out he is neither Religious Right or Republican anymore. Politics is just a form of religion and irrational ideological attachment and judging by the feistiness on this post, it affects even us the enlightened.

  9. Peter: Prayer in school is a case in point for theocracy. In the first place, there is nothing stopping any kid from saying a prayer in school. If a kid is in the cafeteria about to have lunch and he wants to fold his arms and bless his food, wonderful! That’s not in question. If the kid is going to have a test and she wants to pray first, she can without question.

    The question is whether school officials should be leading public prayers in schools. Let’s say Mike Huckabee is a principal of a public school. Would you want him lead public prayers every morning that Mormon kids have to listen to? What if his prayers were dripping in exclusionary fundamentalist Christian language, where he prays for the souls of kids who follow “false sects that claim to be Christian” but who aren’t “truly Christian” because they not been “born again and accepted Jesus into their hearts as their Lord and Savior”? If you were a Mormon parent living in a state that is not majority Mormon, like Arkansas, how would it make you feel to have your child subjected to that kind of official prayer every day?

  10. Stephen,

    We are ruled by lots more than 2 families. Don’t forget the Kennedys.

    I think Huckabee’s language is telling. He juxtaposes “God” and “contemporary”. How are these opposites? Perhaps he is afraid he’ll be made even more fun of in the media if he were to utter the word “devil” or “Satan.” I’m no Romney fan, but as a Mormon, I’m starting to wonder if he’s staying in the race just to stick it to Romney by drawing off all the nut-job social conservatives he can. Doing his bit to keep a Mormon out of the White House and all that.

  11. #8 came off too harsh and I apologize. Let me just say any supposed litmus test that all the leading Republican figures couldn’t pass makes one question whether there is any litmus test at all.

  12. “The question is whether school officials should be leading public prayers in schools. Let’s say Mike Huckabee is a principal of a public school. Would you want him lead public prayers every morning that Mormon kids have to listen to? What if his prayers were dripping in exclusionary fundamentalist Christian language, where he prays for the souls of kids who follow “false sects that claim to be Christian” but who aren’t “truly Christian” because they not been “born again and accepted Jesus into their hearts as their Lord and Savior”? If you were a Mormon parent living in a state that is not majority Mormon, like Arkansas, how would it make you feel to have your child subjected to that kind of official prayer every day?”

    TouchE. My big takeaway is that I have always assumed the best in most religionists, praying as an expression of faith. What Huckabee has tought me is that the Religios Right can be just as tolitarian as any communist lefist pinko stereotype I have been imagining the worst of all my life. It does make me give school prayer a second thought as to its normative place in school.

    But alas, I wanted to transcent the school prayer versus non-school prayer argument. We have been arguing “separation of Church and state” ad naseum for 40 years and it’s a semantics argument over text and interpretation of the first amendment, my children being offended in the heart of Arkansas nonethess–it’s a Constitutional principle not to interfere with thre free exercise of religion–even if it is offensive and causes minor scrapes and bruises. That’s my humble opinion. But we can argue about it and beat out a solution and in the end no one really gets seriously hurt. Huckabee went straight to the heart of ripping up the establishment principle of the first amendment, which is truly scary. He wants the Bible to trump the Constitution. I don’t want that man anywhere near power. What he proposes is truly Hitlerian.

  13. Clark and John,

    The fact that I get nailed from both sides of the aisle tells me I am closer than I thought!!!! But really, it was a tongue in cheek look at how each party describes the other. I went ahead and added the smiley face to be more obvious.

    Though, I will say that most republicans try to out “Christian” each other and try to be more like Reagan than the other guy. And the Dems try to out “compassion” each other “I care more.” And everyone is now trying to Out “change” the other.

  14. “His interpretation of Christianity and the theocracy he’d like to impose does not recognize Mormonism as Christian.”

    Dude, no one thinks Mormons are Christian!

    But why not say it:

    After Huckabee gave this talk and then bible bashing nuts in Baptists lands voted for him, the biggest hurricane in the last ten years hit, where –in Huckabee states!!
    Maybe they should have voted for the mormon! 🙂

    (sorry, sorry, Im just in that mood today, the bashing baptist mood, but I’m sure a lot of Romney supporters are thinking this)

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    Jeff…I thought your list was rather humorous aswell. I do agree that there seems to be social criteria that they seem to fit. And this is why Ron Paul, to me, has been a breath of fresh air…more like a gentle waft of fresh air considering his results.

    Carlos…very witty too. Made me laugh out loud. Thank you for that.

    Peter Brown…I completely agree with you on #13 paragraph 2.

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