The scary confluence of religious fervour and political brainwashing

There’s a very disturbing trend going on in America at the moment. In the face of mountains of evidence to the contrary, there’s a fraction of right-wingers who get all their information from OneNewsNow, Drudge Report, Fox News and their local churches. None of these news sources care about the truth — they all have their respective agendas. ONN wants to make sure everything is viewed through the filter of evangelical Christianity, the Drudge Report is more concerned with making money and getting scoops than verifying the truth through independent research, Fox News profits directly from the downward spiral of the Republican Party by playing to the fearful conservative low-information base and reinforcing their already crazy ideas, and their local churches of course care only about reinforcing their leaders’ religious beliefs, no matter how antithetical to their foundational teachings these beliefs actually are.

These folks are the common, salt of the earth folks. Folks that are easily swayed to believe they are right and good and just.

These folks that obtain all their information from these sources are being told that they are going to have their guns and ammo taken away by Obama, so they rush out and buy up tons of guns and ammo. Their guns and ammo are not taken away. Meanwhile, they have a huge stockpile. Some of these people attack police officers out of fear that they were going to remove their guns, despite this never being the case.

These folks are told that Obama is not a legitimate president, because he is actually from Kenya, so they rant and rave and theorize about “what Obama’s hiding”. The media finds and produces a number of pieces of evidence to the contrary, including his birth certificate. Right wingers claim the certificate is faked, and say the “kerning” on the fonts proves it, yet they swallow the photoshopped version of an Australian birth certificate hook, line and sinker, saying that it’s Obama’s real Kenyan birth certificate. People like Orly Taitz pay big bucks for the fake certificates. What should have disappeared due to being fucking ridiculous, like the allegations that Obama had gay sex with a drug abuser, is strung out week after week and given so much time by the talking heads it’s beyond ludicrous.

These folks are told by corporate interests, stooges of the Republican party and lobbyists for the health insurance industry, that the health care reform that might bring them some kind of relief, is in actuality a socialist, rationed, death-camp-laden, forced-abortions-and-sex-change-enabling boondoggle that will result in the very fabric of American society being torn asunder. They are told where to go to protest, they are told how to shut down the conversation so no facts are ever heard. They are fed the corporate line by the people who stand to lose the most money from giving everyone adequate health care, and they parrot it relentlessly.

These folks are the very same people that believe the Earth is 6000 years old, that dinosaurs and humans coexisted, that evolution is impossible, that only Christians are rational, that only Christians are good, that anyone who believes otherwise is inherently evil and that all the evil acts in the world happen as a result of people being non-Christian. They are inherently gullible. They believe anything that the first authority that comes along, tells them. And that first authority was introduced to them extremely early, in the form of religion. The leaders of their religion are wholly in the pockets of the cynical right-wing extremists and fundamentalists, and these “lambs” are therefore easily led to the slaughter. They are easily convinced to vote against their best interests, to fight against the very science that improves and preserves their lives, and to argue at every turn that religion should be taught in schools so as to more easily and effectively indoctrinate future generations of such lambs.

These folks are extraordinarily dangerous.

And these folks are in the minority!

While religious folks are the majority, the dangerous ones are in the vast minority. And yet, they are told by the corporations how to protest effectively, they are told things that cast their enemies as subhuman and pure evil, they are hoodwinked by their churches into believing outright fabrications and falsehoods (and I’m not just talking about their religions themselves!), and they are armed and dangerous. Their voices are amplified far beyond their numbers, by cynical manipulations from objectively evil profiteers.

This is a powderkeg. And people like Glenn Beck, suggesting poisoning Nancy Pelosi, or Rush Limbaugh, suggesting Obama is a Nazi, are playing with matches and gasoline and anything they can get their hands on. And as soon as that powderkeg explodes, they will say, “I had no idea someone would take me literally! These are just jokes! We were just joking!” Then we’ll let them off the hook, until the next powderkeg explodes.

This has to end now. And ending it means first identifying the issues that lead up to this situation and dismantling those issues.

Here are the problems as I see them.

The conservatives who are still rational and swayed by argument are sitting back quietly and letting the issue foment. This is also true of the reasonable theists who do NOT believe in the literal interpretation of the Bible, who do not stand up to people like Ken Ham who indoctrinates children into their science-hating beliefs.

The separation of church and state should, theoretically, be inviolable. Religious folks need to step the hell off of trying to make the country politically Christian, because it leads to unnecessary wars based on ridiculous prophecies. This cuts both ways, and it means that teachers cannot talk about religion. I would gladly accept teachers getting thrown in jail for saying creationism is bullshit, if only you’d stop pushing religious ideas into our governments. But since religion keeps violating the church/state border, and keeps saying that it’s somehow inherently evil to keep your government from enforcing a specific religious belief, then I’m okay with teachers saying loudly and proudly that creationism is superstitious nonsense. If you’re going to push on the borders, don’t expect us not to push back.

At the same time, since religion has already declared a jihad on science, claiming that it is inherently evil wherever it intersects with their beliefs, then I say let’s fight back. Science is the study of the universe AS IT IS. That means, it is RIGHT — not dogmatically so, but empirically. And where it’s wrong, it’s more likely to BECOME right than is any dogmatic religion. Since Chris Mooney and Sheril Kirshenbaum are willing to declare that science is actively making war on religion, I am willing to embrace the idea — science erodes at religion’s foundation, because religion’s foundation is specious to begin with. If religion is toppled because science eroded at its foundation, then so much the better if the scientists were intending that side-effect.

The madmen must be given enough rope to hang themselves with. Not enough that they hang the rest of us as well, but just enough that they expose themselves as being completely and wholly insane. They were given misinformation, they have propensities toward violence, and they feel persecuted by the media. Eventually they will say something that will make the media, and this will justify their sense of persecution when their crazy beliefs and evil schemes are given wall-to-wall coverage on CNN and MSNBC (and whitewash coverage on Fox News).

Laws that allow news media outlets to intentionally lie, distort and misinform the public should be modified and their “right” to lie be squelched. This doesn’t mean that they should be sued for being wrong — just that if they intend to lie, when they demonstrably have the real information in front of them, they shouldn’t have the right to continue doing so. Likewise, any media heads that suggest that any member of government be poisoned or otherwise killed, or that any member of government is some kind of hyperbolic Nazi supervillain, should have their advertising pull out immediately, thus effectively pulling the soap box out from under them. This will effectively quiet the roar of the echo chamber that dupes the demonstrably gullible religious folks so easily, and hopefully will give reasoned debate a voice once more.

All of these things need to be done in parallel. This is a gigantic problem, and it can’t be tackled piecemeal or by one guy chipping away at it slowly over time. The problem needs to be dismantled and torn apart systematically, and quickly, before the powderkeg explodes and the powderkeg-factory generates a dozen more.

The stakes are your democracy, and your freedoms. Wake up, America!

The scary confluence of religious fervour and political brainwashing
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