Rick Perry’s Guiding Light

Texas Governor and current frontrunner in the race to potentially be the next Republican president talks candidly about the pivotal role of supernatural events in his life…

Good grief. Hasn’t the world had enough of American presidents that take direction from an imaginary creator of the universe? I realize that notion may be highly encouraging to so-called people of faith, but to those of us who reject religious doctrine and deny existence of a supernatural realm, the prospect of a leader such as Perry is downright scary. Who knows what lunatic mission the Almighty might supposedly task him with?

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37 Comments

Filed under 2012 U.S. Election, Atheism, Religion, Republican Party

37 responses to “Rick Perry’s Guiding Light

  1. Peter

    I seem to recall you’ve posted on this theme–the unstability and scariness of American Christian politicians– before. So allow me to throw a political Fermi’s Paradox at you. How come the world hasn’t been blown to smithereens for the glory of God by now?

  2. Fermi’s Paradox… Heh. What a wonderfully imaginative comparison. And a good point!

    In defence of my wariness about evangelical politicians, allow me to turn the question around a bit. Are you suggesting that the fact that the world hasn’t yet been blown to smithereens for the glory of God should therefore lead us to infer that their religious belief in such things as the literal interpretation of the Bible and the End Times being imminent, etc., is less than entirely sincere? For if we don’t think that it’s all just disingenuous pandering to devout Christians then it seems reasonable to conclude that their beliefs will actually shape their policy-making decisions.

    For example, the belief that mankind has an exclusive “dominion over all of the earth” would naturally guide one to a more relentless and unsustainable form of exploitation of the planet’s resources. And why not? Presuming they accept the notion of the End Times being near, the premise of long-term sustainability, conservation, and stewardship is completely irrelevant. Heck, according to their beliefs hastening Armageddon is actually a good thing in that it would speed the promised arrival of their messiah and all the magical shit following that contingency.

    So, do we take would-be leaders like Perry at their word that they actually believe the scriptures to be the literal word of God, that they think God is somehow deliberately guiding their path through life, and most amazingly, that they even talk to God!

    Or do we accept that this is all fanciful bullshit and that they will simply invoke the name of “God” whenever convenient to justify whatever it is that they want to do?

    Not much of a choice. On the one hand we can be scared of their sincerity and its possibly catastrophic consequences, or “comforted” in knowing that they are actually just deeply cynical liars exploiting religion for their own self-serving purposes.

  3. I’m most certainly inclined to think so as well. Somehow though, I’m still not reassured by that conclusion.

  4. It’s not reassuring – at all. It may be more chilling than the alternative.

  5. The Dude

    This imaginary friend seems to be quite the American nationalist. I’ve never seem Him north of the 48th. Guess we shoulda known better than figuring out how to have health care.

  6. Peter

    Red:

    While I may be more tolerant of both Americans and their religion than many of your commenters, that doesn’t mean I have the answer to this one. A couple of points: In the age of Dawkins & co., I think the secular world has become a little unhinged about religion in general. It’s no longer just about differences in belief, it’s become about differences in perception and comprehension, and, somewhat like with tobacco, the further the secular mind distances itself from exposure to it, the more fearful and intolerant it seems to become. Secularists live in a one-dimensional reality, and I think they forget that many religious folks don’t. It isn’t bullshit vs. dangerous craziness, it’s more about objective and subjective realities and how they relate. I think you will find that most religious people in the world see them as more separate and distanced than they sound at times. For greater elaboration, I refer you to two thousand years of theology. There will be a test next Friday.

    As to the States, just as we discussed below how American politics is characterized by alarming revolutionary rhetoric followed by pledges of unity, compromise and horse-trading, so I think a lot of their religion is Bible-thumping about the Rapture followed by fellowship at a nice church picnic before they all go home to cut their lawns. There is probably no area of the globe we see through a prism of so many stereotypes, most negative, than the American South. The wide-eyed fundamentalist preacher is one, but I think most of their flocks are much better grounded in objective day-today reality than you fear. (If you doubt this, consider the stereotypical southern black church. I’ll bet your image shifts to positive ones of community cohesion, a thirst for social justice and some rockin’ hymns. Same religion, same beliefs.)

    But all that being said, I admit there comes a point where it is all beyond the ken of even the most sympathetic poor little Canadian country boy. I took a swipe at Aeneas’s and Shiner’s old Toryism the other day, but I’m not beyond sheltering under its moderating influences when need be. On this subject, I’m fond of the very old Tory sentiment expressed once by an Oxford don, who said he was a strong supporter of the Church of England because he saw it as a bulwark against religion. 

