“Prayer is a different thing for Republicans than it is for the rest of us; you don’t actually ask God for things, you sort of ask God to make clear to other people what he’s already shown to you.” — Garrison Keillor
Not long ago, a certain right-wing politician that you’ve probably heard too much about already published a book attacking President Obama. (Say it ain’t so!). The book was titled To Save America, and that’s certainly an interesting instance of the propaganda technique we call flag-waving. But it’s the subtitle that we’re concerned with here: Stopping Obama’s Secular-Socialist Machine. Not just because of the obligatory right-wing characterization of the president as a “socialist” (which is certainly dopey enough) but because of the use of “secular” as a pejorative. It’s an excellent illustration of the third propaganda technique we’d like to examine, a technique we call Bible-thumping.
Usually, Bible-thumping means brandishing specific scriptural passages in an effort to defend specific extremist views. But we’re using it in a broader sense, to include using religion in general to defend extremist views in general. In your Professor Of Propaganda’s lexicon, Bible-thumping is the conviction that not only does God take sides in every petty human squabble, but he invariably sides with arrogance, ignorance or bigotry – and ideally with all three at once.
Our illustrious politician-author, and others of his bent, proceed from three assumptions: (a) America was intended to be a Christian nation; (b) religionists are more moral and more patriotic than secularists; and (c) “conservatives” are religious and “liberals” are not. All of these assumptions are premium grade horseshit. Granted, “liberals” are somewhat less likely to be religious than “conservatives”, but what’s far more significant is that “conservatives” are far more likely to be fundamentalists, and therefore far more likely to indulge in Bible-thumping – which is certainly no guarantee of moral soundness or patriotic fervor. (If you’re curious about how this secularist-basher applies Christian moral principles to his own life, have a look.)
We should note that Bible-thumping is an equal opportunity activity, not limited to followers of the Bible. You just as easily could quote the Koran, or the Upanishads or the Avesta or Peanuts. But it is the Bible, by far, that people are more likely to be pointing at your head when they say things like these:
- “I want you to just let a wave of intolerance wash over you. I want you to let a wave of hatred wash over you. Yes, hate is good… Our goal is a Christian nation. We have a biblical duty, we are called on by God to conquer this country. We don’t want equal time. We don’t want pluralism.” (Randall Terry, founder of Operation Rescue)
- “We must use the doctrine of religious liberty to gain independence for Christian schools until we train up a generation of people who know that there is no religious neutrality, no neutral law, no neutral education, and no neutral civil government. Then they will be (sic) get busy in constructing a Bible-based social, political and religious order which finally denies the religious liberty of the enemies of God.” (Gary North, Christian Reconstructionist)
- “We thank God that it (the atomic bomb) has come to us, instead of to our enemies; and we pray that He may guide us to use it in His ways and for His purposes.” (President Harry Truman, after dropping the first of two holy offerings on Japan)
- “God told me to run.” (paraphrased from several right-wing politicians. Considering that they often run against each other, it’s clear that the Almighty either is a fickle patron, or wants most if not all of them to lose.)
- “America today begins to turn back to God.” (a certain Bad Actor, explaining why a crowd had mindlessly assembled at his blatantly self-promotional rally.)
There is never a good reason to mix religion and government. NEVER. No matter what religion, no matter what government. And whenver anyone tries to do so, you should be suspicious of their motives. And you should REALLY batten down the hatches when you hear a politician, especially if he happens to be the leader of the nation, say something like this:
“God the Almighty has made our nation. By defending its existence we are defending His work.”
I really hate to do this, but the nation this leader was referring to wasn’t the U.S. It was The Third Reich.
I’m not a Christian but I agree with what William J. Murray says. The allegation that William J. Murray was beaten up as a boy because his mom was an atheist is again Madalyn Murray O’Hair’s side of story which I have not seen confirmed. It’s possible that it happened & if true that would be wrong. But it’s also possible the allegation’s a lie told to get sympathy and Madalyn Murray O’Hair does have a credibility problem. I have not seen William J. Murray confirm or deny the allegation.
Madalyn Murray O’Hair had a right to be an atheist & I supported her free will to be 1. In the interviews I saw Madalyn Murray O’Hara gave, she was arrogant & obnoxious. Madalyn Murray O’Hair was also a Communist who wanted to move to U.S.S.R.-millions were killed by Communism there as they were in Communist China. Communism has killed more than Nazism. Madalyn Murray O’Hair did not respect her son William J. Murray’s free will to become a Christian & Madalyn Murray O’Hair mistreated her son William J. Murray.
William J. Murray decided on his free will to become a Christian when he was 33 years old. He did so after thinking about this and he believes there is a God. Yes, William J. Murray supports voluntary school prayer in public schools but there’s nothing wrong with that. There can become conflicts with allowing prayer in public schools in that if you allow public school prayer, then conflicts can possibly happen when non Judeo-Christians such as Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists do their prayers. I don’t care about public school prayer 1 way or the other.
It’s 1 thing to believe your religion is right. Christians believe that they are right and other faiths are wrong, Hindus will believe their faith is right and others are wrong, atheists believe there is no God. There’s nothing wrong with believing your religion is right because somebody is right and somebody is wrong. There was nothing wrong with Madalyn Murray O’Hair being an atheist and saying why she did not believe in God. But Madalyn Murray O’Hair did not just do this. Madalyn Murray O’Hair condemned people who did not share her view. Madalyn Murray O’Hair even condemned atheists who did not go along with her Communist view.
Madalyn Murray O’Hair was an arrogant haughty woman who mistreated others and she mistreated her son William J. Murray because he believed in God and decided to become Christian. William J. Murray supported his mom’s free will to not believe in God but Madalyn Murray O’Hair condemned William J. Murray’s free will to believe in God. It’s sad for William J. Murray to have had his daughter murdered along with his mom and ½ brother. Again, I’m a non-religious person who agrees with William J. Murray because what he said is right & William J. Murray is sincere.
[…] techniques previously examined here are repetition, flag waving, Bible thumping, framing, spin, straw man, cherry picking and false equivalence. Collect the whole […]
[…] are just and righteous no matter what; and can be readily manipulated by demagogues who use Bible thumping for their own selfish […]