Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Nose/Mouth Protection Was Once Popular Among Right Wingers

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, December 8, 2021

The now-defunct Moral Majority was a far-right-wing, extremist political arm of a primarily Protestant Christian Fundamentalist organization founded by the now-late Rev. Jerry Falwell, Sr. (1933-2007), Founding Pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church, in Lynchburg, VA, who infamously filed, and lost, a defamation of character lawsuit against pornographer Larry Flynt (1942-2021), Founder of the Hustler magazine empire, which was ultimately appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Based upon First Amendment principles, the SCOTUS found that Flynt’s plainly-marked parody depiction of Falwell fell under protected speech, holding that “the First and Fourteenth Amendments prohibit public figures and public officials from recovering damages for the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress by reason of the publication of a caricature…” and noted that “the State’s interest in protecting public figures from emotional distress is not sufficient to deny First Amendment protection to speech that is patently offensive and is intended to inflict emotional injury when that speech could not reasonably have been interpreted as stating actual facts about the public figure involved.”

Moral Majority Report, July 1983, AIDS

In other words, the First Amendment protects parodies of celebrities or other public figures, even if they are intended to cause distress to the subjects depicted/portrayed.

Such a matter is now ongoing and involving soon-to-be-former U.S. Representative Devin Nunes, a Republican who has represented California’s 22nd Congressional District since 2003. CD 22 is in the state’s fertile San Joaquin Valley farmland area, and encompasses parts of Fresno, and Tulare counties, which includes portions of the cities of Fresno, and all of the cities of Clovis, Tulare, and Visalia.

Nunes is infamously litigious, and as some would characterize it, is thin-skinned, and becomes very “butt-hurt” when he is mocked, satirized, or parodied publicly, which has occurred regularly on Twitter, where the satire account “Devin Nunes Cow” (Nunes has interests in dairy farming in the district), and several other parody accounts, including some naming his mother, regularly poke fun of him.

Ironically, the two men Falwell and Flynt, later became good friends, and frequently appeared together in several public venues on college & university campuses, including on the Larry King Show.

Dr. Heather Murray, PhD, an Associate Professor of History at the University of Ottawa, Canada, (see her faculty page here) recently wrote the following, in part, about the matter of the far-right-wing now refusing to wear protective nose/mouth coverings (aka “face masks”) during the SARS-CoV-2 novel coronavirus (aka COVID-19) pandemic, whereas once, they were gung-ho to wear them, despite the fact that HIV is not transmitted via aerosol droplets, like COVID-19 is.

Fearing a Fear of Germs

How Did the Surgical Mask Transform from a Sign of Bigotry to a Sign of Care?

“Whenever I see a medical face mask today, I immediately think of a photograph on the cover of Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority Report from July 1983. The cover depicts a white family—father, mother, and two children—all wearing masks. The headline reads “Homosexual Diseases Threaten American Families.” While it wouldn’t be hard to imagine a “Chinese Viruses Threaten American Families” graphic produced today, the medical masks accompanying the xenophobic sentiment would be. Members of today’s libertarian Right are more likely to take a chainsaw to a surgical mask, viewing them as symbols of an alarming expansion of government power and scientific expertise, than to wear one, even to allay a fear of “foreign” germs.”

“These days, a lot of us are thinking about what Giorgio Agamben called political “states of exception,” emergency situations that allow for exceptional measures to develop that can get extended even after the “wartime” situation is resolved. Thinkers at all points on the ideological spectrum have pondered the value of curtailing individual liberties given our new reality, especially regarding contact tracing and quarantines. The Christian/New Right advocated for precisely these measures during the AIDS crisis. In 1986, even a libertarian conservative in the vein of William F. Buckley famously called for everyone with AIDS to receive tattoos on their forearms or buttocks so that they could be identified. He claimed this was to protect other homosexuals. These measures were homophobic and bigoted then, but do they now seem like simply a more prurient or extreme form of contact tracing or the proposed “immunity passport”?

“Coronavirus may yet force us to think of something beyond standard public health responses: identification of those with disease, epidemiology, or quarantine. Fears of COVID-19 could displace a more relaxed, post–AIDS-era idea of germs and bestow a new legacy on today’s young people about the risks associated with personal space, physicality, intimate contact, gestures of care, and even more abstractly, the public sphere, the atmosphere, and the unseen. Less abstractly, COVID-19 might shape the material culture of the medical mask beyond their political valences, maybe simply as gestures of solidarity with the sick.”

And penultimately…

A new, searchable database of voting trends in conjunction with COVID-19 vaccination rates -and- death rates throughout the 3243 counties/equivalents of the United States, is available here. There is a direct correlation shown between low COVID-19 vaccination rates, high infection rates, and death, particularly from the delta variant of the disease.

A respondent remarked that,

“The Religious Right is full of garbage. That is why I’ve rejected Christianity, Christ, God, and the Bible now. And if it means eternal damnation, so be it. I don’t want to spend eternity with those people and their God anyway.”

To which I replied, writing:

“Y’know… off hand, I’d have to substantially agree with you. And, I do. The so-called “religious” right, is neither religious, nor correct. And frankly, I’ve seen many more well-behaved atheists & agnostics. And that’s an exceedingly sad commentary on the state of compassion in this day and age.

“The Rev. Dr. E. Stanley Jones, (1884-1973) was an American Methodist missionary to India, global evangelist in 6 continents, and author of 28 books who was a friend of Mahatma Gandhi and other national leaders of all religions, and ecumenical leader who for 70 years practiced what he preached — peace, racial brotherhood, and social justice.

