Thursday, December 10, 2009

The commandment that comes with an asterisk

Something occurs to me, reading headlines about teabag wingnuts and their consistently outrageous claims about President Obama.

These allegations are obviously lies. Sure, some of these people are truly around the bend -- especially those who have access to little more than a keyboard, and dutifully forward the wacky reforwarded e-mails they get from equally confused, pathetic people such as themselves. They sometimes don't know better, by virtue of insufficient education, low IQ, and/or social insulation. Sometimes they do know better, deep down, but it's easier to remain ignorant.

But then you have the people who promulgate this garbage.
They are professional spinmeisters whose only purpose in creating these stories is to amass power. Many of them hide behind Judeo-Christian religion as an additional means of bashing those they don't like (atheists and Muslims). On some level, they genuinely believe in a higher power and believe that they are acting in obedience to it. But they have to know that the stuff they're spreading around the internet is a lie. So how on earth do they evade that commandment that says "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor?" Libel laws they can easily duck, since libel is defined very narrowly as it is codified into civil law. But in a religious system that says you're committing adultery if you even think about being attracted to someone you're not married to, how would one justify the manufacture of out and out lies regarding not only the actions, but the motivations of your political opponents?

With the adultery question, you have the oft-used device of "confessing" to personal weakness and asking for forgiveness. But I've noticed that when the few people (like Frank Schaeffer) who wise up about their misdeeds change their minds and admit what they've been up to, they more often than not renounce THE WHOLE THING. The company they kept, the belief system they embraced, going all the way back to their formative years and families. The "sinners" who confess adultery, on the other hand, renounce very little. Instead of saying "I've been raised in the dysfunctional incubator of fundamentalist Christianity, where hypocrisy is a way of life, and if I don't get completely out of there I'll just continue having affairs on the down-low," they simply spew out more of the same, attributing their screwups to a failure to sufficiently succumb to the brainwashing! Instead of "Yes, I'm gay, and since the Southern Baptist Convention and most Christian denominations condemn me for this, I'm outa there! Time to live my own life as an intelligent human of free will, and I doubt I'm displeasing God because more than likely there's no such thing ANYWAY," they give us "I've let down my family and my church and will dedicate the rest of my life praising God because only with his help can I overcome this blahblahblah."

So what it boils down to is the matter of honesty. The "apostates" recognize that the system that forbids lies actually incubates them! They get out, so that they can actually live more by the relevant commandments (the honesty and adultery ones in particular).

Why does hypocrisy continue to have such a stranglehold on fundamentalists?


PersonalFailure said...

You absolutely have to exist in a constant state of doublethink to reject Santa as fantasy, but Jesus as totally real.

Kay Dennison said...

They have been brought up that way -- the only real sinners are those not of their stripe.

Modern Girl said...

I love the reference to doublethink. Awesome.

I used to look at what was happening with the states with a bit of "atleast Canada isn't that corrupt." But, no more. The bombshell was dropped yesterday on the Afganistan detainee torture scandal, which may indicate the Canada is guilty of war crimes, and Peter MacKay, the defense minister is lying scum bag. Yet, even with this going on, hard-core right wing Conservatives and spreading propoganda saying that it's not true and the left is out to get them. So this insanity is happening everywhere.

Commodore Jones said...

What lies?

Barbara Bruederlin said...

There certainly is no shortage of hypocrisy in the world.

Volly said...

Well, Commodore, where would you like to start?


Here's another:

If your appetite is extra-hearty, just let me know. I'll pay the staff overtime so they can keep bringing such tasty dishes to your table, sir. May I suggest some whine to go with the cheese?

Commodore Jones said...

Hi, Volly,
I'll have a look at the sites. It probably won't be until Monday, because I'm going out of town. I promise you I'll be open-minded. Thanks!

Commodore Jones said...

FINALLY....Sorry I took so long to get back to you!
Anyway, I never mindlessly forward emails without first checking its validity (I always check Snopes first and which source is cited). To do otherwise torpedoes the writer's credibility. That being said, I agree with you about Barack being accused of being in the New Party with no basis in fact (never heard of it, but I don't deny the claim was made). I've never seen any indication that he WASN'T in the Democrat Party. As far as Michelle running up a huge Room Service bill-that is an example of the type of email that I wouldn't just send along. That, too, is bogus (and, if I may add a personal opinion: even if it WERE true, who cares?). As far as Glenn Beck's opinion that Obama wants to create a master race through stem cell research, I listen to Beck and that is something he would say. HOWEVER, I see nothing wrong with stem cell research, so he and I are not of like minds there. Seriously, there is so much more to be concerned about with Obama than just the above (which ARE lies). For instance, how does his plan for redistribution of wealth strike you? Sure, there are those who truly need a "hand-up," but there are also scumbag slackers who want my money, too. Anyway, thanks very much, Volly, for giving me the sites. It's all about keeping people honest!

Volly said...

I certainly appreciate everyone who's commented. Special thanks to Commodore Jones, who I'll freely admit I thought was just trying to provoke me. Like you, I'm always willing to admit when I'm wrong. Extra points for checking Snopes.

As for redistribution of wealth, the far right has done an extremely good job of painting that phrase with a poisoned brush. But I maintain that it's gotten much harder for average working folks to get by. These same people MIGHT HAVE been viewed as "scumbag slackers" 35 years ago, but things have changed. Why is it that a Bachelor's degree, the gold standard of education that so many recipients of the GI Bill in the 1940s and 1950s were so thrilled to attain, is now valued about where a 10th or 11th grade education was back when my dad was a student? And getting one? Ha! You need a major credit card, thank you very much, even if you don't want one. Rather than student loans coming from a bank and a government whose goal is to get everyone working, it now comes from a credit card issuer that simply wants to get everyone owing and paying. Big, big difference. In 35 years, the goals we (i.e. the middle class) strive for in our lives really haven't changed that much! So why should there be such a huge gulf between the things we hope for and the things we end up getting? I put it down to greed. I have no problem with a bank president having a 5-million dollar house in Westchester County, NY -- but it should absolutely not be at the expense of an office manager in Hamilton County TN who earns what used to be considered a respectable wage -- a wage that both my parents would have happily swooned to consider.

Commodore Jones said...

Nope, wasn't trying to provoke you. I enjoy and appreciate your well-reasoned, thoughtful views. Keep it up and have a great holiday!

Cyrus Rumi said...

Happy New Year!!!