Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Post-Christian America

The cover story on this week's issue of Newsweek is about life in what it terms "post-Christian America", i.e., an America which has moved well beyond the old-time religion of our forefathers.

As we all know, of course, there never was such a place. Rhode Island, the article points out, was founded by dissidents from all the other major religions as a place of safety from the tyranny of Massachusetts (Protestantism) and Maryland (Catholicism). We were always a mixed bag of beliefs (and non-beliefs). There is nothing new about that.

What is new, though, is that Americans are moving away from organized religions towards individual theologies based on a belief "in a Higher Power" but without the need for any human authority to act as God's muscle here on earth. We are far less religious these days, but far more spiritual.

This sounds suspiciously like every 12-Step Program I've ever heard of. The grandaddy of 12-Step programs, Alcoholics Anonymous, began in 1935 in Akron Ohio. One of it's founding tenets is the need for it's members to develop a belief in a "Power Greater than Ourselves"... leaving it up to the individual member to decide for him or herself exactly what that Power is.

This is very bad news for the RRR (radical religious right) aka "fundies" (fundamentalists) who would like to impose a born-again, literal fundamentalist theocracy on the nation; to outlaw abortion on demand (and, eventually, all contraception); to drive all LGBTQ people back into self-loathing closets and to "restore" our nation to it's pristine, newly-founded, condition. Which, by the way, never really existed.

Despite the outcome of Prop 8 in California last November, last Friday's unanimous vote by the Iowa Supreme Court and the outcome of the votes of the Vermont legislature and senate yesterday have triggered a seismic shift in America's thinking on the subject of gay rights in particular and fair play and full equality in general.

I believe that the culture war is over (or nearly so). The Right has lost (decisively).

Next subject?

UPDATE!! Anti-Gay National Organization for Marriage Launches New Campaign in wake of recent events.

--- more update: it turns out they're all actors. somebody turned up the audition tapes and posted them on Youtube, too. Gee, you can't even trust Christianist Fundamentalists anymore.


Alan said...

I think you are very right that we are much More spiritual even as we are becoming Much less religious. IMHO, the more people who dare to question authority and take on Thinking for themselves the better off we All will be.

JoyZeeBoy said...

Question authority. Speak truth to power.

It's tough, sometimes, to hang on to the idea that we were, indeed, founded by a bunch of people who did just that.

And often.

And recommended that we keep on doing it. Often.