America’s Christian Voters

I was inspired by my friend of 60+ years and frequent commenter on this blog, UptheFlag, to write this post. He and I attended the same grade and high school here in northern Ohio. Although I stuck around this neck of the woods, he and his family wandered the West, living in North Dakota, Montana and Texas, and finally settling in the Old South in Mississippi. It was economics that kept my friend in that Confederate state, not necessarily the love of the political, social or religious flavor of the place. Today his deep red state is in the top 10 most evangelical states. Ohio ranks #26. Interestingly, neither one of us are church-goers even though our first 16 years of education was in Catholic schools and universities.

We are part of that sect known as ‘fallen away Catholics.’ In reality, what happened was that we grew up, learned about the world, moved on and cannot return to a church whose essential philosophy requires us to remain child-like and demands of us to believe in supernatural deities, magic and mysteries. And a medieval hierarchical model in which we remain the ignorant serfs.

Isn’t it odd that the people of the American colonies took that first bold step in the late 18th century to sever its bonds with a king and remade itself as a model of citizen-led governance, yet, here a decade into the 21st century, many of its citizens cling to a religious system which demands subservience of its followers? I find that pathetically disturbing.

UptheFlag wrote this comment:

Christian Americans have been brought up to accept the Bible as the word of God, and when we move to the evangelical and fundamentalist religious realm the preacher is believed. He is trusted. It’s a trust relationship, and religion is trusted. Probably 40% of the population are in this religious trust camp. They want nothing to impinge on what they base their trust. They do not question their preachers, and view anyone who does question as a threat. Education is a threat; it may make people think. They believe that it is education that develops the progressive humanistic viewpoint. As Santorum says, we become snobs.

To me this is the ‘little children’ or the ‘sheep’ analogy. Docile, easily led children who are taught not to think, but only to believe. Education, especially science, is seen as a challenge to the ‘believers.’ They are taught to cling to the myths and magic of the Bible and quickly learn not to question anything. A perfect, fertile propagandist’s paradise!

If one studies the data in the link above, there is a 1:1 correlation between the number of evangelists in a state and its redness.  The top 10 most evangelical states are solid red and the bottom 9 [Utah is the {Mormon} exception] are solid blue. Ohio and Florida, two of the most purple swing states sit in the center of the list with about a 25% evangelical population. Is that not an interesting piece of data.

UptheFlag comments further:

It seems to be all coming together, my friends. It is all coming out in this election. Women are bad; they need to be at home, barefoot and pregnant; they need to be in total obedience. They are marrying the Old Testament Genesis with the New Testament Book of Revelation. Genesis is the oldest trusted word of God. God gave dominion of the earth to man. Therefore, they say God put the natural resources there for man to extract and use. They say that these resources are here and available and what God has put there for our use, not to use them would be immoral. God is trusted, science is not. And, now, what we have is another marriage. This is the marriage of the far political right with the religious fundamentalists, and this joining of forces has created the Tea Party. The Tea Party is the the extreme political right and evangelical fundamentalist religion.

Northern and eastern women,  along with those on the west coast and I would suspect women from many parts of this nation, are keenly aware of the current wave of GOP misogyny that is moving through state legislatures and into the scripts of the GOP presidential contenders. Recent polls suggest that Romney is disadvantaged by margins of 70% to 13% among women voters. Not in evangelical households, of course, as UptheFlag points out. There the women know their place, much like the ‘colored maids’ in the north in the 1950’s. Or ‘the help’ in the Confederate South.

One ought not be surprised by the current spate of anti-women legislation here in the United States.  After all, my mother’s first vote came only 6 years after she, as a woman, was allowed to vote. Interestingly, that 19th Amendment to the Constitution, approved by a  3/4 vote of the states in 1920, was NOT ratified by the states of Georgia, North Carolina, and Louisiana until 1970 and in the bastion of the Confederacy, South Carolina, three years later.  Yet it was the state of  Mississippi that held out the longest- not having ratified that amendment until the year 1984. Imagine that.

In 1936 a federal law prohibiting the dissemination of contraceptive information through the mail was modified and birth control information was no longer classified as obscene. How puritanical. Yet it was another quarter century before the Federal government would approve the first birth control pill which, of course, the church condemned as immoral. Apparently the church thought that the struggles with raising a family of 6 or 8 children was more moral.

