By Bruce Wilson
Posted on April 29, 2007
James Veverka's writing transcends categories and typologies, and he runs his analysis back over a thousand years:
"Uncomfortable as it makes people to compare religion with dictatorships, the most dangerous dictatorships of the 20th century were also radically socially conservative in regards to family values and sexuality. Whether it was the Motherland, the Fatherland or the Christian Nation, the same rigid moral message of intolerance runs through them.
Like religious conservatives throughout history and indeed, in the present, they used the state as a coercive tool to force their version of a conscience upon the rest of people. While only one-third of people generally tend to be socially conservative, this does not make a difference to those possessed with the compulsion to force their morality upon all others for their own good. This is not to say fundamentalists and other religious extremists are Nazis or Stalinists, but that they hold very similar views on these 'family values' and sexuality subjects and employ similar language in their positions and propaganda. They represent similar dangers to free societies as they always have throughout all of western history.
"It is for the same reasons, and rather ironically, that many conservatives have coined the word "Islamafascists" to describe religious fundamentalists of Islam. But both religions have a fundamentalist wing that continually attacks modernity and secularism. Radical Islamists want to fight off the same forces of western modernity that Christian extremists do. At the UN, we see Islamic nations, the Catholic Church and Protestant fundamentalists on the same side in the matters of science and society, modernity and secularism.
It may surprise many that hardline communists were also hardline social conservatives on the matters of family and sexuality. It is the nature of extremism to incorporate far out views on these matters into state policy. The answers to this perverse mix of despotism and family values lies in the natures of religion and nationalism. It is not about left versus right because social conservatism can be found in both as tools of the state. Social conservatism, both religious and secular, when wed to nationalism and embraced as state policy, has almost always turned into an enemy of tolerance and liberty. In fact, social conservatives in the USA, led by Christian conservatives, have fought or disagreed with religious diversity, religious equality, abolition of slavery, Suffrage, desegregation, integrating the armed forces, Brown v Board of Education, mixed race marriages, respect and equality for Jews (not in MY country club!), the Civil Rights Act of 1965, gender equality laws, women in authority, working women, reproductive education, family planning, contraception, condoms, gay rights and a host of others. It was humanists, both religious and secular that banded together to win the rights movements of the past. Such is the case presently with regards to gay, lesbian and family planning rights.
"Such people are sinning against God and will lead to the ultimate destruction of the family and our nation. I am unalterably opposed to such things, and will do everything I can to restrict the freedom of these people to spread their contagious infection to the youth of this nation." . . . "If the widespread practice of homosexuality will bring about the destruction of your nation, if it will bring about terrorist bombs, if it'll bring about earthquakes, tornadoes and possibly a meteor, it isn't necessarily something we ought to open our arms to."
In an Interview with Molly Ivins on September 14, 1993 (Fort Worth Star-Telegram), Pat Robertson added to his history of bigotry and ignorance when he said:
"Just like what Nazi Germany did to the Jews, so liberal America is now doing to the evangelical Christians."
Because of popular cultural myths and the religious right's propaganda, both misinformed and dishonest, most people don't realize that Nazi Germany and Stalin were on the same page as religious conservatives regarding homosexuals. The anti-gay propaganda of both the religious conservatives and the Nazis is nearly identical. One is religious, the other secular, but the message is the same. The views are the same. The doctrines are the same. The blind hatred is the same. Both embrace rigid patriarchal family views that see women as men-helpers and baby-makers. Both consider their views "virtues". Both are the moral crusaders to save the family in a nation that is supposedly threatened by decadence (Weimar Germany then and counterculture now). The sky is falling; civilization will crumble if the family isn't saved. Both are extreme right wing ideologies that embrace a state enforced social conservatism. Both are blends of extreme nationalism and extreme obsessions with law and order and the moral fiber of the nation. Both loudly proclaim their so-called family values as the salvation of the nation. Without them, civilization will collapse. [ read more ]
Bruce Wilson writes for Talk To Action, a blog specializing in faith and politics.