Ronald Reagan meets with the Rev. Jerry Falwell in the Oval Office, March 1983 to discuss whether or not Jelly Bellies were a “gay candy.”
There was a time in America, not so long ago, when thumping your dog-eared King James, warning about the threat posed by the queer-o-sexuals, and arguing that life began at the moment you noticed that glint in your girlfriend’s eye while watching Beach Blanket Bingo at the Podunkville Drive-In theater could transform you into a political kingmaker. From at least the late 1960s until the mid 2000s, presidents ranging from Richard Nixon, to Jimmy Carter, to Ronald Reagan, to George Dubya Bush ceremoniously kissed the totally not gay rings of Evangelical Grand Poobahs whose political clout ensured that so-called “Values Voters” would turn up at the polls to reclaim America for one VERY specific God.
But in the year 2016, America has a new God. His will is capricious. His hair is supernatural. And His wealth is so yooooge it would make King Solomon blush. This God is Donald J. Trump, and he appears to have rendered the once mighty Religious Right as impotent as a crew-cut Samson.
As these protesters recognize, you have a right to religious beliefs that are scientifically inaccurate, but you don’t have a right to make others subscribe to those beliefs.
Ah, yes, America: it’s a country with no official state religion in which people of all backgrounds can practice their respective faiths without the government deciding which faith is “true” via legislative action. Well, at least that’s the kind of country the United States is supposed to be, but thanks to the right-wing Catholic dude-bro contingent of the United States Supreme Court, “religious freedom” apparently now constitutes the right to make other people (especially women) accept as fact your own particular religious dogma via laws that sanctify (in more ways than one) those beliefs.
Hobby Lobby is a craft store run by devout Christians whose adherence to biblical teachings is so strict that they sell blasphemous Pagan paraphernalia just so good Christian shoppers know what such forbidden items look like and therefore do NOT buy them.
Who’d have thought that a middle-of-the-road arts and crafts store run by religious nutballs would provide the most formidable challenge yet to Obamacare? Strange as it may seem, this is what’s happening as the U.S. Supreme Court holds hearings in the case Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Inc..
So what’s sticking in Hobby Lobby’s craw about Obamacare (aka The Greatest Abomination in the history of history)? Superfically, it’s about religion and birth control, but on a deeper level, it’s about power relations in U.S. culture. Mother Jones provides a fantastic breakdown of this bizarre case and details its significance in terms of shaping the future of American health care and employee-employer relations. But this case is also important for bigger reasons. Hobby Lobby’s crusade against providing emergency contraception coverage to female employees demonstrates the waning, yet still formidable power of religiously motivated American Exceptionalism.
Congressnut Michele Bachmann (R-Toontown) speaks (possibly in tongues) to the Evangelical Values Voters Summit.
A large and very politically active segment of the American population, mostly Evangelical Christians, can’t wait for the end of the world. As the Washington Times recently reported, a Barna Group poll found that 4 in 10 American adults believe that “the world is currently living in the ‘end times’ as described by prophesies in the Bible.” When the data was broken down further, the poll revealed that 54% of mainline Protestants agreed that the end times were immanent, while 77% of evangelicals and 45% of Catholics believed that Jesus would soon return to earth to do stuff that He could, as the Almighty, theoretically do from His celestial La-Z-Boy recliner instead. But I digress.