Sunday, April 18, 2010

Pleased to meet you, hope you guess my name.

Governor McDonnell’s recent proclamation of Virginia’s Confederate History Month, sans slavery, was an immediate and revealing reversal from the centrist path of his campaign. While the former governor properly chose to excoriate McDonnell for his law school thesis, McDonnell sought cover by distancing himself from far right extremists. It worked. McDonnell’s law degree from Regent University should spark this question: what is Regent University? This is what Regent says about itself: "Regent University is a leading center of Christian thought and action. Driven by our commitment to global influence from a biblical perspective..."

"Biblical perspective" = huge red flag.

Peruse the Regent web site and you'll see John Ashcroft's smiling face. John was the picture of well-balanced Christian virtues as the nation's AG and he’s now on Regent’s faculty. Review the list of 17 undergraduate programs and you'll see a fairly vanilla list, albeit with strong commercial orientation (Animation; Cinema/TV). The tip-off is academic bias at the program level. There are three thought cleansing programs (Bible & Theological; Ministry; Religious) but no science programs. No biology, geology, nothing. Regent’s Chancellor & President is none other than Pat (those Haitian devils did it to themselves) Robertson. What are the odds of a Creationist mindset residing at Regent?

McDonnell's choice of Regent was made well into a business career. He earned a MBA from Boston University in 1980. He's not organically stupid, why Regent for his law degree? His 1989 thesis (available here: provides a boatload of frightening clues. Regent was McDonnell’s political springboard.

Media attention on McDonnell’s thesis was drawn to hot button words. In typical fashion, the media hit a few symptoms and missed the underlying disease. McDonnell was 35 years old when he wrote it; a grown man, certainly not some wild-eyed undergraduate. This is crucial context. A 93-page document penned in 1989 would otherwise be too easy to dismiss as long ago and far away, which is how McDonnell's gubernatorial campaign characterized it. The thesis isn't revealing so much as it is horrifying. It’s a theocratic rant from start to finish, a worldview that, regarding the relationship of the individual to the state, is closer to a Taliban view than to, for example, President Obama’s. A few selections are presented below, with translation for readers who might not fully appreciate McDonnell’s theocratic lunacy:

Very first sentence, abstract: "The traditional family is the cornerstone upon which western civilization has been built...." (Translation: if you fall outside my definition of traditional family, you are outside the principles of civilization, as I define them.)

Page 4 - "There is nothing so devastating to the family as divorce" (Translation: the subjugation and brutalization of women is a fine price to pay to preserve my narrow and historically flawed definition of the family).

Page 6 - He blames trends in delayed marriage and married couples having fewer children in part on "the self-centeredness of modern individualism". (Translation: women who pursue a profession instead of having children are evil whores).

Page 6 - He observes that children educated in public schools are "exposed" to textbooks that are "increasingly oriented to humanist values and a secular philosophy", followed by "contemporaneous purging of religious influence in the public schools has impaired the development of healthy family members". (Translation: if the Taliban would bathe more frequently, I'd invite them over for barbecue!)

Page 9 - (critiquing past Supreme Court decisions) "...the perverted notion of liberty that each individual should be able to live out his sexual life in any way he chooses without inference from the state." (Translation: anyone living outside my definition of the family, regardless of their sexual orientation, will be subject to state control over the most intimate aspects of their lives).

Page 11 - (example of frequent weasel words & phrases) "...unlike many other countries, the United States has no official national family policy." (Translation: I'm too lazy to do genuine research and figure out that "official national family policy" featured prominently in Nazi Germany).

Page 12 - he links America's founding documents, and founders, to "Judeo-Christian heritage" in which "the Creator is a God of order and authority, not chaos and autonomy". (Translation: John Calvin speaks from the grave and he won't shut the f*** up!).

Page 15 - (2nd paragraph) - too loopy to condense here but it expresses a theocratic Christian view of the individual's role in society. Families are needed to "inculcate religious values" and "glorifying God" helps "produce good citizens for the body politic". (Translation: as Hitchens so adroitly points out, since God created the universe, she doesn't need our glorification. God knows she's got game. God wants humans to glorify other humans, therefore, McDonnell is really pissing God off and she might, if we are very lucky, nudge an asteroid in his direction).

Contradictions - there's a pattern of complete contradiction, for example, page 19 describes the Republican party as committed to "equal rights for all". You could infer either that McDonnell is so drunk on Christ that he can't see such contradictions or, more ominously, that his definition of "all" treats non-Christians, single women, people in alternative lifestyles, etc., as if such individuals simply didn't exist. Considering how he conflates teenage pregnancy and adult single women with children as the same problem, demographic subsets with proportionately greater numbers of the latter should be especially wary, if not terrified. His solution to teen pregnancy and other social ills, as he defines them, lies only in religiosity and rigid state control. Orwell couldn't conjure up a more frightening view.

Please download and read the document. Form your own opinions of what appears to be part Republican homage, part Christianist battle-plan and mostly an argument for psychoactive medication. It is not "inquiry", as McDonnell claims and it certainly purveys lies regarding the intentions of America’s founders. McDonnell evidences no appreciation of America as a secular republic in his law school thesis.

Conclusion: relative to truth, personal responsibility and cynical manipulation of public opinion, McDonnell is not fundamentally different from Jimmy Swaggert, whose nationally televised crocodile tears saved his tax-free cash flow from the promiscuity and "fornication" that McDonnell cites as forces leading the decline of American society. While McDonnell's thesis seeks to paint him as a modern saint the odds are greater that he is, in fact, the f****** devil.

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