Defining Religion in American Politics
Summary: "religion" as I will give a more up to date definition involves appeal to emotion and the application of dogma - beliefs based on some form of political or organized authority. Religion, unlike race, is an actual social construct and is an attitude not simply a collection of positions or any particular belief(s).
The bitter political fights are confusing and centered on a number of issues, but in the end come down to cultural outlook and culture is driven by "religion" or how one defines "religion." My main emphasis is not politics so much as the "religious" and cultural issues boiling beneath the surface.
I'll explore the two great religious currents operating under religious Leftism: Liberation Racist Theology and Environmentalism. While religion is a hot discussion with Republicans it remains hidden below the surface with Democrats.
'Leftism' is a term coined by Dennis Prager. He writes,
You cannot understand the Left if you do not understand that Leftism is a religion. It is not God-based (some left-wing Christians' and Jews' claims notwithstanding), but otherwise it has every characteristic of a religion. The most blatant of those characteristics is dogma. People who believe in Leftism have as many dogmas as the most fundamentalist Christian ... dogma - a belief system that transcends reason...
I'll also look modernizing the term 'religion" to fit present day reality.
In 2014 the defeat of House Majority leader Eric Cantor of Virginia by Tea Party candidate David Brat was an opening shot in a brewing Republican civil war of 2016. Cantor ran the usual big money campaign with $5.4 million versus $200,000 for Brat. The issues were the same then as in 2016: trade, immigration, the economy. Cantor was crushed by an unknown college professor.
Marco Rubio was a Tea Party candidate that betrayed his constituents almost from the beginning with the infamous Gang of Eight immigration amnesty deal. With Mr. Rubio waves his Catholic faith flag while Mr. Cruz waves the Evangelical flag - both were crushed losing the Evangelical vote in South Carolina and Nevada to Trump, a mainline Presbyterian.
Mr. Rubio is finished, but Mr. Cruz is running a Religious Right campaign who has wrapped his Evangelical beliefs tightly with his politics - religious fanatics care little for real world issues such as the economy.
The Republican ruling class refused to read the warning signs with Cantor and are still misreading the loss of Evangelicals to Trump. The religious pandering of Mr. Cruz also has them concerned - they want the Evangelical vote, but not their religion.
No matter how much "I'm a Christian" Mr. Cruz shouts from Mt. Sinai it just doesn't sell with most voters. This is good because "religion" as seen by most traditional Americans is personal and not something most want government meddling in.
Trump is seen as mainly secular and his daughter Ivanka is married to an Orthodox Jew and converted in 2009. The only reason I found this out was reading his book "Crippled America." Leftist' non-Jewish Jews still revile Trump anyway as they have replaced Hashem with whatever secular "ism" is popular this week.
Trump really doesn't thump religion unless asked and does a lousy job when he tries nor do his voters care. The idea he supports David Duke the premier Jew baiter is absurd just as the earlier defeat of Cantor had anything to do with being Jewish. Duke harping "Christianity" is an example of mixing religion with racism, but he is far from alone today.
Most Cruz supporters seem fixated only on divisive social issues and claim that "religious freedom" is under attack. Yes it is under attack. There is a religious war raging and the threat isn't from the Christian Right or Mr. Cruz.
First I'll address the issue of "religious liberty" - it has nothing to do with religion, but liberty in general is under attack. The elite fight with each other seeking to impose their cultural vision unto everyone else with government force. America was never founded on "Christian" or secular humanist anything, but on the concept of individual liberty without regard to any particular "religion".
All of our liberties in general are under attack under the jackboot of political correctness and meddling government at every level social and economic.
When the Ten Commandments plaque was placed in the Sullivan County Courthouse in 1999 the community was obsessed with the culture wars and Bill Clinton swooping in on black UN helicopters, but totally silent on the loss of thousands of jobs. Social issues driven by religious views they care about, their neighbor being thrown in the street isn't their problem. God will provide...
Social/religious issues are completely divorced from economic issues for hardcore fanatics. That is what "conservative" was to me and I see no proof anything has ever changed today for the hardcore Right, but they are in decline as Trump destroyed Bible Thumping Ted Cruz in Southwest Virginia and East Tennessee.
