Sunday, April 02, 2006

God's Own Party

On a roll with his book out and making serious waves, in today's Washington Post, Kevin Phillips details the rise of religious fundamentalism in the United States:
These developments have warped the Republican Party and its electoral coalition, muted Democratic voices and become a gathering threat to America's future. No leading world power in modern memory has become a captive of the sort of biblical inerrancy that dismisses modern knowledge and science. The last parallel was in the early 17th century, when the papacy, with the agreement of inquisitional Spain, disciplined the astronomer Galileo for saying that the sun, not the Earth, was the center of our solar system.

Conservative true believers will scoff at such concerns. The United States is a unique and chosen nation, they say; what did or did not happen to Rome, imperial Spain, the Dutch Republic and Britain is irrelevant. The catch here, alas, is that these nations also thought they were unique and that God was on their side. The revelation that He apparently was not added a further debilitating note to the late stages of each national decline.
Combine these thoughts with the rise of foreign economies in countries whose populations dwarf ours, and it's not hard to imagine America's status as the world's solo superpower dwindling significantly within our lifetimes. Let's just hope we can maintain our civil rights and our freedom here as the inevitable unfolds.

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