In commenting on the upcoming Day of Reason announcements (which have popped up in a number of places, but the one in question was Charlotte, North Carolina), Penny Nance, the CEO of Concerned Women for America, a right-wing women’s policy group, said on FoxNews:
“You know, the Age of Enlightenment and Reason gave way to moral relativism. And moral relativism is what led us all the way down the dark path to the Holocaust…Dark periods of history is what we arrive at when we leave God out of the equation.”
I kid you not. CWA boasts approximately 500K members. It was founded by Beverly LaHaye, long-time right-wing activist and wife of Tim LaHaye, author of the Left Behind series, a violent fiction series about the struggles of Christians against the anti-Christ’s world government. They consider themselves the opposition to National Organization For Women, and are explicitly not only Christian dominionists, but overtly anti-feminism.
Given my familiarity with the group (read their profile here) this comment from their CEO does not surprise me. It seems to be just the most recent in a string of outright inversions of reality of “black-is-white” magnitude that have become part of the discourse lately. It happened gradually, but it is deeply significant, and goes a long way to explain how the rabidly faithful constituents of the Religious Right/GOP consistently, repeatedly, proudly vote against their own interests.
The Right has been stunningly, bafflingly successful at convincing incredible numbers of people to not merely believe, but staunchly defend and act upon things which are demonstrably, factually false. And I’m not talking the kind of demonstrably false that requires an advanced science degree, I’m talking things that are quite easy to verify. The following it a list of core principles in the right-wing, and each of them is simply false:
- Abortion causes breast cancer
- Birth control is abortion
- Abstinence only education prevents pregnancy and diseases
- Condoms don’t prevent STDs
- Atheism is the same as moral relativism
- Climate change isn’t real
- Obama has taken more vacation days and spent more money than any other president
- Homosexuality is a choice, and ‘fixable’
- Hitler was an atheist, and the Nazis were atheists (or gay)
- Rape does not cause pregnancy
- The bible/Jesus is against the minimum wage
- America was founded as a Christian nation
- Public schools ‘teach’ homosexuality
- Obama was not born in America
I could go on and on, but you get the idea. The problem here is that this is not the radical fringe, this is a HUGE chunk of the population. (Remember, less than half of the US population thinks evolution is true.) They believe a huge array of things that are just flat-out not true, and they believe them passionately, militantly. Even aside from any opinion you may have about the dangers of religious thinking (itself based on belief in factually indefensible claims), these people have gone far beyond even religious credulity to inhabiting an entirely unreal world.
The implications of this are terrifying. A population that will believe anything…well they will believe anything. They can be made to do anything, accept anything, regard anything or anyone as evil. And the people who construct the messages then have virtually unlimited power.