But how is Trump winning the Evangelical vote in many places? How did Trump get the endorsement of Jerry Falwell Jr. and has good relations with Pat Robertson? Pat much to the outrage of the Six Day Creationists has admitted evolution is undeniable in the scientific realm. His son is very reasonable when I heard him on the 700 Club.
Because there's been a lot of changes since the 1999 Ten Commandments fiasco at the Sullivan County Courthouse. The paranoia of the Bill Clinton years is long over for many Evangelicals less interested in conspiracy theories and more focused on their personal faith and yes real world issues. Many younger Evangelicals while strong Christians have become far less dogmatic on many political issues. This is the reason I made my peace with them several years ago.
But if many Evangelicals have became more rational the same can't be said of religious Leftism which I'll now start to address. Christianity for all its problems created the concept of a secular sphere (Athens) versus God's sphere (Jerusalem).
Islam has never to this day had a separate spiritual and secular sphere. Everything be it culture, belief, economy, family, etc. are all tightly controlled and closely integrated under Sharia Law. There's no concept of an autonomous individual. Everything is the "Will of Allah" to the point of fatalism.
Religious fundamentalists are always collectivist believing they possess the one universal truth dissent isn't tolerated. Religious Leftism has the same mentality as Islam - statist and collectivist and finds common ground with Islam.
In the West Christianity is no longer a theocracy it once was due to fragmentation, secularism, and loss of political influence. One positive aspect of Christianity was the world view of mans relation to both the Divine and Nature - The Divine transcends Nature and man stands above all other Creation.
Christianity served to sever Nature from the God, man from Nature, and demystified the natural world leading to the advancement of science. The end of centuries of Aristotle's speculation backed by Church authority was replaced by empiricism.
Christianity is mostly Greek philosophy with a severely distorted vision of Judaism, which in my view the Christian God is not the Jewish God. Christianity is loaded with pantheism (Panentheism aka Holy Spirit) and ancient Gnosticism's "Divine Mediator" (The Son).
Christianity as properly defined by myself is the Nicene Creed. Christian origins are within Hellenism and not Judaism. Christianity regardless of Church dogma and pronouncements is a syncretism of pagan, Jewish, Zoroastrian, and other elements of religion and philosophy, but is a product of pure Hellenism.
Because there's already pantheist elements in Christianity and it worships a man it's easy to hijack and change. But it retains in tension the Jewish notions of a transcendent Creator and the autonomy of the individual above Nature rejecting the then prevailing Hellenist and Roman views.
Because so much has changed it's time to redefine "religion" outside of traditional beliefs. Eastern mysticisms and philosophies are considered "religions" but often don't have deity figures. Some are simply philosophies.
Buddhism really isn't that different from Greek Stoicism and there's overlap between Greek and some Eastern philosophies being through either interaction after the period of Alexander the Great or simply developed separately.
I'll define atheism as the disbelief in god/gods and disbelief in supernaturalism - things that are invisible. Atheism is a religious viewpoint, but is not a religion. Secular Humanism isn't a religion either, but a philosophy that takes atheism on faith as a starting point and interprets the world accordingly. It attempts to appeal to emotion though reason buttressed by political or scientific authority treated as dogma. That still makes it a religion.
One definition of dogma is "prescribed doctrine proclaimed as unquestionably true by a particular group". It's the proclamation of "facts" based solely on authority is the same way the Catholic Church peddled the "facts" of Aristotle's flawed science.
Definition dogma - "a principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true." Note the word again authority.
Thus a "religion" as I will give a more up to date definition involves appeal to emotion and the application of dogma - beliefs based on emotion buttressed by some form of political or organized authority. Religion unlike race is an actual social construct and is an attitude not simply a collection of positions or any particular belief.
The rise of authoritarian secularism during the French Enlightenment and the bloody revolution that followed set the stage for secular terrors of socialism. When the radical Enlightenment stripped away Christian institutions the same human passions towards violence and intolerance simply took on a more secular form. Instead of beheading people in the name religious heresy we now beheaded victims as enemies of the people.
