The Republican Party: Are Greed and Catering to Powerful Religions Its Primary Operating Principles?

By Donald A. Collins | 19 July 2017
Church and State

Donald Trump sat down with CBN Founder Pat Robertson for an exclusive interview at the White House, July 12, 2017, in Washington, D.C. (Credit: YouTube / screengrab)

I noticed that on Thursday evening, July 12th The Donald had a heart to heart with the televangelist Pat Robertson who despite his long history of Cold War cavils did not quibble in endorsing the Trump position on dealing with Russia and ignoring or dismissing Trump’s involvement in his alleged influencing of the last Presidential election.

The absurdity of Robertson’s positions and Trump’s evasions was captured perfectly in an Atlantic magazine piece which you can access here.

The Republican Party just keeps hitting political potholes on every important social and environmental issue. That interview with Robertson reminded me of what the late Senator Barry Goldwater counseled his party to do in numerous interviews which I subsequently chronicled on this web site.

The embrace in the 1970’s by the Republican Party of the Evangelists augmented Catholic power against women’s reproductive rights despite a warning from Mr. Conservative, Senator Barry Goldwater. That powerful religious alliance has been the primary basis for anti-women ever since. Goldwater and his wife Peggy helped start the Planned Parenthood affiliate in Phoenix.

In my 2/14/13 article on this web site, I quoted the late Senator’s warning in the late 1970’s onward to his colleagues about what has now come to pass.

“I am a conservative Republican, but I believe in democracy and the separation of church and state. The conservative movement is founded on the simple tenet that people have the right to live life as they please as long as they don’t hurt anyone else in the process.” (in a 1994 Washington Post essay)

“The religious factions will go on imposing their will on others.”
“I don’t have any respect for the Religious Right.”
“Every good Christian should line up and kick Jerry Falwell’s ass.”
“A woman has a right to an abortion.”

Now this Grand Old Party just seems to keep going in a direction which gives the rich all the goodies and says in effect to the rest of us including the working poor “We really don’t care”.

Perfect example is the failure of the Obama health reform effort which was nothing if not another effort by the greedy elite business interests to transfer more wealth to the rich. It failed because 75% of us didn’t want to lose our health care.

Hey, how about my solution to health care? As most thinking people now understand real reform must ultimately come from some kind of single payer plan that has all of us in the risk pool. However, meantime, let’s start a new single issue political party called the Health Nuts with the slogan “Stop having your nuts squeezed by the special interests!!” Our campaign speech will be one paragraph long or shorter… “We will not vote for any candidate unless he or she promises to give us the same health care package which members of Congress have”.

Is it greed or ideology or willingness to do anything to stay in office? Certainly a 1998 speech published here recently entitled “Why the Christian Right Wages War Against Abortion” by Joyce Arthur, the founder and Executive Director of Canada’s national pro-choice group, the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada (ARCC). Since her seminal talk, religious ideology has continued to affect actions on issues which should be secular and democratically decided. For example, on abortion, dozens of rules and laws have been passed which make obtaining a safe, early abortion harder in many jurisdictions. Again we are shown the wisdom of Goldwater in keeping church and state carefully separate which the Republican Party has so miserably failed to do.

After carefully articulating the sad history of our political willingness to impose on non- believers the religious fantasies of powerful religious sects, Arthur concludes her seminal oration by saying:

“So, remember that the real opposition to abortion comes from organized religion – not the nice, touchy-feely kind of religion that many of us pro-choice people partake in, but the hardline, fanatical, intolerant kind, the kind that causes wars and bloodshed because its adherents can’t stand anybody believing or behaving differently from them. The “pro-life” movement’s drive to save babies has no noble purpose, because the real goals are to bring more souls to Jesus, punish women, and stamp out pleasure.”

You can read her entire opus here.

The folks with this mind set are the same ones that don’t want women to drive cars or leave their homes without a male escort. They just parade at being acting in your interest and they are winning because of the folks we have elected. Oh, you Democrats are not off the hook as both parties partied our way to a national debt of almost $22 trillion which will go higher regardless of which national party gets control and which Fed Chair Yellen mentioned last week in her testimony before the culprits of Congress is unsustainable.

Yes, our spending on “defense” comprises a huge part of that debt and are we less close to a nuclear apocalypse? Read my latest piece on how close we now are. Gosh, do you think we might just have a few fewer fighter planes and other arms to sell to so-called friendly governments? We just keep upping the ante on future wars. Did you see what was left of Mosel after ISIS was defeated? We have funded a lot of hate out there!!

Lots needs doing, but we could start by politically honing in on urgent unsolved priorities, embracing solutions for treating global warming, addressing human overpopulation and facing with humility the threat of nuclear war by encouraging all governments to find more chances to work collectively cooperatively and non-confrontationally. That is not the Republican Party’s record (remember “W”?) nor The Donald’s apparent style of “I win, you lose.” That offers an urgent lesson for all humans who with long vision care about human survival. It means recalibrating politically, emotionally, and realistically our efforts to enforce the guiding principle of keeping strong the separation of church and state. That may well be the best path to a livable future. Think about it!

Former US Navy officer, banker and venture capitalist, Donald A. Collins, a free lance writer living in Washington, DC., has spent over 40 years working for women’s reproductive health as a board member and/or officer of numerous family planning organizations including Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Guttmacher Institute, Family Health International and Ipas. Yale under graduate, NYU MBA. He is the author of From the Dissident Left: A Collection of Essays 2004-2013.

From the Dissident Left: A Collection of Essays 2004-2013

By Donald A. Collins
Publisher: Church and State Press (July 30, 2014)
Kindle Store

Back in 1991, the NGO Don Collins founded in 1976, International Services Assistance Fund (ISAF), co-produced a TV quality 22-minute film called “Whose Choice?” which Ted Turner arranged to broadcast on September 21, 1992 in prime time on his then independent Turner Broadcast System (TBS). Other outlets such as PBS and several of its affiliates Collins and his colleagues contacted then refused to run it because of its forthright treatment of the abortion issue, arguing for all women’s right to choose not to have a baby. ISAF has made a new edition of that DVD. The purpose for reissuing this 3rd version of “Whose Choice?” was simply to show the historical urgency that attended those times, still blocked and attacked over 40 years after the Roe v Wade decision in 1973. This video is available for public viewing for the first time.

News on The 700 Club: July 13, 2017

The Religious Right: Part Two | Full Frontal with Samantha Bee | TBS

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