Essay / Politics

Aunt Bee is Coming for YOU!

Hugh Hewitt points out that today Paul Krugman went mad.In a nation at war with real terrorists, Paul Krugman shakes in terror at the thought of domestic terror from homeschool moms, Bible study leaders, AWANA groups gone postal, and Baptists with an attitude.It is not just covered dish dinners anymore Mr. Krugman believes. In between a chorus of “Majesty” and “Amazing Grace,” the local Pentecostals are learning paramilitary skills.Aunt Bee is mad, Mr. Krugman believes, and she is not going to take it anymore.But you have to read the thing for yourself. . . as usual comments from me (written before martial arts class) in italics.The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: What’s Going On?: “Democratic societies have a hard time dealing with extremists in their midst. The desire to show respect for other people’s beliefs all too easily turns into denial: nobody wants to talk about the threat posed by those whose beliefs include contempt for democracy itself.Who is this? Is it the folk who called the majority who voted for Bush clowns? Who threatened to leave the United States over a presidential election? No. Hang on. That would be obvious. Mr. Krugman writes for the Times and so he has done some Real Reporting. He has discovered that the majority of this country as measured by the last election has contempt for Democracy.We can see this failing clearly in other countries. In the Netherlands, for example, a culture of tolerance led the nation to ignore the growing influence of Islamic extremists until they turned murderous.I get it! All religious people are alike. The next time Christians are being murdered in the Sudan for being Christian they should get a copy of this article and show it to their radical Islamic murderers.But perhaps Krugman is more subtle. Perhaps the bad religions are any religion thinking it knows the truth. . . even if they don’t use violence. Why? Will Krugman at least knows they soon will! American Christians are noted for their massive use of persecution. Krugman lives in terror that same church that produced What Would Jesus Do bracelets will soon be running pogroms and gulags. But wait, weren’t gulags run be (ahem) secular folk?In the world of Krugman, secularists never use violence, because (you see) they are not religious. Stalin? Baptist. Pol Pot? Just an agent of the Vatican. Mr. Krugman is really changing my view of history! The secular Reign of Terror in France? Big myth. It was really a plot by the Ecumenical Patriarch! Those crafty, tricky Byzantines!But it’s also true of the United States, where dangerous extremists belong to the majority religion and the majority ethnic group, and wield great political influence.Evidently being in the majority is not good enough for us! No. We don’t just want great political influence earned by voting. We wish to make Billy Graham the Priest-King of America! Now I confess I missed this meeting and find my own religious group so disorganized and fractious we can hardly plan a food festival let alone take over the world, but Krugman works for the Times and so Krugman is right.Before he saw the polls, Tom DeLay declared that ‘one thing that God has brought to us is Terri Schiavo, to help elevate the visibility of what is going on in America.’ Now he and his party, shocked by the public’s negative reaction to their meddling, want to move on. But we shouldn’t let them. The Schiavo case is, indeed, a chance to highlight what’s going on in America.Perhaps we want to “move on,” because we lost and under the rule of law (which we respect) we must lick our wounds to fight another day. Of course, that is the “simplistic” way of understanding what is happening. Krugman knows better. He knows that we are really getting our Sunday School groups together to have a Covered Dish Rebellion.One thing that’s going on is a climate of fear for those who try to enforce laws that religious extremists oppose. Randall Terry, a spokesman for Terri Schiavo’s parents, hasn’t killed anyone, but one of his former close associates in the anti-abortion movement is serving time for murdering a doctor. George Greer, the judge in the Schiavo case, needs armed bodyguards.Why look! It is “guilt by association.” That used to be called “bad.”As for the “leaders” Krugman mentions in a nation with 300 million people (most religious) if the worst he can find is Terry we are indeed blessed. By the way who is Terry? What large group is he the leader of? Who follows him? Krugman does not care. He has found a fringe and even though even this fringe is not violent he has found a few people once associated with it who are. What is next for Mr. Krugman?Perhaps Mr. Krugman, following the tolerant Romans in asking hard questions, will try to determine exactly what is in the communion wine at mass. This question was never really answered in ancient history.Another thing that’s going on is the rise of politicians willing to violate the spirit of the law, if not yet the letter, to cater to the religious right.It makes me sick to discover that some politicians will cater to groups that vote for them.I am also interested in seeing what will happen when the Krugman Definition of the Law is applied to our legal system. No more merely obeying the law. We must obey the Krugman defined Spirit of the Law. “We know you did not kill anyone, Rev. Jones, but your last sermon was hateful, very hateful. You have violated the spirit of the law. You are under arrest under the Krugman act.”This spirit which hovers like an odor over the law will soon not be enough. If we obey without cheerfulness a Krugman-inspired law might we not make Krugman feel bad? Mighn’t such bad feelings deter people from obeying a Krugman Law?Why should we obey the mere spirit? Krugman will discover that some of us are downright surly when we obey the law. Soon, all over America, people will be arrested for failing to obey the “spirit of the law.” Krugman inspired camps for Cheerfulness about Liberalism will spring up! Everyone knows about the attempt to circumvent the courts through ‘Terri’s law.’ But there has been little national exposure for a Miami Herald report that Jeb Bush sent state law enforcement agents to seize Terri Schiavo from the hospice – a plan called off when local police said they would enforce the judge’s order that she remain there.Making laws to circumvent the courts? The horror! We all know the courts are to make the laws and the legislature is to applaud the laws! And the future seems all too likely to bring more intimidation in the name of God and more political intervention that undermines the rule of law.Yes, this law making by democratically elected legislatures is only going to continue if liberals do not do something! The executive branch is likely to keep trying to enforce the law unless all of us bow down to the courts. . . except when they make George Bush president like they did in 2000! Then we know that the Courts have violated the Spirit of the Courts and failed in their duty using the Krugman Spirit of Court Decisions Rule(df= a court decision is valid if and only if it meets the spirit of the Constitution as defined by the editorial board of either the NY or LA Times)!The religious right is already having a big impact on education: 31 percent of teachers surveyed by the National Science Teachers Association feel pressured to present creationism-related material in the classroom.The rest feel no pressure to mention the views of the majority of the nat
ion i
n class. Krugman worries about the pressure to teach the majority opinion in class, but fails to note that creationist teachers are often fired for giving their views in class. Fired. But Mr. Krugman is right to worry about the report of a “feeling of pressure.” This is far more serious than actually losing your job for your views.
But medical care is the cutting edge of extremism.Translation: “That Pope is a real religious nut.”Yesterday The Washington Post reported on the growing number of pharmacists who, on religious grounds, refuse to fill prescriptions for birth control or morning-after pills. These pharmacists talk of personal belief; but the effect is to undermine laws that make these drugs available. And let me make a prediction: soon, wherever the religious right is strong, many pharmacists will be pressured into denying women legal drugs.If you don’t violate your religious beliefs to give Krugman what he wants, Krugman will make you. That way you will not oppress Krugman by making Krugman go to the next drug store. He will force you to be free!Krugman will prevent future “pressure” on secularists by taking away your right to choose to obey your own religious convictions! Krugman does not just have a right to buy birth control. Krugman has found a right to force you to sell it to him.And it won’t stop there. There is a nationwide trend toward ‘conscience’ or ‘refusal’ legislation. Laws in Illinois and Mississippi already allow doctors and other health providers to deny virtually any procedure to any patient. Again, think of how such laws expose doctors to pressure and intimidation.Well, I am relieved to discover that Krugman will intimidate pro-life doctors into doing abortions now to avoid the fear that pro-choice doctors will be intimidated into not doing them later.But the big step by extremists will be an attempt to eliminate the filibuster, so that the courts can be packed with judges less committed to upholding the law than Mr. Greer.Wow! This IS just like those nasty Islamic terrorists! We are going to ELIMINATE THE FILIBUSTER! I can see how that is JUST LIKE flying a plane into a building. We hate democracy, because we are using our majority in Congress to get judges who agree with the majority in Congress.We can’t count on restraint from people like Mr. DeLay, who believes that he’s on a mission to bring a ‘biblical worldview’ to American politics, and that God brought him a brain-damaged patient to help him with that mission.Krugman translation: “Mr. Delay said something badly so I am going to associate everything in his religion with one statement!” Krugman believes religious people should be free to hold office only if they assume a secular point of view. Everyone will soon be free to be secular! What we need – and we aren’t seeing – is a firm stand by moderates against religious extremism.Wait! I thought earlier in this article, Republicans were in terror of the blow back from Schaivo. Isn’t this a contradiction? Perhaps I have missed the spirit of the Krugman column by picking on his actual words. Please do not arrest me Mr. Krugman. I was very cheerful when writing this response! We love you Mr. Krugman!Some people ask, with justification, Where are the Democrats?Other people ask, with justification, “Who cares?”But an even better question is, Where are the doctors fiercely defending their professional integrity? I think the American Medical Association disapproves of politicians who second-guess medical diagnoses based on video images – but the association’s statement on the Schiavo case is so timid that it’s hard to be sure.Perhaps Mr. Krugman can use his public platform at the New York Times to intimidate the AMA into making a statement he likes to avoid their being intimidated by the powerful pastors using the platform that is the Baptist Press Association.The closest parallel I can think of to current American politics is Israel. There was a time, not that long ago, when moderate Israelis downplayed the rise of religious extremists. But no more: extremists have already killed one prime minister, and everyone realizes that Ariel Sharon is at risk.This might be thought over the top. . . but at our last prayer meeting there was a long time of PRAYER for Terri Schaivo. We all know the direct line between praying and killing elected leaders. It can happen here folks. It begins with Young Life and groups like Jars of Clay. It ends in assination plots.America isn’t yet a place where liberal politicians, and even conservatives who aren’t sufficiently hard-line, fear assassination. But unless moderates take a stand against the growing power of domestic extremists, it can happen here.”You know I feel put down by what Krugman said. The Constitution gives me freedom of religion. Mr. Krugman has not actually done anything to keep me from worshipping as I please, but he sure has violated the Spirit of that Amendment. Maybe the boys at CYO, AWANA, and Teen SOYO (we are all the same) should get together tonight and pray. Heh. Heh. Heh.

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