Meditations on the Politics of Limited Knowledge

Murmurs about religious wingnuttery

In Current Events, Politics, Religion, Science on August 31, 2009 at 2:56 pm

This blog will routinely draw attention to – and of course comment upon and connect to a larger project – contemporary conflicts in American politics in which religion/religious belief complicates, distorts or otherwise influences the public sphere. This week: anti-Obama Christian terrorists; Missouri loves company… as long as you’re not Charles Darwin…

Wingnut threats against – excuse me, prayers for divine decapitation of – Obama. You’ve seen the gun-toting freedom fighters showing up at Obama events in recent days. There are plenty of issues to unpack here, gun control, libertarian extremism, etc. But we need to consider the role that religion plays and should play (what deference, constitutional projection, etc) when these whack-jobs say things like “I don’t care how God does it” when the “it” is the immanent death of our constitutionally legitimate, democratically elected, stand-up citizen-leader we call President Barack Obama.


Administrators at Smith-Cotton High School in Missouri banned t-shirts depicting the classic walking evolutionary progress of ape becoming man, with each consecutive primate clutching a brass band instrument. This might not seem like the front line of the culture wars – not exactly high stakes. What is interesting about the confrontation is way in which evolution is framed as a religious position (or anti-religious, which in this logic amounts to the same thing). The assistant principal explained the schools position as such:

Though the shirts don’t violate the school’s dress code, Pollitt noted that the district is required by law to remain neutral on religion.

“If the shirts had said ‘Brass Resurrections’ and had a picture of Jesus on the cross, we would have done the same thing,” Pollitt said.

  1. I want that shirt. And I will wear it to church.

  2. Amen, sister. Sign me up for a size M and I’ll meet ya at the door!

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