Thursday, December 6, 2007

Religious Purification, Romney and the Taliban

NYT columnist Thomas Friedman wrote an op ed pretending to be the Iran intelligence report on the United States. Not only is it a clever idea, but a highly instructive one as well. In the spoof, Iranian intelligence reports this about America: a time when America’s bridges, roads, airports and Internet bandwidth have fallen behind other industrial powers, including China, we believe that the U.S. opposition to higher taxes — and the fact that the primary campaigns have focused largely on gay marriage, flag-burning and whether the Christian Bible is the literal truth — means it is “highly unlikely” that America will arrest its decline.

Hardly either intelligence or intelligent. But then, it has become the norm these days in American-style politics. This morning, for example, GOP candidate Mitt Romney must give a speech defending his religion to the primary voters in the Republican Party. Can you imagine the implications of such an act? Think of the hundreds and hundreds of U.S. soldiers who died/are dying in Afghanistan to fight the intolerant religious group, the Taliban, when at the same time we witness in this country the need for religious purification ceremonies.

Is this nation moving backwards in time to the era when a person's religious beliefs could actually imprison him or burn her at the stake? Rather than the Holy Roman Empire are we becoming the Holy Christian empire? Oddly neither the word 'God' nor 'Jesus' appears in the U.S. Constitution, but Freedom of [and from] Religion does.

Note what has happened in Iraq since the downfall of Saddam: more and more women are wearing the Hijab as they go out in public and fewer and fewer are working outside of the home. Our 'good' ally Saudi Arabia does not allow women to drive a car nor vote. Religious reasons, all.

Is this what we want here in America? A morality code based on the Bible? Watch the progress of GOP candidate Mike Huckabee to see just how many 'believers' there are in America. His upward move in the polls is propelled single-handedly by fundamentalists. And fundamentalists have Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan tightly in their grip.

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