Countdown: Dan Savage On The Dangers Of The GOP Pandering To The Religious Right

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Keith Olbermann talks to Dan Savage about how dangerous the GOP's strategy for the last thirty years of pandering to the religious right has been, and how they're now left with the bat-shit crazy like Michelle Bachmann speaking for them.

Olbermann: How do they twist the idea of say, just pick a figure out of a hat here that Jesus Christ and the golden rule, taking care of particularly the sick and turn this into opposition to health care? In a sense if they’re trying to emulate Christ, if they can’t personally heal disease in passers-by, should they not be willing to help doctors to do so?

Savage: I’m sure they don’t want to hear this from me because I’m an avowed atheist but my dad was a Roman Catholic deacon and my mom was a minister and I went to the seminary and I was confirmed in the Catholic church. I’ve read the Bible backwards and forwards and there’s a lot in there, a lot that Jesus had to say about taking care of the sick, housing the homeless, feeding the hungry, visiting, not executing the prisoner and nothing about capital gains tax cuts, nothing about denying health care coverage to American families and American children and nothing about this sort of insane opposition to a democratically elected president.

They really have hi-jacked Christianity and are giving it a bad name. The reason we see spikes I think in more and more people who no longer associate themselves with any religious faith or belief is because now to say you’re Christian in America means you are saying I am in the same boat, the same bat crap crazy boat with Michelle Bachmann. And a lot of even nominal Christians don’t want to say that any more or cultural Christians don’t want to say that any more.

Olbermann: Well strip the religion out of it and stick to the ethics of religion which is often very useful even to people who don’t believe and we don’t know if anybody who booed the late Senator Kennedy at the Schakowsky town hall belonged to the religious far right, but I mean I got heat for saying that Ronald Reagan is dead and he was a lousy president and I waited for four or five years until after he died to say it that bluntly just out of respect for the dead. Haven’t the ethics of these folks, the religious and non-religious alike in the opposition just been all over the map?

Savage: Well when you have a party that claims to speak for god and claims that god is on its side the rhetoric heats up and the anger heats up. This is not just a battle about ideas and positions and what’s good for the country and bad for the country, it’s a battle about what god wants and what god doesn’t want and you’re, it’s easier to demagogue about your enemies and despise them than to humanize them in this really personal and vicious way. I mean, the religious right is fomenting this kind of hatred in this country and at our peril.

I really do think that the Michelle Bachmanns of the world and the Glenn Becks of the world are actively and consciously or subconsciously just trying to get, I’m just going to say it, trying to get the President killed. That’s why they’re setting this up as a kill or be killed arguments. He’s going to kill your grandma, pull the plug on grandma, death panels that little children have to go in front of. This kind of rhetoric, this paranoid style of the religious right from you know, Birchers to birthers doesn’t usually end well and we somebody’s got to put the brakes on it. Unfortunately for the Republican party, there are no adults left in the room, there are only the Michelle Bachmanns and the Glenn Becks and the Rush Limbaughs running the show.

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