the Disillusioned kid: The Unintelligent Designs of the Christian Right
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Friday, August 12, 2005

The Unintelligent Designs of the Christian Right

Dogma is a powerful thing. It is also a very dangerous thing. Despite this it remains strangely seductive, promising not just a quickly forotten one night stand, but a serious long-term relationship. (What do you mean you don't know what I'm going on about?!)

Consider Dinosaur Adventure Land (via Manic) which appears to be for real (it's a bloody impressive hoax if not). As will become quickly obvious if you take the time to peruse the site, DAL is a Creationist Theme Park, set up by American Christian Fundamentalist-types in order propagate anti-evolution propaganda. Nowdays the trendy "theory" among such people is intelligent design, which seeks to explan evolutionary change by attributing it to design by a higher being (i.e. God). What's striking about DAL is that the organisers don't have any time for such mealy-mouthed compromise. No siree. They're proper dyed in the wool believers.

It gets better, however. These people don't just literally believe in creation, they also think that dinosaurs used to roam the earth with humans and were only wiped out by the great flood recounted in Genesis (the one with Noah and the Ark and all that stuff). There evidence for this? A few passages in the Bible which describe things which nowdays sound a bit like what we call Dinosaurs and folk-stories from people's around the world which bear a similar resemblance. You'll excuse me if I maintain my scepticism.

It's easy to look at stuff like this and use it as an excuse to laugh at the Americans. We'd never have anything so stupid over here right? Unfortunately, as the saying goes, when the US sneezes the UK gets a cold. This is usually applied to economics, but is just as relevant in the context of crazy religious groups. There are real fears about the role of creationists within the governments new privately-funded "City Academies" scheme, while Creation Fest, a "Christain youth festival" has apparently doubled its attendance year on year since 2001. Couple that with the emergence of evangelical pressure groups like Christian Voice and you've got a dangerous combination.

The Christian Right in the US is at the present time on the offensive. American liberals seem to have little idea how to respond. The reason for the right's success lies in the fact that it has organised itself into a movement. They don't just mobilise themselves every four years for an election campaign and then disappear. They're advocating their ideas and attacking their enemies constantly. There's even an industry of books, videos and computer games growing up around them. Those on the left (and I use the term in its widest sense here) should be doing the same thing. If they want to stop them then they need to be just as organised. Unfortunately at this point they've got a long hill to climb and there are few signs of interest in such movement building anyway (Air America being one of the few exceptions). On this side of the pond, we have more time. Christian Voice were able to kick up quite a stink about the Jerry Springer Opera, but as yet their influence is limited. That is unlikely to remain the case and in the future they may be more succesful. If we're going to make a stand we need to do so soon.

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