Wednesday, May 08, 2013

The Mindset of the Christofascists [and GOP Base]

Admittedly, this blog does not treat Christofascists and fundamentalist religion kindly.  Why?  Because in my view they are decidedly not nice people and arguably have some significant mental health issues.  And then there is the rank hypocrisy that one sees on display daily along with the pervasive hatred of others.  There are few less loving people despite their protestations that they "love" everyone, even gays, as they go about their agenda of stigmatizing their targets and making their lives as hellish as possible.    Bob Altemeyer, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada, has a piece entitled "The Authoritarians" that looks at the fundamentalist Christian mindset after a study that used a series of tests to question evangelicals, Christian Fundamentalists, and mixed groups to determine the values held by these people, their knowledge of the Bible, and their reasoning skills (ethical reasoning).   His conclusions about Christian fundamentalists - those I call the Christofascists were not pretty:

They are highly submissive to established authority, aggressive in the name of that authority, and conventional to the point of insisting everyone should behave as their authorities decide. They are fearful and self-righteous and have a lot of hostility in them that they readily direct toward various out-groups. They are easily incited, easily led, rather un-inclined to think for themselves, largely impervious to facts and reason, and rely instead on social support to maintain their beliefs. They bring strong loyalty to their in-groups, have thick-walled, highly compartmentalized minds, use a lot of double standards in their judgments, are surprisingly unprincipled at times, and are often hypocrites.

But they are also Teflon-coated when it comes to guilt. They are blind to themselves, ethnocentric and prejudiced, and as closed-minded as they are narrowminded. They can be woefully uninformed about things they oppose, but they prefer ignorance and want to make others become as ignorant as they. They are also surprisingly uninformed about the things they say they believe in, and deep, deep, deep down inside many of them have secret doubts about their core belief. But they are very happy, highly giving, and quite zealous. In fact, they are about the only zealous people around nowadays in North America, which explains a lot of their success in their endless (and necessary) pursuit of converts.
Despite all the things in scriptures about loving others, forgiving others, leaving punishment to God, and so on, authoritarian followers feel empowered to isolate and segregate, to humiliate, to persecute, to beat, and to kill in the middle of the night, because in their heads they can almost hear the loudspeakers announcing, “Now batting for God’s team, his designated hitter, (their name).”
 One of his conclusions from his study?  This:
[T]he greatest threat to American democracy today arises from a militant authoritarianism that has become a cancer upon the nation.
Given the nastiness and hypocrisy of these folks, I ask again, why do we give any deference to them or their "deeply held religious beliefs"?   These folks are a clear and present danger to constitutional government and the rights of those they deem "other."

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