Sunday, March 27, 2005

Who's Victory?

Today, Jeff Jarvis has an insightful essay concerning the efforts and actions of the religious (sic) right.
Many say that the Schiavo episode is splitting the Republican party; others say is it splitting Democrats, too; others say it is dividing America. But I think something more fundamental is happening:

The religious right is separating itself from the rest of America. The theocrats may have finally gone too far too often.

They have been aided and abetted --- but ultimately undermined -- by a media that bought their PR and presented the loud voices of a few as the voice of the nation marching to the right and up to the altar. But the overdose of overdoing it that we're seeing on TV these last few weeks may just be the catalyst that causes a backlash, that reminds us that we are a secular nation of churchgoers and that we value separation of church and state over either church or state: That is our mainstream.

In the case of Terri Schiavo, we have heard angry, even frightening rhetoric from the religious right: people in Florida and in Congress accusing judges of murdering Schiavo; the Schindlers and their advocates, many of them ministers, turning on even their allies (even on Jeb Bush if he doesn't do enough to satisfy them, if he doesn't do the impossible); online advocates saying that the laws and the courts should be damned; and conservatives throwing over their political philosophy opposing federalism and government interference in service of their religious philosophy.
But he doesn’t stop there. He sees where all this has lead and is continuing to lead:
It's also about the FCC and censorship, where we have a few, a very few religious nannies trying to tell the rest of us what we cannot hear and see….

Of course, it's about abortion as well: Every time I drive my kids to their orthodontist, I pass what must be a clinic and see protesters standing outside not just protesting but trying to shock with their images and words. They don't appear to be merely protesting or just angry; they look extreme.

And it's about sex: At the same time they oppose abortion, the religious right opposes sex education beyond pushing abstinence with young people; in the age of AIDS, that's doubly dangerous….

It's about some people telling the rest of us how we should live -- and this comes from the people most resent being told how to live. It's self-righteous and shrill. And I'm betting all that is turning off more people than it is converting them. That is jumping the shark culturally.
And I personally hope this will be my last post having to do with Terri Schiavo until the poor lady passes. I'm sorry, but there are other things to life.

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