(Weekly Column)

The conservative movement has collectively lost its mind. It is out of touch and out to lunch, with the expanding GOP presidential Bozo Bus exacerbating this debilitating condition.

Much of this calamity is due to three strategic blunders: 1) Injecting religious extremism into politics; 2) Deciding that conservatives could opt out of the “reality based community” and treat facts as a partisan issue; 3) Selecting “No Facts News” (AKA FOX) as the drug of choice for bitter old white men looking to numb the pain of rapid cultural change.

Edwin Lyngar writes in Salon about the tragedy of losing his father to the affliction of FOX News addiction. He writes that his dad “lost his mind thanks to his cable diet.”

“I’ve read accounts of people my age — 40 or so — losing parents to cancer or Alzheimer’s, but just as big a tragedy are the crops of grandmothers and grandfathers debilitated by Fox News-induced hysteria….Take sweet, kindly senior citizens and feed them a steady stream of demagoguery and repetition, all wrapped in the laughable slogan of “fair and balanced.”

We all have relatives who have been tragically lost to this pathology. The FOX News junkie rarely gets information from non-right wing sources. FOX addicts seldom hold a lucid political philosophy, with their views defined by an incoherent grab bag of grudges and grievances. Many appear to see the world through a paranoid lens where everything is a liberal conspiracy.

Just a cursory look at the motley crew that serves as this movement’s heroes signifies that something is terribly amiss: The Duggar family The Duck Dynasty family, Sarah Palin, and renegade rancher Cliven Bundy.

The insanity seems to intensify by the hour. Earlier this week, talking head case Glenn Beck fancied himself the next Martin Luther King  Jr.  His great moral crusade is to organize a “Black Robe Regiment” of pastors who are willing to be martyred in the service of denying LGBT people the right to be served in business establishments.

“The number in the Black Robe Regiment is about 70,000 now,” Beck said. “The number that I think will walk through a wall of fire, you know, and possible death, is anywhere between 17,000 and 10,000. That is an extraordinary number of people that are willing to lay it all down on the table and willing to go to jail or go to death because they serve God and not man.”

Beck’s remarkable ego-trip and tale of Christian persecution is nothing more than a profitable delusion. Contrary to the disinformation from right wing hacks who are trying to rile yahoos, there has never been a church forced to marry a gay couple. As strong civil libertarians who support the First Amendment, LGBT advocates are strongly opposed to such coercion, and that is why it has never been proposed. But that small fact doesn’t stop petty demagogues like Beck from scaring little old ladies into writing him checks to protect them.

Furthermore, polls consistently show nearly 60% of Americans support marriage equality. Most normal people are waiting for an invitation to a gay wedding, not an invitation to Beck’s imaginary revolution.

C-Fam President, Austin Ruse, wrote an article on Breitbart about a Southern Poverty Law Center lawsuit against the “ex-gay” organization Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality (JONAH). He described JONAH’s founder as “a liberal New York Jew, almost stereotypical” who founded his organization after his son came out as gay. Ruse conveniently failed to point out that Goldberg was a Wall Street con artist who was sent to prison for bilking his clients. Such shoddy work is what often counts as “journalism” in today’s conservative movement.

Proving he’s more Catholic than the Pope, presidential hopeful and committed papist, Rick Santorum, had a few choice words for the pontiff. He said that the Pope was not qualified to discuss climate change because he is not a scientist.

“I’m saying, what should the pope use his moral authority for? asked Santorum “I think there are more pressing problems confronting the earth than climate change.” (Unlike Santorum, the Pope does hold a degree in chemistry)

Gay-hating preacher Franklin Graham announced he would stop doing business with gay friendly Wells Fargo bank because of their pro-gay policies. He switched to BB&T, which unbeknownst to Graham hosted a gay wedding at a Miami LGBT Pride event earlier this year. (Typical right-winger – hyperventilating without doing his homework.)

In a New York Times op-ed, Seth Stephens-Davidowitz wrote that “compared with blue states, red states have roughly 30% higher suicide rates and around 20-percent higher rates of major depression.” There are 54% more Google searches for psychotherapists in Blue States and 76 % more psychotherapists.

This explains a lot. Clearly, there are too many wackos in the conservative movement in desperate need of professional help who aren’t getting it. Unfortunately, they are channeling their dysfunction into politics at the expense of this nation.