  7. tofkw

    Peter, it’s not that regulars here hold any antipathy towards religion per say; rather it’s an abhorrence towards extremism, regardless of it being religious or political in nature.

    Likewise almost everyone here casts a cynical eye upon evangelical politicians like Rick Perry whenever they appear on our radar. And our justifications for that, well, I couldn’t present that any more eloquently than Martin did in his post from 12:14 pm. Either they are contemptuous liars using the Almighty for votes, or they truly believe they are God’s servants helping to speed up the rapture.

    By the way, that Oxford don was a wise man.

  8. tofkw

    Oh great, I’m caught in the spam filter again.

  9. tofkw

    Re-posting, sorry if this appears twice…

    Peter, it’s not that regulars here hold any antipathy towards religion per say; rather it’s an abhorrence towards extremism, regardless of it being religious or political in nature.

    Likewise almost everyone here casts a cynical eye upon evangelical politicians like Rick Perry whenever they appear on our radar. And our justifications for that, well, I couldn’t present that any more eloquently than Martin did in his post from 12:14 pm. Either they are contemptuous liars using the Almighty for votes, or they truly believe they are God’s servants helping to speed up the rapture.

    By the way, that Oxford don was a wise man.

  10. … and I am an Anglican ;>)

    The problem with Religion is when it confuses Christian Doctrine with Social Darwinism, Cultural Triumphalism (I am aware of 19th Century Political Anglicanism thank-you very much…), and Messianic Personality Cults.

    I have never considered Pat Robertson as anything more than a charlatan of the 19th Century American genus. But then again, I have intellectual concerns about any religious sect lower than Methodism.

    Richard Hooker taught that Anglicanism – indeed Englishness – was founded on a bedrock “middle-way” between the extremes of Rome and The Reformation. It sought to marry faith to reason, thus synthesising the best of each intellectual comport. This is also why I abhor public evangelism. It is unseemly, because it is unreasonable.

  11. I also consider any Christian sect below Methodism (United Church) in Canada, eminently “foreign.” Don’t get me started on Mormonism …

  12. TofKW: Sorry about the spam filter kicking in. I know how annoying that can be. Unfortunately, I don’t have any way to tweak it to prevent that from happening.

    Speaking of spam, I’ve had almost 62,000 messages filtered out over the last six months with a 99-point something accuracy rate.

  13. Peter: Great quote about the Oxford don. Reminds me of some lines from Yes Minister:

    “We cannot leave the appointment of Bishops to the Holy Ghost, because no one is confident that the Holy Ghost would understand what makes a good Church of England bishop.”

    “The bench of bishops should have a proper balance between those who believe in God and those who don’t.”

    “Theology is a device for helping agnostics to stay within the Church of England.”

    I have some thoughts about your comment, but I’m kind of pressed for time at the moment so will have to get back to them later.

  14. “Who knows what lunatic mission the Almighty might supposedly task him with?”

    Well said. I’d much prefer to be governed by atheists like Stalin or Mao.

    Say Amen!

  15. Pius Aeneas,

    Why do you insist on putting us all to sleep?

    Harumph harumph. Richard Hooker indeed!

    Good day, sir.

  16. “Peter, it’s not that regulars here hold any antipathy towards religion per say; rather it’s an abhorrence towards extremism, regardless of it being religious or political in nature.”

    ToKW, it’s not that I think you’re an idiot per say, but do you need to emphasize your “limits” through repetition? Just se it once.

  17. NewName: I’d much prefer to be governed by atheists like Stalin or Mao.

    Are people actually still using that discredited argument? LOL

  18. You mean they weren’t atheists??? Who knew?

  19. So they were dictatorial, genocidal monsters because they were atheists? Who knew?

    You are flogging a logical fallacy.

  20. tofkw

    Ah nomen, I see your avatar depicts a wiener. I think it’s wonderful you’re still working through your phallic infatuations here on RT’s forum.

  21. “You are flogging a logical fallacy.”

    Let me try your childish game:

    So, certain (unnamed Christians) engaged in “lunatic missions” purportedly handed down by “the Almighty.” Perry is a religious Christian. Therefore Perry will do similarly.

  22. TofKW,

    I forgive you for you know not what you say.

    I am against Frank.

    Admittedly, he is a dick.

  23. To be clearer, RT, I was trying to point out your own logical fallacy. Good grief! Was I being that opaque?

    Fuck a duck. Even I was an atheist once … when I was younger, dumber, and a lot more arrogant. Atheism is like smoking weed: it’s a stage in life many of us go through. It feels great, but it often make us boring.

