Column No. 10 By Steven Jonas, MD, MPH- April 29, 2004
As I said in my column on this topic that was published on April 8, 2004, TPJ, “On George Bush and Religion”, organized religion and its exploitation is an obvious major feature of the Bush II Presidency, one that I like to refer to as the Georgite regime. There is a view held in some quarters that this is simply cynical politics: that many Right-Wing Republican policies fit into and/or reflect the agenda of the Christian Right, which then forms the electoral center of the Bush Base. Certainly, many of the top Georgites appear to be anything but True Believers: Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Wolfowitz, Perle. They all seem eminently secular. As for Karl Rove, who knows if he has any true beliefs one way or another.
But does that view apply to the top-dog Georgite, G.W. Bush himself? Is he simply a cynical politician, mouthing phrases to take advantage of a group of Right-Wing voters who just happen to hold, very strongly, to a particular brand of hellfire and brimstone old-fashioned Protestant theology? I don’t think so. I think that this George is a true believer, himself. As our European Editor, Michael Carmichael, has said, there is no person more firmly attached to preconceived notions that “Born Again,” reformed alcoholics/drug addicts, especially those who happen to be not-too-bright. And that background makes G.W. Bush even more dangerous.
In this column, you will find some further evidence to support my position (and one or two other observations on political religion as well). We will also briefly examine why the Georgites have met with such success in a country in which their professed religious views are those of a rather small minority.
On the True Meaning of the "Gay Marriage" Amendment
George Bush has come out foursquare in support of this proposed amendment. I think that his position reflects his true religious beliefs because he has never said anything to the contrary. That the putting forth of this proposal happens to open up the Georgites to the charge of "political distraction" is in my view planned by them, which however they don’t want to become the subject of public discussion. By getting the controversy onto whether or not the proposed amendment is planned as a political distraction pulls the consideration of it away from the real issue, and where the position is coming from.
The real issue is that by destroying the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment (which surely applies to civil marriage under state laws) the amendment would fundamentally change the nature of the Constitution. Once that is done, in the future any group of people could be put into the "no-equal-protection-for-you" category, based simply on who they are, not anything that they have done.
Where the position comes from was clearly framed by two leading Republican Senators. In a statement Sen. Trent Lott made when he was still Majority Leader (revealing that he is an equal opportunity bigot). He stated that homosexuality is a sin and it is a sin because the Bible says so. G.W. Bush has never said anything different. Rick Santorum, the third highest ranking Republican in the Senate and well known for his open adherence to the doctrines of the Republican Religious Right, last April compared homosexuality to bigamy, polygamy, incest and adultery. Bush’s response was to praise Santorum as "an inclusive man.''
Bush’s True Views on Homosexuality
Do you believe that Bush is just “playing politics” with this one? Well, about six weeks ago there was this little news item (which many of you may have already seen):
“Tennessee county wants to ban gays” Thursday, March 18, 2004 Posted: 7:29 AM EST (1229 GMT) Copyright 2004 Associated Press.
DAYTON, Tennessee (AP) -- The county that was the site of the Scopes "Monkey Trial" over the teaching of evolution is asking lawmakers to amend state law so the county can charge homosexuals with crimes against nature. The Rhea County commissioners approved the request 8-0 Tuesday. Commissioner J.C. Fugate, who introduced the measure, also asked the county attorney to find a way to enact an ordinance banning homosexuals from living in the county. ‘We need to keep them out of here,’ Fugate said. …..Rhea County is one of the most conservative counties in Tennessee. It holds an annual festival commemorating the 1925 trial at which John T. Scopes was convicted of teaching evolution. The verdict was thrown out on a technicality. The trial became the subject of the play and movie “Inherit the Wind.”
I didn’t hear or see anything from the President saying something like, “Well, folks, preserving the American institution of marriage is one thing, but any move to illegalize homosexuality is definitely beyond the pale.” (Of course, since this highly unread, uneducated man can hardly be expected to know to what that last phrase refers, he wouldn’t use those precise words. But if he thought the thought, he could express it in his own simplistic language.) Such silence reveals volumes about how this man thinks. Even more frightening to contemplate is the direction in which our beloved country would be headed were he to be re-elected.
On Firing Gays for Being Gay
Need more convincing on what Bush really believes? Get this one (which I received over the Net; don’t know the original reference):
BUSH ALLOWS GAYS TO BE FIRED FOR BEING GAY
Despite President Bush's pledge that homosexuals ‘ought to have the same rights’ (1) as all other people, his Administration this week ruled that homosexuals can now be fired from the federal workforce because of their sexual orientation.
According to the Federal Times, the president's appointee at the Office of Special Counsel ruled that federal employees will now ‘have no recourse if they are fired or demoted simply for being gay.’ (2) While the Bush Administration says it is legally prohibited from firing a person for their conduct, they have the legal right to fire or demote someone based on their sexual orientation. To carry out the directive, the White House has begun removing information from government websites about sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace. (3)
1. Debates, 10/11/2000. 2. "OSC to study whether bias law covers gays", Federal Times, 03/15/2004, http://daily.misleader.org/ctt.asp?u=1154566&l=23802. 3. "Gay Rights Information Taken Off Site", Washington Post, 02/18/2004, http://daily.misleader.org/ctt.asp?u=1154566&l=23803.
No comment is necessary.
Opening Up the Country to More Dangers
It should be noted here that not only does this religious-based view of homosexuality lead to proposals to fundamentally change the nature of our Constitutional Democracy, but it also further opens up the country to threats of terrorism. Consider the subject of a cartoon by Mike Lukovich (Newsday, Feb. 28, 2004): A bin Laden caricature is addressing several other Islamist caricatures, saying: "Here's my plan for destroying America: we sneak in and marry each other." Needless to say a couple of those being addressed do look doubtful, although we don't know for what reason.
Bush, Religion, and the Money
At this point one might say, how does Bush hold get all the political money he does, given that his position of religion and how it should govern the country, how it should either stand above the Constitution or be the justification for changing its very nature, it so at odds with our history, and surely with the personal views of many of his donors. This is an issue that we shall come back to from time to time and shall deal with only briefly here.
Of course it is his economic, environmental, and social policies. For example, there is “globalization,” otherwise known as the “Federally-sponsored capital and job export to secure lower labor costs and higher profits” program (strongly championed by the DLC and Pres. Clinton, one must note). Here is a list of companies in the “globalization” business that are major (up to hundreds of thousands of dollars) Bush contributors: American Express, Bechtel, Convergys, Dell Computer, Delphi Automotive, Fidelity, Ford, General Electric, Hewlett Packard, HSBC, McKinsey & Co, Sallie Mae.
How many of the executives of these companies do you think believe in the religious doctrines that Bush obviously believes in? How many of these executives don’t think about those religious doctrines and their implications for the future of Constitutional Democracy in the United States when they are thinking about what Bush economic, social, and environmental policies, to say nothing of his anti-labor, anti-national domestic spending policies, do for their corporate profits and personal incomes? Now then (and we will end the discussion of this one for now), how many executives of the German corporations, large and small, that funded the rise of Hitler and the Nazi Party starting in the mid-1920s thought about the social doctrines that Hitler had spelled out in Mein Kampf when they were thinking about what Hitler would do to the Communist and Socialist Parties and the labor movement in general?
Ah the lessons one can learn from history, if one only looks.