Dispatches from the front
Because the drift toward theocracy is incremental and has not disrupted many of the routines of daily life, there is still a great deal of skepticism about whether it is occurring at all. In an attempt to get a better sense of the big picture, here is some recent evidence of how the theocratic agenda is being advanced. It really can happen here.
From Writ, an analysis of the battle over abortion and contraception. Part one details how it is playing out in various states and in the Supreme Court. The agenda behind these laws is not essentially protecting the fetus, let alone protecting women or children. The root of the struggle is a revival of patriarchy
"an invidious belief that women unlike men are not competent to make their own decisions... [a belief] rooted in fundamentalist Christian doctrine that holds that women--while they may be equal to men in God's eyes--are subordinate to men, just as men are subordinate to God."Part two covers the Bush Administration's stonewalling of over the counter access to emergency contraception, and its opposition to the development of the cervical cancer vaccine.
From the LA Times, a report on the still increasing influence of christian conservatives in the Republican party. Although evangelicals comprise a little over one third of Republican voters, they do not yet appear strong enough to dictate the candidate for 2008. Nonetheless, they clearly have veto power and "every named candidate is making a play for the right." And the christian right is fielding a couple of candidates of its own, Arkansas governor and baptist minister Mike Huckabee and Kansas Senator Sam Brownback, nicknamed "God's Senator" by Rolling Stone for the depth of his ties to the religious right.
And on the cultural front, the attempt to evangelize Hollywood continues as well. Nerve profiles Philip Anshutz, a conservative Christian and head of Regal Cinemas, one of the largest theater chains in the country with more than 6,000 screens nationwide. In addition to funding an anti-gay rights initiative and the creationist think tank the Discovery Institute, he is now using his position to reshape the content of the American movies and television.
Atheists remain America's most despised minority, more hated even than gays or Muslims. The pretext is the immorality of atheism, but statistics now show that atheists are in fact much more ethical than believers on some key values issues such as the morality of torture, as I had suggested earlier.
In more positive news, a San Antonio school superintendent's ban of The Handmaid's Tale has been overruled by the local school board.