One might think, given the record number of anti-gay bills being proposed across the United States, that the religious right’s legislative influence – and cultural entrenchment – is growing. In fact, they are evidence that the exact opposite is the case.
What we are seeing right now are the last gasps of religious fundamentalism and its normative influence on the national stage. Just as an individual on his deathbed experiences a momentary flurry of energy and clarity before descending into his final end, we are witnessing the religious right’s final flailing on the national stage. To understand this, one doesn’t need to examine Pew studies on changing attitudes, nor the consolidation of religious fundamentalism into pockets of the Southeast and the West.
All one needs to do is look at legislation being offered right now, and the mainstream ridicule such legislation is garnering.
Take for example the extraordinary case of a bill purportedly being written by one of Washington’s most influential lobbyists, Jack Burkman, which would ban gay athletes from playing in the NFL.
Now, forget for a moment the audacity of a lobbyist openly admitting to writing a piece of legislation. Burkman claims to have “political support” for the bill, being written to prevent Michael Sam, the standout defensive lineman from Missouri and openly-gay athlete, from being drafted by an NFL team. This is how Burkman characterized the bill’s necessity:
“We are losing our decency as a nation,” Burkman said in a statement. “Imagine your son being forced to shower with a gay man. That’s a horrifying prospect for every mom in the country. What in the world has this nation come to?”
Now, given such horrors, one might expect Burkman to have legislators and the public behind him, despite its clear constitutional conflicts. However, Burkman was unable to cite the names of any specific lawmakers who are backing the bill, and the primary public responses to the bill have been pure ridicule and embarrassed shrugs, even in conservative circles.
Read the rest here.
How much I agree with the above, I'm not certain, mostly because I still see the behavior of those on the extreme religious right potentially getting even more egregious than it already is. Still, that said, that someone with perhaps a wider view of American society thinks that religion as a political influence is on its last legs in the United States is a point of some encouragement to me, and I would imagine, to US. Zeus knows, we ALL want religion out of our lives. If that day is closer rather than further away, so much the better.
I can see the author's point - somewhat. I keep thinking of what is referred to as the "CNN Factor." That is, once the media picks up on a story and has cameras in everyone's face, it becomes a national issue. I can't help but wonder, though, what would have happened had the NFL not threatened to move the Super Bowl from Arizona, and Apple, Inc., that is installing a 2,000 job facility in Mesa, AZ, not publicly come out against the Arizona law. Would Jan Brewer have have signed it then? I think very possibly.
One bright spot about all of this, however, is the power of the purse. And, I'm not just referring to corporate endorsements. Apparently, Arizonans realized that their tourist industry was going to terribly suffer as a result of this legislative bigotry. Hey, whatever works. While moral arguments don't sway with these fascists, economic ones certainly do.
After the enthusiastically-named Intelligent Design movement lost in Judge Jones' federal court in 2005, one of the pro-evolution witnesses said we can count on Creationism to evolve and return.
It has evolved, and in recent weeks anti-evolution bills have been introduced in state legislatures. These bills have been written to let xian teachers introduce ID without the fear that school administrators would intervene.
Some of these bills have already died in committee. Others have not yet been heard in committees.
Paraphrasing Mark Twain, reports of the demise of fundamentalist xianity are premature.
Agreed, though some of their successes have been marred by kids like Zack Koppelin, who has been lobbying hard in Louisiana to kick creationism and ID OUT of the Bayou State. Besides ... creation science rejects evolution ... so doesn't their alteration of strategy amount to pissing into the wind? Yeah, yeah, I know ... it's a bum joke ... and Tennessee, Louisiana and Mississippi are tough nuts to crack.
Still, in the long hall and especially with kids like Koppelin leading the way ... crack, they will.
I hope the religious right is on the wane, but I'm not seeing it.
To be candid, Ruth, I'm not convinced of it either. What they DO know is that they're under stronger and more disciplined and critical scrutiny than they ever have been, and that scrutiny is not going away any time soon, if at all. I think it may be finally dawning on them that they've had a pass up to this point, that they've had it their way, the easy way, and that those days are swiftly coming to an end. Doubtless, they don't like it, to which I have a simple rejoinder:
Hear, hear! As they like to say in a different, misleading context, no special rights.