Jim Hightower

The Wrath of Leviticus

The Wrath of Leviticus

hoa! The religious extremists are on a tear. From W.’s election, to Terry Schiavo, to federal judge nominees, such zealots as James Dobson and Pat Robertson are flexing their political muscle, seeking to impose their Republican “Christianity” on all public policy. They’re particularly intent at the moment on “saving marriage.” Curiously, this holy crusade includes Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich, two serial divorcers and enthusiastic practitioners of extra-marital sex. But it’s not divorce that worries these marriage saviors––they’re opposing marriage itself—when that union is between gay people. We’re doing the will of God, they thunder, pointing to the Holy Word in Leviticus 18:22, which declared homosexuality an “abomination.” We are not moral relativists, we’re Biblical literalists. But the wrath of Leviticus is deep and wide. Chapter 11, verse 10 tells us that eating shellfish is also an abomination. And, in 11:6-8, so is touching anything made of pigskin––someone call the NFL! Leviticus 19 says that planting two different crops in the same field is forbidden by God––yet W.’s department of agriculture openly promotes this abomination, calling it “companion-planting.” Let’s hope USDA at least insists that those seeds be heterosexual. Speaking of Bush, he’s known to have a hot temper and to burst out occasionally with curse words. Does he know that Leviticus 24:10-16 commands that if a person blasphemes God with curse words, the whole town must come together and stone that person. Wouldn’t that put the Secret Service in a Biblical bind? The problem for extremists who insist that every word of the Bible must be accepted literally is that they then can’t pick and choose which scriptures must be obeyed. I suspect they spend more time thumping the Bible than reading it—much less understanding it. A MIGHTY SWEET RETIREMENT Are you worried about retirement? Worried that Bush will “fix” Social Security by killing it, that your company will loot your company pension, or that your 401(k) will be reduced to just a (k)? I’ve got the potion you need. It’s called a “consulting agreement,” and all the top CEOs are getting them. You’re not a CEO? Tough luck. You don’t know what your missing. In addition to getting fat pensions, health coverage for life, and other retirement goodies, the top honchos of major corporations also are collecting handsome fees for hanging around the executive suite as company-paid consultants after they retire. What do they do for the money? Somewhere between “not much” and “nada.” As one pay expert puts it, “As a practical matter, most CEOs don’t turn to predecessors for advice.” Motorola’s former boss, for example, is pulling down $4.6 million for two years of unspecified “work” (on top of his $14 million supplemental pension). PepsiCo is ponying up some two million a year for a former vice-chairman, whose only duty is to be “available to consult.” Does it count if you leave your cell phone on while sipping cocktails on a beach? Then there’s meat magnate Don Tyson, former chairman of Tyson Foods. He gets $1.2 million a year for “advisory” services through 2011, but he’ll not likely get many calls, since the company got caught engaging in an accounting scam on his watch. To settle the fraud case, Tyson agreed to pay $700,000. But his “advisory” job, minus the fine, still leaves him with $5.3 million to assuage his conscience. CEOs no longer fade away. They steal away. CREATING ENEMIES FOR US The first George W. to be president—George Washington—sagely warned against America getting caught up in “entangling alliances.” The current W., however, seems to think he’s smarter than the first. As a result of arrogance or ignorance or both, we’re now entangled in very ugly and messy alliances that put us on the wrong side of history and morality. Check out W.’s buddy in Uzbekistan, President Islam Karimov. Since September 11, the Bushites have constantly hailed Karimov’s government. What they’ve not wanted us to know is that their buddy is a repressive, brutal, autocratic, terroristic thug. His oppression and corruption drove the people to boiling point in May, and protestors poured into the streets. Karimov responded with a bloody crackdown, unleashing his troops to open fire with rifles and machine guns. Independent sources say several hundred protestors and bystanders were gunned down. Karimov’s government is trying to cover it up by declaring that the uprising was “a planned and well-prepared terrorist act by international radical-extremist groups.” In other words, Karimov says he’s just being a good soldier in W.’s global counterterrorism fight. “Only terrorists were liquidated,” his spokesman said of the crackdown. Amazingly, the Bushites are still standing behind their buddy, characterizing these democracy-fighters who rose up against him as militants and terrorists. Condi Rice sympathized with the oppressor, saying that no government should have to “deal with terrorists.” Guess who has armed and trained Karimov’s troops? The Bushites! Using the Foreign Military Financing program they have entangled our country with a thoroughly repressive regime, creating new enemies among the people who should be our friends. n Jim Hightower is a speaker and author. To order his books or schedule him for a speech, visit www.jimhightower.com. 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