Friday, June 17, 2011

A Rational Voice ... from Tulsa(!)

Today's must-read piece is from Barbara Santee, a Tulsa-based PhD. It asks -- and answers -- the question, How Can "Christians" Be Filled With so Much Hate and Violence?:

The politics of hate didn't begin with Obama. It didn't begin with Clinton, or even Kennedy. It began much earlier than that. In the 1930's, there was a fear-monger named Father Coughlin. Charles Edward Coughlin was a controversial Roman Catholic priest who was one of the first to use the radio to reach a mass audience of more than thirty million. He called for monetary reforms, the nationalization of major industries and railroads, and protection of the rights of labor. Although this appeared to be a populist agenda, he began to attack Jewish bankers. He used his radio program to spread anti-Semitic hate speech, and later to rationalize some of the policies of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini. He was stirring up violence against Jews, and finally his political tirades were silenced by his superiors. Glenn Beck is the modern-day equivalent of Coughlin in that he is constantly talking about conspiracy theories and blaming various elements of our society in an attempt to work his supporters into a political frenzy against those people
. . .
When the conservative Christians took over the Republican party, they brought with them, not only their values, but their mindset. They see the world in a binary manner - black or white, right or wrong, good or evil. And they brought this thinking into our political arena. Hence, you could no longer simply disagree with them on an issue in a civil and mature manner. Anyone who disagrees with them is defined as "evil." How many times have we heard that phrase used by Republican politicians to smear the opposition? When an issue or person is framed as being "evil," that shuts the door to rational discourse. It doesn't take long for a very tall and thick wall to build up between opposing viewpoints. The "carriers of light" become entrenched in their positions because they are literally, "on God's side." Consequently, there can be no rational discussion.
It just goes to show you that Oklahoma, the second-reddest state, still has some rational people in it. There's a lot more to her article and it is well worth the read. As I've often said, we ignore these people at our peril.