The High Priest of Empire

"You know, Josh Burkeen is our rep down here in the southeast area. He lives in Colgate and travels out of Atoka. He was telling me lesbianism is so rampant in some of the schools in southeast Oklahoma that they’ll only let one girl go to the bathroom. Now think about it. Think about that issue.”

– U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, Aug. 31, 2004

Just as discretion is the better part of valor, it seems that prurience is now the better part of conservatism; however, Senator Coburn’s observations on rampant lesbianism amongst the flower of Oklahoma girlhood will not have been exempted from the Law of Unintended Consequences.

Sales of bus tickets to Atoka amongst a key demographic, teenage boys, probably went through the roof.

Tom Coburn is a doctor by profession.

Reports that GOP Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is to participate in an April 24 telecast organized by the Family Research Council from a Kentucky "megachurch" to protest Democrat filibustering of Bush judicial nominees is another symptom of the Republicans’ downhill skid to full-blown Roman imperialism, circa 12 B.C.; the appointment of the Emperor as the High Priest of the state faith.

Yes, yes, yes, church and state are separated by the Constitution. Yes, yes, yes, even the thought of the United States adopting an official faith sounds absurd.

However, there is sometimes an extremely fine line between that which is de facto and that which is de jure. Take, for example, the government of Saddam Hussein.

By any standard, Saddam Hussein headed the legal government of Iraq, if for no other reason other than the acceptance of his ambassadors’ credentials. The fact that he was a murderous thug did not vitiate, annul, or suspend the legality of his administration per se; nor did the changes in American or British policy that led to his overthrow. There was no government in exile for us to recognize. It would not at all be legally impossible for some government somewhere to continue to recognize Saddam as the legal leader of the Iraqi government, but it’s impossible to argue it in fact.

Applying the same standard to George W. Bush and the evangelicals, perhaps only one other recent president, John F. Kennedy, has been so closely identified with his faith; and in the case of the man who if he were alive would be able to claim the title of the real last conservative Democrat, that was because of residual anti-Papism, fear of red hats under the beds; indeed, in 1960, Kennedy addressed the Greater Houston Ministerial Association, saying,

"I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute, where no Catholic prelate would tell the president (should he be Catholic) how to act and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote."

Fast-forward 45 years, and the tenant of the Oval Office is openly and unashamedly identified with one particular religious faction, whom the inestimable Paul Craig Roberts calls "Rapture idolaters." Bill Frist, a U.S. senator, has no compunction about attending a rally in a church to protest against the Constitution of the United States.

Although by law the U.S. has no official faith, the fact that a senior Republican should politick on a church’s cloister shows what little regard for the law the party of government possesses.

The Republican Party was founded in opposition to the practice of chattel slavery. It had no hesitation in inflicting civil war on its own country to achieve its goals. It now possesses a political slave army all its own, the word of God its overseer, a blasphemy against Him and an insult to the memory of the Founding Fathers. Evangelical Christianity is now part of mainstream Republican DNA, corrupting the Gospel and turning the party of Dutch Reagan into a gang of demagogues.

The Grand Old Party is not a political party any more, but a cult of Romanesque gonzocons who would have the rampant teenage lesbians of Atoka back in gingham and bonnets, while its seers, augurs, and gut-gazers promise "peace" and "democracy" through strategies of endless war, its Vestal virgins preaching the suspension of the Constitution and touting absurdist visions of jihadists in sombreros, evoking the Roman fear of the tribes on its German border.

In matters relating to the conflict between church and state, no man offered better example, and suffered more, than St. Thomas More. Where, now, is the American More, to speak out from the inside against the depredations of those who would take the apotheosis of Dubya to its final, Roman, conclusion – his declaration as a god?