America’s religious right is emotionally and culturally lost. As it sees its traditional mores and culture giving way to a new liberal culture that pays little attention to religious issues, it is trying to reverse the change, for example, by influencing the country’s choice for President.
It is also spawning a whole lot of groups on the lunatic fringe, people like the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas who picketed the funerals of troops killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Church claims God is punishing the U.S. because of its tolerance for gays, according to this report in CNN.
America and a lot of other cultures and countries have promoted unbridled capitalism and consumerism, often at the expense of traditional value systems. The breakdown of traditional culture and value systems is in a sense part of the grand design of capitalism to stress on integrated and homogenous markets for which it is more efficient to produce and more efficient to distribute. McDonald’s and its attempts at global homogenization has been the symbol of this attempt to neutralize cultural and yes religious differences in the interests of the markets.
This neutralization of local culture is being resisted in many countries, and often takes the form of anti-American sentiment. In America too, the religious right is now reacting to attempts of capitalist society to homogenize and control tastes, values and lifestyles. You may ask what do lifestyles and culture have to do with religion ? In the past, they have all moved together with religion, culture, and lifestyles influencing one another. You can’t neutralize or modify one, without pulling down the entire superstructure.
The religious right have made homosexuality and abortion rights their key issues. But they have conveniently avoided taking on the real cause of their problems – the breakdown of culture, religion, and values by mass consumerism, and the consequent anomie.
The fringes of the religious right are the real problem, as they are lunatic attempts to cope with the social and cultural anomie beget by modern consumerist society.
The religious right, which has typically voted Republican and in favor of the glorification of the current capitalist value system, has in a sense contributed to the social and cultural anomie in American society. They cannot blame homosexuals and abortionists for America’s problems. The devil is in the system – the capitalist system, and the value system it promotes to perpetuate its existence.
The religious right will probably look at these issues through their traditional demonology. They will probably say, “Hey, here is another self-serving homosexual”. I am not a homosexual. I believe that the religious right should put aside its witch-hunting of homosexuals and go after the big Satan – the system itself of which they are both the supporters and the victims.