But, hey, how are things in Portugal?
What do you think of the mixing of American fundamentalist religion into our politics?
Some of us would like to hear your thoughts.
hhhhmmmm. Such a large subject. Where should I start? Maybe the best way to tell what I feel about that subject is to talk you about the Portuguese scenario.
Fundamentalism in Portugal :
It almost doesn’t exist. We don’t have crazy people trying to burn other religion’s books, we don’t have people saying that the world’s problems are caused by homosexuals.
The majority of the population is (kind of) catholic. They go to the mass but they don’t follow Vatican’s ideology. They believe in Jesus but don’t believe on his miracles or in the rapture. They don’t follow the bible literally and most of the priests don’t also! “The texts in bible are metaphors” is, I believe, something you can ear from most priests. Actually, most of the Catholics I speak to about religion don’t go further than “I believe that there must be something out there”. In my opinion they say they are Catholics because that’s the way they were raised, but they don’t believe or follow any of the fundamental beliefs of Catholicism
We do have a very small part of the population who takes religion seriously and follow Vatican’s rules. There’s a couple of journalists who write in national newspapers who are catholic fundamentalists and do look like your fundamentalists “Europe is doomed because of gay and abortion”, they say. We did have some people protesting gay marriage (approved this year) and legal abortion (approved 3 or 4 years ago), but nothing serious. The bills passed without big fuss.
BUT… things are getting worst. This pope is much more fundamentalist than the last one. For example, the last pope would say that hell is metaphoric and this one says it really exists. This pope , some Portuguese bishops, and the journalists I mentioned keep saying that atheism is the worst thing happened to mankind.
Religion in politics: Almost non-existent. We have a party of Cristian inspiration that represents 5 to 9% of the population. Once, the leader of the party, sad that it was thanks to Our Lady of Fatima that a petroleum leak in the ocean didn’t get to our coasts. Apart from that time, I don’ t recall god, Jesus or any other religious symbol “appearing” in a political speech. Although Priests/bishops are present in major civil commemorations and the president, the prime minister and other politicians sometimes appear in religious festivities, the power of the religion on the politic decisions is very very small (as was the case with the subjects I mentioned earlier).
Conclusion: This all to say that the mix of politics with religion is a very strange (and scary) idea to me. When I hear that the (former) president of the most armed country in the world believes in the rapture I get very apprehensive. “I don’t care if the world ends, that’s a good thing, then we will have the rapture” I can imagine him saying. In my view, fundamentalist in the US is more concerning that in the Islamic world, because the Islamic fundamentalists are persecuted in almost all world and the US ones can do what they want and at the most they get a shy “don’t do that” from the UN and most of the countries. And, of course, the US has much more fire power than Islamic Fundamentalists.
For what I have seen, the guys at the bible belt/Jesusland don’t accept a moderated president as well as the moderated people accepted the born-again Christian president. This perception made me change the idea I had of Igor Panarin’s theory of possible disintegration of the USA from completely insane and impossible to just insane and impossible.
I believe that moderates should make their voice heard loud and clear and hope that the “rally to restore sanity” gets at least the double public as the Glen Beck’s one and delivers a clear signal to the moderated politicians that they have a good support.