Religiosity in the U.S.

hoov hoov at
Thu Jun 11 06:51:01 PDT 1998

an important point that Yoshie made about the lack of access for many women got lost in the flurry of traffic about abortion on this list last week: over 80% of counties have no abotion facilities (a particular problem for women not living near major metropolitan areas), most hospitals do not allow abortons to be performed in them, most US doctors refuse to perform abortions, few mediacal students receive education about performing abortion...anti-abortion forces have, in effect, won a great deal on this issue irrespective of whether this state of affairs can be attributed to their efforts...

similarly, something is being lost (nay, ignored) in the recent religious threads: the pervasiveness of religiosity - right, left, mainstream - in the United States...consider the consistent use the state makes of religion - talk of a principled separation of church and state to the contrary notwithstanding: from prayers with which Congress and other legislatures customarily open their sessions to the work of chaplains the military and from invocations of the deity and *his* divine providence in the speeches of politicians to the requirement by congressional statute that the phrase "In God We Trust" decorate our money..."civil" religion as practiced in the US has extended into virtually every symbol, ritual, and festival by which the nation proclaims its propriety: holidays, sporting contests, corporate ads... this nation's myth, with its distinctive understanding of itself as a people coming out of history with an identity and purpose different from that of any other nation, is cast in specifically biblical terms...

no 'serious' US politicians are going to tout their philosophical materialism - whereby ideas do not exist as disembodied entities apart from material reality - anytime soon...and neither, apparently, should irreligious US left activists...Marx - who remains a rather unfashionable thinker despite Verso's splashy edition of the CM - wrote in _Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right_ that criticism of religion is the basis of all criticism...the point here is not to impugn believers but to confront the ways in which religiosity is used. ..expressions of religious belief and religiosity - sincere and otherwise - are part of the 'everyday' in US politics...the freedom to *not* believe and to express irreligiosity, however, remain conspicuously absent... Michael Hoover

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