“Apparently, at the time, his convictions and outspokenness were a source of some consternation because he sympathized with the nationalist movement, which antagonized British authorities, and thereby prevented him from going to India during WWII. He also had a role in last minute communications between then-President Roosevelt and Japanese Emperor Hirohito, through his contacts in the Japanese embassy in Washington, D.C. In 1961, he received the Gandhi Peace Prize, and twice was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. He is called by some “the greatest missionary whom you’ve never heard of.”

“As a friend of Gandhi’s, it was his response to Jones’ question which is often quoted, and because the background is not told, is frequently misunderstood.

“Rev. Jones asked, “Mr. Gandhi, though you quote the words of Christ often, why is it that you appear to so adamantly reject becoming his follower (Christian)”?

“Gandhi’s reply was, “Oh, I don’t reject your Christ. I love your Christ. It is just that so many of you Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

“In a similar vein, author R.L. Deats writing in his 2005 work “Mahatma Gandhi: Non-violent Liberator; A Biography,” related this somewhat-similar example of Jones’ friendship dialogue with Gandi: “How can we make Christianity naturalized in India, not a foreign thing, identified with a foreign government and a foreign people, but a part of the national life of India and contributing its power to India’s uplift?”

“Gandi replied, “First, I would suggest all of you Christians, missionaries and all, must begin to live more like Jesus Christ. Second, practice your religion without adulterating it or toning it down. Third, emphasize love and make it your working force, for love is central in Christianity. Fourth, study the non-Christian religions more sympathetically to find the good that is within them, in order to have a more sympathetic approach to the people.”

My point in this is at least three-fold:
1.) I share your sensibilities, and while once I professed Christianity, I now am very skeptical of the myths, and authenticity of the work as a whole. For example, the notion that Moses, who is alleged to have lived long after the events about which he is similarly alleged to have written about, are perhaps the first strong evidences that the work, taken as a whole, is largely fictionalized myth. Combine that with the addition of the word “POOF!” when reading the “and God said, ‘Let there be…'” passages “and POOF! — stuff just appeared out of nowhere, everywhere!” and you begin to get the idea. And yet, that is precisely what is claimed, even by orthodox theologians with the “ex nihilo” (Latin for “out of nothing”) religious theory of how everything came to be, and how it all occurred. We do not know, nor have any scientific hypothesis — that I’m aware of — which explains how the stuff for the Big Bang came to exist, or where it originated. However, even the Catholic church has asserted/taught/claimed that there is a scientific explanation for how everything came to be, and the “Big Bang” theory of the origin of the cosmos was originated by a Catholic Jesuit priest, Fr. Georges Lemaître (1894-1966), who was an astrophysicist, mathematician, and professor of physics, and developed the theory of the “Expanding Universe” long before Edwin Hubble did.

While it is possible to write about events long passed, it is difficult work, made more problematic by the absence of a written historical record of the era in which it was supposed to have occurred. As some have said, there was no human observer present at the “Creation,” so there’s literally no way it could have been written about with authenticity, or veracity. The “Documentary Hypothesis” is perhaps one of the best rational explanations for the existence of the Pentateuch/Torah (aka the “Books of Moses”), which essentially states that the books had different authors, based primarily upon the very different writing styles, and content. If you’re unfamiliar with it, I encourage you to read up on it.

The great fish swallowing a man (i.e., “Jonah and the whale”), the Red Sea Crossing (the “exodus”), the deaths of all first-born, the resurrection claims (there have been instances in modernity of such, so it’s not inconceivable, but they will die again, and permanently next time), and the “virgin birth” (parthenogenesis is not unheard-of in the animal kingdom, and while rare, has occurred. It could conceivably (LAUGH!) happen in the human animal.

2.) From a scientific perspective, as one who seeks evidence, I find little-to-none for the many claims made in the New Testament, and the fantastical stories in the Old. They’re simply too far-fetched to be true. “Jack and the Beastalk” with the “Jolly Green Giant,” Little Red Riding Hood, and the Three Stooges are more “believable.” I suppose that’s why it’s called “faith,” to swallow an elephant, and strain at a gnat, eh?

3.) The “god” presented in the text of the OT/NT is so bizarre, so perverted, so hypocritical, so… so… utterly human, that there’s hardly any substantiation for the warped behaviors alleged to have been exhibited/demonstrated by that god. For example, the “turn or burn” ideology is exactly what a bad parent would do: Forever reject the child if they disobeyed (in this case did not believe). It is inconsistent with an allegedly all-loving god/creator who is purportedly nothing but pure love, to permanently punish, torture even, anyone, much less their own issue (child) for some picayune “transgression” (aka “sin”).

“Again, scientifically, because we simply do not know for a hard-cold fact, we must keep an open mind to the possibility that a god may exist. Whether that’s an agnostic, or atheistic position, I do not know. But like Gandi said, I have no problems with the highest and best teachings of Jesus of Nazareth about human behavior toward one another. For me, like you, it’s that so many of the claimants simply do not practice what they preach, and it is them, and their message by example, that I reject, because the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth are almost unimpeachable. But his followers are not.

“Could a “god/goddess” be an alien? Well… apparently such an one already is. And so, we have consequently made a god in our image, according to our likeness — which is something altogether uncharacteristic of that alien god/goddess.

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