Monday, July 23, 2007

O wad some Pow'r the giftie gie us...

To see oursels as others see us.* And how do others see us- that is, UUs and liberal Christians? A glimpse can be gotten in this review of a new book, The Sum of All Christian Fears . The book paints a future for America that all conservative Christians fear- “Imagine a world where children are taken from their families in order to stop them from turning their children into terrorists. Now imagine that on the list of potential terrorists whose children must be taken or re-educated are home schoolers, active pro-lifers, and many other average Evangelical Christians. This is the all-too-believable plot behind Jodi Cowles novel, “The Minor Protection Act” (TMPA) in which a President of the United States, with help from a slick attorney, gets a bill passed through Congress that has federal agents remove children from their traditionalist Christian homes and families to stop the children from learning “intolerance” that leads to “hate crimes” and “terrorism.””

Judging only from the book review, this novel is not one of those that fulminates wildly, but rather sets the situation up in a believable manner. “One thing Cowles can't be accused of is demonizing political opponents. Even the lesbian couples that are charged by the state with raising kidnapped Christian Children are portrayed as fairly decent folks. Each character who plays their part in the President's plot has understandable, even sympathetic motives...If pro-lifers are basically terrorists, if Christian fundamentalism is harmful to our world, if disapproval of homosexuality is the same as racism, why on Earth shouldn't the government take away these children? Thoughts and ideas have consequences, and for me, TMPA brought this point home.”

What reason could Christians possibly have for these fears? For one thing, one of the top sellers in religious books of recent history is Richard Dawkins; he has been the topic of more interviews and blog entries than any other religious writer of late... and he is quoted in this review: “Recently, Richard Dawkins pondered taking away other people's children, "It's one thing to say people should be free to believe whatever they like, but should they be free to impose their beliefs on their children? Is there something to be said for society to be stepping in? What about bringing up children to believe manifest falsehoods?”” Of course, that’s one man’s opinion, but he also quotes blogs: “Those fighting words. Terms like “The Religious Reich,” “The American Taliban,” and “Christian Sharia Law” are throw away lines on leftist blogs.” How many of us here in the UU blogosphere can truthfully say we are free of such fighting words? I can- (though I have used different fighting words about different people), and a few others... but I sure see them a lot. When even the official websites can get snarky about conservative Christians, is it really paranoid for those Christians to fear us?

Even if you conclude that conservative Christians ARE paranoid to think this way about us, the simple fact is that they do, and their fears did not spring from whole cloth. Really, can’t liberals- both religious and political- tone down the rhetoric a bit? And yes, I know I will receive 3, 267 emails saying “But they say terrible things about us; just yesterday, Rush Limbaugh said...” Well, here’s my answer: if you think you’re better than they are, (and you do, admit it), why don’t you act like it?

P.S. Coming soon: my “8 random things” meme entry.

P.P.S. * Proof that I don’t belong in the mental ward; I belong in the Burns unit!


David Pollard said...

Stories like this are always taking something disturbing to an extreme. A chariacture of something that *does* exists. While we may joke about the "Unitarian jihad", there is militance in the cultural left (ala Dawkins, etc.) that gives a certain justification to these stories.
On the otherhand, similar stories like Atwood's The Handmaids Tale, have a relevance due to the existance of the Dominionists, etc.
hese types of stories have a role in our society - not as a blueprint, but as a warning that the 98% of us who are not militants on the cultural left or right would do well to heed.

Robin Edgar said...

Well if it will make you feel better Joel, based on my own knowledge and experience of U*Us. . . I have come up with terms like TOTALITARIAN UNITARIANS, the IMMORAL MAJORITY, and UNSAFE SECT. And yes, U*Us would do very well to pay heed to these warnings that are in fact caused by immoral, totalitarian, and rather unsafe behaviour on the part of U*Us. . .

Joel Monka said...

Surprisingly enough, it does not make me feel better.