My complaint with organized religion – my fear of, really – is not in any particular belief structure. I listen to Pope Francis say If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge? – and I think , Now there is a holy man, there is a man connected to something greater than himself. My grievance, my fear of, is with that faction – that all religions seem to have – that justifies what they want by the certainty of using God. Hey! don’t blame me about my belief that homosexuality is bad, God told me to believe that way.
When I listen to the doctrinaire faction of the Republican Party, the No Compromise faction, what scares me is that they have that certainty. They seem to believe what they are saying. While what they are saying – and doing – seems cynical and hypocritical to me, I am fearful that they are doing it out of the religion of greater National Need. I am alarmed that this government shutdown isn’t a beef between the Republicans and Democrats. I am alarmed that the Republicans are shutting down the government just to shut the government down. What distresses me is that the shutdown is the goal.
Sure, not all the Republicans feel this way, maybe not even a majority feel this way, but a hardline core does and they are wagging the dog right now. That minority is looking at themselves as being honorable (much more honorable than that Kenyan President). They are what Eric Hoffer called True Believers.
To – not quite – pick an example at random, going to Michelle Bachmann’s website gives the impression that she is very happy with the government shutdown. She is so certain in her beliefs that she doesn’t even see the irony in voting – and campaigning – to shut down the Government and then working to get the WWII Memorial open, saying, on her website, Another wonderful day of greeting brave WWII veterans from across the country at their memorial. Of course part of it is that Bachmann only wants to shutdown the bits she doesn’t like, but it alarms me that she believes those parts are the only legitimate parts.
While I don’t understand John Boehner’s strategy – he talks like he knows the shutdown is doing damage and then continues to keep the government from functioning – or his justification, I am sure he has one. Maybe he thinks that he is the only rational player on the right and he justifies his actions as the only way to keep the barbarians from taking over.
Everybody has a justification – a reason if you prefer – for what they do. Just saying I am doing it because I want to is not enough. Especially when what we want to do is horrible or illegal. Then the reason is often about a truth that is bigger than the immediate issue. Often that bigger truth it is a truth that other observers can’t see.