Obama's now notorious "clinging to religion" comment has the pious heartland of Red State Amerca in ferment. At least the self-appointed preachers of the Red State Religion hope as much. Wanna-be social conservatives like George Will are pillorying Obama as a secular elitist who sees religion as a psychological disorder, and I can imagine that those who have insisted all along that Obama is a closet Marxist are giddy now that he has all but re-iterated Karl Marx's most infamous dictum, that religion is the opiate of the people.
Fine, but you need not be a Marxist to understand religion as an opiate. You can be a rabid capitalist like George Will who wants the common people to be just religious enough so that they won't steal his silverware or trash his gas-guzzling SUV. In our so-called Democracy, religion is simply a private matter and, therefore, meaningless except insofar as it provides the moral upbringing to keep hoi poloi quiescent and deferential to imperious idiots like George Will. It no longer supplies the people with any public purpose as it did in the long defunct Age of Faith.
The market place is the public purpose now, and the sole function of religion is to supply enough morality among us groundlings to safeguard private poverty. But, of course, even in a capitalist democracy, there is a risk that religion will overstep its duties to it. For instance, the people who suck in the market place, as Mr. Obama has suggested, have no recourse but to curl up in their privatized religious bubbles, where their bitterness and resentments can easily turn into ugly religious zealotry and, dare I say it, jihad. So, religious passions must somehow be curbed.
This is not just liberal secular elitism of the Democratic Party's Left Wing. It is also the premise of Bush's foreign policy. We have to give the religious Middle East hope! How? By whipping capitalist democracy on them so that the jihadists will no longer slobber over the thought of attaining a perpetual bliss in an apocalyptic explosion but will instead yearn for the adventures of the stock exchange and leveraged buy-outs.
The only difference between the Left and the Bushies is that the former wants to temper religious passions with a more equitable distribution of wealth whereas the latter want to do the same merely by offering the chimerical hope of hitting the jackpot. But both want to re-direct the hopes for an otherworldly paradise into the thirst simply for thisworldy material well-being. Both want us, in other words, to switch our allegience from the Kingdom of God to the Kingdom of Man. Therefore, both, the so-called liberals and the so-called conservatives, belong to the same religion, atheism. This whole religious Red State vs. godless Blue State is simply demogogic crap.