Thursday, 23 August 2012

Republicans Go To Hell

Something that no longer astounds me is the way people claiming extreme religious devotion are capable of unspeakable acts of barbarism. I grew up with a church-going mother who really believed the bits about good works, etc., and would never relate to this sort of behaviour.

In the latest example, Republican Missouri senate candidate Todd Akin has caused widespread offence and even a little dismay in his own camp by claiming that “legitimate rape” victims can’t get pregnant, echoing a superstition long debunked by medical science that you can only get pregnant if you enjoy it.

He’s subsequently issued a non-apology (I used the wrong words) and refused to withdraw (ironically the only form of contraception his end of the loony bin recognizes) from the race. Other Republicans have urged him to withdraw (that word again), without specifying exactly what he said wrong.

The problem is, they don’t want to say, because they want the votes women haters represent.

Women’s groups have been rallying to support Akin’s Democrat opponent Claire McCaskill, as they should – and I hope not only women but also men and others who have less bizarre takes on religion work hard to stop him too. I know my mother would have.

I wonder how soon we’ll see a PAC formed by Rapists for Republicans. If his views ever became enshrined in law, all a rapist would need to do to escape conviction (in line with 13th-century British law) is to ensure the victim became pregnant, thereby enabling the “she must have enjoyed it” defence.

If anyone cannot see how unspeakably barbaric these views are, tell us your secret. How did you manage to live to be 800 years old?

I should also add here that though this is very much a Republican disease – the “religious right” has become something of a tapeworm in the brain of the Republicans – there are plenty of Democrats on the wrong side of women’s issues. But the Republican position has become so extreme that I focus on them specifically.

The US right has a long and repulsive tradition of denial of rationality, including tobacco denial, ozone hole denial and climate change denial. If there’s evidence for something, that doesn’t count, if it contradicts you beliefs. It’s sad that this sort of thing has become mainstream in a country that could land astronauts on the moon and bring them back safely, and pushes the boundaries of science in so many areas.

The root cause of this sort of lunatic view is a deeply anti-rationalist view of the world that says you literally believe what you are told by your religion, even if it’s contradicted by obvious, verifiable evidence. The thing that’s behind that is the bizarre view that there is a supreme creator of the universe, who is infinitely wise and powerful, and has the ego of a spoilt toddler, who smashes everything if he doesn’t get his way. If you think about this for only a second, why would someone that wise and powerful care a jot what I think of her? This representation of the creator serves one and only one purpose: the personal agenda of the religious hierarchy. Create extremes of afterlife – a wonderful paradise versus an extreme of barbaric punishment in hell – and a set or rules that must be followed to get to the right place, and you have a wonderful control tool for the gullible.

Don’t get me wrong: I know some very religious people who are wonderful, and do not fit the characterisation here. The point is that there is a huge self-interest for the megalomaniac to twist this sort of belief system to advantage. And look at what they’ve done:
  • politicians who all but justify rape because they have a pathological objection to abortion
  • suicide bombers who have no scruples about killing dozens or even thousands in the most barbaric fashion
  • Zionist zealots who cannot see that the Palestinians may have some sort of case
I would personally rather believe that there is no supreme creator being and be totally responsible for my own actions. If I’m wrong, a being powerful enough to create a whole universe is unlikely to be so capricious as to punish an honest mistake. On the other hand, such a being is certainly not going to take lightly being held responsible for all manner of barbarism for such a feeble reason as “I thought I was meant to take everything literally, especially if I could read it as excusing extremes of cruelty and treating my fellow humans as worthless.”

One reason though I really would like there to be a hell is so I could see the faces of the Republican women haters, suicide bombers, apartheid politicians, Zionist zealots and others who used their creator’s name to excuse unspeakable barbarity at the point when they realise their mistake. To echo a line from The Simpsons: “See you in hell. From heaven.”

And since we are ending with comedy, here’s a starting point for the new Republican approach to trying rapists:


In case you think this is a random outlier, here's another one (not the actual candidate speaking but a pretty convincing take-down of Indiana Republican senate candidate Richard Mourdock's position that a woman gets pregnant from a rape because “it is something God intended to happen”):
Like Akin, he doesn’t understand what the fuss is about, and claims his words have been taken out of context. Then there’s the tea party Tennessee Republican congressman Scott DesJarlais who was recorded making a phone call to his mistress urging her to have an abortion. To add insult to injury, he's a doctor, so he's facing an ethics enquiry.

Small government, it seems, is one small enough to get into your bedroom. But not if you’re a Republican. Maybe they have smaller bedrooms.

You can’t make this stuff up. I write novels in my spare time, and I certainly wouldn’t.