Voices from Russia

Friday, 4 May 2018

5 May 2018. Russiagate… Barminess Incarnated

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We hear shouts of:

Russia interfered with our election! That’s immoral!

There’s a problem with that… those shouting such accusations offer no proof… none at all. However, it does enter a paradigm into the conversation:

Interference in the domestic affairs of a sovereign state is evil.

If such is so, then, the most guilty party isn’t Russia or China or Iran… it’s the USA! We have proof of the American interference in the recent Honduran election; we have proof that the USA launched aggression against Serbia, Afghanistan, Libya, and Iraq on specious grounds. Need I point up that Russia, Syria, China, and Iran haven’t launched any such aggression? It beggars the imagination. Can you believe that Anglo Americans truly believe that they’re “exceptional” and that the common rules of decency and fair play simply don’t apply to them? Hillary and Trump are but two sides of the same toxic neoliberal coin.

We live in dangerous times. The Anglos believe their propaganda bullshit. They truly think that they’re a “hyperpower” and that they’re the world’s judge, jury, and executioner. The present moment is especially dangerous, not because the USA and its allies Israel and the KSA are so strong, but because they’re so weak. That could lead to something spiralling out of control. An immature and thuggish crown prince, who can’t run a war against tiny Yemen successfully, leads the KSA (so how could he beat the local hegemon, Iran?)… Bibi Netanyahu faces a serious challenge as his political opponents are using his corruption against him (it’s so serious that it could topple him if he’s not careful)… Trump faces a certain disaster in the coming midterm elections (Paul Ryan tested the wind, found it adverse, and refused to run… what further proof do you need?). Far from being mighty and strong, these countries are in the deep kimchi in one way or another. That’s worrisome… any one of these players could do something stupid to take the pressure off them.

God do help us… the toddlers are in charge of the nursery and they’re playing with live hand grenades. Let this chalice pass, Lord…

BMD

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Is the Christian Right Driving Americans Away From Religion?

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Two societal shifts rocked religion in America in recent decades… the rise of Christian Evangelicals as a right-wing political force and the increasing number of people who decline to affiliate with any faith tradition. New research presents evidence that these trends, usually discussed separately, are in fact related. It reports the rate at which people disassociate themselves from religion is higher in states where the Christian Right exerts its political muscle. A research team led by Denison University political scientist Paul Djupe wrote:

Religious attachments fade in the face of visible Christian Right policy victories. There’s clear evidence that people… probably, those without strong relationships with houses of worship… use the Christian Right as a proxy for religion as a whole, and discontinue their religious identities as a result.

In the journal Political Research Quarterly, Djupe and his colleagues analysed the intersection of personal faith and religion-driven politics on a state-by-state basis. Using polling data aggregated by the Cooperative Congressional Election Study, they noted the percentage of people in a given state who identified as an atheist, agnostic, or “nothing in particular” (known collectively as “nones”), and how it changed since 2006:

A preponderance of the states appear to have experienced some degree of growth in religious “nones” in recent years. This particular pattern holds whether the individual state in question is generally thought of as being a “red” or “blue” state.

However, the rate of growth varied considerably from state to state… and not in the way one might predict. They reported:

Rising “none” rates are more common in Republican states in this period.

To determine why, the researchers measured the political clout of the Christian Right in each state (utilising the expertise of journalists and scholars). They also noted when and where these groups sponsored high-profile initiatives… usually, ballot measures to prohibit gay marriage. The researchers found that, while such efforts were often successful, they created a backlash “that didn’t redound to the benefit of organised religion in general”. They estimated that in states where such campaigns… and their backers… were widely publicised and debated:

Religion lost somewhere between 2 and 8 percent of the population. By 2010, a ban (on gay marriage) was in place in 29 states. These states were more likely to be Evangelical and had smaller populations of “nones” in them in 2006. However, by 2010, that gap between the “nones” in marriage-ban states and those in states with no marriage ban dropped by half.

This suggests that, in those traditionally religious states, the anti-gay-rights campaign soiled the name of religion for a significant number of residents, and they responded by stepping away from their former faith. Djupe and his colleagues concluded:

The decision to de-identify and disaffiliate with religion aren’t solely individual psychological processes. Rather, reactions to specific policy skirmishes that gather public attention and shape decision-making can drive that deeply personal shift.

The results suggest Evangelicals would be wise to consider the consequences of their political advocacy. In a clear case of unintended consequences, it appears to drive people from the pews.

1 May 2018

Tom Jacobs

Pacific Standard

https://psmag.com/news/is-the-christian-right-driving-americans-away-from-religion?utm_source=Pew%20Research%20Center&utm_campaign=25f8d1d984-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_05_02&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_3e953b9b70-25f8d1d984-399905625

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