June 17, 2007
Fraser Los (2007) reviewed recent publications by two “religious insiders with long political memories.” He describes Bill Moyer and Garry Wills as sober thinkers with mature experience. Yet they are both stating the urgency to revisit the issue of separating church and state. Debates between secular humanism and religions have been going on for decades but they have taken a strange and serious turn according to Moyer and Wills.
Wills (2006) is concerned with the most conservative fringes of evangelical Christians and Catholics who have aligned themselves politically under the Bush administration to promote extreme views on “education, the environment, the family, gun control and regulation of any kind (Los 2007).” Moyer (2004, 2006) primarily focuses his concern on the concept of the Rapture, a bizarre belief of fundamentalist evangelicals, who believe in literal, temporal and physical salvation and damnation. In their most extreme form this allows them to justify unsustainable ecological behaviour because divine intervention will protect them regardless of their environmental actions.
“As difficult as it is, however, for journalists to fashion a readable narrative for complex issues without depressing our readers and viewers, there is an even harder challenge – to pierce the ideology that governs official policy today. One of the biggest changes in politics in my lifetime is that the delusional is no longer marginal. It has come in from the fringe, to sit in the seat of power in the oval office and in Congress. For the first time in our history, ideology and theology hold a monopoly of power in Washington. Theology asserts propositions that cannot be proven true; ideologues hold stoutly to a world view despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality. When ideology and theology couple, their offspring are not always bad but they are always blind. And there is the danger: voters and politicians alike, oblivious to the facts (Moyers 2004).
Monbiot, author and columnist for the London Guardian, published Manifesto for a New World Order (2004) which unsettled the concept of the new world order as proposed by the first President Bush in which he envisioned the future of the United States after the collapse of the socialist camp. Monbiot (2003, 2004) described how in order to understand the US attitude towards the Middle East you have to understand politics in Texas. Monbiot’s work has been compared to that of Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph E.Stiglitz, who published Globalisation and its Discontents (2002). Whereas Stiglitz is described as a disillusioned academic, Monbiot is described as a cool-headed revolutionary who calls for action (Morag 2003).
Where does this leave moderate civil religions according to Moyers, Monbiot and Wills?
Fraser, Morag. 2003. “Review of The Age of Consent: A Manifesto for a New World Order.“ July 12.
Los, Fraser. 2007. “God and Government.” Alternative Journal. 33:1:36-7.
Monbiot, George. 2003. Manifesto for a New World Order. Flamingo.
Monbiot, George. 2004. “Apocalypse Please. ” The Guardian. April 20.
Monbiot, George. 2004. “Religion of the Rich.” The Guardian. November 9.
Monbiot, George. 2005. “My heroes are driven by God, but I’m glad my society isn’t.” The Guardian. October 11.
Moyers, Bill. 2004. “On Receiving Harvard Med’s Global Environment Citizen Award.”t r u t h o u t | Perspective. December 1.
Moyers, Bill. 2006. Welcome to Doomsday. New York: New York Review Books.
Stiglitz, Joseph E. 2002. Globalisation and its Discontents. Penguin.
Wills, Garry. 2006. Bush’s Fringe Government. New York: New York Review Books.
Ubiquitous computing and the cyberworld panopticon. How your indelible digital traces can be used against you. Andrew Feldmar, 66, a Vancouver psychotherapist used LSD 30 years ago and published his story. He has not used illegal drugs since but after a US/CA Customs web search found his story online in summer of 2006, he can no longer enter the US.
Feldmar said, “I should warn people that the electronic footprint you leave on the Net will be used against you. It cannot be erased.”
For more on ubiquitous computing and the politics on pervasive computing, see Galloway 2007.
Galloway, Anne. 2007. “Shepherding the politics of pervasive computing, Part I.” >> Purse Lip Square Jaw. May 3.
Liptak, Adam. 2007. “Web searches at U.S. border bring scrutiny to new level.” International Herald Tribune. May 14.
Indifference to faith has left Europe’s churches mostly empty. But debate over religion is more intense than its been in many decades. Religion is re-emerging as an issue because of Europe’s growing and restive Muslim populations and a fear that faith is reasserting itself in politics. That is adding up to momentum for a combative brand of atheism.
Colbert, Stephen. 2007. Unquisition. May 3.
Delacroix, Eugène. Jacob Fighting the Devil. Lutte de Jacob avec l’Ange. Eglise Saint Sulpice Detail. 2005.1
Hitchens, Christopher. 2007. God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything. Twelve/Warner Books.
“Jacob Fighting the Devil.” chapter 32 of Genesis
Kinsley, Michael. 2007. “In God, Distrust.” Sunday Book Review. New York Times. May 13.
Lacroix, Alexandre, Truong, Nicolas. 2007. “Nicolas Sarkozy et Michel Onfray: Confidences entre Ennemis.” Philosophie Mag. No. 8. >> Philomag.com
Onfray, Michel. Atheist Manifesto: The Case Against Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.
Higgins, Andrew. 2007. “As religious strife grows, atheists seize pulpit.” Northwest Herald. >> nwherald.com. April 13.
Etzioni, Amitai. 2007a.”The West Needs a Spiritual Surge” >> Amitai Etzioni Notes. March 6, 2007.
Etzioni, Amitai. 2007b. “L’Occident aussi a besoin d’un renouveau spirituel.” Le Monde. 7 avril.
Flynn-Burhoe, Maureen. 2007. “Unquisition: Selling Nothingness.” >> Speechless. may 13.