Sometimes, snark hits the nail on the head.
A couple of days ago, over at Dispatches from the Culture Wars, Ed Brayton made a snarky and audacious claim: After noting those aspects of Sharia Law that are most frequently criticized as being inconsistent with American values, he pointed out that today’s GOP holds those same beliefs:
- Government is to be based upon religious doctrine
- Women should have fewer rights than men
- Homosexuality is to be outlawed
- Religious doctrine trumps science
- There is no separation of church and state
- Religion is taught in government schools
- Abortion should be illegal
All of these positions are proudly held both by extremist Muslims and the extremists who control today’s Republican party.
Brayton’s conclusion: if you don’t want Sharia law, don’t vote Republican.
I hadn’t planned to share this–it seemed unnecessarily partisan–but Sunday evening I moderated a panel discussion sponsored by Americans United for Separation of Church and State. The panel was hosted by Broadway United Methodist Church, and candidates for the Indiana legislature (both incumbents and challengers) were invited to participate. Five accepted: four Democrats and one Republican.
I was initially impressed that a Republican would be willing to defend the party’s current platform to a group that was unlikely to agree with much of it, but it immediately became clear that the Republican had not the foggiest notion what AU stood for, or for that matter, how church and state differ. Her answers to the questions were rambling, incoherent and filled with personal anecdotes and biblical quotes. (Although she seemed totally unaware of the operation of the Constitution and Bill of Rights, she did at one point offer the opinion that Jefferson “lied” in his letter to the Danbury Baptists.)
When a question was asked about recognition of same-sex marriage, she responded that “God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.” (I kid you not.) She offered her support for pharmacists who refuse to fill birth control prescriptions and merchants who refuse to provide services to gay customers, because “liberty,” and when asked whether those same merchants should also be able to refuse service to African-American patrons, she at first said she didn’t understand the question, but when pressed, said yes.
There was much, much more–including a closing statement in which she shared with the audience the information that God had asked her to run for office.
I know this woman is not representative of all Republican candidates. (As one appalled attendee noted afterward, she was a “stereotype on steroids.”) But the party was willing to have her run under its label. She somehow made it through slating.
In the course of the evening, she took every position on Brayton’s list (indeed, she went well beyond the list).
I’d be interested in knowing which of those positions today’s GOP–aka the American Taliban–would disown.