Bill Moyers on Doomsday

Bill Moyers has become even more straightforward in his critique of the religious right and the appropriation of religion by politicos to advance their agenda.

In this essay he
sounds a warning that the appropriation of theology by idealogues puts us in a
position that makes it impossible for effective solutions to intractable
problems to emerge. He says the delusional has come in from the fringe to
influence those at the seat of

Welcome to doomsday, he
writes. He doesn’t claim fundamentalists run the government, but he does note
that they represent a significant constituency who have been coopted (my word
not Moyers) and who have likewise coopted politics. The result is a frightful
combination of right wing politics and fundamentalist theology that results in
“political religion.”

Moyers writes
of the hateful characterization of Islam by some Christian fundamentalists and
connects the fervent belief in the rapture and end times religious prophecy to
the difficulty of fashioning policy to protect and preserve the environment. If
wars and catastrophes are the marks of the end times, why attempt to stave off
the destruction of the land, pollution of the waters, soiling of the

These are pretty fearsome words
to hear from a respected and experienced journalist whose career is as solid and
reputable as any in our time.

is an optimist. But he writes wryly of a stock broker who claimed optimism
about the market but looked less than optimistic. When asked why, he replied,
“Because I don’t know if my optimism is

These are not times that
lead us to optimism, but they do call us to responsibility. When the delusional
is annexed by the ideological, as Moyers claims, and begins to influence the
seats of power, we need more than optimism, we need committed action to reclaim
the best of religious teaching about real issues in God’s creation. Otherwise,
optimist or not, doomsday will be at hand.

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