Many writers and bloggers have used the term, “American Taliban”, over the past decade or so as a metaphor for the growing influence of the religious right in politics and the public sphere. It is meant to highlight those on the right who would like to see everyone live by their religious standards. It has often been used as hyperbole in order to show the potential dangers of letting religion hijack the political process in this country. Until now. It is hyperbole no longer, but a frightening fact.
In Arizona, the state legislature is considering a bill that could require that employees provide proof to their employers that any contraceptives they use are proscribed for medical reasons.
This is a blatant attempt by the religious right to force their views on everyone else. Given that this law and other similar ones being passed by state legislatures across the country, this is no longer the propagation of fanatic religious ideology in principle, but in practice. This is the real American Taliban.
The Taliban in Afganistan forced their version of Islamic Shari’a law, based upon their reading go the Quran, upon the people of that country. Not only could women not control what happened to their own bodies, they were forbidden to vote, to receive an education, and to even go outside without covering themselves from head to toe in burkas. Women who were suspected of committing adultery were stoned to death or beheaded.
This is, of course, extreme, but at its core it is no different than the American Taliban who wish to enforce their Christian shari’a law, based on the Bible, upon the rest of us. Many of the leaders and prominent members of the religious right have stated unequivocally that their goal is nothing less than to turn this country into a Christian nation and replace the U.S. Constitution with the Bible as the guiding document of our laws and government.
Some of these same people have called for the imprisonment, or even death, of homosexuals, and the complete and total submission of women to men. They call for the abandonment of science and reason, the guiding principles of which have made this country the world power it is today. They would joyfully lead us to become a population of ignorant servants to their god who will quickly fall behind the rest of the world in technology, just as other great civilizations such as Rome, Egypt, and Persia have done after religious dogma replaced education and reason.
If you think I am being alarmist, think again. Laws have already been passed to force women to submit to humiliating medical examinations in order to get an abortion, to force the teaching of religious dogma in place of science in classrooms, and to force doctors to lie to women about the health of their unborn child. These laws are real and they are just the beginning, unless we, as voters, put a stop to it.
For you Christian women out there, if you ever felt sorry for the poor women of Afghanistan under the Taliban, or the Ayatollahs in Iran, just look no further than these examples to see what your life could eventually be like if the American Taliban continue to push their fanatical agenda upon the American people.
Wether you believe that this country was found upon Christianity or not, you can’t deny that it was built upon the idea of religious freedom. Religious freedom means not just being able to practice your own religion and to live your life as your personal set of morals tell you, it also means freedom from having to bend to others’ particular religious beliefs. You would never want someone to tell you how you can worship or live your life, but that is exactly what the American Taliban is trying to accomplish. Unfortunately, alarmingly, they are starting to succeed.