Strange Brouhaha

Saturday, April 23, 2005

I Could Have Told You This In 1998; also, I'm Sure Glad Lakshmi Chaudhry Is Happy

When asked if the Clinton impeachment was "payback," retiring Congressman Henry Hyde replied "I can't say it wasn't," which from a politician is the equivalent of "Fuck yeah!" from a normal person.

Meanwhile, Lakshmi Chaudhry on AlterNet tells us that it basically doesn't matter that Cardinal "Shut The Women Up, Keep The Homos Down, And Let The Poor Learn Their Place" Ratzinger was elected Pope, nor that the American Christian Right is spouting extreme rhetoric about the judiciary being "unfair to believers" in an effort to suddenly and immediately cripple its power and eliminate checks and balances in our political system. She feels that civil society will more or less roll merrily along despite this; that nobody who can afford birth control listens to the Pope anyhow, and some evangelicals are shying away from the hardcore "Justice Sunday" rhetoric, and basically it will all blow over.

Yeah, well. She's ignoring the effect that hard-right rhetoric has on the public debate, encouraging sympathizers to become more extreme and extremists to be more bold. She's also taking our world as a given, when in fact, it might have been significantly different if the right wing fascist motherfuckers (as my late friend Joe called them) had been content to bother each *other* instead of having to ruin things for the rest of us. For example, how might Latin America be different today if the liberation theology movement, with its small cells of lay leaders and its dedication to helping the poor, had not been suppressed by Ratzinger personally? But liberation theology WAS suppressed. It was stopped, and the help it could have provided was also stopped. That's real. Speaking of which, Chaudhry is way too naive in assuming that there's no link between the poverty which she identifies as the real cause of women's unwilling fertility, and church authority. Ratzinger's persecution of liberation theology HELPED keep those poor people poor. The right-wing church likes people poor, for precisely the reason that they're so much easier to control. It's true, as Chaudhry writes, that the Pope cannot (for now!) control the wombs in his own back yard (thanks to various and sundry secular reformations over the years). But he's still got the ones in the SOL parts of Latin America and Africa, goddammit, and he means to keep them. (Or, I suppose, hand them over to like-minded mullahs [scroll down], as I would imagine that whatever "ecumenical" group would attract Ratzinger and Neil Bush would have to be dedicated to the question of how the extreme right wings of each religion can gain power over their own territory in the world. THEN they'll start fighting each other for control of the whole enchilada.)

And in a smaller example of how Those People really can affect OUR FREEDOM, check out David Adam Edelstein's impassioned protest against Microsoft's withdrawal of support for an anti-discrimination bill against gays and lesbians because "one hateful pastor...threatened them." That's right: the great Microsoft, taken down by one man opening his yap. But he happened to wear a collar. (Memo to all Microsoft business competitors: hire preachers to inveigh against the Mac OS! "Jesus wants you to use Linux!")


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