The Teaparty movement is composed of a diverse collection of groups that focus some of their energy in the same direction. If you ask teabaggers what defines the group you will get a variety of responses mostly centered around a primitive view of the Constitution, a few Libertarian ideas regarding taxes and specific policy issues (such as the stimulus package, 2nd Amendment, health insurance reform, GM bailout, AIDS research, unemployment benefits, etc., etc.), strong nationalism and anti-immigrant loathing, anti-abortion, homophobia, white-is-right on any issue regarding race, anti-liberalism, anti-communism/socialism, and a Christian theocratic view of governance that is heavily weighted towards so-called “Bible churches” which have no qualms about claiming control over their congregations’ lives based on their literal and bizarre interpretations of the Bible.
Anger is a major center of gravity that pulls teabaggers together. Anger against the “liberal media” and Democratic Party runs deep and wild. Anger against Muslims and other foreigners in places such as “Old Europe” has been stoked for years by the Bush Administration and still thrives today. Right wing anger, racial and social prejudice, jingoism and American Exceptionalism, populism, and greed are the red meat of radio gasbags like Rush Limbaugh, who spew sarcastic hate speech, conspiracy theories, and outright lies by the hour.
Until Glenn Beck came along, media shock jocks took very few excursions past the boundaries of the GOP talking points. However, since the 2008 election in which Americans elected Barack Hussein Obama as President, the 24 hour right wing political babble has caught up with the GOP. (Is this possibly the verbal equivalent of “How many monkeys with how many typewriters…? I will have to explore that in a future post). Glenn Beck has determined that Democrats and liberalism do not comprise the entire problem; the GOP is also part of it. His redux is that the GOP has become too liberal, and that’s why America now has a Black Nationalist President who is busily hatching a steady stream of socialist-fascist plots to get reparations for slavery, among other things. Barack Obama didn’t win the election, the GOP lost it. Beck, along with a few disgraced and rejected GOPERs including Sarah Palin, Rick Santorum, and Dick Armey, are trying to build a 3rd party movement out of the teabaggers and New York’s 23rd Congressional district became the test tube for their experiment. In a confused and hurried attempt to thrust a lame, unknown, and unqualified candidate into the race, they botched it and now a seat that should have been a GOP gimme is occupied by a Democrat. I wrote about that righty fiasco at length last week.
How PC is too PC?
Religion is a delicate topic among liberals but it’s newsworthy due to its powerful influence over the politics of the groups that are involved. But before I dig into the topic, I would like to say a few words to liberals.
Modern liberalism has embraced many ideas and trends from pop culture over the last 3 decades. This has been a mixed blessing, as there have been numerous adoptions of over-simplified notions derived from larger initiatives such as ending institutionalized prejudice. As is normal in human nature, we overreact when making corrections and then have to come back the other way. One group of behaviors where we’ve overreacted is collectively named “Political Correctness”, or “PC” for short, a name that has itself become a focus for derision from all 180 degrees of the political scale. This brings me back to the topic at hand, which is Mormonism, Glenn Beck’s religion.
To clarify my vantage point, my own religious beliefs waffle between atheism and agnosticism, so any criticism of religion you hear from me is definitely not prejudicial because I regard all religions to be equal. Equally wrong, that is, in the fundamental claim they all make which is to know the unknowable. However, the “PC” nature of liberals has allowed the Mormons to sneak under the radar, as criticism of a religious group is considered to be intolerance.
I don’t wish to discuss the Mormon belief system except as to how it relates to politics. The plain fact is that the LDS church contains a political activist group that has an agenda and is successfully pushing it through the political system. Two blatant examples of this are the special ballot initiatives in California and Maine, where millions of dollars came from the Mormon front group NOM (National Organization for Marriage) which overturned equal marriage rights for LGBTs, and also the previously mentioned election in NY 23rd, where NOM was a major force against Dede Scozzafava.
Mormons are quick to deny that their church has any political affiliation, but the facts say otherwise. I have tried and failed to get a statement about Glenn Beck from the Church headquarters in Salt Lake City. I did get through 3 layers of the organization to a phone that is apparently never answered, at least not when I’m calling it. The best I could get was someone who refused to be quoted by name who told me that each LDS member has free will to do whatever they want as long as they attempt to follow church doctrines. I pointed out that Glenn Beck has called the President a racist, fantasized about killing Michael Moore and Nancy Pelosi, and lies on a continuing basis about matters that are important to the nation. The response was dogmatic: Any statement regarding Glenn Beck would have to come from “the Leadership” (which means The President and The Apostles, who speak to and for God on earth). Apparently God must think Beck is OK, as they haven’t made any attempt to distance themselves from his antics. This doesn’t mean that Mormons universally support Beck. On one chat board, a courageous Mormon fellow wrote an article under the subject line “Glenn Beck An Embarrassment To Mormonsâ€”Perpetuates Harmful, Untrue Stereotypes”. Wow, that is speaking to power, can I get an “Amen!?”
My point here is that we should not regard the Mormon church as ONLY a religious organization. They are more than that, the church is functionally a political activist group. The Mormons would be of little interest to me other than their cult-ish beliefs and secrecy were it not for the fact that they are an international organization with a political agenda and $billions if not $trillions in assets to push it.
NEXT: Not just about fresh-faced boys and a great choir