Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The righties and domination

Like many people, I'm unhappy about the Israeli/Hezbollah conflict and the deaths of innocent civilians. I'm not going to take a position on who's right and wrong, but instead point out something else: Bush's staunch support of Israel. Now this isn't anything new in terms of U.S. policy, but Bush, in keeping with his general hawkishness, supports even the most ruthless militarists, including Ariel Sharon and now Israel's latest campaign. There's another reason Bush is an unusually uncritical backer of Israel, I think: dominionism. This is a philosophy in America that seeks to establish specific political policies based on religious beliefs -- specifically, conservative Christian beliefs. As the Wikipedia article notes (boldface is mine):
"Within the Christian Right, concern over social, cultural, and political issues such as abortion, euthanasia, same-sex marriage, sympathy for Israel sometimes expressed as Christian Zionism, the banning of teacher-led prayer in the public schools, and the reduction of overtly fundamentalist Christian perspectives in the public square has prompted participation in elections since the 1970s. Activists and intellectuals in the Christian Right work in a coalition of religious conservatives, operating through the Republican Party to promote their influence. These dominionists sometimes make the claim that "America is a Christian nation." By this, some mean that, at one time Christian participation, as Christians, was not feared in the public sphere, and was even a norm. Now, they feel shut out, and feel the need to re-assert their presence as religious people with a valid perspective in the democratic political process and the institutions of the culture. Few, however, articulate a position that could be called theocratic.

"Critics argue the claim that the United States is a Christian nation is of questionable historic validity (often pointing out the deism of various founding fathers), is ethnocentric, and reduces secularists and members of other religions (such as Judaism, Islam, and Hinduism) to second-class status. Religious historians, like Nathan Hatch, Mark Noll and others, also suggest that modern fundamentalists are nostalgic for a time that never really existed as they imagine it: a time in the indefinite past, before the turbulent sixties, when wholesomeness, and sanity, and harmony prevailed under a benevolent religion much as they conceive their own to be."

Now if THAT doesn't just sum it all up! The right supports Israel for Biblical reasons, and presumably because there can't be a second coming of the Messiah until the Israelites have gotten their return to Zion all squared away, and Hezbollah, Fatah and all the other Muslim dudes are interfering with this. Blecch.

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