Friday, May 22, 2009

Republican Disaster -- The Evangelical/Zionist Anatomy of Meltdown

Republican Disaster -- The Evangelical/Zionist Anatomy of Meltdown

by Frank Schaeffer, author of Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All -- or Almost All -- of It Back


There came a day in 1985 (my dad had died in 1984) that I began to take another look at my commitment to the both the far right of Republican Party and the Religious Right. I came to realize that I was in bed with a group of people who were profoundly anti-American. They were professional haters. They wrapped themselves in the flag and "loved America," but it was an America in their imaginations only and cast in their image: white, middle-class, straight, born-again, homophobic and tinged with racism, not to mention misogyny...

Two religions (in the broadest sense of the term) have destroyed the Republican Party: evangelical Christianity and Christian/Jewish Zionism. Evangelical Christianity created the Religious Right which forever linked the Republican Party to the antiabortion, anti-sex education, anti-evolution and anti-gay crusades. And both Christian and Jewish Zionism linked the Republican Party to what became the neoconservative movement with its roots in such publications as Commentary magazine and their shrill Israel-can-do-no-wrong anti-Arab agenda.

I would not call Zionism per se a religion, but I'm talking about secular goals pursued with religious fervor. I would call Zionism, American-style a politicized version of a religion. I also argue that the neo-con side got traction when religious Jews became Zionists and when religious Christians (evangelicals) hopped aboard to hasten the "Rapture." And I'd like to point out that American Zionists ally themselves with the Israeli hardliners, but that opinion in Israel is much more diverse and often tolerant than that, as is opinion among Jewish Americans, who do not by and large accept the AIPAC point of view uncritically...

With "friends" like the Christian Zionists -- exemplified by the Reverend John Hagee and many others who "support" Israel while eagerly waiting for the "return of Christ" and the destruction of all "unbelieving Jews" -- Israel needs no enemies. Given that the hard-line American Christian Zionists encouraged the Republican Party to become the party of permanent war to keep the State of Israel "safe" they have actually helped set the stage for its destruction. And therefore the Republicans also opened the door to our national economic ruin as well. The two are linked; eternal war and ruin, because our permanent wars (thinly veiled excuses to "keep Israel safe") are never paid for by increased taxes or a draft...

What's caused the Republican Party's real meltdown? It's that it has ceased to exist as a political party and is instead a dwindling weirdly eclectic collection of uneducated rubes led by a few fearful angry far right thinkers who talk in media sound bites geared to the types of people who watch Fox News. Jack Kemp was not part of this horrible little "party." He was a smart compassionate man. There used to be more Republicans like Kemp. Today the Republican core constituency is the national village idiot...

The choice for America has always been between inclusive pluralism and exclusion. The kind of religion and Evangelical/Zionist/neoconservative cabal used to take over the interests of the Republican Party is just too small for this big diverse, tolerant and open country of ours. So the Republicans have a choice: become an American political party again serving American interests or continue to serve the narrowly defined religious interests of two angry and fearful Jewish/Evangelical minorities who are themselves bastardized offshoots of their Christian and Jewish traditions.

Travis - thanks again, bro.

Found the perfect image to accompany this posting...but when did the Israelis start producing Bible tracts?

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