Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Well, Somebody's Gotta Play Cassandra

Although many atheists may be exulting in the nationwide repudiation of President Bush, we need to be reminded that none of yesterday’s Democratic winners has gone on record as being a non-believer, a freethinker, or even a doubter.

If, as the TV pundits claim, the Democrats won big because the religious right was angry at Republican deviations from the true path, we church/state separationists find ourselves pretty much in the same position as we were before the vote: holding the supernatural bag. The evangelicals’ message would seem to be “Support our theocratic vision wholeheartedly or we will defeat you.”

Is that what really happened? Experts everywhere are busily trying to parse each vote to find out exactly what combinations of background, race, gender, age, income, education, cosmic disorder, animal magnetism, and bowel health led to the electorate’s decisions. No matter how high-tech the wise guys’ methods, however, the results will still be the equivalent of asking a ouija board to explain the balloting; they will usually conform to the subconscious hopes or expectations of the analysts. And the analysts, particularly those on the right, love hellfire and brimstone. Religious fervor makes great TV.

We shouldn’t be surprised, therefore, when the “numbers” substantiate the commentators’ gut reactions. That’s why I expect to hear a lot in the next few weeks about conservative Christians’ temporary disaffection with the current administration. Watch for that word “temporary.” It’ll be used as a bludgeon by the faithful.

So here’s my unhappy prediction: There will come to pass a new plague of faith-based initiatives and religious entitlements, supported enthusiastically by both political parties.

It’ll be Sunday morning in America.


Anonymous said...

Your prediction is just plain wrong. In South Dakota the abortion ban was defeated. In Arizona the gay marriage ban was defeated. In Missouri stem cell research squeaked through. That doesn’t sound like a Christian right agenda to me.

I don't know who Cassandra is, but you’re just like Debbie Downer. Lighten up, for Christ’s sake.


The Exterminator said...

Of course, zaphod, I'm pleasantly surprised about the results you mention. But what about the seven other states where gay marriage bans did pass?

And, although they were probably not affected by the election, what about the abortion arguments in the Supreme Court on Wednesday (Gonzales v. Carhart and Gonzales v. Planned Parenthood of America, Inc.)? I've read the transcripts, and neither the justices nor the advocates spent much time talking about the Constitution. What they mostly discussed were medical issues; which procedures might or might not be covered by the national late-term ban. Over the years, various states have placed more and more limitations on a woman’s right to choose. In this case, it appeared to be a foregone conclusion that some form of federal restriction was also acceptable. The question of basic rights didn’t seem even to come into play.

I hope I'm wrong about the would-be theocrats. I hate to sound like Debby Downer, but nothing that happened in the election has stopped the little waa-waa motif in my head.