Thoughts on RNC (Day 3)
After having watched the RNC for the past three days, I've been filled with mixed emotions. Overall there has been a feeling of apprehension, which has at times been overwhelmed by a sense of elation. The Republicans have focused a great deal of energy and time on President Bush's war record, and contrasting it with many of the looney and despicable positions of John Kerry. These little vignettes have been uplifting, and at times amusing. Speakers like John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, Arnold Schwarzenneger and Zell Miller have all delivered rousing tirades in favor of America, and in support of President Bush.
But there has been a certain prescence that has as yet been noticeably absent, and it is something that none of these speakers (with the possible exception of Sen. Miller) have made any real reference to: religion. And yet if we look at the 2004 RNC Platform
, we find a document that has been infected with religious ideas and theocratic positions. The party has come out against embryonic stem cell research, abortion and any type of legal recognition of gays.
But don't let these issues fool you. They aren't just against "federal funding" of embryonic stem cell research; these dogmatists believe those cells are a human being, with as much rights as you or I. Only religious dogma (i.e., blind faith unsupported by any facts) could lead one to view as equivalent a clump of cells and a human being. They aren't just against partial-birth abortion - these dogmatists believe a human being exists at conception. And they don't just want to protect "marriage" - they think being gay is a sin and an abomination (in the words of Senatorial-hopeful Alan Keyes, gay people are selfish hedonists).
The first "religious" speech was delivered by Sen. Elizabeth Dole, who not only didn't hide her religiosity, she basically said it represented America:
Yet we know our true strength is not in our weapons. We are a great nation because we are a good people. And we are a good people because of what we believe. We believe in the dignity of every life, the possibility of every mind, the divinity of every soul. This is our true north. We believe in life...
... the new life of a man and woman joined together under God. Marriage is not important because it's a convenient invention or the latest reality show. Marriage is important because it is the cornerstone of civilization and the foundation of the family.
Marriage between a man and a woman isn't something Republicans invented.
DOLE: But it is something Republicans will defend.
We value the sacred life of every man, woman, and child. We believe in a culture that respects all life including the most vulnerable in our society, the frail elderly, the infirm, and those not yet born.
Protecting life isn't something Republicans invented. But it is something Republicans will defend.
We believe in the treasured life of faith. Two-thousand years ago, a man said, "I have come to give life and to give it in full." In America, I have the freedom to call that man Lord, and I do.
In the United States of America, we are free to worship without discrimination, without intervention, and even without activist judges trying to strip the name of God from the pledge of allegiance, from the money in our pockets, and from the walls of our courthouses.
DOLE: The Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, not freedom from religion.
This is about as explicit as one can get.
We were given another example of the religious side of the Republican party when Michael Reagan took the stage. As he told the audience why he was so very, very lucky, I waited for a rational answer: because we live in a free country, because America is so prosperous, because here he can live as civilized a life as is possible anywhere in the world today. But he didn't consider any of these things to be of fundamental importance; instead, he thought himself so lucky because his parents and birth parents were all pro-life
(It's interesting to note that two of the best speeches at the RNC so far were from pro-choice candidates, Giuliani and Schwartzenneger).
The religious right has spearheaded the republican party, infecting it like a virus and taking it over like a cancer. But what makes this poison so dangerous is that the RNC is coating it with a sweet exterior. All the platitudes of self-defense and the greatnes of America from Messrs. McCain, Giuliani, Schwartzenneger and Miller hide one important fact: there is no difference in principle between the Islamists we are fighting and President Bush and his ilk. Both groups agree on the essentials:
- Faith is a means of knowledge, and is superior to reason
- Sacrifice to God is the highest good
- A society following God's commandments is good and should be made law (i.e., enforced with a gun)
Neither group wants a secular society where individual rights trump religious revelation. What good will it do to defeat the Islamist threat overseas if we have to swallow the Christian version here in order to achieve it?
POSTED BY THE GENERAL AT 8:34 PM