With religious Leftism as in the Democratic Party I'll disregard their racism and identity politics and their statist-socialist economics as such. Very few Democrats are outright atheists as defined above. In the religious sense most are hostile to traditional Christianity and Judaism (oddly pandering to Islam). Atheism in itself doesn't sell unless, quoting the late Paul Kurtz* of the Humanist Society, it has a practical application and appeals to emotion.
Collectivist philosophies sacrifice the individual well being for the collective good. Here is a critical difference between individual liberty versus collective rights - they are mutually exclusive. To quote,
In its political form, positive freedom has often been thought of as necessarily achieved through a collectivity. Perhaps the clearest case is that of Rousseau's theory of freedom, according to which individual freedom is achieved through participation in the process whereby one's community exercises collective control over its own affairs in accordance with the 'general will'.
Put in the simplest terms, one might say that a democratic society is a free society because it is a self-determined society, and that a member of that society is free to the extent that he or she participates in its democratic process.
But what happens to those that want to be left alone to live their lives as they choose? Freedom as defined by the "enlightened" is not liberty. Ref. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/liberty-positive-negative/.
The problem is that democracy is not freedom. Democracy is simply majoritarianism, which is inherently incompatible with real freedom. Our founding fathers clearly understood this, as evidenced not only by our republican constitutional system...Simply put, freedom is the absence of government coercion.
This is why Democrats constantly extol human or group rights and democracy, but never mention individual liberty. Since the time of the French Revolution and Rousseau rights and freedom are defined only within the group, by use of government force. Collectivism and theocracy are joined at the hip. Secular tyranny has now become shrouded in religion as we shall see.
The two most dangerous religious trends within religious Leftism is Liberation Theology and Environmentalism - but Environmentalism has also become an outright secular political creed buttressed unofficially by forms of pantheism or religious atheism. Let's look at Liberation Theology first.
Definition of Liberation Theology: "a movement in Christian theology, developed mainly by Latin American Roman Catholics, that emphasizes liberation from social, political, and economic oppression as an anticipation of ultimate salvation."
This garbage is not Christianity, but Marxism fused with a hollowed out Christian overcoat. This is the religion of Pope Francis who is silent on Marxist' oppression in Cuba, Muslim slaughter of Christians, etc and chooses to intervene into American politics with an attack on Donald Trump - which brought a backlash raising Trumps numbers at the polls. There's a more sinister side to Pope Francis.
To what degree this racialist socialism infects Black Churches and Catholic and liberal Protestant organizations is unknown. More troubling is the general political Left that's goes into hyper-bedwetting when any Evangelical dares to say anything political, but are supportive of Pope Francis meddling in politics. What happened to separation of religion and state?
Liberation theology is widespread among Hispanics and Latino culture and has spread to other low-achieving minority groups via Black Liberation Theology, which allies itself with Nation of Islam racists, etc. - both versions have become religious racism as class has been replaced by race - and they are social conservatives.
Black and Hispanic churches are also religious conservatives and includes Muslims as well that have no tolerance of homosexuality or other pet causes atheist white socialists attempt to force onto the public. Laws in California banning preferential treatment for homosexuals were passed by black and Hispanic votes and had to be imposed through the Supreme Court.
It's also no surprise the hate-filled racist church of Mr. Obama's Jeremiah Wright is closely allied with the Nation of Islam racist' cult and extremist Catholics such as Father Michael Pfleger of Chicago. So now we have large religious movements that promote Marxist' economics fused with a racialist religious creeds most of it under the umbrella of the Democratic Party.
Where are liberals when this kind of religion is inserted into politics? This problem also plagues liberal churches in general as social work and politics have replaced Christ.
Why is a racist such as David Duke so reviled yet an equally racist Louis Farrakhan can address thousands at the NAACP or stand beside Rev. Wright to complete silence? Village Voice columnist Nat Hentoff called Farrakhan the "Black Hitler."
