Thursday, August 18, 2011

Adele Stan on Religious Right: Economic Downturn Equals Win for Right-Wing Religion

At Alternet today, Adele Stan notes the media's obtuseness when it comes to understanding the workings of (right-leaning) religion in the American heartland.  Her rather chilling conclusion: the path charted by the religious right in the final decades of the 20th century and start of the 21st may well represent the future of the U.S., politically, economically, and religiously, as economic misery becomes more pronounced:

As a nation, we've been headed down this path for more than 40 years. As the economic fortunes of the U.S. turn downward, we should expect the attraction of right-wing religion, especially its more charismatic and viscerally-felt forms, to expand. Anyone who doesn't just hasn't been paying attention.

I think Stan is correct.  As I've also stated a number of times recently, I think that those manipulating economic structures to produce the present misery are also the same people who are ginning up the right-wing religious fervor.  The economic misery is a trap designed to urge as many Americans as possible into the arms of the religious right and its political mouthpieces.  The media's obtuseness is part and parcel of this overarching strategy to legitimize unthinkable "religious" ideas and "religious" solutions to our economic and political woes.

And the mainline churches continue spectacularly to abdicate their responsibility to blow the whistle as this goes on, to point to what is central to the faith traditions of the world, while belied by right-wing misappropriations of religion: practical compassion, enacted in justice that must be embodied in the social and economic structures of societies, if those societies can be said to have authentic moral foundations.
P.S. When I speak of the religious right, I include the U.S. Catholic bishops in that category.  Not only have the Catholic bishops of the U.S. failed in recent decades to challenge the bogus religiosity of the religious right; they've actively worked to place this movement in the driver's seat in American politics, and in doing so, have done a tremendous disservice both to their flock and the nation as a whole.

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