Wednesday, May 31, 2006

A Lesson in Fundamentalism, End Times, and Irony

First we learned that the abortion rate in the state has gone down while Jim Doyle has been governor. Now we learn that he has signed into law a bill banning employers from forcing their workers to have microchips implanted in their bodies. It is also interesting to note that the bill was sponsored by Democrat Rep. Marlin Schneider (Wisconsin Rapids).

The law appears to be the first of it’s kind in the nation and would impose up to a $10,000 fine on employers that would break it.

Some explanation is needed here for those that may not fully understand the irony of this law being signed by a Democrat.

There is a study in Christian theology called Eschatology. This is the study of what is called the “end times” in Fundamentalist churches. A part of their understanding of the “end times” is the future requirement for all citizens to receive the “mark of the beast.” A specific passage in the book of Revelation actually says that you will not be allowed to buy or sell without the mark. But according to them, if you take the mark you go to hell.

Many Fundamentalists believe that we are living in the “end times” so many are very sensitive to anything that could remotely resemble the “mark of the beast.” So how strange was it when Verichip Corp. marched out their newest board member, Republican Tommy Thompson (yes him), to announce that he was taking such a mark….pardon me…chip? That had many in the “end times” wing of Christian Fundamentalism talking.

More recently the same company started marketing the chip to various companies as a way of limiting access of their employees to restricted areas. This development is what gave rise to the bill that was just signed according to a press release from Rep. Schneider.

I should say that I do see the many legit reasons for signing this bill into law. The word privacy comes to mind. But given my education in biblical studies and upbringing in Fundamentalist churches, I found the signing of this bill very interesting.

Does anyone really think that this kind of thing will change any minds on the religious right? Given the political climate that seems to honor rhetoric over results, I don’t expect much.

In any case, I will definitely be filing this one under IRONY.

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