    And here’s a secret: There are conservatives who are atheists. It’s just the loud prosthelytizing atheists that are so annoying.

  24. Newname: I get the distinct impression from your canned rhetoric and patronizing tone that one could just as easily substitute “liberal” for “atheist” in your scheme of things.

    Look, Stalin and Mao weren’t carrying out their atrocities in the name of atheism (or even “secular humanism” for that matter), but rather, for the sake of political ideologies warped to advance their own megalomaniac ambitions expressed through totalitarian power. Ironically, in the process, they turned themselves into almost religious figures of devotion through propaganda that fostered a God-like cult of personality. A more current example would be that of how the North Koreans worship their “eternal president” Kim Il-Sung.

    For the record, I am not proselytizing atheism — simply expressing my horrified disgust at religious lunatics, especially those who cynically claim to speak with — and, more disturbingly, for — God Almighty.

  25. “… Stalin and Mao weren’t carrying out their atrocities in the name of atheism “(or even “secular humanism” for that matter), but rather, for the sake of political ideologies wared to advance their own megalomaniac ambitions expressed through totalitarian power.”

    A distinction without a difference. Every megalomaniacal leader has his own reasons. Christianity has little to do with it. Nor does atheism. Know’m sayin’?

    Though some ideologies (a better term than “religion”) are bloodier than others.

    Geddit?

    There you go: My points one and two. Class dismissed.

  26. Giving classes now are you? How kind…

    Um, no. You cannot conflate the two and pretend they are the same.

    If you accept that people motivated by evangelical faith TRULY believe that spurious doctrine, then you must also consider that they are compelled to hasten the Apocalypse by all means necessary. In fact, they consider the “End Times” a rapturously terrific thing.

    On the other hand, if you concede that people “claiming” to be inspired by Divine Power and TRUE FAITH in the gospel (or whatever) are full of shit, then we are in agreement as to their grasping motives and evil compulsions.

    Honestly, I’m not sure which to be more frightened of – the deluded “true believers” or those who cynically exploit the aforementioned.

    As for atheists – better just described as ‘those who don’t believe in the supernatural’ – they’re virtually non-existent in our polity. What… are there like two people in Congress maybe that are avowed atheists? Yeah, like they’re a REAL threat that are going to destroy the world…

  27. It never ceases to amaze me what the Left fears.

    Unicorns.

  28. As opposed to what the Right fears? The list of what irrationally freaks them out is almost interminable…

  29. I agree. Below is a list of “irrational fears” versus “rational fears.” Rational progressives (but I repeat myslef) have come to the conclusion that people suffering from these baseless and irrational fears either “sheeple” or cynical and greedy oligarchs. Often they’re both.

    The List:

    Islamists blowing people up vs. anthropomorphic global warming.
    Al Qaeda vs. the 700 Club.
    Nuclear proliferation in failed and lunatic states vs. citizen gun ownership.
    Big government vs. economic unfairness.
    Totalitarianism vs. middle class mentality.
    Communism vs. Globalism.
    Government meddling vs. Alar.
    Burdensome regulatons vs. acid rain.
    Socialism vs. Christianity.
    Radical Islam vs. Christian evangelicals.
    Hamas vs. Israel.
    Hezbollah vs. Israel.
    Iran vs. America.
    The USSR vs. America.
    Terrorists vs. America.
    North Korea vs. America.
    [Just about any SOB which you can think of] vs. America.

  30. I think a lot of those contests you’ve set out are completely bogus.

    But whatever. As the Deiter character on SNL used to say: “your story has become tiresome.”

  31. tofkw

    You forgot one nomen:
    Rightwingnut retards with phallic fetishes posting on internet forums vs. Ashton Kutcher taking over on Two and A Half Men

    That’s as “relevant” as any comparisons from your list.

  32. tofkw,

    Ah, who has the penis fetish, dear?

  33. “I think a lot of those contests you’ve set out are completely bogus.”

    Tell me, RT, of the things listed to the right of the vs., which don’t you fear?

    You have explicitly stated you fear certain of them.

    Come on, all you Lefties, which of them don’t you fear?

    (Well, no one fears acid rain, alar or the USSR anymore. I’ll grant you that, but let’s use the Wayback Machine to answer those.)

  34. However, tofkw, obsessivus peni, I will acknolwege this: You are correct: the Left does appear to fear “Rightwingnut retards with phallic fetishes posting on internet forums,” their status as unicorns notwithstanding, and I, for one, DO fear Aston Whatshisface on Two and a Half Men. I fear the show will suck (but is it a unicorn, dear?). Because, having watched the first episode, I can tell you, suck it does.

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