Religious right advances its reactionary agenda

David Tyler
Religious right advances its reactionary agenda
***
reprinted from the New Unionist, April 2000, page 4

Religious right advances its reactionary agenda

By David Tyler

Kansas recently passed a law allowing its high schools to drop the teaching of evolution. Five other states are facing similar attempts.

Large numbers of communities are under attack by pro-voucher forces that would pump tax dollars into private religious schools at the expense of public schools. Vouchers and other forms of religious school aid are pending in 24 states.

"Charitable choice" bills that subsidize church-run social services are pending in eight states. Ten Commandments posting bills exist in 11 states, and 15 states have matters pending dealing with prayer or other religion-in-schools schemes.

Why the upsurge in religion/state issues all of a sudden?

These developments are part and parcel of the U.S. owning class's war against the American worker. Religion can be used to distract workers from more pressing issues such as the globalized market, shifting of jobs overseas, downsizing and the world's largest per capita prison population made up of colored and other poor persons.

Personal religious experience can be a force for good in the world. But the current push to make America more theocratic is the work of large, wealthy organizations with the backing of segments of Corporate America.

By placing religion on the national political agenda the millionaires and billionaires who funnel tax-exempt monies into the religious right can create a smokescreen for their financial maneuvers.

While profits have been soaring during this economic boom, wages have been falling.

Workers are in the majority and their numbers could bring the system to its knees. By infusing religion into the issues that confront our nation the owning class can channel workers' frustration over declining wages and benefits into the harmless (for the owners) direction of debating issues that aren't essential to the workers' welfare.

This isn't to say that religion isn't important to many workers in America, nor that it shouldn't be. But issues that violate the separation of church and state are not really religious issues but the phony tactics sponsored by the organized religious right on behalf of and for the benefit of their wealthy backers.

Religion should be a private affair and not the subject of political contention it has become thanks to the Pat Robertsons of the world.