Now in 2016 we have split within the Democratic Party between the socialist' Bernie Sanders whose mostly white followers that are at odds with Hillary as the racialist candidate pandering to mainly low-achieving non-white voters. Once again on March 5, 2015 Sanders won white Nebraska while Hillary won Black Louisiana. The entire system is rigged for Hillary and the white socialists have lost control of their party.
For starts this split in the Democrat Party began several years ago. Thomas B. Edsall writes in The Future of the Obama Coalition New York Times (11/27/2011):
All pretense of trying to win a majority of the white working class has been effectively jettisoned in favor of cementing a center-left coalition made up, on the one hand, of voters who have gotten ahead on the basis of educational attainment - professors, artists, designers, editors, human resources managers, lawyers, librarians, social workers, teachers and therapists - and a second, substantial constituency of lower-income voters who are disproportionately African-American and Hispanic...
See More here...
This is why Democrats must incite racial hostility and discord - Liberation theology and socialism in general have taken on a totally racist' form for the political gain of white college educated socailsists. We have an open split - Democrat racialist liberation theology types versus the other form of religious Leftism - Environmentalism.
Those with college and advanced degrees and wealth are Sanders supporters and the core of the Environmental movement. They reject traditional religion and culture and in fact are hostile to it. But they are very religious while being atheist. Their political and social attitudes mirror the extremism on our college campuses and its fascist' culture of correctness.
Quoting author Michael Crichton,
"Environmentalism seems to be the religion of choice for urban atheists...If you look carefully, you see that environmentalism is in fact a perfect 21st century remapping of traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs and myths...
Many have the religious view of atheism, but atheism as a religion doesn't sell. So how to get a practical atheism that moves the human spirit as Paul Kurtz posited*, and yet get a practical religion - pantheism in it's various forms fits the bill.
Pantheism equates to nature a divinity and religious feeling (often called spiritualism by many) without any attributes of traditional religion. It's feel good atheism as religion. This goes back to the radical French Enlightenment and figures such as JJ Rousseau and Voltaire.
As Matthew Stewart in his book Nature's God the Heretical Origins of the American Republic (P5);
...the atheistic French Enlightenment that took hold in France...(French deism) is in fact functionally indistinguishable from what we now call "pantheism"; and pantheism is really just a pretty word for atheism...
To quote Rex Murphy,
"Save the Earth is evangelical to its green and etymological roots. We see repeated in environmentalism the great dualisms of good and evil -- the modern twin being, say, sustainability versus pollution.
We see, too, in some aspects of the environmental movement that almost irresistible instinct to proselytize and "convert" that is the watermark of all the great faiths, the ferocity to persuade that only comes with the possession of an exclusive and undeniable truth...There is a lot of that mushy New-Ageism...the wild enthusiasms of mysticism..."
Yes atheists can be very mystical even dragging this nonsense into science. Ref. Praise the green god from whom all blessings flow www.globeandmail.com April 24, 2004
James Lovelock inventor of the Gaia hypothesis is a credible scientist and is openly critical of the religious nonsense that has evolved around his work, Ages of Gaia or the Gaia hypothesis that the earth is somehow a being in itself. But why many scientists on issues such a ecology which is not a science and climate change many are hysterical over:
This is why, for me, Gaia is a religious as well as a scientific concept, and in both spheres it is manageable. Theology is also a science, but if it is to operate by the same rules as the rest of science, there is no place for creeds or dogma...
Now we have a religion trying to pass itself off as science with no fixed moral values and really stands for nothing other than what one feels like doing. This makes these empty emotional vessels easy to manipulate.
This is not the only example of the fusion of science and religion by Environmental cultists. In 1967 Professor Lynn White wrote The Historical Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis and defines the religious basis of the modern ecological movement. He blamed Christianity for demystifying nature and the rise of science and capitalism as an affront to Nature - Nature is seen as a living being in its own right.
White's ideas are as follows and explains the anti-Christian hatred of environmental fundamentalists of today and the religious basis of environmentalism:
What people do about their ecology depends on what they think about themselves in relation to things around them. Human ecology (ecology is a social science) is deeply conditioned by beliefs about our nature and destiny--that is, by religion.
