Democrats & Liberals Archives

A Blow to the Theocrats

After the Big Compromise that prevented the “nuclear option,” the blogosphere is awash with posts proclaiming winners and losers. Some think Democrats won. Others think Republicans won. Some say Senator Reid won. Others say Senator Frist won. Still others claim that the 14 compromisers took over the Senate. Few of the blogs discuss the matter from a broader perspective. From the big-picture point of view, the compromise was a blow to the Dobson theocrats. And that’s an unadultrated good!

The trend toward theocracy is entrenched. President Bush, listening to James Dobson and other intolerant fundamentalists, is pushing it along as fast as he can. We have programs telling our youth that only abstinence would keep them healthy. We have "faith-based" programs that allow discrimination. Taking morning-after pills, such as Plan B, is not allowed. Pregnant women must be forced into childbirth. Those in vegetative state at the end of life, theocrats insist, should be forced to stay alive. They also want to force kids to pray in the schools. The schools should teach creationism or "intelligent design," which they insist is just as good as scientific theories like evolution.

This is an extremely dangerous trend, and the "nuclear option" was to have been the Big Confrontation in the war to impose a theocracy upon U.S. The dreaded event has been averted by 7 Republican senators and 7 Democratic senators. This small groups of senators acted because it was afraid of the growing fundamentalism in this country. The 7 Republicans, especially, wanted to pull their party back from the extremist brink.

The 7 Republicans told their leaders that they wanted to be listened to as well as the religious zealots among them. They did not say so, but it is obvious they want to blunt religious extremism in their party. I am sure there are many other Republicans who feel the same way. They are Republicans because of the party's laissez faire policies, NOT because they agree with the theocrats.

This is great. I'm not for laissez faire, but it definitely is not as bad as making our country a theocracy. Both Republicans and Democrats should fight this horrible trend.

Republicans challenged the religious zealots in the House, as well. Fifty Republicans defied Bush and deserted their party and voted for the legislation that would allow stem cell research. President Bush presented the fundamentalist line when he stated he would veto the bill:

"This bill would take us across a critical ethical line by creating new incentives for the ongoing destruction of emerging human life."

This is not "life." And the purpose is to help people with terrible diseases have better lives.

Today it's 50 who vote against the fundamentalists, tomorrow it will be a lot more. Republicans are beginning to see that theocrats are not helping them, and that they are a danger to our democracy.

Many say that the deal is temporary. At any time, the Republicans can trigger the "nuclear option" again. And well they may, when Bush sends to Congress his Supreme Court nominee. But at least we have increased the troops, both Republicans and Democrats, fighting on the side of democracy. I believe the president and the Dobsons of the world have been weakened. It will be much tougher for Bush to nominate and for Congress to confirm an extremist to the Supreme Court.

Hurray for the 14 senators who struck a blow against the theocrats.

Posted by Paul Siegel at May 25, 2005 5:49 PM