Thursday, September 14, 2006

Where the Religious Right Drives Me Nuts

I am the Religious Right, to paraphrase the old NRA ads, but I sometimes try to sit at the far end of the table. As I've been picking on liberals lately, I figure I should be at least as even-handed as I am able.

I don't follow all that Left Behind stuff that much. I did that in my Jesus Freak days of the 70's, with all the early Hal Lindsey books. Are we in the last days? Could be. For my purposes, it doesn't matter. CS Lewis's "The World's Last Night" captures quite vividly that it's not all about me. We think that God would want to finish every story He starts, but it remains true that the Last Day will also be somebody's wedding day, or someone's day of birth, or graduation, or starting a new job, or being right on the verge of a great discovery. Once you absorb that, the idea of the nice coherent narrative we expect of events pretty much evaporates. And anyway, there's work to be done. Someone will be putting in a load of laundry (or whatever the future equivalent is) when the call comes.

As a consequence, I follow the news in the Middle East strictly from a fair/not fair standpoint. How Hezbollah or Iran might be setting up Armageddon is too much of a stretch to worry about. I really don't care if the EU has a pagan goddess on its seal. I admit I do get a little queasy about implanting chips in the forehead or wrist, though. I hope I'm not missing something there.

I vote pro-life, but I'm less doctrinnaire than others. I could get talked into defining the beginning of life at brain waves, or heartbeat (that's 5-6 weeks, BTW). I like the bright line that Catholics and fundamentalists draw, but I recognise that for me, at least, the attraction is somewhat aesthetic. As a consequence, stem cell and Plan B issues don't grab me as much. If I were a congressperson, I would vote against, mostly because I believe that opening the door can have unintended consequences. But I wouldn't be one of the big speechmakers on this.

Fundamentalist Christians in general tend to wander off into some strange areas, and I'll acknowledge that you sometimes can't reason with people who believe in textus receptus and the KJV only, or that 12-Step programs are of the devil. Just for the record, while I'm pretty sure they vote conservatively, I doubt they're the white-hot core of Republicanism the liberals think they are. There are too many wild cards in that group - people who think that the Bushes are hereditary Illuminati or are still torqued off about legislation passed in the 1980's.

I care little about gay marriage either way. I would vote against because of a Burkean conservatism that resists overthrowing collective wisdom, but other than that, I would prefer to put my energy elsewhere. I think it's a terrible idea, when I think about it at all, which is never.


Old Wacky Hermit said...

I spent a year or so hanging out with some on the fringe of the right and you're right about the tendency toward conspiracy theories. Far from being Bush apologists, there was about a 50/50 chance that they think Bush is implementing the plans of Satan, coddling the U.N. (which they view as evil), and other sins. They eat organic like a lot of the "lefties" and in fact I'd say they were even more "environmental" (they worry about the health effects of airplane contrails, for example).

They were some of the best people I've ever known, though. They'd give you the shirt off their backs.

Woody said...

The "religious-left" drives me crazier. Just like the Democratic Party left Ronald Reagan, my church left me and many others by substituting left-wing political slogans for God's word.