The hubris of American exceptionalism and the George W. Bush’s ideological crusade to reshape foreign nations in our own image has led to hundreds of thousands of deaths, destabilized nations and provoked civil conflicts around the world, ruined our credibility among the international community, and crippled our economy by miring the nation in endless, exorbitantly expensive overseas wars. President Obama has worked tirelessly to restore our prestige and respect around the world, cooperating and negotiating with foreign powers instead of simply dictating.
Which is why it is extremely confusing and disturbing to hear Ohio Governor John Kasich proposing the creation of a new government agency in order to export and push a “Judeo-Christian belief system” across the world, apparently like some sort of evangelical COMINTERN or, more appropriately, possibly like the way that Saudi Arabia exports Wahhabi Islamic ideology across the Middle East – the founding belief system of groups like al-Qaeda and Daesh (ISIS/ISIL).
Kasich appears to still be under the Republican delusion that the way to peace in the world is going to other countries and jamming their twisted interpretation of extremist Christianity down their throats. This as-yet-unnamed agency would “promote a Jewish- and Christian-based belief system to four regions of the world: China, Iran, Russia and the Middle East.”
He believes that “we need to beam messages around the world about the freedoms Americans enjoy! It means freedom, it means opportunity, it means respect for women, it means freedom to gather, it means so many things.” While we should certainly be doing this, why would you wrap it in religion? This proposal is a slap in the face to all the American citizens who don’t follow a Christian-Judeo belief system, and it reeks of the same kind of religious conviction that the George W. Bush administration succumbed to. Considering that Kasich, masquerading as a “moderate” by simply being the least abrasive blowhard in the room, is most likely on his way out of the Republican race, we can chalk this absurd proposal up to a last-ditch attention seeking effort, but let’s tear it apart anyway.
Right off the bat, its clear that Kasich is yet another Republican who doesn’t understand or refuses to accept that the separation of church and state has been enshrined by the Supreme Court and that such an agency would be very unconstitutional. He also bills himself as a “small government” conservative, but he wants to create another federal agency? That kind of hypocrisy is so rampant among the GOP that it barely merits an acknowledgement, but it shows he can’t be trusted to stick to his principles.
The idea itself is convoluted. Is it an agency to encourage democratic principles, freedom of speech, and tolerance? Or is it to export his particular brand of Christianity? The freedoms of America are based in secular law and religious pluralism, and to propose a specifically religious agency to sell those ideas is a contradiction in itself. The repressive and authoritarian regimes of China, Iran, and Russia, will not welcome his “noble” efforts to encourage dissension and political activism among their populations – and already have deeply entrenched security forces to keep them from doing so. Not to mention that those nations already have belief systems that they are quite content with, or that there would be a severe diplomatic backlash for openly trying to impose his Republican values on the rest of the world. It’s representative of the same kind of American arrogance that dragged us into two wars that are still being fought fifteen years later.
Finally, Mr. Kasich, do you even agree with those values yourself? Is it part of your Judeo-Christian values to shut our doors to Syrian refugees fleeing unimaginable destruction? Is it “respectful for women” to dedicate your entire governorship to denying women the right to control their own bodies? Is it “respectful” to pass sixteen anti-abortion laws? Is it respectful of women to strip $1.4 million dollars in funding from Planned Parenthood and rape crisis centers? Does it mean “opportunity” to cut taxes on the rich and then shift the burden onto the middle class? Does it mean “opportunity” to cut taxes so deeply that you “deprive the state of revenue to pay for critical investments in infrastructure, education and public safety?”
In an election that thrives on outrageous hyperbole and exists in the minds of Republicans in a delusional fantasy world, this is one of the weirdest proposal we’ve yet seen. Kasich may try to play himself off as a moderate, but don’t believe the hype. He’s just as much of an radical extremist as the rest of them.
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.