Religion & Politics: USF Fall 2006

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Anything is a religion

After thinking about the values that constitute a religion, I came across an article about radical groups and their attempt at disguising religion in the form of nationalist movements. The first article was about Representative David Duke. Duke was an Oklahoma native who while in college became fascinate with the white nationalist party and the fundamental beliefs of the Ku Klux Klan. In 1974, Duke gained notoriety by attempting to modernize the Klan by moving them from a mostly religious group, to a nationalist political force. Duke changed the name of the main Klansman from “Imperial Grand Wizard” to “National Director” and promoted suits instead of robes; He “urged Klansman to step out of cow pasture and into hotel meeting rooms”. Duke was attempting to create a favorable image to values that are undoubtedly detrimental and unnecessary to social stability. Furthermore, he was unifying in order to create methods for public persuasion.
Duke’s modernization strategy can be compared to the Blind consumerism discussed in class, where the public’s perception is influenced by propaganda and aesthetic values. People want the newest, sexiest and most popular products for the purpose of being accepted.
No longer are values the judge of character, instead our society is engulf in the religion of blind consumerism.
Reverend Billy can be called the protagonist to David Duke’s antagonist. Where Billy urges for values and community, Duke would promote multi- nationals and the power of corporate greed.
The human emotion that is responsible for understanding right and wrong can now be disguise with good looks and propaganda.
Products such as cigarettes and alcohol; which kill millions of people on a yearly basis are promoted with beautiful people promising a goodtime.
If religion is defined as “a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects” then consumerism is definitely a religion. People are truly devoted to this way of thinking. One can even infer that people look forward to Christmas more for the chance to get the newest products, than for the chance to celebrate of the birth of Christ. The concept of GOD is an after thought. The devotion that once existed is no longer their. Church on Sunday’s is not mandatory, but getting the newest BMW is a must. Even people who are considered religious by today standards are subconsciously influenced by the commercials and the propaganda. Furthermore, reverend Billy’s church although somewhat strange, would also have to be called a religion. Rev Billy has a church, a following and beliefs; therefore by definition, he has a religion.
Overall, the way news spread today is vastly different than the way news spread in the past. When Christianity first came about, people learned through word- of- mouth and judged what was being said. Now Guys like David Duke can easily spread their beliefs by having a good image, being well spoken, having commercials, and hiring famous people. This change has created a society were communities do not evaluate decisions; instead the people in the propaganda are enough to persuade the consumer. This shift in values leads to no real beliefs and as the saying goes “if you don’t stand for something you fall for anything”.

http://www.adl.org/learn/ext_us/duke.asp

1 Comments:

  • I think you make a really good point that nowadays pretty much anything can be dressed up and said the right way and made to look the right way and people will accept it. Just like Bush calls some of his new initiatives the "Clean Air Act" or the "Healthy Forest Initiative" so that people will accept it without noticing these acts actually stand for the complete opposite of their titles. So if the KKK has a meeting at a hotel and all dress in business suits and call it a business conference, people will accept their existence as respectable? There needs to be more study of the content of all of these things, rather than the blind gaze over initial appearance.

    By Blogger tavo, at 5:36 PM  

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