The victory of Christianity over paganism was the greatest psychic revolution in the history of our culture...Our daily habits of action, for example, are dominated by an implicit faith in perpetual progress which was unknown either to Greco-Roman antiquity or to the Orient. It is rooted in, and is indefensible apart from, Judeo-Christian theology...
According to White, many of the ancients thought in terms of "cyclical notion of time" (Aristotle) while Christianity (from Judaism) introduced "a concept of time as non-repetitive and linear." Thus we could progress to some kind of end, and there was a beginning. As he points out in Christianity and Judaism God transcends nature and man, man created in the "image of God" also both rules and transcends nature. To quote,
Christianity, in absolute contrast to ancient paganism and Asia's religions, not only established a dualism of man and nature but also insisted that it is God's will that man exploit nature for his proper ends....
Now we come back to Pope Francis, besides his Liberation Theology leanings, why he all the sudden is preaching Environmentalist religion - and even why he chose the name Francis. As White notes,
Possibly we should ponder the greatest radical in Christian history since Christ: Saint Francis of Assisi. The prime miracle of Saint Francis is the fact that he did not end at the stake...Francis tried to depose man from his monarchy over creation and set up a democracy of all God's creatures...
But Francis held neither to transmigration of souls nor to pantheism. His view of nature and of man rested on a unique sort of pan-psychism of all things animate and inaminate, designed for the glorification of their transcendent Creator, who, in the ultimate gesture of cosmic humility, assumed flesh, lay helpless in a manger, and hung dying on a scaffold...
The greatest spiritual revolutionary in Western history, Saint Francis, proposed what he thought was an alternative Christian view of nature and man's relation to it; he tried to substitute the idea of the equality of all creatures, including man, for the idea of man's limitless rule of creation. He failed.
Both our present science and our present technology are so tinctured with orthodox Christian arrogance toward nature that no solution for our ecologic crisis can be expected from them alone. Since the roots of our trouble are so largely religious, the remedy must also be essentially religious, whether we call it that or not.
We must rethink and refeel our nature and destiny. The profoundly religious, but heretical, sense of the primitive Franciscans for the spiritual autonomy of all parts of nature may point a direction. I propose Francis as a patron saint for ecologists...
This is typical New Age garbage many sympathize with today. Millions have been indoctrinated into this Eco rubbish in our colleges. This poison is extremely attractive in the political sphere. Capitalism is equated with science and technology which is equated with Christianity thus it's hatred and rejection of Christianity is seen as an opening for millions of ex-Marxists shattered at the fall of the Soviet Union.
Modern Environmentalism which on the religious side is a fusion of New Age, pantheist, and Eastern religion and with leftist' politics. As White sees it,
...modern science is an extrapolation of natural theology and, second, that modern technology is at least partly to be explained as an Occidental, voluntarist realization of the Christian dogma of man's transcendence of, and rightful master over, nature.
But, as we now recognize, somewhat over a century ago science and technology--hitherto quite separate activities--joined to give mankind powers which, to judge by many of the ecologic effects, are out of control. If so, Christianity bears a huge burden of guilt.
For more on White see http://www.sullivan-county.com/nf0/nov_2000/ap_john.htm.
So now we have our secular Original Sin alluded to by Crichton and our pre-industrial-scientific pagan Eden that we became separated from. Worse man and the individual should feel "guilt" for sacrilege of holy Gaia.
Many Environmental cultists are fanatics over population control where some see humans as a cancer placing Nature over the welfare of human beings. We have dehumanized unborn children for extermination, who knows what's next?
This isn't just some crackpot academics, but noted scientists such Dr. James Hansen of NASA who claims according to the AP June 24, 2008:
The heads of major fossil-fuel companies who spread disinformation about global warming should be "tried for high crimes against humanity and nature," according to a leading climate scientist. Dr. James Hansen, director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, sounded the alarm about global warming in testimony before a Senate subcommittee exactly 20 years ago.
Here we have an alleged scientist that attributes rights to Nature as if it's a living being - that kind of superstition is religion. This is not the first call for "deniers" (a religious term) being prosecuted for climate heresy. Now we have growing demands for legal penalties for "deniers" of Eco "truth".
