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[personal profile] bikerwalla
It sounds so wrong, if you're not one of the faithful:
We no longer have to wait a whole day for Newt Gingrich to flip-flop, because now, while fear-mongering during a speech at a religious conference, he did it in one sentence:
"I have two grandchildren: Maggie is 11; Robert is 9," Gingrich said at Cornerstone Church here. "I am convinced that if we do not decisively win the struggle over the nature of America, by the time they're my age they will be in a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists, and with no understanding of what it once meant to be an American."
I know, it sounds like he contradicted himself. Watch out for those religious atheists! But really, it's calculated to appeal to this audience, on several levels.

First is the "Christian or Hell" dichotomy. It's right along the lines of "Us and Them" and the Right is holding daily radio shows on who exactly "They" are and why we can never consider them part of "Us".
If you're evangelical or fundamentalist, the two terms "atheist" and "Islam" mean exactly the same thing:


Basically the formula is this: If people don't say "Jesus" in every sentence, you can be sure that these people are UNGODLY. And that equates the Unitarians with the Satanists. It says it doesn't matter if your only heresy is replacing your "prayers" with "daily affirmations" -- out comes the pointing finger of judgment! Shame! Shame on you to the end of your days!

The War on Christmas is the same thing. If you don't say "Merry Christmas" every time, you're REALLY saying go to hell with those other secular people! Might as well be saying "Hail Satan"!

The second interpretation of this Newtism is: Christianity is the only guardian of our uniquely American morality. If we don't prop up Christianity in every office of our government, then it will be replaced by a moral vacuum, which only Islam could rush in to fill. ("Godless Communism" was what we had to be vigilant against, in earlier versions of the same argument.) Atheism is impossible, in this world-view. You must answer "what religion are you?" and you CANNOT answer None of the Above because everyone will erase that answer inside their head and instead check one of the other religions for you -- which one doesn't matter, because if you are following ANY of the other religions, that makes you one of "Them".

Either way, it's patently anti-intellectual. Which makes it so shocking coming from a semi-retired professor. It grants equivalency to two different terms, and guarantees that if you're someone who loves language, you will be stuck explaining that "atheism" and "Islam" are opposites, before addressing the rest of the argument -- which of course makes you out to be nuanced. Heh, heh, heh.

Of course, you have to believe that you could learn a thing or two about morality from a serial adulterer who could never keep just one iron in the fire, and is on record as having fooled around during the Clinton investigations. Stay classy, Newt.

Date: 2011-03-30 11:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] inaki.livejournal.com
To play devil's advocate for a moment, I know some folks who are pretty religiously atheist. I've heard plenty of "Kill the Christians" from them that sounds awfully familiar to my younger days in the church.

That said.. Secular.. Islamists... I will be laughing about that for a while.

Date: 2011-03-31 07:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pouchedfox.livejournal.com
Oh yeah,
I almost put that in my twitter, theres no way he can not know what he was doing, he's definitely trying to spread FUD using children as the bulldozer (these poor innocent kids) to attack athiests and islamists, by painting them as the same enemy, never mind their totally different ideologies.

Date: 2011-03-31 01:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bikerwalla.livejournal.com
That's why they don't like public education that equips a kid with tools for critical thinking. You should just nod dumbly when the teacher says something because they're the authority.

Date: 2011-03-31 12:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bridgeportcat.livejournal.com
Newt was a shit when I was a kid, he'll continue being a shit as I grow up. I was hoping I'd never have to see him again but here we are.

Date: 2011-03-31 01:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bikerwalla.livejournal.com
Yeah, it's not like he has anything else to do all day but show up on TV and pretend to be respectable.

Date: 2011-03-31 01:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bridgeportcat.livejournal.com
It's ok, though, I'll always remember him as the dude who gave divorce papers to his cancer stricken wife on her near-deathbed in the hospital!


Date: 2011-03-31 01:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bikerwalla.livejournal.com
Yeah, he had an affair on Wife #1 with future Wife #2, then years later, Wife #2 was all surprised when she got cheated on with some other lady behind her back. Who then went on to be Wife #3.

But that's okay for Gingrich, because he's so patriotic (http://www.riverwoodchurch.org/blog/2011/03/10/my-patriotism-led-to-my-affair/) that he had to douse his wick in whatever oil was handy. :B

Date: 2011-03-31 09:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] acy.livejournal.com
This is the "Right Wing Authoritarian" personality. They're only able to recognize "us" and "the enemy." Nuance does not exist.

One of the foremost authorities on Authoritarianism wrote an excellent book on the subject, which can be downloaded for free from his web site:


There is also an audio recording and a print version available. Read it. Everything will be made clear to you.
From: [identity profile] bikerwalla.livejournal.com
Yup. That's the joke. If you try to say the facts complicate the issue as stated (e.g.: "stem cells are babies") then people's minds shut off and their eyes glaze over, and you should just know you've already lost.
Edited Date: 2011-04-16 05:32 pm (UTC)


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