Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Unmasked: The Disturbing Blending of Christian Fundamentalism and Politics

""Anybody here today who has not accepted Jesus Christ as their savior, I'm telling you, you're not my brother and you're not my sister, and I want to be your brother." -- Recently-elected Governor of Alabama, Robert Bentley

Of course, he instantly apologized for the remark; but I can't help but ponder the implications of what this means in a democracy rooted in equality. There is a mindset of inequality in this line of thinking. As I see it, it is just another manifestion of the belief that there is a "real" America, and a "lesser" America. I don't like it one bit. When I hear stuff like this emanating from the mouth of a Conservative Republican state governor, I would consider any argument that the Conservative movement and Republican Party doesn't have a basic and pervasive problem with an intolterant religious fundamentalism pushing through the thin veneer of the secular democracy upon which our government was formed and emerging as a governing philosophy itself to be a flimsy and half-baked argument indeed.

4 comments:

eric said...

I think if you read the full quote it was pretty apparent he was talking about "brothers and sisters in Christ" which is a pretty standard Southern Baptist term. And he was speaking to a church audience, and is a church deacon, so I don't find any of this particularly troubling, but I do find it particularly stupid for a politician to say it.

For the record, here are the words the led up to the quote you referenced above, that I think put it in better context:
"There may be some people here today who do not have living within them the Holy Spirit," Bentley said. "But if you have been adopted in God's family like I have, and like you have if you're a Christian and if you're saved, and the Holy Spirit lives within you just like the Holy
Spirit lives within me, then you know what that makes? It makes you and me brothers. And it makes you and me brother and sister."

AppleDawg said...

It is a bit comical hearing people (btw, I am a Catholic) claim that we should just accept what he said because he was speaking to his people in Church

On the flip side, Christie in New Jersey just put a Muslim on the list for High New Jersey Court and had Republicans issuing threats to him - http://thinkprogress.org/2011/01/20/christie-muslim-judge/

So, GOP wants everyone to just deal with their religion and ANY statements about it yet if anyone does ANYTHING AT ALL for another religion? FIRE HIM! REPEAL HIM! KILL HIM MAYBE!

Huck said...

Eric - Yes, that context helps to clarify a bit; but it's still an exclusionary bit of narrative. And one presumes that this narrative has some kind of impact on how a public servant approaches his job, especially if we are to understand the primacy of faith over politics that also comes out of that very same standard Southern Baptist tradition. What bothers me is that this man wasn't speaking as a Deacon or a Church member, but as the Governor, albeit at a Church. I find it troubling because it not only sublimates public service to religion (and to a specific Christian faith tradition), but also because it indicates a particular privileging of one faith tradition over all others in a context where the man was speaking in his capacity as a public servant. When the dude speaks as governor, he shouldn't be referencing religion as a means to differentiate privilege (and in a patronizing way, I think) among people who are also citizens.

eric said...

I guess I don't see where he was differentiating privelege, which is different than expressing feeling of mutual kinship, and I have no ethical problem with a politician expressing a feeling of kinship to a group he belongs to, though it probably isn't a smart move politically. He expressed in his speech that he was governer of all the people in the state. I think a person that reads his entire speech and still takes offense has to sort of go out of their way to ignore the context. But a modern politician has to be extra vigilant about making statements that are easily taken out of context, and here he failed miserably.

This guy over at HuffPo said it better than I can: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rabbi-brad-hirschfield/a-spiritual-family-divide_1_b_811716.html