Nice article from Newsweek about the American Exceptionalism issue among the religious right and conservative right. Reading this through, one can hear the vestiges of McCarthyism, and I have to say I feel nervous. I certainly don't trust the so-called Christians on this. You would think that a people who claim a history of persecution would be sensitive to attacking others for their beliefs. Of course, that implies a historical memory, and the religious right has none. In their mind, this is their country.
SOF and I were talking the other night about the Southern Baptist conservative takeover during the 80s when conservatives purged seminaries and convention leadership of people they deemed too liberal. Both of us were changed during that, and our respect for this historic denomination went down. For me, it was the first time I was really told that I was no longer welcome in an organization where I had been raised. Oh, sure, I could stay. But I could not stay and question their assumptions. I couldn't stay and question their oppression of women. Nor their belief in inerrancy. I and other liberals were free to leave, because conservatives decided that the Southern Baptist Convention was theirs.
I wonder if I will be welcome in their America? I doubt it. Sarah Palin has made it quite clear, and Christine O'Donnell echoes that sentiment that they are Real America, not us liberals. I have heard it from distant relatives who told me that liberals were unAmerican, and who, while proclaiming their deep faith, choose to stop communicating with me because I was a liberal.
I find it odd that these same people have demanded that I be sufficiently patriotic. I have been criticized for refusing to raise an American flag over my house. I have been criticized for dissenting against conservative Presidents (dissenting against Obama is, of course, fine). This is their country, so they tell me, and I am free to go elsewhere if I don't like it.
No surprise to those reading here, I find their sense of patriotism arrogant. And I find their Christianity to be markedly lacking in, well, Christianity. If they are Christian, then I want nothing to do with that faith. I feel like Ghandi when he said, "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians," since they were so unlike Christ.
As for patriotism, I seem to quote Samuel Johnson a lot, but watching Palin, Beck, and Bachmann--and then watching adult so-called Christians follow them--I am reminded that "Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel."