Monday, May 9, 2011

Signs & Portents

Arthur Schopenhauer, the great 19th century German philosopher, once opined that "[r]eligions are like glow-worms: they need darkness in order to shine."

And here in a darkening Australia, the forces of ignorance, intolerance and religious reaction are becoming increasingly bold and strident:

"The head of the Australian Christian Lobby and former special forces soldier Jim Wallace has 'unreservedly' apologised for commenting against gay marriage and Muslims on Anzac Day. Jim Wallace, the managing director of ACL, wrote on Twitter this morning: 'Just hope that as we remember Servicemen and women today we remember the Australia they fought for - wasn't gay marriage and Islamic!'... Mr Wallace later apologised for his tweet, writing that 'this was the wrong context to raise these issues... Even in the time of Anzacs, there were not only gays but Afghans in Australia. But I think the Judeo-Christian heritage that framed the nature of Australia that these fellows fought for is very important. We should be trying to preserve it'. Mr Wallace said he was spending time with his father when he wrote the first tweet. 'The context of it was I was sitting there beside my father, who was a 96-year-old veteran of Tobruk and Milne Bay and he was lamenting how he couldn't recognise the Australia he fought for'." (Christian leader sorry for Anzac tweets, Glenda Kwek, The Age, 25/4/11)

"One of Ted Bailleu's newly elected MPs, Geoff Shaw, has deeply offended a young gay man by suggesting that his desire to love who he wanted was as illegitimate as a dangerous driver wanting to speed or a child molester wanting to molest. Mr Shaw, the member for Frankston, is active in his pentacostal church, Peninsula City. In his maiden speech to Parliament, Mr Shaw acknowledged 'the original owner of the land on which we stand God, the Creator, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of the Bible'." (MP outrages gay constituent with child molester analogy, Michael Bachelard, The Age, 8/5/11)

US journalist and author Chris Hedges (American Fascists: The Christian Right & The War on America, 2007), has warned against the emergence of an indigenous American Christian fascism:

"There is a yearning by tens of millions of Americans, lumped into a diffuse and fractious movement, to destroy the intellectual and scientific rigor of the Enlightenment. They seek out of ignorance and desperation to create a utopian society based on 'biblical law'. They want to transform America's secular state into a tyrannical theocracy. These radicals, rather than the terrorists who oppose us, are the gravest threat to our open society. They have, with the backing of hundreds of millions of dollars in corporate money, gained tremendous power. They peddle pseudoscience such as 'Intelligent Design' in our schools. They keep us locked into endless and futile wars of imperialism. They mount bigoted crusades against gays, immigrants, liberals and Muslims. They turn our judiciary, in the name of conservative values, over to corporations. They have transformed our liberal class into hand puppets for corporate power. And we remain weak and supine... There will be no swastikas this time but seas of red, white and blue flags and Christian crosses. There will be no stiff-armed salutes, but recitations of the Pledge of Allegiance. There will be no brown shirts but nocturnal vists from Homeland Security. The fear, rage and hatred of our dispossessed and confused working class are being channeled into currents that are undermining the last vestiges of the democratic state." (How democracy dies: lessons from a master, Chris Hedges,, 11/10/10)

Could we be heading in the same direction?

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