Tuesday, October 15, 2013 • 8:56 AM Comments (9)

The Shutdown: brought to you by the Religious Right

posted by James Heflin

The intransigence we've seen of late from the Tea Party minority in the GOP is just the tip of the iceberg. The motivations are becoming clearer, and the source of this great "we're gonna get our way even though we are a small minority" maneuver is too.

Apparently, some folks are doing this because they believe they finally have the Obama presidency in an endgame. Saith sage Sarah Palin, "Defaulting on our national debt is an impeachable offense, and any attempt by President Obama to unilaterally raise the debt limit without Congress is also an impeachable offense."

The phrase "wascally wabbit" comes to mind.

It's also coming to light that much of this debacle is coming directly from my old friends, the Christian fundamentalists. Here's Frank Schaeffer, apostate and son of Religious Right powerhouse Francis Schaeffer:

Do you know who launched the shutdown? Hint: He’s Southern, white and an ardent evangelical who serves as an elder in his fundamentalist church. His name is Mark Meadows. He wrote the letter to John Boehner signed by the congressional Tea Party radicals that launched the shutdown. The Tea Party’s no compromise hostage taking tactics weren’t born out of a vacuum. They have the air of the intransigence of doctrinal certainties about them.

You can’t understand the radical hostage-taking right in Congress today outside of the context of the evangelical battles with the very idea of compromise. (Maybe I’m especially attuned to this fact because my late father Francis Schaeffer was a religious right leader.) Sure, there are a handful of Ayn Rand/groupies and libertarians thrown in and sure the Koch brothers are following their own crazy Bircher agenda while inadvertently financing the demise of the US government, but none of these folks represent the true base of the Tea Party/Republican Party.

...

"The media have been analyzing the shutdown but largely ducking the truth. Until the media expose the beliefs of the religious extremist as the root cause of the shutdown nothing can change. Want to know why the Tea Party folks seem to take it on faith they’re right and the polls are wrong? They have been trained by their churches and pastors to ignore facts and trust their “hearts.” From global warming denial, to accepting Jesus as their personal savior no fact need apply, it’s all about trusting a web of myth, feeling and bigotry over anything that can be argued.

If you ignore these guys, they do not go away. Quite the opposite.

ADDITIONAL: Hard to know what to say to obtuseness and smoke-screening like the below comment from Joe/k/Ben. I suppose it comes down to this, good sir or madam: citizens of the Religious Right are guided in everything they do by a sense that they are acting as God's agents. If you think Mr. Meadows was acting in an a-religious, purely political capacity, you do not know how Christian fundamentalists do business. I know, firsthand.

Bash Obama all you want (I'm no Obama defender), but it won't change the source of our recent shutdown.

The fundamentalists took over the entire Southern Baptist denomination by leveraging a minority into positions of power until they could work their will unimpeded, against the majority. They would love nothing more than to repeat that on the national stage. That won't be good for anybody except them. If you think that assertion is incorrect, by all means show me your evidence.

ADDITIONALLY ADDITIONAL: Well, that was lively, at least, if remarkably full of rouge sardines.

Religious extremists, i.e., fundamentalists, are indeed aswim in an unusual mindset. Here's a good place to see exactly what that means, in the words of fundamentalists themselves: Rapture Ready.

Comments (9)
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Really? The shutdown was the result of Obama believing that being re-elected means he no longer has to negotiate with republicans on anything. Using the debt ceiling to negotiate on other issues is standard practice despite what Obama's media allies would tell you (and I'd like to think you're smart enough to know that). The shutdown had nothing to do with the religious right.

But if you don't believe me, believe Obama. He voted against an increase in 2006 stating:

"The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. … Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that “the buck stops here.” Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better."

But you're right, James, THIS TIME it was all about right wing religious zealots.

Posted by Ben on 10.22.13 at 7:06

This shutdown was caused by democrats & Obama refusing to negotiate with republicans on the debt ceiling, something that is a normal part of governance. Facts aren't untrue just because people you don't like agree with them.

Again, a normal part of governance...

"Debt-ceiling increases have included unrelated issues in the past. In November 1989, for example, the Democratic-controlled Congress passed debt-ceiling legislation that repealed a tax provision related to employer-paid health insurance plans.

The issue also flared up on several occasions during President Ronald Reagan’s administration. After House Democrats voted down a measure to hike the debt limit to $1.8 trillion in May 1984, the Wall Street Journal wrote “tradition prevailed yesterday as the debt-increase debate sparked the kinds of partisan pyrotechnics for which it has become famous.”

And in October 1984, Republicans were forced to fly on military jets back to Washington after Democrats decided to vote en masse against a debt-ceiling hike. Sen. Donald Riegle (D., Mich.) said at the time that Democrats wouldn’t allow the Republicans “to walk away from the responsibility of their deficits.”

Conservatives cite Mr. Obama himself as an example, noting that he voted in 2006 against raising the debt ceiling when George W. Bush was in the White House — a vote Mr. Obama now says he regrets.

Mr. Boehner said on ABC’s “This Week” that the Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Clinton administrations – and Mr. Obama himself in 2011– all negotiated over the debt ceiling. “Now, he’s saying no. I’m not going to do this,” Mr. Boehner said of the president."

http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2013/10/06/republicans-say-debt-ceiling-negotiations-not-new/

Yet in your world this latest shutdown is the result of religios zealots, not the result of rigid Obama-ites. This isn't rational thought, James.

Posted by Ben on 10.22.13 at 10:27

Also, I like how part of your blog quotes someone basically saying anyone who believes in God is irrational. This kind of villification hurts your argument and it's disapointing that you would support this type of rhetoric when science has yet to prove the origin of life. Therefore it's very much open for debate. But again, ignoring an imperalistic president and blaming the shutdown on religion is pretty wacky.

Posted by Ben on 10.22.13 at 10:36

"saying anyone who believes in God is irrational."

Where does it say that?

Posted by SDudgens on 10.22.13 at 12:06

For Sdudgens.

"They have been trained by their churches and pastors to ignore facts and trust their “hearts.” From global warming denial, to accepting Jesus as their personal savior no fact need apply"

Posted by Ben on 10.22.13 at 12:52

For Ben.

Until the media expose the beliefs of the religious extremist.

'Religious extremist' is a pretty small subset of 'anyone who believes in God.' You'll have to do better than that. If I could draw on here, I'd do you a Venn diagram.


Posted by SDudgens on 10.22.13 at 14:01

Yet the person simply listed belief in Jesus as an attribute of crazy. Point stands. Sounds like you have the same beef I do.

Posted by Ben on 10.22.13 at 15:39

We could play semantics all day but I'd rather stay on topic. Just because religious zealots supported the shutdown, that doesn't mean it's the only and primary reason. James only thinks so because he carries more baggage from his days living in Texas than a southwest flight.

Negotiating over the debt ceiling isn't new. What's new is a hyper partisan president refusing to negotiate and provide leadership. The facts are really as simple as that. On 2006 Obama said it was a horrible idea to just raise the debt ceiling without reforms and strings attached. Seriously, why don't you guys understand that?

Posted by Ben on 10.23.13 at 8:38

Ben - don't drag this out. Just ignore Heflin and he'll be back to unreadable poetry soon enough.

Posted by Seamus on 10.23.13 at 17:50
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