Posted 1 month ago on Oct. 22, 2013, 10:06 p.m. EST by WSmith
from Cornelius, OR
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Re: Gov. Shutdown; An Appeal to Paul Krugman and the NY Times: Stop Being Polite, It's Time to Expose Extremist Religion's Threat to Our Democracy
Frank Schaeffer | Posted: 10/07/2013
For almost 9 years I've been warning Huffington Post readers of the danger religious right fundamentalist activism is to our country. With the advent of the shutdown I'm tempted to say "I told you so." The shutdown is the religious right's biggest "victory" and a loss for the rest of us that threatens everything we love. But it's not all "their" fault. Some of our best and brightest dropped the ball too. Our chattering classes have been too polite about religion, in fact mostly silent.
For instance, someone I admire very much -- Paul Krugman -- and the New York Times have unintentionally sinned against their readers. They are far too tolerant of the evil of religion-gone-bad. They are being overly polite about the horrible effect religion and evangelical fundamentalist religion in particular, has had on our American "shutdown" politics. They are analyzing the shutdown but offering no solutions because they duck the truth. Until Krugman and the Times editorial board and the rest of the media, attack the religious extremist root cause of the shutdown nothing can change.
Krugman's latest brilliant column in the Times illustrates my point handily. I'll reproduce some of it here and add what he was too polite to say.
What Krugman did not say is the heart of the story of why sane America can't come to grips with what has happened to us.
Krugman writes: The main answer, which only the most pathologically "balanced" reporting can deny, is the radicalization of the Republican Party. As Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein put it last year in their book, "It's Even Worse Than It Looks," the G.O.P. has become "an insurgent outlier -- ideologically extreme; contemptuous of the inherited social and economic policy regime; scornful of compromise; unpersuaded by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition."
True, but to help readers understand why this is so you'd need to tell the truth: The evangelical Protestant movement ever since it became the anti-feminist, anti-science and anti-public education party has been an insurgent outlier -- ideologically extreme; contemptuous of the inherited social and economic policy regime; scornful of compromise; unpersuaded by [immune to] conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive [intolerant] of the legitimacy of its political opposition.
The only reason that the Republican Party has become resistant to facts is that it's most ardent mass of voters is blind to reality because of their religious beliefs. As I show in my new book on religious delusion American style -- And God Said, "Billy!" exploring the roots of religious delusion is the only way to understand contemporary American politics.
Krugman writes: But there's one more important piece of the story. Conservative leaders are indeed ideologically extreme, but they're also deeply incompetent. So much so, in fact, that the Dunning-Kruger effect -- the truly incompetent can't even recognize their own incompetence -- reigns supreme.
True enough, but that level of counter intuitive incompetence can't be understood until you take into account the religious commitment to non-"worldly" values of the religious right and their radical Roman Catholic outliers. To the evangelicals incompetence is a godly virtue. Do the work "in the Lord's way." Eschew "worldly" values, like reason, and look for miracles as the route to blessing and victory.
While Tea Party Republicans were the most visible during the GOP's shutdown/debt default stunt, it appears they had some serious help from conservatives in the Catholic Church.
Corporations Claiming ‘Religious Liberty’ Try to Infringe on Their Employees’ Religious Liberty
by Imani Gandy, Senior Legal Analyst, RH Reality Check | October 22, 2013 - 9:19 am
The problem with the birth control benefit debate is that few are thinking about the competing religious liberty rights of women.
“The contraception mandate violates the Constitution and federal law by forcing religious organizations to pay fines for the privilege of practicing their faith.”
This is a refrain oft-repeated by lawyers for the more than 40 for-profit companies that have filed lawsuits challenging the birth control benefit, the provision in the Affordable Care Act that requires nearly all insurance policies to cover preventive health-care services for women, including contraception without co-pay or deductible. Plaintiffs in these lawsuits complain that the birth control benefit forces company owners—and, indeed, the companies themselves—to either violate sincerely held religious beliefs (by paying for, providing, facilitating, or otherwise supporting contraception, which they find morally objectionable) or risk paying severe penalties.
Such claims are compelling but, ultimately, untenable. The birth control benefit no more forces employers to violate their religious beliefs than the minimum wage set forth in the Fair Labor Standards Act does.
Shutdown and Default Considered Small Price to Pay for Banning Birth Control, Say Catholic Bishops and Paul Ryan
by Adele M. Stan, RH Reality Check | October 14, 2013
In a Washington, D.C. hotel, the top lobbyist for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) conceded that the prelates just couldn’t muster the number of votes in the U.S. Senate to pass a law that would allow employers to ban birth-control coverage in the insurance plans they offer their employees.
Opposition to the birth control benefit has been framed by the bishops and their allies as an infringement of their religious liberty, turning the definition of the term on its head by claiming a right to impose their theological views on those who believe differently. The religious liberty theme—and the claim that President Barack Obama aims to revoke it—is one that pervaded the annual conference, which took place at the Omni Shoreham Hotel, a sprawling Washington landmark.
Shutdown Ends, Debt Crisis Averted—But Birth Control Still an Issue
RH Reality Check is a daily publication providing news, commentary and analysis on sexual and reproductive health and justice issues. http://rhrealitycheck.org/