Thursday, December 16, 2004


They never run out of complaints! They never run out of moral fact, they work themselves into lathers and drool with rage and spread their nonsense through e-mails and letters and angry yard signs that say "I believe in God..Merry Christmas!" and in other ways, keep the furor spinning and roiling like a pot constantly filled with water to keep it boiling over and whistling its fervor on the hot stove.

These campaigns are run by religious organizations determined to get a foothold...nay, a full body nelson..on the government itself. They seem to want the Protestant Evangelical Religion to become the proclaimed Only One in the United States of America, while other beliefs take a second place in the audience, or maybe are shuffled to the balconies.

They like to pretend that this country was founded on the Protestant Evangelical Religion, and that the Founding Fathers, some of whom were fun-loving reprobates, were religious churchgoers with long, white beards and stern demeanors, who intended America to fall right into the hands of the Religious Right.

You can't reason with these people. You can't point out that the Pilgrims came to America to escape religious persecution and that Thomas Jefferson, that supremely intelligent man with a never-ending store of wisdom despite his dalliance with his beloved slave, Sally, believed a wall should be placed between religion and government. You can't explain that, by keeping religion and government separate, we are all free to believe as we choose.

They don't listen because they don't want to. They have decided their way is the only way, and will not rest until they've infiltrated the government, taken over the schools, rewritten the textbooks and invaded enough Middle Eastern lands to enable Israel to expand to its Biblical territory. Once this happens, these people believe the Second Coming will take place, like a rerun of a popular TV program, and they plan to be ready, to be swept up in the Rapture, enclasped in those holy arms and lifted up to paradise, leaving sinners and infidels down here to suffer seven years of deadly disaster.

Then comes the topper. After the seven years is over, the suffering sinners left on Earth will be given a second chance for redemption. If they toss away the chains of their own beliefs, if they proclaim the Evangelical Belief is the Only One, then they, too, will be swept up the Heaven. Anyone who stubbornly clings to his own religion, whatever that might be, will be cast into Hell, to burn for all eternity as the Evangelicals claim Heaven as their own.

With this belief, and with many of them firmly expecting the Second Coming to take place in their lifetimes, they are on a Crusade in the United States. Their numbers are strong, forty percent of our nation, and they preach and teach their views faithfully, homeschooling their children, marching them up to the altar to be saved at very early ages. By three or four, their children claim to be "saved", and another Evangelical is created to add to the rollcall.

They believe this is all prophecied in the Book of Revelation and their interpretation of the Bible has no room for religious freedoms or Separation of Church and State or scientific discoveries. Oh, of course they will swallow an antibiotic or two, in order to get well, but they are selective in their acceptance of Science. They believe the world began some five to ten thousand years ago and appeared in seven days. They never have an explanation for cavemen and dinosaurs or glacial movement or any argument that their timetable might be a off by a few million years. They don't care about minor things like that. They ignore those things and go on with their own interpretation of things.

They have painted "The Left" as demonical sinners and infidels who are destined for hell and who are not only immoral, but who has caused the country to sink into sinful shame to begin with. If they can't blame their theory of the country's fall from the Lord's grace on Welfare, they blame it on Bill Clinton. They forget that we enjoyed prosperous years with both Welfare and Clinton. Somehow, in their minds, those were the years of bleak desperation when their money was used, not to support Israel or Middle Eastern wars, but to support those lazy Blacks and unemployed, shiftless single mothers.

These people are dedicated and radical, determined to win, and they aren't really too concerned about how they do it. And they never stop spreading the indignation as though it were jam on peanut butter. The current wave of indignant frothing concerns the "Christ" in Christmas myth. My God! Macy's put up a sign saying "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas". They don't stop to think that perhaps Macy's has many customers of other religions and wants to remember ALL religious holidays taking place this month. Nor do they stop to think that, by placing a sign saying "Happy Holidays" , the sign covers Christmas and New Year's, which follows immediately after Christmas, thus saving labor and money.

No, they do not consider these things. Instead, they organize. They write letters, gather money, take out newspaper ads, spread the rumors. Someone...that mythical, demonic someone, always liberal, always from the Far Left, always the evil taking Christ out of Christmas. He's going to be plucked out like a stray hair in an eyebrow and tossed away. So, the indignation and the deep, dark sorrow....Poor Christ! They don't love him! We must protect him! We must put him in our government and our schools and our movie theaters and our soup kitchens! It is up to us, the Republicans, to chase out the infidels and their sinful ways.

So....this religion...and we dare not scoff at a religion, even though it involves "speaking in tongues" and going into orgies of ecstasy so intense the faithful fall to the floor in semi-conscious rapture...moves on its slow, organized, insidious path toward puritanical, Calvinistic governance. And all thought of a merciful, loving and forgiving Christ can be forgotten, for this group is angry, punitive and spiteful. While the rest of us feel a vague sense of unease and guilt for not sharing this intense devotion, they are busily eating up our liberties, fiddling with our textbooks, and turning our Democracy into a replica of Salem, Massachusetts in its heyday.