If the Wall Street protests are to mean anything long term they have to also focus on the enablers of the top 1 percent that have raped the 99. Fundamentalist religion made this rape possible.
The source of the empowering of the top 1 percent super wealthy and the economic rape of rest of us is the religion of Evangelical fundamentalism. Note I didn't say religion per se, but religious fundamentalism is responsible.
Because without the fundamentalists and their "values" issues the lower 99 percent could not have been convinced to vote against their (our) economic self-interest, in other words, vote for Republicans serving only billionaires instead of the rest of us.
Wall Street is a legitimate target for long overdue protest but so are the centers of religious power that are the gate keepers of Republican Party "values" voters that make the continuing economic rape possible.
Fundamentalist religion -- Evangelical and Roman Catholic alike -- has delegitimized the US Government and thus undercut its ability to tax, spend and regulate
The fundamentalist have replaced economic and political justice with a bogus (and hate-driven) "morality" litmus tests of spurious red herring "issues" from abortion to school prayer and gay rights. The result has been that the masses of lower middle class and poor Americans who should be voting for Democrats and thus their own economic interests, have been persuaded to vote against their own class and self interest.
This trick of political sleight of hand has been achieved by this process:
- Declare the US Government agents of evil because of the fact that "the government" has allowed legal abortion, gay rights etc.,
Like most Evangelical/Roman Catholic fundamentalist movements in history, from the Bay State colonies to the Spanish Inquisition, the American Religious Right of today advocates the fusion of state power and religion through the reestablishment of the "Christian America" idea of "American Exceptionalism" (i.e., a nation "chosen" by God), the form of government adopted by the Puritans' successors during the age of early American colonialism.
Thus the division between "Real Americans" and the rest of us is the "saved" and "lost" paradigm of theological correctness applied to politics. Thus President Obama isn't a Real American, or even a born American, he's the "Other," a Muslim, an outsider, above all "not one of us."
In other words you're not just wrong but evil if you disagree with the Elect over abortion or for that matter trying to bring peace to the Middle East and thus "not supporting Israel." Because God has "chosen" the Jews to fulfill prophecy etc., etc..
"Bring America back to the Bible" is really no more subtle than the claim of the Iranian Mullahs to rule in "God's name" so that Iran too can come back to God. And if you can get Americans to worry about the Bible and not fairness and justice then you have handed a perpetual victory to Goldman Sacks and company.
How Did We Get Here?
The unstated agreement went like this: Republicans will pander to the Religious Right on the social issues - abortion, gay rights, prayer in schools, creationism in text books, and not so subtly the endorsement of religious schools to help white evangelicals and Roman Catholics avoid integration, as long as the Religious Right turned a blind eye to the fact that the Republican Party would A), do nothing substantive to change much about abortion etc., and, B) sell the soul of the country to corporate America, a country-within-a-country where one percent of the population have more wealth than the 99...
What few people seem prepared to do is look at or admit the larger problem: no political protest will change anything in America until the masses protest the religious fundamentalist's stranglehold on this country via having hijacked the Republican Party too. Deference to religion masquerading as politics must end, now.
Religion Masquerading as Politics
Religion masquerading as politics is not true religion or politics-- it is a theocracy-in-waiting. This charade of power grabs in God's name needs to be exposed then destroyed.
Democracy will not survive the continuing dirty combination of theocracy and oligarchy. That's where we're headed bankers running the world backed by preachers who don't care about God but care about power.
The timely destruction of the economic elites and their religious facilitators begins by calling fundamentalist/Evangelical/Roman Catholic "religion" what it is: a political grab for power based on literal madness of the sort that makes the not-so-bright terrified of modernity, truth, science and facts and leads them to deny evolution and global warming while believing that Jesus will come back any day now.
To the post-Roe Religious Right, hating America became the new patriotism. If it had not been for the Evangelicals demonizing the Federal Government over abortion and gay rights (as they did before over civil rights) how else would the economic oligarchy have gotten away with making the underclass vote against their own interests?
The "I vote pro-life" bumper sticker says it all
And that is why we need to strip off the mask of moral and religious posturing masquerading as politics. We're dealing with our own version of the "holy" men who run Iran and Saudi Arabia. And they are just as backward here as they are there. They are also winning -- in the short term anyway.
The Evangelical Right has stalled and perhaps destroyed the Obama presidency. And they are only getting going as their 87 "Tea Party" congressional freshmen proved by being willing to plunge the US economy over a cliff in order to satisfy their hunger to clip the wings of the "evil" US Government and render it useless.
What we face is not a loyal opposition but a force within America as alien as the Taliban, and with the same alienated aims where our government is concerned. What we witnessed in the last congressional elections was not an election as we understand the term but the start of a putsch.
When back in the 1970s and 80s my late evangelical father and I were running around signing up Republican leaders like Ronald Reagan to "take a stand on abortion" we were outsiders and agitators. But today the agitators are now actually running the heart of the Republican Party. Some of the most extreme of their number -- Perry and Bachmann -- are actually running for president.
Rick Perry et al
That's why no one was surprised that Rick Perry kicked off his presidential race with a prayer meeting surrounded by extremist bigots from the far, far Evangelical right. This was as "normal" today as it is to see the Saudi Royals paying tribute to Shariah Law and giving ten lashes to women who drive.
Conclusion Protest Churches and Religious Organisations, not Just Wall Street
Again: If the Wall Street protests are to mean anything they have to not just protest Wall Street and inequality but also protest the root source of America's tilt to the far unregulated corporate right . It is time to also protest outside mega churches, Evangelical publishing houses, religious organisations that lead the "moral" crusades against women and gays and all the rest.
Fundamentalist religion of all kinds is the enemy of democracy and thus of America. It is the enemy of working people everywhere too when it's bogus moral crusades empower the rich to thumb their noses at our government.
Fundamentalist religion here and around the world must be stopped in its anti-fact, anti-progress crusade. The alternative is chaos, decline, oligarchy and theocracy.
Frank Schaeffer is a writer and his new book is Sex, Mom, and God: How the Bible's Strange Take on Sex Led to Crazy Politics--and How I Learned to Love Women (and Jesus) Anyway.