American Politics Sounding More Like Iranian Politics


That I should make such a charge might sound rather harsh at first blush but it does need consideration.  The Republican party this year has decided to make gay marriage its featured issue.  It is a moral issue steeped in religious conviction and having little to do with proper helmsmanship of a government.  Since 1979 Iran has been run by a series of religious ideologues who rule, according to them, by the rule of the Qur’an.  The Republican party will couch their issue in moral correctness but you need only ask yourself on what basis that correctness is formed.

Decades ago the Republican party always portrayed itself in the light of national security, hawkishness, and conservative economics, and that was more than enough for them.  In 1952 they enlisted Dwight David Eisenhower to be their presidential nominee.  In truth, party leaders did not know what Eisenhower’s political preference was when they asked, but he was a national hero and someone who epitomized what they stood for.  Eisenhower ran roughshod over Stevenson that year and again four years later.  He could best be described as a “Nationalist” who Americans idolized.  The most popular political button of the era said, “I Like Ike.”   That was enough.  Not once in either elections did any sort of religious banter enter.

In succeeding elections, right through Clinton’s first election, economics and defense continued to lead the way.  Only once during that time, the early 1980s, did religion make a forray into politics and that was the Jerry Falwell “Moral Majority.”  This far-right political rhetoric, as had been historically true, quickly ran amok and fell into disfavor with the general public.  People recognized that they were not served well by any religious group that tried to control their political convictions.

Today that far right ideology has made a resurgence in the form of the Tea Party.  Madison Avenue marketing has made this into a group that harkens to our nation’s founding, and the men who bravely defied King George III.  But was it lost in translation is that those men of 1774 were a group of disparate political beliefs, some were even self-described agnostics.  Their aim was to make a single point that truly represented the beliefs of all Americans and had absolutely no political designs whatsoever.  The be certain, had the crown relented, ended the tea tax and returned colonial governorships to the control of the people, the revolution, at least at that moment, would most certainly have been delayed, if not completely avoided.

Our country has many pressing problems but nowhere in the top ten, or probably even the top 100, should be found the issue of gay marriage.  That issue, as it is being promoted by the left, is one of civil authority only.  That is the only place it can be politically.  Otherwise it becomes an issue that is contemptuous of the first amendment.  I expect that few American church, at least in the near future, will allow gay marriage within their domain.  But that a political body gives credence to a lawful joining of a couple needs to be left at just that.  It is absolutely not an assault on the institution of marriage as a religious institution.

One thing people of conservative ideology need to consider is the children.  It is not illegal for a lesbian couple to conceive a child.  In fact, once that child is born, the lesbian mother is held to certain legal standards.  A legal marriage between that couple serves to extend that legal, and moral, responsibility.  Even more, gay men can legally enter into a contract to have a surrogate birth a child.  And as in the case of the lesbian couple, a gay male couple would also be held to the rule of law in the care of that child.  Without marriage, the law has little standing with the otherwise unrelated parent.

The thing is, this is one of the most foolish issues the Republican party has ever brought to the front.  To me it says they are more interested in spending short resources on defending that position than to finding solution for the far more pressing issues of the day.  We still have a fragile economy.  We have enormous issues with our military strength and our foreign policy.  We are struggling with issues of non-renewable energy sources, water shortages, and a decaying national infrastructure.  Does it not make more sense to put those issues at the forefront than allowing gay people into legal contracts?

Iran has allowed itself to be led by ultra-conservative religious groups.  They are the “Qur’an Thumpers” of their nation just like the “Bible Thumpers” of ours.  I have no problem with religion.  I think it a very good thing.  But as was recognized in 1789, it has no place in our government.  We can never be a country that is religiously defined except that each person is allowed to believe as he wishes and that no one religious view can prevail over another.  If the issue of gay marriage is allowed into our political arena then it is necessarily dragging in a strictly religious viewpoint.  No court could make a decision on gay marriage, from a moral point of view, as to do so would be to assault the first amendment.  The far right has made this a moral issue and therefore a religious issue.  Following this tack is tantamount to agreeing with the direction a government like Iran takes.

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