Mike Straight
1127 s. 51st, street West Philadelphia, Pa. 19143

Thoughts & Stories of Mike Straight #86

At war with the new fundamentalist Christian movement
    So folks, we are in the middle of what can be called a Christian revolution - a movement which has allied itself with the American political right to take away any progressive inroads that have been established in this country.  Can I really call this a revolution? I mean, the USA has always been a Christian country. Despite the rhetoric of “separation of church and state,” it has always been a nation based on rules from the Bible and governorship by Christian people. While this is true, I feel that our society was moving towards a more progressive social mindset; lately, though, it has been taking a violent step in a Christian Fundamentalist direction which will shape the face of things to come. This revolution will bring changes restricting personal freedom in the name of Christ. It is in using Christ’s name and teachings for social control where I have a serious problem.
    I have been thinking about a court case here in Pennsylvania that has made national news as it centers around the “Intelligent Design” concept. “Intelligent Design” is a new code word for creationism that Christian groups have put forth. Luckily, it was shot down by a federal judge, a remnant of a former Democrat's administration, from an era before the religious right took over.
    What worries me is what the future will bring as Bush has the nomination power for federal judges. Will we have a judge who shoots down “Intelligent Design," or whatever code word the Christian right comes up with to call creationism, 10 years from now? I wonder. Of course this revolution goes further than simply attacking evolution: the Christian right has strong stance on “moral” subjects like abortion, sex education, marriage and homosexuality. Abortion rights are being chipped away and faith based initiatives keep getting passed. At the same time, the Right pushes more federal money into “abstinence education.”  Heterosexual marriage is being declared the only legitimate family institution, and homosexuality makes you a second class citizen.
    Awgh! It is so crazy to think about how this country is moving backwards in its social thought. Creation. Fuckin' Creationism. It really amazes me that people still believe this. I'm not the biggest fan of the “scientific thought” ideas that come from 18th century Europe, but still... this was an improvement over fairytales written over 2000 years ago! Agh! Then there's all those other conservative ideas!  Agh! There are a lot of people talking about the ideological divide in this country -- the “red state/blue state” idea. There is this conception that this religious right is just in the mindset of landeggs in the hinterland. But that isn't the case: it's here in Pennsylvania where one of the most powerful conservative US senators, Santorum, was elected. Here's a person who stands for almost everything I am against, and he has, or at least proclaims that he has, Christ on his side. He pushes “pro-family” agenda which is against any family that differs from the nuclear family unit. He is evil towards anyone who steps outside his idea of a perfect family or lifestyle. Santorum represents the homophobic side of the movement, and this isn’t even the most disturbing part of their agenda. What scares me the most is the wing of the fundamentalist movement that really believes that current civilization is coming to an end and that a great war is on the near horizon.
    It is amazing to think that there is a good part of the American population that believes that the “endtime” or the “rapture” is near. I have heard with my own ears people professing that the Iraq war is the first step to the great Middle East war predicted by the Bible! It's fuckin' mad! Of course it's fine that our President initiates wars in the Middle East - because it was foretold in the Bible. Oh, and it doesn’t stop with wars; right after Hurricane Katrina hit, I had a taxi driver tell me that New Orleans going underwater was a sign, the first step in the second coming. I brought up ideas of that maybe human reasons like global warming and inadequate water management policy like poor levees were the cause of the flood... but he just shot me down. “They're all signs that this world is ended.” Fuck. How do you argue with that logic? And he is not just spouting a random wingnut perception - a whole lot of this country believes this! The world is ending, get ready and embrace Christ. Is it any wonder why the current Christian administration doesn’t give a fuck about the ecological collapse that is currently going on?
    The new Christian right stands for almost everything I am against. It is slowly working its way to bringing a social revolution which will hurt me, and a lot of people I love. I, or we, my progressive minded friends, am at war with this movement, as it stands for everything we need to fight. I feel it is fine to make the lines clear: we can give no quarter in this situation. At abortion and homosexual rights demonstrations I have seen them take a clear stance against me. Now I'm turning it back on them. I am not saying that all Christians are my enemy, as this is not the case. But the movement of neo-right Christian groups which have allied themselves with the Republican Party is a prime target.
Mike Straight  / straight@defenestrator.org

Endnote: I also want to add a quote, that Sissy, my proofreader, sent me after reading this column. It is from the conservative commentator Ann Coulter, as she was discussing the current American initiated Middle East war  - “We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity. We weren't punctilious about locating and punishing only Hitler and his top officers. We carpet-bombed German cities; we killed civilians. That's war. And this is war."