Three years later, in 1963, Congress passed the Equal Pay Act, making it illegal for employers to pay a woman less than what a man would receive for the same job. Yet, even today, that inequality is rampant in the United States.  In fact, the new health care act, widely condemned by the Catholic Church,   includes a women’s rights clause forbidding insurance companies from charging women more than men. That the Catholic Church condemns this act and birth control for women is not surprise in that it is an exclusive men’s club.

In 1965 In Griswold v. Connecticut, the Supreme Court struck down the one remaining state law prohibiting the use of contraceptives by married couples. Yes, married couples. Americans would be walking on the Moon 4 years later. Imagine that.

In 1982, when the Russians were scooping up soil samples on Venus, the Equal Rights Amendment failed to get the 38th state approval and, before the final deadline that year, it died. None of the solid red, Old South states ratified the amendment. Arizona and Utah never ratified but Kentucky and Tennessee originally did but then rescinded. Wow! Did I mention that Tennessee ranks #1 in evangelicals and Kentucky ranks #7?

With the history of women’s rights detailed above,  it is not difficult to realize that these same struggles are rearing their heads here in the year 2012. There has always been some degree of misogyny present in the American psyche. It rears its ugly head from time to time and apparently, like the cyclical appearance of the cicada, this is one of those years. The fertile ground already plowed by evangelicals and fundamentalists encourages this plague of locusts [aka misogny] to flourish.

As UptheFlag said, “It seems to be all coming together, my friends. It is all coming out in this election.” Yes it is and this will be another un-Christian uprising of ugliness that has cropped up time and again in this ‘Christian nation.’


9 thoughts on “America’s Christian Voters

  1. I have found it very troubling as I discover the link between Rick Santorum and Opus Dei. He even listed a trip to an Opus Dei retreat in the 2002 as an official government trip in his expense account when he was a senator.
    Where as Romney tends to shy away from Religious discussion due to the controversial nature of Mormonism, Santorum seems to delight in flaunting his desire to break down the secular walls of our constitution regard the mixing of religion and government.
    Santorum, of course is making a tactical error in the short term, but his insistence and repetition of these concepts guarantee that they will become long term issues.
    Both Mormonism and The Opus Dei version of Catholicism propagate the subservient role of women as part of their doctrine. The actual history of Mormonism makes this all too obvious .To me, of course, this would seem to appeal to the immature, naive and perverse medieval instincts that normally govern the non thinking easily manipulated masses.

    Of the two, I feel that Romney is the real immediate threat, because he will be the candidate. His message will be more aggressive and overt once he is campaigning and the conservatives have already plowed the fertile earth in preparation for these perverse concepts to take root. The Republican “War on Women” we seem to be experiencing in merely the way they diffuse and soften up the more direct campaign. Once Rush makes his bombastic statements, it’s easier to take the more erosive approach, because anything in small doses less obnoxious than Limbaugh suddenly appears reasonable.
    Mormonism as I have pointed out over and over again accepts the use of deceit to propagate itself. The famous “Milk before Meat” idea that mormon missionaries are taught.
    I for one, have no intention of living in an immature, intellectually medieval retro world. I feel that that most people feel the same way. We have come too far to go back. Dinosaurs roared at their fate…they evolved their way into extinction. We are not dinosaurs…We are something new!

    1. I for one, have no intention of living in an immature, intellectually medieval retro world. Lucky for you, Microdot, you can do that much more easily than we here in the U.S.A. can. The European Church has matured to such an extent in the eyes of The People that it has been relegated mostly to the status of historical curiosity. Whereas, here in our ‘young’ democracy, the church still retains its control over large swaths of the citizens- influencing their lives and their votes. I hope that time warps rapidly towards the phase where the church is relegated to the dustpan of history.

  2. Something to think about……I was taught Catholicism in a parish school after Sunday Mass every Sunday, located within the Toledo Diocese. As you know, Catholics aren’t big Bible readers, however we were taught that the stories in the Bible are parables and not to be taken literally. There were evangelical preachers back then, but most of them preached in traveling tents in the South.
    There also many hints that some day women would be ordained as Priests.

