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Damned by their own salvation


I wanted to post a link to this brilliant piece from Alternet, “An Insider’s View: The Dark Rigidity of Fundamentalist Rural America.” This piece is going viral among “educated elites” who understand the self-defeating stupidity of rural America (mostly because that’s where we happened to be born).

“In deep-red white America, the white Christian God is king, figuratively and literally. Religious fundamentalism is what has shaped most of their belief systems. Systems built on a fundamentalist framework are not conducive to introspection, questioning, learning, change. When you have a belief system that is built on fundamentalism, it isn’t open to outside criticism, especially by anyone not a member of your tribe and in a position of power. The problem isn’t ‘coastal elites don’t understand rural Americans.’ The problem is rural America doesn’t understand itself and will NEVER listen to anyone outside their bubble.”

The author totally nails it.

I’m still avoiding the news, but it’s horrifying:

Russian propaganda effort helped spread fake news during election

Trump Turning to Ultra-Wealthy to Steer Economic Policy

Republicans plan to move forward on a years-old effort to shift Medicare to a system known as premium support

Betsy DeVos, Trump’s Education Pick, Has Steered Money from Public Schools

Krugman on how Trump’s infrastructure scam would work

As the Alternet piece points out, religion is to blame more than any other factor. The author of the Alternet piece offers no real solutions, other than talking back to them. I don’t have any solutions either, other than talking back to them. I do know that I long ago passed the point of abiding by the unwritten rule that you don’t criticize people’s religion.

I have long noticed, in dysfunctional people, that they tend to cling as though for dear life to the very dysfunctions that are pulling them under. They can’t seem to see their dysfunction, or to change, and so they ruin their own lives and often the lives of others who are entangled with them. White trash Americans see fundamentalist religion as their salvation. Their preachers teach them that their religion is the only thing that can save the country. So their religion blocks the vital insight — that it’s actually religion itself that is ruining their lives and communities. Some avoid the trap, to be sure. They stop going to church and observe that their life gets better, though they’re poorly equipped for figuring out why. And of course there are some — those who aren’t fundamentalists — who are smart enough to take their religion with a grain of salt and perhaps find some benefit in the social glue that any community organization can provide.

I would argue that we need to start openly talking about the fundamentalist religion of white-trash America as the hell and danger to the country that it is. Then we have to figure out how to save us all from it.


  1. Henry wrote:

    I hope you don’t mind, I passed this insight to my friends


    Saturday, November 26, 2016 at 11:33 pm | Permalink
  2. DCS wrote:

    I almost sent you a link to that article. Yes, it’s a good diagnosis of the cancer on humanity that fundamentalist Christianity represents.

    I would caution, though: Do not smugly condemn only fundamentalist Christianity. ALL FUNDAMENTALIST RELIGIONS ARE CANCERS, and all present the same symptoms the author of that piece observes about rural, white fundamentalist Christianity. It doesn’t matter if it is Judaism, Islam or Hindu — no fundamentalist religion gets a pass. All deserve scorn and condemnation.

    So, for instance, if I were writing a novel, I would not intentionally invent a sympathetic Muslim character to prove my liberal bona fides. I call bullshit on that kind of liberal impulse. ALL FUNDAMENTALIST RELIGIONS ARE CANCERS ON HUMANITY. No one gets a free pass here. All are to be shunned and condemned.

    Thousands of years of misery, wars and death inflicted on this beautiful world by these ugly so-called religions, yet we never learn. Sigh.


    Sunday, November 27, 2016 at 8:38 pm | Permalink
  3. DCS wrote:

    By the way, if you want to know when the fundamentalists took over modern American politics and began infecting our civic discourse with their stone-age religious beliefs, I can tell you THE EXACT DATE: It was Aug. 21, 1980.

    That was Ronald Reagan as a presidential candidate spoke in Dallas to the full meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention. The SBC had never before allowed a political figure to address it’s members. I’m sure Roger Williams, father of the concept of separation of church and state, was rolling in his grave. The SBC itself calls that day the “marriage” of the SBC and Republican Party — see here,

    From that point forward, SBC rhetoric — especially about women, gay people and other minorities — would begin shaping GOP platform planks, campaign themes and stump slogans. Most of the message development emanated from the SBC’s Ethics and Law Committed headed by the evil-hearted Mark Land — and still does to this day, with Land still in that leadership role. For a thoughtful analysis of this evolutionary moment for the modern Republican Party, see Camp & Kell, “In the Name of the Father” (2001).

    Fifteen years later, we’re living inside their warnings.


    Sunday, November 27, 2016 at 8:52 pm | Permalink
  4. Dan wrote:

    I think this is one of the most dangerous times in American history, along with the post WWII atomic period and the civil unrest of the Sixties, the Civil War, and its early beginnings fending off British tyranny. We have no FDR to keep everything together. We have institutions that are ingrained into American society that need constant protection from domestic tyranny. Healthcare for the poor and disabled, a strong social safety net to prevent class warfare and criminality, and an educational system that can generate insightful, innovative people. Those three are of utmost important to all Americans, but the constant evil to this fragile ecosystem is wrought from within: right-wing fundamentalist Christians. Hatred is bred in them; hatred of their fellow man for not having the same fears in the unknown; hatred for not sharing the same skin pigment; hatred for being willing to accept a social contract between each other.

    I believe other than using the rhetoric against them and keeping schools free of creationism, the dark days ahead for America are inevitable, and it will not be from enemies abroad but those that get voted into office on the foundations of fundamentalist hatred. Plugging away in schools and the media may put a dent in it, but eventually the inevitable and unavoidable nationalization of certain industries, such as healthcare and energy, will create a stark divide in this country between those who are willing to accept the inevitable fate of limited resources and those who don’t understand the unquestionable superiority of nature. Mankind cannot keep this up. The stark divide the future holds may come to a head with violence between those willing to accept forced change and those unwilling to allow nature to take its course. I hope I’m wrong, but these kinds of things are cyclical and inevitable.

    Monday, November 28, 2016 at 10:00 am | Permalink
  5. Dan wrote:

    “I thought America was just a late capitalist racist dystopia but it turns out we were just hacked by the Russians.”

    A little political gallow’s humor for the decline of civilization.

    Tuesday, November 29, 2016 at 9:22 am | Permalink

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