When Christian Fundies, Barry Goldwater, And The IRS ClashFor some time now, I've been getting spam from a Reverend Lou Sheldon. How did the Rev find me? Beats me! And I dare not reply to his "remove me" link in order to get rid of his spam because that'll just tell his mailer daemon that my E-Mail address has a pulse resulting in more spam. Every once in a while, however, I do click the links in them, especially when I'm jonesing for a few laughs.
Earlier today was one of those moments.
And I'm not laughing ...
Fundamentalist Christianity has a big beef with a law established in the IRS tax code way back in 1954 that restricts the churchs' influence in government. Specifically, the church could preach any message that they felt like preaching except for one -- they couldn't preach semons or publish screeds that is specifically taylored to endorse or oppose a political campaign without risking stiff fines and/or having their tax exempt status revoked. My history might be foggy, but I believe the last President to purposefully demand the IRS to strictly enforce it was President Carter.
Apparently, Carter was concered that churches were using the pulpit to preach politically charged sermons of spirital ultimatum with the expressed purpose of fleecing parishoners from not only their assurance of their eternal salvation but their votes and money as well. In other words, he thought churches -- predominately those in the South - were telling their congregations, "As Christians, you must contribute and vote for so-and-so or risk burning in Hell" and he wanted to put a stop to it via siccing the IRS on them, mostly likely because the "so-and-so's" these churches had in mind were Republicans. Carter followed through with his threats and the IRS moved in, which then polarized the southern states from Blue to Red and gave birth to Christian Fundamentalist -- the far fringe of the radical Right.
Throughout the 1980s, Barry Goldwater was sensing danger within his own beloved party for he apparently believed Christian Fundamentalist had completely transformed the GOP into something way beyond his vision. In 1981, he declared war with the following:
There is no position on which people are so immovable as their religious beliefs. There is no more powerful ally one can claim in a debate than Jesus Christ, or God, or Allah, or whatever one calls this supreme being. But like any powerful weapon, the use of God's name on one's behalf should be used sparingly. The religious factions that are growing throughout our land are not using their religious clout with wisdom. They are trying to force government leaders into following their position 100 percent. If you disagree with these religious groups on a particular moral issue, they complain, they threaten you with a loss of money or votes or both. I'm frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in 'A,' 'B,' 'C,' and 'D.' Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me? And I am even more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some God-granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the senate. I am warning them today: I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of 'conservatism.'
By 1994, Goldwater blasted his own beloved Republican party in - of all places - the L.A. Times by saying:
"A lot of so-called conservatives today don't know what the word means. They think I've turned liberal because I believe a woman has a right to an abortion. That's a decision that's up to the pregnant woman, not up to the pope or some do-gooders or the religious right. It's not a conservative issue at all."
The volleys kept coming that same year in the form supporting gays in the military and campaigning in Arizona to end job descrimination on the basis of homosexuality, which then turned into federal law. He's quoted as saying, "The big thing is to make this country - along with every other country in the world with a few exceptions - quit discriminating against people just because they're gay. You don't have to agree with it, but they have a constitutional right to be gay. And that's what brings me into it. You don't have to be straight to be in the military. You just have to shoot straight." His last volley against the Republican party came on his death bed when he reportedly said, "Whatever you do, don't do it in my name. You are not my party."
With all that said, I present this link from the goofy Reverend's SPAM in the hopes that it'll convince you beyond of a shadow of a doubt that if Barry Goldwater was still alive today and seen this, he'd be the first person in line to tear the "Let's Sic The IRS On 'Em" page from Jimmy Carter's playbook for he of all people would know exactly where this would lead -- a theocratic Christian Taliban in America that'll spew more attacks on gays, more attacks on Democratic disenters, more attacks on traditional Goldwater conservatives, more thievery, more rougery, and flat-out terrorism tempered in fake Christian religion and wearing ol Red, White, & Blue as its ultimate deception.