    In the 70’s, attendance at Catholic Churches seemed to die off in direct proportion to the increase in attendance at Evangelical congregations. My memories seems to pinpoint a switch in the late 1990’s of Catholic Priests starting to mimic the fundamentalist and literal Bible translators found in Evangelical Churches. Attendance at Catholic Churches continues to diminish, but the fervor of those still attending seems to be at an all time high.

    When I ask my mother or sisters how they can continue to support an institution where women are considered inferior I usually get this response: ” “*

    * If they do respond, it’s usually to call me something mean and not very christian.

  3. “…Catholic Priests starting to mimic the fundamentalist and literal Bible translators found in Evangelical Churches….”

    Come to think about it, NON, that was when I started not attending
    Mass…I said to the wife that the Priests here in Mississippi were
    talking like the baptist ministers. I said the priests were trying to
    out baptist the baptists. Btw, do you that the Catholic Church
    in Missississippi is considered as a mission Church?

  4. “I for one, have no intention of living in an immature, intellectually medieval retro world.”

    Hasn’t it been that way for some time, MD, around the mid-
    seventies to now?

  5. well, the religious conservatives seem to be getting incrementally more militantly medieval at an hourly rate. We could stand back and look at the increasingly more violent rhetoric and reactions to the growing influence of our evolving intellect which allows us collectively to question religion and basic concepts, but it is hard to step back and see the big picture when we are in the middle of the battle.
    Last year, after the attempted assassination fo Gabby Gifford, when the remarks by Sarah Palin were pointed out about putting liberal legislators in “cross hairs”, Palin lashed out and used the term Blood Libel to smear her critics. Did she understand the true meaning or moral equivalency she was making? I don’t think she really thought about those things, as if she really thought about what she used as a reply at all, as if anything she says that has any intellectual weight are her real thoughts in the first place. She is the product of a “think tank”.
    Of course, blood libel was such a wrong analogy because of the history of the term. It was used as the basis for centuries of hysterical persecution of the Jewish population of Europe dating back to the lying propaganda of Flaccus, the Roman military ruler of Alexandria at the time of Caligula. For political reasons, he propagated the lie by a Greek/Egyptian writer, Apion that the Jews ritually killed Christian children to use their body parts and blood in their arcane rituals. This of course was not true, it was utter vicious propaganda designed to incite violence against the Jewish population of Alexandria and it worked horribly and kept working up until this very day!
    This is a classic example of the role of religion in the emotional manipulation in controlling populations by a manipulative ruling class.
    Today, in Oklahoma, a bill has been introduced into their legislature which I think much more accurately could be termed as blood libel in the medieval sense. Republican State Senator, Ralph Shortey, wants to pass a law banning “the sale or manufacture of food products which contain aborted human fetuses”
    Was there ever an issue with human fetuses ending up in food products? No and there never has been.
    But what does this seemingly insane legislation hope to accomplish?
    It plants the seed of a folk legend, a seed of irrational hate which will lead to more violence and murders against doctors, nurses and women. It doesn’t have to be true, like Apions lie about ritual religious murder of children for the idiots to believe it.
    This time, it really is a case of Blood Libel in the most accurate medieval sense.

    1. The current bishop of Toledo woke up this morning to a hot article in the local newspaper! On the front page of the Toledo Blade was a story of a local woman who is already enrolled in the Women Priests program. Yes, women priests! Can you imagine that!! The most reverend bishop and his crony, newly appointed bevy of monsignors must be meeting this AM, sprinkling holy water and burning incense in an effort to ward off this threat to their male dominance in the church.

      Way too hilarious!

  6. As long as I am trying to be historically accurate, perhaps you might want to read the history of the creation of the myth of St. Simon of Trent, the cult which was established around the myth in 1475, his canonization by Pope Sixtus VI, and subsequent demissioning and the official suppression of the myth by Vatican II in 1965. In spite of the attempt of the Catholic Church to undo the harm done by the myth of Simon of Trent, the cult persists and he is still regarded as a saint.
    Simon was an infant supposedly murdered ritually by the Ashkenazi Jews,. Again the propaganda lie revived the myth of Apion of Alexandra and was used to persecute and suppress the Jewish population of The Low Countries in the middle ages. As a result of this, thousands of Jews were brutally tortured and killed….you might say this number increased incrementally if you think of the numbers people destroyed because of anti jewish prejudice in Europe by myth inspired racial/religious hatred.

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