Thursday, October 10, 2013

More on Theological Roots of Tea Party: Amanda Marcotte on White Fundamentalists and End-Times Rhetoric about Obamacare

More good material about a topic I've been discussing throughout the government shutdown: the theological roots from which the behavior of the radical Republican fringe (which now controls the GOP) springs: at Alternet, Amanda Marcotte argues that it's impossible to understand the willingness of tea partiers to burn the government and the economy down to score political points without looking at the theology driving tea party beliefs.

Marcotte writes,

White evangelicals are the religious group most likely to approve of the Tea Party. Looking over the data, it becomes evident that the “Tea Party” is just a new name for the same old white fundamentalists who would rather burn this country to the ground than share it with everyone else, and this latest power play from the Republicans is, in essence, a move from that demographic to assert their “right” to control the country, even if their politicians aren’t in power.

The Affordable Care Act galvanizes the tea party because the religious right echo chamber feeding its politics has decided to speak of the implementation of Obamacare as the end of the world, prelude to apocalypse--the act on which the future of the world depends, since it will usher in the end times:

In other words, the Christian right has worked itself into a frenzy of believing that if this health care law is implemented fully, then we are, in fact, facing down either the end of American Christianity itself or quite possibly the end times themselves. In comparison, it’s hard to be too scared by the worldwide financial collapse that they’re promising to unleash if the Democrats don’t just give up their power and let Republicans do what they want. Sure, crashing stock markets, soaring unemployment, and worldwide economic depression sounds bad, but for the Christian right, the alternative is fire and brimstone and God unleashing all sorts of hell on the world. 

Marcotte notes, by the way, that the U.S. Catholic bishops have "joined in" on this apocalyptic chorus, with their demands that the re-funding of government be held hostage until they get their way on the issue of contraception and the ACA.

More good discussion of these same issues: see Fred Clark's "7 Things at 9 O'Clock" posting this morning, with links to (and excerpts from) valuable analysis by Joshua Holland, Michael Lind, Garry Wills, Joan Walsh, Lee Fang, Brian Tashman, and Chris Skinner.

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