Bob McDonnell isn’t content to be Governor of Virginia – it’s obvious he has designs on the White House. It appears he has defecated on those ambitions, though, during his brief stint as Governor of Vagina.
Like other paternalists, McDonnell presumes to know what’s best for the rest of us when it comes to fetuses and families. But as has become obvious, his devotion to his cause and his religious beliefs ends at the door to the governor’s mansion – or at least when the hinges on that door develop a very public squeak.
Or it may be that his change of "heart" is because he sees the door to the White House closing.
Now that his feverish, unwavering support for involuntary vaginal penetration by the state has become a political liability, his support has been exposed as merely feverish. Thus is it revealed again, revealed as it has been throughout history, that religion is merely politics by other means.
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Historically, politics has always been a form of paternalism. On rare occasions, women rule, but those rare occasions are the exceptions that prove the rule. The rule? When it comes to government – to quote that famous 20th Century philosopher James Brown – this is a man’s world.
Historically, government has been of, by and for men. There’s a certain logic to that, since in essence government is a form of protection.
The essence of that essence was stated simply and eloquently long ago by Thomas Hobbes, the father of modern conservatism, who argued that since “life is nasty, brutish and short” and "even the strongest of men must eventually sleep", the individual is well-advised to surrender some measure of freedom in return for protection by the group.
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Protection is a very interesting word. There’s the obvious form of protection; and to be far more generous than they deserve, that is what fundamentalists claim to be doing for the rest of us – protecting us from our enemies. That includes protecting us from ourselves; since by their reckoning, we “ungodly” are our own worst enemies.
Fundamentalists see it as their god-given right and duty to protect fetuses and families. By extension, they are protecting their tribe, society, nation and religion. By implication, protecting religion means protecting God as well, though that begs the question why an omnipotent and omniscient being needs the protection of mere men?
But let us leave that discussion for another time.
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Protection has other meanings, too, meanings also germane to this discussion. For instance, insurance is a form of protection; in fact, the mob has long practiced a form of insurance known on the street as the protection racket.
Banksters took a page out of the mob’s book and created a similar scam, though they managed to put a much more sophisticated patina on theirs. Banksters call their protection racket derivatives. One day we may learn that some of those responsible for turning our financial system into a casino are in fact mobsters.
It may be a stretch to tie mobsters and banksters together with ministers and bishops, but there is a connection. The unholy alliance between the Catholic Church and the mob is well-known to anyone who’s seen a Godfather movie. And for those who insist that’s fiction, there’s the scandal of the Vatican Bank.
The Pope and the Godfather both claim to protect the weak, but both exact a heavy price for that protection. In return for its protection, the mob demands unquestioned allegiance and obedience. So does the Church. Get crossways of the mob, and you may lose your life. Get crossways of the Church, and you lose eternal life. Or so we're told.
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When it comes to religious malfeasance, these days the Catholic Church has some real competition from Protestants. Big Time Religion has given us television evangelism, an oxymoronic term of the first unholy water.
The cast of ministerial miscreants is virtually endless – Joel Osteen and his fleet of Jets for Jesus, Pat Robertson and his cast of painted whores on CBN, Oral Roberts and his "university" and "law school" that blessed the nation with Michelle Bachmann, and Jerry Falwell and his Liberty University – the go-to source for “lawyers” during the administration of Bush the Lesser.
Add to that list a not-so-heavenly host of felons, convicted and otherwise, passing off snake-oil as sermons to the ignorant and willfully blind. Jim Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart and Benny Hinn come immediately to mind, but there are so many more.
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Men of a certain age will recall another meaning of “protection”. A young man planning on having sex was warned by friends, uncles and cousins to use “protection”. While the female may have been protected in the process, it was clear the condom was intended primarily to protect the male from the unwanted consequences of sex.
The connection between that use of protection and the protection offered up by religious fundamentalists is proof that differences at the extremes are often not so far apart at they might seem at first blush – and there is much to blush about in this debate.
Indeed, the argument is not linear, but circular. How so? The purpose of the condom and the purpose of opposition to birth control is one and the same – not the protection of fetuses and families, but the protection of the prerogatives of paternalists.
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As every prophet from Jesus to Jefferson warned, some of the worst of sins occur when religion is drowned in the sewer of politics. For just how awful are the consequences, history offers the examples of the Crusades, the Inquisitions, and the all but interminable religious wars of Europe.
Those who can’t learn from history – unfortunately, their numbers are huge and growing – don't need to go back to olden days. They need look no further than Bush or Bachmann.
But since these people have neither long nor short-term memory, they will be discontent to repeat their mistakes. That means they’ll likely re-elect the Governor of Vagina.
©2012 Tom Cordle