I was visiting Candace's "Forte Etude" the other day. Her post title came from a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson. Ralph was one of the smart guys of America who put us on the Philosophical map back in the day. Up until Emerson, Thoreau,Hawthorne, and many others I cannot remember or even knew existed, what Americans thought came from Europe and was applied to our situation. They broke free of the Euro stranglehold and set us apart intellectually. Politically we had been free for half a century. Finally by the mid 1800s we were breaking free emotionally. The Great Awakenings and Transcendentalism all had their very distinctive American stamp on them. One led to the current fundie like adherence to an outdated book of parables based on the whims of one super being. The other looked forward to the future with a clarity that has so far been able to blunt the effects of over bearing religious dogma. For better or worse, what we thought in the 1800s is coming back to roost now 150 years later.
I had not considered any connection until I read Candace's post. But it would seem that our two primary political parties have decided to embrace one or the other. The Democrats, while appearing to be whack jobs sometimes, do have a preponderance of thinkers and movers who would most likely have enjoyed those walks with Emerson, Thoreau and Hawthorne. Looking to the future of possibilities not the past of folk tales told by guys in fancy robes.
Republicans on the other hand seem to have decided to embrace the ideas and blind faith that created the Great Awakenings. A smart move I guess. Seems we have a new religious revival about every 50 years or so. Tying their horse to that wagon surely has an upside when looking to re-gain power hold onto power, or seek power. The religious right's influence cannot be understated.
That is not to say that organized religion is found on only one side. Millions of Democrats go to church or synagogue. I would guess millions do not. As is the case with the Republicans. It is the purposeful inclusion of theocratic ideals into the platforms or the omission of them that help to create the deep divide that keeps them apart. It is also the inclusion or omission that draws certain people to their political cause.
I am going through all this in an attempt to understand the real reasons I left the Republican side so many years ago. I blame Ronnie most days. He was a loser when he was governor of California and he proved it later by committing treason as President. But I guess I really became disillusioned with the Republicans when the "Moral Majority", Falwell, and Robertson broke what I consider taboos if not laws when they preached politics mixed with religion from their not so insignificant pulpits.
I take the separation of church and state very seriously. I do not care that it is not specifically stated in the Constitution, only inferred. It is a good idea that we all should be concerned about. If you want to know how bad an idea it is to mix religion with politics, just look at the theocracies created under Muslim law. Do we want that here?