Saturday, October 13, 2012

Separating Out

Before the great realignment of the 60s and 70s, the two worst segments of American society, the Southerners and the plutocrats, were in opposite parties. Now the racism and ignorance of the former has joined with the egotism and relentless greed of the latter to produce today’s GOP.  This bad outcome has been clear for some time, but perhaps it is less obvious that something similar has taken place in the area of religion. In the past, both the Protestant and Catholic denominations were a mixed bag of progressive and retrogressive tendencies, but the current religious scene features two dueling ecumenical groups. The religious split that matters in contemporary America is no longer between denominations but between right wing and liberal religiosity. We were far better off when the Southern Baptists were still denouncing the Jews and the Papists. Now that the authoritarian and obscurantist strains of all faiths have drained into the lowest swamp of the American spiritual landscape, rational believers and unbelievers alike have to confront a monster holy army.