Tuesday, August 16, 2011

On Perry and Conspiracies

This past Saturday Governor Perry did what everyone with three interconnected synapses knew he was gonna do: declared himself a candidate for president.  It didn't take long... a mere matter of hours... for the lefty secular-humanists to crawl out of the woodwork, shouting "Christer!" and other such blather.  Sunday's memeorandum page was chock-full of this sorta bullshit, including one particularly obnoxious hit piece in the Daily Beast (appropriate name, eh?) by one Michelle Goldberg that managed to slime both Perry AND Michele Bachmann at the same time.  A couple o' excerpts:
With Tim Pawlenty out of the presidential race, it is now fairly clear that the GOP candidate will either be Mitt Romney or someone who makes George W. Bush look like Tom Paine. Of the three most plausible candidates for the Republican nomination, two are deeply associated with a theocratic strain of Christian fundamentalism known as Dominionism. If you want to understand Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry, understanding Dominionism isn’t optional.
Put simply, Dominionism means that Christians have a God-given right to rule all earthly institutions. Originating among some of America’s most radical theocrats, it’s long had an influence on religious-right education and political organizing. But because it seems so outrĂ©, getting ordinary people to take it seriously can be difficult. Most writers, myself included, who explore it have been called paranoid. In a contemptuous 2006 First Things review of several books, including Kevin Phillips’ American Theocracy, and my own Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism, conservative columnist Ross Douthat wrote, “the fear of theocracy has become a defining panic of the Bush era.”
The article gets even worse than that... those are just the introductory grafs which dwell on a preemptive disclaimer for the idiocy that follows, i.e., "Take me seriously!  Please!"  Well, no.  I can't.  I thought we... us Americans... got over this sorta stuff after JFK was elected.  Apparently not, and there's no lack of people willing and able to stir the pot of intolerance.  This sort of thing just makes me scratch my head and go WTF?  I mean, really...

But there are rational agnostics in this country as well, Mr. Roger Simon being one such.  He posted a piece on Sunday too... titled "Agnostics for Perry."  An extensive quote:
Which leads me to why this agnostic — and I hope other agnostics of various stripes — could and should support Perry.

We live in a time when the economy trumps all other considerations by a staggering amount. The global financial system is on life support, teetering on the brink of depression, if not already over it. This has placed our country in a weaker state than any time since World War II, endangering world peace and encouraging a wave of despotism unseen since the rise of the Soviet Union and in many ways identical to it, except that it is motivated by jihadism rather than by communism.

Can a single human being solve this? Unlikely. He or she will need a lot of help. But we are in dire need of leadership, not of the policy wonk kind — God knows we’ve had a lot of that — but of the moral and inspirational kind. We need someone to call forth the best in America the way Ronald Reagan did in the 1980s. We need someone unafraid to speak for the democratic values of Western civilization and to fight for them economically and politically as well as militarily, if that is necessary.
The incumbent president has proven to be none of those things. He is at best ambivalent about our values and at worst an enemy of them. Rick Perry is the reverse. I had the pleasure of having dinner with him in Austin well over a year ago and could see it almost immediately. Call him a cowboy, call him a Christer, but this man is a passionate American and a passionate American is exactly what we need right now. And that kind of person, I am sad to admit, is unlikely to come from the ranks of the agnostic and the secular. It will come from the ranks of the religious, those who have faith. That’s just the way it is now.

But I will try to reassure my fellow agnostics with this. We are not nearly as far from religious people as we think. Though we may brood on the timing and veracity of the Big Bang, speculate on Einstein’s unified field theory (if we can understand it), debate St. Anselm in our heads or just throw up our hands and say the whole question is above our job description, when it comes to the way we actually live, our values, most of us do just as our religious brothers and sisters do. Like them we are products of the Judeo-Christian tradition and we live by the Ten Commandments — or try to.

That's the voice of reason speaking.  I'm prolly a lot like Mr. Simon when it comes to religion... which is to say I'm basically agnostic... even if I describe myself as a closet Buddhist.  Mr. Simon talks about his admiration, bordering on envy, for people with strong faith elsewhere in his essay and I identify with that, too.  His bottom line, as you can see from the above excerpts, is he has no problem with Perry's faith and neither do I.  The entire piece is worth a read.

That said... I don't identify with asshats and conspiracy theorists like Ms. Goldberg; I consider the woman and those of her ilk to be much more dangerous than the people she rails against.  Religious intolerance is close to the worst sort of bigotry there is and when you combine intolerance with conspiracy you get something truly dangerous and poisonous to the body politic.  I suspect we'll see much more of this stuff as the campaign goes on.

But... back to Governor Perry.  I'm pretty damned close to putting up a "Perry for President" link in my sidebar.  I think I've found my candidate.


  1. I just don't see why someone would NOT vote for a person to a political office just because they believe in God. If they use God as a shield for stupid decisions, then it would be a concern, but to decide not to vote for someone because they have a strong belief system that they use to guide them in a moral manner is, well, liberal thinking.

    I like Perry. I can accept that he was a Democrat prior to switching sides. I don't think his past support of the Goracle is a black mark big enough to harm him.

    I think there are plenty of examples in history of liberals growing up to be exemplary conservatives, such as Reagan and Churchill. In some ways, I think it makes them a stronger candidate because they have seen the light, rather than someone like Romney who leans left yet calls himself conservative.

  2. Perry is a coward on the immigratin issue.

  3. Like them we are products of the Judeo-Christian tradition and we live by the Ten Commandments — or try to. Is this not what we all should strive for?

  4. What I want is balance. Talk of religion... and God out of context... really turns me off.
    Spirituality is good. Wearing spirituality isn't.

    I'm concerned there is more marketing than there is substance and none of the candidates have really struck a nerve... except when I've said, "Ow!"

