Friday, December 9, 2011

Rick Perry's New Ad: A Translation

One more political post, just because it's the season for that sort of thing. It occurs to me that some people may not understand why Rick Perry's most recent ad campaign, "Strong," grates like fingernails on the chalkboard with people like me. So I thought it would be helpful to offer a translation of sorts. For those of you who haven't seen the ad, here it is:

And here is what I hear as I listen to it:

I’m not afraid to explicitly link my bigoted and hateful beliefs to Christianity in an attempt both to baptize hate and to garner votes, even though doing so gives all Christians a bad name among those who care about justice, equality, and a love that isn’t constrained to one religious community or one sexual orientation.

I believe there is something wrong with the decision in this country to end a painful and damaging discriminatory practice in the military. I think we should have continued to discriminate against some of those who have chosen to risk their lives and sacrifice their comforts in the name of promoting the security and freedoms of their fellow Americans. Because of who they happen to love, their courage and sacrifice means nothing to me.
Furthermore, I think it is terrible that we take separation of church and state seriously in this country. In the name of this principle, our public schools are prohibited from officially sanctioning one religion over others or setting aside school time to explicitly carry out a religious practice or celebrate a particular religion’s holidays. So long as this principle is in place, there will never be schools in this country that require Christian children to observe Ramadan on pain of enduring stigmatization if they refuse. But it also means that Muslim children will not be required to sit through school functions that explicitly endorse the majority religion. And since I belong to the majority and want to impose my views on those who don’t share it, this is an intolerable cost to me.

I know full well that prohibiting schools from explicitly sanctioning one religion over others  does not mean that any child is prohibited from praying in school according to their beliefs, or celebrating their religious holidays and traditions in a manner that doesn’t shove them down the throats of others who think differently. It just means that each child, regardless of faith or lack thereof, is allowed to do this in their own way when it doesn't disrupt school activities, or during times set aside without prejudice for children to pursue their individual convictions—for example, during moments of silence that are still officially observed during school assembles. Even though I know full well the distinction here, I will deliberately choose to ignore it and misrepresent reality for the sake of political gain.
And I will not only aim to increase public confusion on these issues, I will take those who are clear about them to task, labeling their respect for our soldiers regardless of their unchosen sexuality, and their allegiance to church/state separation, a “war on faith.” I will deliberately invoke us/them rhetoric, magnifying the ideological divisiveness in this country for the sake of gaining political power.

I am Rick Perry. I mask my bigotry in the cloak of Christian faith. And despite the fact that doing so plants hate and division into a faith defined essentially by a love that knows no boundaries, I approve this bigotry.
So that is what I hear, for better or worse, when I listen to this ad. And that is what many people hear. And that is why we cringe--or blink in horror at the fact that this man is a serious contender for the most powerful political position in the world.


  1. sounds like a nut to me (but thats just my Canadian point of view)

  2. The only change I would make is to insert "one of" in front of "the most powerful political position in the world".

    I am an atheist, but I salute you for your honesty and integrity. Well said.

  3. @Eric Reitan~I am honored to include you as my F.B. friend. I would like to print and save your articles regarding Perry and Bachmann. Having difficulty doing so. Could you please email me both of them?
    Thank you, brilliant new F.B. friend of mine. :-) Sue