Saturday, September 20, 2008

Gott Mit Uns

That the rest of the world has an amazing fascination with our election is clear, if Watching America is any indication. One of the most intriguing articles from that international site is from Norway's Aftenposten and is titled "God as Denial of Responsibility."

In the article, the author examines what for him is the peculiar role of religion in American politics, especially over the last decade. He begins with George W. Bush.

When God is on your team, the world can be dangerously simple. ...

For the past eight years, secularised Europe has been watching with increasing astonishment a president who for the most part is guided by religion; who has had a very difficult relationship with the English language; who has systematically prioritised loyalty over competence, and who seems to be without any intellectual curiosity.

From there he moves on to the GOP's vice presidential nominee, Sarah Palin:

Take Sarah Palin. The Alaskan governor with great skills at carving up big game, McCain's snapping hound with lipstick. With her American conservatism she has torn away its last shred of political civilization (read what she said about foreign policy at the convention). We are risking having a woman who sees God's hands in all she does just a heartbeat away from the oval office. A unholy mixture of ignorance and vulgarity. We know this “Gott mit uns” - mentality all to well from European history. Save us from the Alaskan version! [Emphasis added]

The article's author is smart enough to realize that much of the religiosity displayed by the GOP is just that, rather than true piety. The religion card plays well, especially since it serves to provide a handy and cynical facade to cover what actually lies behind it.

...The dangerous psychological impact of toying with religion are all too rarely pointed out, especially the encouragement of fanaticism and denial of accountability biblical quotations can lead to. It is easy to be confident when you can use simple rationalization because God is on your side. To say that you will do “what Jesus did” can be a simple excuse to avoid studying the issues at hand. ... [Emphasis added]

This kind of analysis has indeed been sorely missing in the US discourse, especially during the election season, because most Americans are somewhat loathe to criticize another's religion (unless, of course, that religion is Islam). This is dangerously unfortunate for the very reasons the article points out. No amount of lipstick can cover the results of such religiosity, as we have discovered the past eight years.

God help us if we have to go through another four years of this.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

The whole religious model is a fantasy. Both Reagan and this Bush have seen church on TV or pictures only. If you go through the American media, which doesn't criticize the GOP ever, the whole concept falls om its face when you realize that the religious conservatives oppose legitimizing our non-persons illegal immigrant.

Since when is this a religious teaching?

9:22 PM  

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