Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405

Facebook: Digby Parton

@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)

thedigbyblog at gmail
satniteflix at gmail
publius.gaius at gmail
tpostsully at gmail
Spockosbrain at gmail
Richardein at me.com


Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic

Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018 April 2018 May 2018 June 2018 July 2018 August 2018 September 2018 October 2018 November 2018 December 2018 January 2019 February 2019 March 2019 April 2019 May 2019


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?


Friday, April 06, 2007

Blog Against Theocracy Part I: Meet The Theocrats

by tristero

This Easter weekend, there is a blogswarm going on called Blog Against Theocracy. My contribution is a bit idiocsyncratic, namely a series of posts consisting of numerous excerpts from a book that explicitly advocates theocracy entitled With Liberty & Justice for All: Christian Politics Made Simple by Joe Morecraft III. There will be a lot of material but if you are worried about the “religious right” – what I call christianism - I hope that you will take the time to read it all.

Important note to new readers: As many longtime followers of my work know, my respect for all forms of genuine religious expression is a matter of long public record. Theocracy, however, is not religious, but political expression. Privately, and within his church and congregation, Joe Morecraft is entitled to worship (or not) as he sees fit.

However, Morecraft is not entitled to immunity from criticism, let alone tolerance, when - as will become quite clear - he heaps contempt on American democracy, distorts American history, and openly advocates the overthrow of the US government and its replacement with a sadistically violent totalitarian state. When he does so by appropriating biblical iconography and texts - which he arbitrarily and perversely interprets as providing him and his pals with a monopoly on the truth of God's will - it is Joe Morecraft, not I, who deeply insults all Christians.

Why I Am Doing This

For the most part, I will try to limit my comment on these excerpts to brief explanations that attempt to clarify the text. I will also point to echoes of this text in other theocratic writings. For the most part, while my bias is clear, I will not try to refute anything said. Why? Well, for one thing, I have spent some four years doing exactly that, on this blog and on my own, Tristero, and in numerous comments, public talks, lectures, and papers. Detailed refutations of specific theocratic arguments – say, that the US was founded as an explicitly Christian nation - are very easy to find, by me and others. There’s little point in saying all that again. For another, I think it’s important to encounter theocratic texts for yourselves and develop your own objections.

I’ve noticed that, aside from commenting on one or more obnoxious soundbites, few of us liberals bother to attend to the full spectrum of what theocrats say and do. And it’s no wonder; it’s genuinely unpleasant reading. But the problem is that those provocative, isolated soundbites provide a terribly distorted picture of what theocrats are up to. If you encounter short excerpts of Rushdoony or North, they sound crazy. But when you read a lot of their thoughts, you gain a much more detailed and accurate impression of a fascistic, demented and frightening mentality. More importantly, if you encounter only one or two theocratic arguments you may be left with the impression that modern American theocracy is a religious idea or a religious movement. That is a serious mistake. I think if you take the trouble to read all the excerpts I post here, chances are likely that you’ll conclude, as I have, that christianism is a highly influential and extremely dangerous political movement that is more mainstream than you might imagine.

In order to understand what American theocracy is - and why those of us who are worried about it are worried sick over it - you need to encounter it in context and that means reading beyond deliberately tendentious soundbites like, “9/11 is God’s vengeance on a corrupt United States.” You need to see how the various pieces of their arguments are developed and interconnect. You also need to see how the theocrats deliberately manufacture opportunities to create coalitions with non-religious extremists. And you need to see how theocratic ideas have become not only more acceptable, but actually become mainstream topics of political discourse.

In short, if you want to understand how to confront theocracy – and with a lot of effort on our part on a lot of different fronts, I think it can be re-consigned to the ugly margins of American public discourse - you need to find out not only what they think, but how they think. And that will take examining what theocrats say in context.

Morecraft's book is useful because it is stylistically consistent and short. Also, Morecraft is unusually blunt and direct both in his language and his intentions. That said, it is not, repeat NOT, “the Christianist Manifesto.” It’s not even close. There probably is no such thing. The theocrats, for many reasons, simply don’t work like that. For one thing, there is so much they intuitively agree about, there’s no reason to bother. For another, they are way ahead of us. They know what they want; their focus now is on implementation, not theorizing.

But the excerpts from Morecraft’s book will give you an excellent introduction to their genuinely bizarre mindset. It’s my hope that these excerpts dispel a lot of liberal misconceptions about the theocrats. For example, what theocrats like Dobson and Donohue mean by “religious freedom” and “tolerance” is very different than our understanding of the terms. By getting a clearer view of their rationales, deceptions, distortions, and obsessions, I think we will be better able to craft more effective ways to fight them.

God knows we need all the help we can get.

Later today, I will post excerpts from the introduction to With Liberty & Justice for All which was written by R.J. Rushdoony, the founder of Christian Reconstruction. Over the weekend, I will post excerpts from the book proper.