Friday, October 07, 2005

Better dead than ...?

Following the post linking with Denyse O'Leary yesterday, which highlighted the fact that ID proponents were facing direct challenges to their presence in university almost whenever they appeared, here is a link to a post on Telic Thoughts, which points out that the American Civil Liberties Union regard ID as a major threat to the American Way. Indeed, if you go to their website, you can see this for yourself.

Now this is interesting, and a little frightening. In the 1950's, communists were the enemy of choice. I only know about this by reputation, I hasten to add - but there was a national fear that there were communists hiding under every bed; Joseph Macarthy (sp?) launched his trials and witch-hunts under the Stars and Stripes to out every commie from wherever they were hiding. Some people with affiliations to communist groups were discovered; other innocent people lived in fear of malicious allegations. But an interesting question is: did it actually make any difference? Was there a communist conspiracy to overthrow the US? I suspect it had little effect beyond heightening the tension between the protagonists in the Cold War.

I am concerned by the fact that we see the same thing starting to happen now, in the opposition of liberals to the ID community. The truth of the matter is that the freedom of speech and thought of people is already being curtailed, supposedly in the name of separation of church and state ("Amendment 1! It's the most important rule in the book!"). In actual fact, that was nothing to do with what Amendment 1 was supposed to be for, and in closing down debate in this way, what is happening is that a liberal atheocracy is being enforced, in which it becomes intellectually intolerable for somebody to believe in a God who is actually capable of doing anything.

The paranoia might be cause for some people to giggle, but it disturbs me. In an era in which religious fundamentalism is regarded as the big enemy of civilisation, to be tagged as "threatening to introduce a theocracy" is to be branded as an enemy of the state. Separation of the state and religion was meant to guarantee religious freedom and tolerance; what is starting to happen is that the First Amendment is being distorted and used to restrict religious freedom. This distortion of the law is completely reversing its intent.

I am no real friend of GWB, but whilst the US continues to have a president who is part of the religious right, I think most people are relatively safe. However, if there were a significant movement towards the political left and liberalism, it is not hard to imagine that - rather than the political right pursuing enemies on the political left, as it did in the 50's - the liberal establishment would start to pursue and expel these "intolerant fundamentalists" in the name of "tolerant liberalism".