Monday, August 8, 2011

Pie in the sky religious politics

Rick Perry, the sitting governor of Texas, is a no nonsense guy: right wing in politics and bible thumping in religion. Rumour has it that he is going to throw his 10 gallon hat into the Republican fray for the elephant’s nomination for the White House in the 2012 elections.

The governor has had a transcendent moment on Saturday, 6 August 2011, by blessing a rally that he initiated and was the prime mover of a religious rally for a day of prayer to cure Americans ills and push Obama out of office.

Perry has no trouble mixing religion and politics. In fact, in violation of federal law, he conducted a bible reading in a public school, in an educational system which Perry has had the signal achievement of making it 50 in 50 states of the Union. Conservative and ultra right evangelicals have responded to his call. And he is not in the least ashamed of their support which is, to put it mildly controversial, racist, and utterly nostalgic for a simpler time in America when white, native born Americans ruled.

In a few words: Perry is serving pie in the sky for the asking. He may be personally sincere in his faith, in his belief in the Bible, and in the efficacy of prayer, but are they cures for America’s political, economic, and social ills?

Houston’s 70.000 Reliant Stadium drew tens of thousands to the prayer rally. How different was this day of prayer from a Native American rain dance or a Voodoo priest trying to exorcise an evil spirit, or the slaughter of a sacrificial lamb?

Republican Perry has no qualms of rewarding the rich and powerful for whom he is the Elmer Snerd. In his religious futurology and philosophy, the ultimate destiny for the ordinary America is succor in prayer and the Scriptures and quietism: accept your lot for your reward is in the next world. Rewards in today’s world belong to corporations and the elite who have, yes, the ‘God given’ wisdom to elect a Rick Perry as governor and perhaps tomorrow as president.

Americans are not all that dense: they have an awareness of a Constitutional guarantee of separating religion from government. Perry’s appeal to evangelical Christians simply puts other Christian denomination, not to speak of Judaism, Islam, Hindu, Buddhism, so on and on beyond the pale.

Perry’s supporters may believe that Perry has ‘hit all the right notes’, but to a great many others, the Texas governor is off key. What is obvious, however, is that the US has lost its North Star: it is adrift in a sea where the rich and powerful are circling government wagons to protect what they own and want to further own, whilst impoverishing the vast majority of Americans. In other words, Perry’s call to a day of prayer is a smokescreen for the corporate elite to hijack the government with the short sighted aim of filling vaults of wealth and the devil be damned! The day of pray is the glorification of the corporate state and no crumbs for the faithful poor but hope in a heaven which may not exist.

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