Friday, February 16, 2007

Examples of Rhetoric from the Right

In an earlier post, I mentioned the fact that the agendas of the organizations I listed in that post (this list being merely a small subset of some of the more prominent groups making up the hard right) are fundamentally incompatible with the concept of participatory democracy, as the latter concept is viewed and understood by the majority of sociologists and political scientists. The following is a recent example of rhetoric from Concerned Women for America (specifically, rhetoric from Beverly LaHaye, who spearheads that particular organization), and should suffice to give the reader a flavor of what these hard right wing groups wish to accomplish in the US:

"Christian values should dominate our government... Politicians who do not use the Bible to guide their public and private lives do not belong in office." - Beverly LaHaye, Concerned Women for America.

In short, Ms. LaHaye seeks to overturn one of the guarantees codified in the Constitution of the United States. Specifically, I refer to the guarantee subsumed under Article VI of the US Constitution, which states (in relevant part) that "The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."

Concerned Women for America -- a group that has consistently opposed the enactment of "hate crimes" statutes because these statutes would enhance penalties for attacks on people where the perpetrators are motivated by hatred of the victims' sexual orientation -- wishes to overturn a constitutional guarantee that has existed since ratification of the US Constitution itself. Consider, for a moment, what James Madison (the fourth US President) had to say about the wall of separation between Church and State (which LaHaye so cavalierly dismisses):

"The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe in blood for centuries." - James Madison, 4th president of the United States.

LaHaye's statement -- which is actually a call to disobey the US Constitution -- is, ironically, protected by the very "liberal interest groups" that right wing organizations love to attack at every possible opportunity. The US Supreme Court ruled, in 1969, that speech cannot be criminalized unless it constitutes "direct incitement to imminent lawless action" (see Brandenburg v. Ohio, 395 U.S. 444).

Immediately following the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon, and other targets, Pat Robertson made a statement tot the effect that blame for the terrorist attacks against the US rested firmly on the hands of gay Americans. This shocking and disgusting attempt to whip up the forces of hatred in this country backfired; people flooded Robertson's telephone lines with angry calls, and many people who had been less than friendly to the gay community berated Robertson for this statement. The irony, again, is that it is the "liberal" US Supreme Court that permits Robertson (and others of his ilk) to invoke the right to self-expression.

Yet again, it is apparent that there exists a huge difference between doing the right thing and having the right to do something. It is unfortunate that so many conservatives blur this distinction or fail entirely to observe it in the first place......


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