We cannot have sane public policy, so long as we have policy that is not grounded in fact rather than willful ignorance.
There is a point where religion veers off the road of spirituality, of inner understanding and of deeper connection with what is outside ourselves, into stupid superstition of the "step on a crack break your mother's back" childhood nonsense to make walking along sidewalks more interesting, and into the sewer of superstition.
One of the defining litmus tests for American conservatives is that they deeply and sincerely believe things which are not true.
One of the perils of superstition is that it acknowledges only a partial responsibility for human choice and human behavior. For the rest, it encourages buck passing, 'the devil made me do it' thinking. Although that doesn't seem to stop the higher threshold of responsibility to which the right holds everyone but themselves.Far too much of the so-called religious right is really more the anti-reality right, rejecting a more objective basis of understanding and connecting to the world for the most idiotic superstition, and sticking a badly printed, misspelled post-a-note over what it really is -- nonsense -- and trying to relabel it as religion and GOD.
Substances that give pleasure, and sex, both sexuality and reproduction, are topics with which the religious right does not deal well. Our bodies produce alcohol; some people consume additional alcohol for pleasure.
We have, sadly, from the right, the insistence on the distribution of false and factually inaccurate information on everything from sex, to pot, to booze, to the sugar and other sweeteners in our food (which are apparently more addictive than the chemicals in pot).
From the State University of New York, Potsdam, Department of Sociology:
Alcohol: A Dangerous Toxin Foreign to Human Bodies?Is alcohol a dangerous toxin foreign to our bodies?Temperance activists disregarded scientific knowledge and, instead, made many clearly absurd assertions:
Quite to the contrary. Every living human body continuously produces ethanol (beverage alcohol) 24/7. It's called endogenous ethanol production. Human life does not exist without the presence of alcohol.
Microorganisms in our digestive system constantly convert sugar into carbon dioxide gas and ethanol. The quantity of alcohol produced depends on our diet, but can reach about an ounce of "pure" alcohol per day. That's equivalent to almost two alcoholic drinks: two beers, two glasses of wine, or two shots of whiskey.
Our belief that alcohol is a poison and foreign to our bodies is based in our temperance past. The United States imposed National Prohibition for almost 14 years (1920-1933) and we are currently experiencing significant neo-prohibition sentiment.
Consider these ridiculous assertions:
Incredibly, all these statements, which are very misleading at best, were not made by prohibitionists of old but by officials representing governmental agencies of today. Significantly, the comments are not based on scientific evidence but instead seem to reflect a neo-prohibitionist effort to stigmatize alcohol.
- Alcohol is the dirtiest drug we have. It permeates and damages all tissue. No other drug can cause the same degree of harm that it does.
- Alcohol is harmful to the body.
- Alcohol is a poison, and drinking it (no level of consumption indicated) might lead to death.
- Alcohol is toxic (no level of consumption indicated).
- The effects of alcohol on men (no level of consumption indicated) are that hormone levels change, causing lower sex drive and enlarged breasts.
- Alcohol (no level of consumption indicated) can cause deterioration of the heart muscle.
It is the current federal government policy to reduce the consumption of alcoholic beverages among American adults. A deputy director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) even publicly asserted that there is no such thing as responsible drinking.
Instead of stigmatizing alcohol and trying to scare people into abstaining, we need to recognize that it is not alcohol itself but rather the misuse of alcohol that is the problem.
The vast majority of American adults who consume alcohol do so in moderation with no ill effects. Indeed, the moderate consumption of alcohol (beer, wine and spirits) is strongly associated with better health and greater longevity than is either abstaining from alcohol or abusing it. Some toxin!
The stigmatization of alcohol is dangerously counterproductive in the effort to promote the moderate and healthful consumption of alcohol by those adults who choose to drink and for whom it is not contraindicated by pregnancy or other reason.
Alcohol is a natural part of human life.
This explains the right wing stupidity that rejects science, that rejects anything that challenges their swollen over-emotional amygdalas, to the exclusion of the use of the rest of their brains. The religious right finds pleasure a source of fear, on some level, be it sex, or alcohol, marijuana, or even relaxation through meditation -- or candy.
This is a prime example, the assertion of demonic possession if you get buzzed or high:
I put this on a par with the claims we had a few years ago that witches were flying around candy factories on their broomsticks, cursing all halloween candy --- presumably all candy, since some of it is not holiday specific --- and the claims that carving a pumpkin and putting a candle in it would lead to demonic possession.
In other words, a significant segment of the right replaces rational thinking with highly emotional not-thinking, and then tries to give it legitimacy as religious faith that deserves respect and credibility.
But more than that, the radical right is bent on coercing the rest of the world to conform to their willful insanity and stupidity.
We must reject it, soundly, and as well we should treat it with the ridicule that it deserves. This is not faith, it is not spirituality, it is the worst aspects of who we are, and it should be rejected for the failure it is. 'Demon Drink' works as a metaphor, but not as a serious alternate reality.
When the religious right report hearing voices........it's NOT God, but it might be schizophrenia or some other kind of delusion. Contrary to predictions like the one below, Mitt Romney is not looking at beginning a two term presidency (the prediction from God last year), and it is not likely that Obama is going to retire to Florida this year to become a surfer. But hey, THEY BELIEVE this stuff on the radical religious right:
Religion, not government, appears to be the problem, not the solution; at least the kind favored by the radical right. Increasingly, this is the ONLY right, an ignorant and ugly extremist right.