Wednesday, March 09, 2011

De-Funding Education

versus democracy
christinewoodman printable version print page Bookmark and Share
Sat Mar 05, 2011 at 04:00:36 PM EST
[ed - Is the Tea Party is predominantly dominionist? Yes, argues this author, and dominionism has an all-encompassing agenda that includes crushing labor unions, abolishing reproductive rights, and driving women from the workplace. For a treatment of Christian conservative ideological roots of the current war on unions, see part 3 of Rachel Tabachnick's extended series on "Biblical Capitalism", Two Decades of Christian Nationalist Education Paved Way for Today's War on Labor. For explanations of dominionism, see Political Research Associates Head Analyst Chip Berlet's The Christian Right, Dominionism, and Theocracy - Part One and also Tabachnick's The Rise of Charismatic Dominionism.]

Last night I watched Austan Goolsbee look into the camera with a doe-eyed look of shock as he talked about the Tea Party’s plan to strip state and federal budgets for education. He called it short-sighted and surprising.

Seriously? For starters, they told us that this was what they were going to do, so how surprising can it be? And it is not short-sighted; it is part of a long-term plan to de-equalize our society. To bastardize a quote from the Clinton campaigns: it is about the equality, dummy.

I am beginning to the think that the beauty of Christine O’Donnell’s performance in the last election was that it distracted people from what the Tea Party was actually promising. No one on the left or even in the center actually listened or believed them when they said that they wanted to do away with the Department of Education, the Department of Labor, and the Department of Health and Human Services. And now some people are actually shocked when the Tea Party goes after labor, education and health services.

It is a safe bet that if you are looking at an elected official from the Tea Party, you are looking at a Dominionist. While some of the rank-and-file in the Tea Party are not hard-core members of the Christian Right, those who they elected to power are almost invariably from the school of thought which espouses dismantling the federal government and returning the power to patriarchal families and to states who will rule in accordance with Biblical law.

Dominionists are extreme free-market hawks. They believe it is sacred in the same way that they believe that the family is sacred. They believe that all programs which promote equality are immoral. Education and unions are two of the greatest instruments of equality.

The Tea Party will defund public education until it is nothing more than a lurching skeleton, and then they will point to its ineffectiveness as a reason to abolish it altogether. They don’t believe in public education; they believe in homeschooling. Not only does homeschooling keep our children from being exposed to dangerous ideas like evolution, civics, the true history of the United States and slavery, it also keeps their mothers in their place: the home.

Which brings us to women’s roles in the society of the Christian Right: they want to roll-back all gender-equality laws so that women will be forced back into the home. Dominionists do not want to take away just abortion; they want to end birth-control. I know most people think that Catholics are the only Christian group who oppose birth-control on religious grounds. But Domionists see a “population winter” looming on the horizon, a time when there will not be enough white people to push back the hordes of the Others.

So it really is theocracy versus democracy. Will we be led by those who want to create a nation ruled by Christian-sharia-law* and return to serfdom, or will we make the difficult journey through our own prejudices and fears and work towards social justice and a better future for our children?

This is not a choice between Christianity and secularism. It is a choice between a heartless, blood-sport capitalism and the heart of Christianity and every other world-religion: justice, care for oppressed, and hope for our children.

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