According to www.rasmussenreports.com Nov. 12, 2015:
Global warming advocates are calling for the prosecution of groups who disagree with them, and New York State has taken it a step further by investigating Exxon Mobil for refusing to play ball with the popular scientific theory.
But 68% of Likely U.S. Voters oppose the government investigating and prosecuting scientists and others including major corporations who question global warming. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 17% favor such prosecutions. Fifteen percent (15%) are undecided.
Just over one-in-four Democrats (27%), however, favor prosecuting those who don't agree with global warming. Only 11% of Republicans and 12% of voters not affiliated with either major party agree.
After all, just 24% of all voters believe the scientific debate about global warming is over, although that's up from 20% in July of last year. Unchanged is the 63% who say that debate is not done yet. Thirteen percent (13%) are not sure.
Among voters who believe scientists have made up their minds about global warming, one-in-four (24%) favor prosecuting those who question that theory, but 64% are opposed...
Eighty-seven percent (87%) of voters describe their constitutionally guaranteed freedom of speech as Very Important. But only 20% of Americans think they have true freedom of speech today. Seventy-three percent (73%) think instead that Americans have to be careful not to say something politically incorrect to avoid getting in trouble.
Another website www.technocracy.news put it this way:
This is an astonishing survey. If 24% of voters are climate-change believers, and 17% of voters favor punishment of "deniers", then 70% of the believers are in favor of punishment. This is reminiscent of the Inquisitions during the Dark Ages: either believe the way we believe, or suffer the consequences. Needless to say, this is a very dangerous trajectory.
These are not just college students and California nuts and fruits, but scientists:
Scientists from several universities and research centers even asked Obama to use the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) to prosecute groups that "have knowingly deceived the American people about the risks of climate change, as a means to forestall America's response to climate change."
Earlier this year, Democratic lawmakers began an investigation into scientists who disagreed with the (Sen.) White House's stance on global warming. Many of these skeptical scientists were often cited by those critical of regulations to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
Arizona Democratic Rep. Raul Grijalva went after universities employing these researchers, which resulted in one expert being forced to get out of the field of climate research altogether.
"I am simply not initiating any new research or papers on the topic and I have ring-fenced my slowly diminishing blogging on the subject," Dr. Roger Pielke Jr. of the University of Colorado wrote on his blog.
"Congressman Grijalva doesn't have any evidence of any wrongdoing on my part, either ethical or legal, because there is none," Pielke wrote. "He simply disagrees with the substance of my testimony - which is based on peer-reviewed research funded by the US taxpayer, and which also happens to be the consensus of the IPCC (despite Holdren's incorrect views)."
John P. Holdren is Obama's science advisor and a lifelong far-left political activist. That should scare the hell out of anyone when what is in reality an inquisition being introduced into a public debate - New York state is now running an active inquisition. Objective science is being crushed by a culture of climate correctness backed by legal terror and intimidation.
It's very clear Environmentalism is a religious cult, based not on reason, but emotion for many of its adherents. It's also a religion because it's backed by dogma - not by science, but by authority be it government agencies, the UN, etc.
For others it's a secular political cause used to backup a number of Progressive Left social engineering ideas, in particular government control of the economy, the redistribution of resources, and raw political power. It's hard to separate who is what.
Science doesn't recognize the authority of scientists. Science is only a methodology that belongs in the realm of mathematics. Yet atheists in all their forms being pantheists, Environmentalists, etc. abuse the process constantly to lend authority to their political beliefs and religious views.
Those views are increasingly statist, anti-science, and anti-technology in demanding government action to avert a manufactured secular Armageddon to achieve egalitarian social agendas.
This is essence of religious Leftism. So to understand this danger we have to modernize what the term "religion" means today: beliefs driven by emotion backed by authoritarian dogma including state sponsored force. The Christian claims of loss of religious freedom are very real - as is the loss of most freedoms.
* "In Defense of Eupraxophy" Paul Kurtz Humanism Today 1991
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