Back to Home Page

Local Links
Sun Valley Guide
Hemingway in Sun Valley
Real Estate

Opinion Column
For the week of March 14 through 20, 2001

Right wing theocracy and saber rattling

Commentary by Pat Murphy

If the Republican majority in Washington approves President Bush’s proposal to fund "faith-based" welfare programs hosted by religious organizations, Idaho’s Rev. Matt Hale no doubt will be eligible for federal handouts.

If Rev. Hale does apply for funds for his World Church of the Creator, Bush and his handlers who dreamed up this goofy scheme to mollify right wing Christians better have a good reason to deny Hale the funds.

The only obstacle for the Rev. Hale, as far as we know, is that he’s a hatemongering racist whose appearance on Boise public access TV last week to teach children to be "as racist as possible" has stirred a storm.

But, as Boise Councilman Mike Wetherell explained with a sigh, because the public access TV is publicly funded, the likes of Hale can’t be denied a forum to tout their abominations.

This is the quicksand into which Bush would take the country — the first steps of transforming the United States into a theocracy in the name of charity, and steering the needy into the arms of proselytizing religious groups.

Because Bush pandered to right wing conservative Christians during his campaign, the likes of Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell and others in the celebrity Christian televangelism crowd assumed only Bible-thumping Christian faith-based charities of their stripe would be funded.

Now it’s dawned on them — horrors! — that because public funds would be involved, all religions would be eligible — Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Shintoists, Church of Scientology, the Moonies, and heaven knows what others, notwithstanding their fringe roles in U.S. society.

So, Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell and the other Christian right-wingers that Bush embraced suddenly aren’t so thrilled that the United States might recognize non-Christian religious groups as "faith-based."

Now they’re opposing the "faith-based" program, which prompted Bush to put it on hold while "details" are studied.

The man occupying the Oval office, as he’ll concede, is not an intellect. He’s likeable, well-meaning, easily manipulated, of measurable mediocrity, who partied well into his 30s rather than indulging in serious thought, whose magic name of Bush got him through, and who now relies on others to do the thinking.

If the Bush White House’s "faith-based" brainstorm is the worst to come out of the next four years, Americans will be lucky. But already, another ill-conceived notion — a full-scale nuclear missile defense system of questionable justification — is fueling talk of another Cold War and East-West tensions.

Recruiting religion as a government tool and rattling the saber — this is music to the ears of Bush right-wingers who invoke the name of God and military muscle in the same breath as symbols of true Republican conservatism.



Back to Front Page
Copyright © 2001 Express Publishing Inc. All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited.