Vermont Guardian, January 2005
www.vermontguardian.com/commentary/OurTribe.shtml




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         Travis Charbeneau  3421 Hanover Ave., Richmond, VA 23221
            travischarbeneau@gmail.com    Phone: 804 358 0417
                        www.travischarbeneau.com





                      Heathens Capture White House
                           Travis Charbeneau
                            slug "heathens"
                              658 words

PULL QUOTE: "Has any evangelical delivered a sermon recently on 
'turning the other cheek'? If so, did he survive to finish it?"
	
	The day after the election, "Daily Show" fake news anchor Jon 
Stewart said all Bush's failures were trumped "by the idea of two 
dudes kissing." It's a caricature, but significant to the 
Republican's "divide and conquer" strategy on "values."

	Part of Nixon's old "Silent Majority," today's GOP Christian 
Right is "The Base" ("Al Qaeda" in Arabic) that Bush supposedly led. 
(The tail is clearly wagging the elephant here.) These "values" 
voters blame liberal elites for upsetting social changes dividing 
America between secular humanism and Christianity. But the blame is 
off-target, and the critical divide is between Malachi and Matthew; 
between Old Testament and New.

	Stewart's gag applies nationally, but the Old Testament/New 
Testament divide was clearest in the 11 states outlawing gay 
marriage. The Base generally was so obsessed with sexual 
nonconformity that it approved a fraudulent war, tax injustice and 
other un-Christian behavior merely in passing. 

	This is a mindset far more energized by damnations in Leviticus 
than the charity so relentlessly urged throughout the New Testament. 
Jesus said nothing about homosexuality, but explicitly condemned 
divorce, now common in The Base. As for violence, rather than ask, 
"What kind of gun would Jesus carry?" The Base clearly favors the 
intolerant, "my tribe, right or wrong" Charlton Heston of the Old 
Testament over the forgiving, unpatriotic Jesus. 

	Has any evangelical delivered a sermon recently on "turning the 
other cheek"? If so, did he survive to finish it? "Love your enemies" 
defines the Gospel.

	'Same for removing the "beam" in your own eye before 
challenging the "mote" in your neighbor's. But "American 
exceptionalism" condemns self-examination as disloyalty.
  
	We lack simple respect, never mind love, for "ragheads" and 
"sand niggers." I suspect these terms come from the same bundle of 
hates and fears encouraged by Bush the Elder's 1988 Willie Horton 
boogieman, rerun last election as a gay Osama. 

	It worked. "Base" Christians may be unemployed, kids in poor 
schools (or dying in Iraq), taxes unjust, air unfit, the next 
hospital visit inviting bankruptcy, and the President inviting 
nuclear detonations -- but happy knowing that homosexuals are not 
living in state-sanctioned monogamy. Again, this is some colossal 
hatred to endure so much bad government for such small-hearted 
vengeance. Of course, Leviticus demands death. One step at a time.

	But why this retreat past Malachi? 

	The social changes of recent decades definitely stress faith. 
Some doubt God alone can handle liberals and their teen sex, drugs, 
affirmative action. But liberals aren't in it. The American Dream and 
technology are the engines of change. 

	Liberals did not launch the sexual revolution. Conservative 
Henry Ford put bedrooms on wheels for the convenience of curious 
teenagers. Beatniks didn't invent the smoking of weeds. America's 
Founders and corporate drug kingpins gave tobacco to the world. The 
Emancipation Proclamation is The Original Republican Idea behind all 
the uppity Negroes. Liberals didn't create the troublesome Internet. 
That was the Pentagon. 'Same for the Bomb, of course, now 
proliferating like iPods into the hands of "terrorists," a slur that 
easily explained George Washington to the English king, who didn't 
like change any more than today's conservatives -- or today's 
liberals.

	Humans generally hate change. I sure do. Change happens anyway. 
You can try denial, like fundamentalists East and West, or you can 
try management. Enter your liberal pest.

	Liberals struggle as miserably as everyone else with changes 
_invariably_ unleashed by the beloved energies of capitalism and what 
humans since the Renaissance have rightly admired as "progress" -- 
all furiously amplified by technology. Conservatives are happy to 
take the profits, but invariably leave a mess behind in 
environmental, economic, political, and, finally, their own "values" 
upset. Then, impersonating their hated "cult of victimization," they 
cast stones. 

	The Administration is captive to an Old Testament outlook that 
Christ Himself claimed to surpass. Their "Christian" Base acts more 
like some heretical Old Testament sect. Roget's thesaurus gives 
"heathen" for such "non-Christian" behavior, making America the 
frightening, lonely primitive of Western Civilization.

                               -30-