jeudi 11 août 2011

The worldview of Michele Bachmann

Ryan Lizza's superb scare-the-bejeezus-out-of-you profile of Michele Bachmann in The New Yorkeris sucking up most of the ink and keystrokes about just how batshit crazy this woman is. But a little tidbit in the article mentions the strong influence an evangelical theologian named Francis Schaeffer had on her.

That evangelist's son, Frank Schaeffer, is these days shouting from the rooftops about how dangerous his father's views, and those who follow them, really are. And this week he tells us over at Alternet exactly why:

When you hear words like “We want to take back America for God!” the 21st-century expression of such theocratic ideas can be traced back to some of my old friends: the Reconstructionists.

Most Americans have never heard of the Reconstructionists. But they have felt their impact through the Reconstructionists’ profound (if indirect) influence over the wider (and vast) evangelical community.

Take Michele Bachmann. She is a Reconstructionist schooled – literally – by some of that obscure movement’s leading thinkers, including my father.

The evangelicals have shaped the politics of a secular culture that barely understood the religious right, let alone the forces within that movement that gave it its edge. The Americans inhabiting the wider (and more secular) culture just saw the results of Reconstructionism without understanding where those results had come from—for instance, how the hell George W. Bush got elected and then reelected or why Michele Bachmann was into home schooling long before she was into trying to become president in order to turn America into a homophobic theocracy.

The Reconstructionists have been like a drop of radicalizing flavoring added to a bottle of water: They’ve subtly changed the water’s flavor. And even though most evangelicals, let alone the general public, don’t know the names of the leading Reconstructionist thinkers, the world we live in—where a radicalized, angry government-hating religious right has changed the face of American politics and spun off into movements such as the Tea Party—is a direct result of that “flavoring.”

Anyone who wants to understand American politics, not to mention North American religion, had better get acquainted with the Reconstructionists. For instance these folks just held America hostage in the debt crisis, an attempt to – literally – destroy the government’s ability to function at all a manufactured “crisis” in which Bachmann was a leading proponent of scorched-earth, destroy the system “politics.”

When one is living in the kind of times we are, it's understandable that people might want to throw up their hands and resort to prayer to a great while alpha male in the sky. But once you get outside of Christian Reconstruction circles, I wonder how many people look at their fresh-faced children and want to see them burnt in some holy fire just so they can prove to nonbelievers that they were right. What's scary is that Michele Bachmann DOES.

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