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The Election of Homophobia and Misogyny, Vijay Prashad says "It is time to confront theocratic bigotry head on"

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  • Tarek Fatah
    Friends, Vijay Prashad is Director of International Studies at Trinity College, Hartford, CT. His most recent books are Fat Cats and Running Dogs: The Enron
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 4, 2004
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      Friends,

      Vijay Prashad is Director of International Studies at Trinity College,
      Hartford, CT. His most recent books are "Fat Cats and Running Dogs: The
      Enron Stage of Capitalism," and "Keeping Up with the Dow Joneses: Debt,
      Prison, Workfare."

      In this article for the South Asian Left Magazine, SAMAR, Prof. Prashad
      writes that Bush's re-election is the election of Homophobia and Misogyny.
      He goes on to write:
      "Progressives are loath to offer a frontal criticism of the theocracy that
      has overtaken the South and the Midwest -- where under the command of
      tolerance we have to endure the intolerance toward women and their bodies,
      toward gays and lesbians, towards anyone who does not fit the compass of the
      "moral values" mass-produced by the established churches. It is time to
      throw off our forbearance and open a direct debate on the suppression of
      rational argument in favour of theocratic bigotry."

      Read and reflect.

      Tarek Fatah
      ---------------------------------------
      The Election of Homophobia and Misogyny
      It is time to confront theocratic bigotry head on.

      By Vijay Prashad
      SAMAR-South Asian Magazine for Action and Reflection
      http://www.samarmagazine.org/archive/article.php?id=179

      Four years ago, Bush's Brain Karl Rove swore that he would not rest until
      the four million Evangelicals who did not vote then would turn out
      yesterday. And they did. They came in droves. They told those who did the
      exit polls that the issue that brought them to the franchise was not their
      own unemployment or under employment, or even the loss of their family
      members in a war of choice. They came to vote for "moral values."

      After Rove told participants at an American Enterprise Institute seminar in
      2001 that the goal of the Bush re-election campaign would be to make sure
      that all 19 million Evangelical Christians voted, his team hired Ralph Reed
      to take charge of the effort. Reed, the veteran of the Christian Coalition,
      mobilized his contacts and his good looks and went after the withheld votes.

      The effort began to pay off by the summer of 2004 when the National
      Association of Evangelicals released a report, For the Health of the Nation:
      An Evangelical Call to Civic Responsibility. "Because Jesus is Lord over
      every aspect of life," the report argued, Evangelicals should take an
      interest in public policy and vote to enforce their "values" over the
      polity. There are two sections of the document that are helpful guides to
      "moral values": (1) "Christian citizens of the United States must keep their
      eyes open to the potentially self-destructive tendencies of our society and
      our government... We work to nurture family life and protect children," and
      (2) "We work to protect the sanctity of human life and to safeguard its
      nature." In other words, the report highlighted the twin "moral values" of
      anti-gay marriage and anti-abortion, of the preservation marriage as a
      heterosexual institution and of the prevention of women to determine the
      fate of their bodies.

      Bush ran an election campaign that appealed to this definition of "values."
      The fear of gay marriage and of abortion trumped all other issues, even a
      ransom-sized deficit and a murderous war. Some of this should have been
      predictable. The Pew Center for Religion and Public Life released a poll in
      August 2004 that showed 64% of those asked clearly saying that "moral
      values" is their most important issue. Blinded by the enormity of the Iraq
      lies and the deficit, progressives and liberals could not see how
      significant this "moral value" problem would be. We took comfort in the
      aggregate data that shows how a large percentage of the population is
      actually not averse to abortion and knows someone who is gay or lesbian. But
      the aggregate poll might have been weighted to the coasts, and not to
      Kansas.

      The Faith-Based initiatives, the ban on "partial-birth" abortions, the
      position against gay marriage, the refusal to fund stem-cell research, the
      "crusade" against Islam and Bush's personal story of transformation and
      forgiveness appealed to a population that is piously fundamentalist. Without
      meaningful work, with relatives and friends on the battlefield, with more
      and more corporations in domination over their lives, people who turn to
      Bush and to Evangelicalism do so for stability and order. As everything
      falls apart, belief provides organizations and institutions, and ideological
      stability. Religious organization offers the soul of soulless conditions.

      Progressives are loath to offer a frontal criticism of the theocracy that
      has overtaken the South and the Midwest -- where under the command of
      tolerance we have to endure the intolerance toward women and their bodies,
      toward gays and lesbians, towards anyone who does not fit the compass of the
      "moral values" mass-produced by the established churches. It is time to
      throw off our forbearance and open a direct debate on the suppression of
      rational argument in favor of theocratic bigotry.

      Homophobia elected Bush.
      Misogyny elected Bush.
      Unreason elected Bush.
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