Religious Right Hysteria- 2013 Version

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With their also-ran candidate vanquished in November, the hysteria of the religious right has increased to fever pitch. The number of boogeymen who now haunt their nightmares seems to have increased a hundredfold since last fall’s presidential election.

Their chosen one rose to the top only after a bitter primary campaign, and none of the far right ever liked him very much, anyway. But even he, the despised Mitt Romney, author of Massachusetts’s version of ‘Obamacare,’ and, off all things, a Mormon, was better than the ‘Kenyan-born, fascist-communist-socialist Muslim,’ Satan incarnate, Barack Obama.

And now any number of threats to truth, justice and the American way, as defined by the twisted interpretation of the far right, have been given free reign, as Mr. Obama, who they claim hates the United States, begins a second four-year term.

These insidious evils have now invaded even the hallowed ranks of the Boy Scouts of America. That institution, revered in many corners of the U.S., is actually considering lifting its ban on participation by homosexuals. Currently, the BSA seems to have what the military used to call the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy. Gay youths can participate, and gay adults can serve as Scout leaders, as long as they remain firmly closeted. But with their corporate sponsors getting pressure from Eagle Scouts and others, the BSA has begun taking a second look at this policy and, like the U.S. military, seems poised to change it. This, for many on the right, is just too much to be borne.

One Sandy Rios of an organization called the American Family Association, equates homosexuality with pedophilia. Said this wise sage: “most of them like young men, that’s why they go into professions and work with boys, that’s why they become teachers and coaches.” She continues: “I would have to say that zero percent of straight men are interested in boys, zero percent.” Studies show that about 50% of men in the U.S. arrested for pedophilia are married to women, but let’s not that little fact get in the way of sensationalism.

WorldNetDaily’s Barry Farber entered a new word into the right’s lexicon when he said that “…homogrifying the Scouts would hijack the very mission of scouting and turn the organization into a beehive of erotic exploration.”

Let us take a moment to explore this statement in a little depth. The BSA’s webpage, under ‘About the BSA,’ says this: “The BSA provides a program for young people that builds character, trains them in the responsibilities of participating citizenship, and develops personal fitness.” How, one might reasonably ask, would allowing gay youths to participate ‘hijack’ this mission? And how, one might further ask, would the participation of gay youths and gay Scout masters transform the organization into ‘a beehive of erotic exploration’? Again, we are talking gay here, not pedophilia.

And heaven forbid that young gay boys participate in an organization that ‘builds character, trains them in the responsibilities of participating citizenship, and develops personal fitness.’ They will need none of those things as long as they just stay in the closet where they obviously belong.

Perhaps Mr. Farber, Ms. Rios and others of their ilk would object to a male teacher in an all-female school. It is, this writer is sure, a well-known fact that a man in the presence of a female, any female, regardless of age, is continually plotting on how to have sex with her. So woman should all be teachers in girls’ school.

But what if that woman is a lesbian? How would such a horror be known? What tests must be administered prior to her confirmation of employment, in order to assure that these vulnerable young girls will be safe with her?

By the same logic, only men should teach males. But again, any men seeking to teach in a boys’ school would have to undergo the same rigorous testing (in reverse, one supposes) that a woman must undergo to teach at a girls’ school.

But this gives one pause; who should teach a mixed class? If boys and girls are both present, should there be two teachers in the classroom at all times? This would include a man and a woman who have undergone the as-yet-to-be determined testing to confirm their sexual orientation.

Let us leave this puzzling conundrum, and move on to another area that strikes terror into the hearts of the far right. President Obama has nominated former U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel as his Secretary of Defense. Mr. Hagel, a Republican, might just as well be gay for all the support he gets from the right. And what, we ask with bated breath, have been his crimes? Mr. Hagel has referred to the ‘Jewish lobby’, when he meant the ‘Israeli lobby,’ and he supports negotiation with, rather than the invasion of, Iran.

So there. Like the man who has nominated him, Mr. Hagel obviously hates America and has no place in its service. Never mind that he was twice wounded as a young soldier in Vietnam. Never mind that many prominent veterans groups have endorsed him for the role of Secretary of Defense. He recognizes the influence of the Israeli lobby in controlling Congress, has shown at least some minimal awareness of the existence of the Palestinian people, and prefers words to bombs. What kind of monster has Mr. Obama selected for Secretary of Defense?

The fearful right is marshaling its ever-dwindling resources to prevent this atrocity. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), speaking to Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, offered these pearls of wisdom: “we can’t afford to allow someone who has been that cozy with the terrorist groups that are out there to become Secretary of Defense.” Mr. Inhofe didn’t expand on just what those terrorist groups are. However, he may have been referring to an interview with the Arabic news station Al-Jazeera that Mr. Hagel had in 2009. During that interview, the presumptive Secretary of Defense described the Palestine-Israel conflict as “a sickening slaughter on both sides,” and, in response to a caller, agreed that war crimes had been committed by Israel.

It is somewhat puzzling that so many people of the religious right can consider the atrocities perpetrated by Israel as somehow acceptable, because they are the ‘chosen people.’ According to this writer’s understanding of scripture, God is no respecter of persons (see Acts 10: 34). This seems to imply that no one is exempt when it comes to keeping the commandments He has set forth. Yet Israel seems, in the minds of the religious right, to be exempt somehow from this injunction.

And so they carry on, lamenting the idea of homosexuals having equal rights, or the U.S. military being led by a man who is hesitant to go around the globe dropping bombs. They wring their hands and prophecy all kinds of doom falling upon the U.S., now that it has turned its back on their twisted and incomprehensible version of Christianity, one that Jesus Christ wouldn’t recognize. They mourn the loss of their influence, on the rise since the Reagan years, culminating in Tea Party victories in the 2010 mid-term elections, and now crashing and burning following astounding defeats in 2012. And yet they somehow persevere.

The Republican Party, much as it did after the 2008 election defeat, talks about a remake, or as Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal so eloquently put it, deciding how to stop being the ‘stupid party.’ A major first step, and possibly the only one needed, is to jettison the religious right, allowing that fringe group to start its own party, and its own nation, if it wants to. As long as that group continues to have a stranglehold on the Republican Party, the GOP will be marginalized into eventual extinction.