  5. I don't know if it's my own recent conversion to Catholcism and, in general, a return to Christian faith after a 15 year absence but...I keep seeing these kinds of things just about everywhere I look.

    Atheists are on the rampage (hey if Bachman can be labeled the queen of rage...); they have filed a lawsuit in NYC against having the remains of the WTC in the shape of a cross installed at the 9/11 Memorial there. There is one Catholic blog that I follow and you would not believe how they react when the blogger dares to talk about atheists - because you see Christians are not allowed to believe in God because Atheists think that the "big sky daddy" is ridiculous and therefore anyone who believes in Him is deserving of ridicule, ad hominems and in general very insulting behavior.

    Yeah, this all touched a chord with me.

    I do worry about a more fundamentalist Christian being in the White House; having grown up in that kind of faith - taken to extremes it can be ... scary. But I'd rather have a self-professed Christian or agnostic in office than an atheist.

    At least there might be a shred of compassion in the person; with the atheists I've encountered recently (and I apologize deeply and profusely if I have insulted any reasonable atheists on this site) I'd be scared for the country's future. Their outlook is just - bleak in general.

  6. Anon: All great points, especially the ones about value systems. I feel much the same way.

    Cabbie: MOST pols these days are soft on the illegals. Perry isn't alone in this space and he's better than most.

    Deb: Quick answer: Yes.

    Ivan: I don't like politicians who flaunt their faith, no matter if that faith is religious or secular... as is the case with out current president.

    Kris: Atheists are usually humorless, too, at least that's been my experience. Christopher Hitchens would be the only exception that comes to mind; there doubtlessly are others.

  7. Nothing irks me more than politicians wearing religion on their sleeves for votes, while they secretly violate every one of the Ten Commandments.

    I like what Roger Simon says about our needing someone who is passionate about America. I don't feel our current Prez is passionate about anything but his image.

    "Agnostics for Perry" I could go for that, being on the agnostic side myself.

    Perry was campaigning 4 blocks from my office yesterday and I didn't even know he was in town, darn it, because I would have gone to see him. I consider myself a Texan now since we own property in Texas :-D

  8. I think Ms Goldberg needs to go and eat some worms.

    I'm still on the fence about them all. Still waiting on Ryan.

  9. Huckabee's chances for President were greatly hurt because he used to be a Baptist preacher. Yet, I don't see him wearing his religion on his sleeve any more than Perry. Why is it people are afraid of men who aren't afraid to say what they believe in. It seems people would rather vote for someone who says one thing, but does another.

  10. Like Moogie, I'm waiting for the "perfect." Absent that, I'll take the "imperfect" that can win.

    Perry is on top of that list as of now.

    As to the religion thing...well, even though my blogging (and my lifestyle) don't necessarily show it, I am a born again Christian. I believe in the regenerative experience with Jesus (the man, and the God). My faith is in Him, and His sacrifice on the cross.

    I despise abortion, and the very idea of homosexual marriage. All that said (and I really need to dig deep in to Gov. Perry's stated views), I imagine that he's a lot like I am in a firm belief in the Constitution. A return to a true Constitutional form of government would put those issues back in the hands of The States. That would suit me just fine.

    It would not bother me one bit if California, or New York, or even Texas retained abortion, while Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Dakota banned it. That's the way it was supposed to play out.

    It would not bother me one bit if New Hampshire wanted to allow same sex marriage...just as long as States that don't allow it are not forced to honor it.

    For me, the whole damn thing boils down to a President that understands Federalism, and will vow on his Mama's grave that he will appoint Originalists to the SCOTUS.

    I'm pretty sure Perry fits that bill.

    Before he announced, I was in either the Cain, or Bachmann column. And truthfully, I believe either of those two could win. But, I think Perry has a better shot.

    He's an Aggie.


    Well, nobody's perfect...

  11. Well Andy, that just means ya have to explain jokes a couple of times, that's all. (Being an Aggie, I mean...)

    I'm now on the hunt for previous publication by Gov. Perry. I'd like to see what he said, oh, say five to ten years ago about things. He is on my very short list, along with Mr Cain. I like what Mr Cain has to say, but I just don't think he would stand much of a chance to even be nominated.

    As for church related stuff, settin' in the Rev Wright's pews for 20 years (so he claims) didn't seem to hurt the current occupant any.

  12. Flugelman...Nyuk!

    Yeah, a buddy from Kansas left this comment on a recent post I did about A&M's attempt to enter the SEC...

    You can always tell an Aggie. You can't tell 'em much, but you can always tell 'em. It also works if you yell real loud and talk slow with small W O R D S.

  13. Good God! Perry?? You've got to be * me!

    There's a redneck if I ever saw one. The only reason Texas is doing good is because 49 states are sending them money. Every year they shut down half their farms and call it a disaster, so that way they don't have to work, and Congress sends them money.

    When the Space Shuttle burned-up over Texas, about a million farms declared themselves a disaster area, due to maybe one bolt (finger or burnt-up vagina/penis) landing on their property...

    Shiiiittttt, Perry has zero chance.

  14. Red: I thought Simon pretty well nailed it, too.

    I think Ms Goldberg needs to go and eat some worms.

    Mebbe she already has, Moogie. That might be her problem.

    Lou: I hear ya about Huckabee. He certainly would have been better in the job than The One.

    Andy: Reinstating the force and power of the 10th Amendment is mostly what the Tea Party is on about these days and I AGREE. Your point about the Supremes ain't lost on us, either. Some of the current crew will likely die on the bench and the republic DEPENDS on the maintenance of a conservative majority.

    Flugelman: I agree: Cain has little or no chance.

    "Perry Sucks": You don't really know your ass from your elbow, do ya?


Just be polite... that's all I ask.