When is media going to learn that just because somebody calls himself religious, or even a religious leader, that doesn’t mean he speaks for or leads all the other people who call themselves religious?
Pat Robertson is a hateful nutjob. Once in a while, when he says something particularly hateful and nutty — like arguing that Sharon’s stroke is God’s punishment for subdividing the holy land — media put the spotlight on it and even if they don’t say he’s a bilious bozo, the attention they give implies it. So one wonders why they ever treat him as a religious leader.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is another alleged religious leader and the media get how dangerous he is when he says that Israel should be “wiped off the map” and that he hopes Sharon dies. You don’t hear media dare to suggest that he represents all Islam.
But when fringe extremists like the so-called American Family Association and the self-annointed Parents Television Council decry what they think is indecent or try to stop us from seeing a show they don’t approve of, media — not to mention the FCC — treat them as spokesman for the religious in a predominately religious nation. They are not.
I go to church every Sunday (well, not this Sunday) and call myself a Christian and Pat Robertson, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the AFA, and the PTC do not speak for me and have nothing to do with my view of religion, of God, or of decency.
My sister, the Rev. Jarvis, forwarded a column from an Anchorage paper written, I believe, by Elise Sereni Patkotak (I can find no link) about the nonissue of stores wishing us happy holidays:
As the debate over Christmas in stores continues, I have what I think is a great suggestion. Why don’t we put Christmas back in church and ask the stores to butt out altogether?
…I have no problem with a midwinter festival. But let’s call it that. Let’s have all the traditions and ceremonies we want surrounding it. Buy expensive gifts for your loved ones or get drunk at parties or overeat at sumptuous meals – whatever works for you. But let’s not pretend this has anything to do with the birth of a child two thousand years ago who came with a message that is the antithesis of the celebration we now claim to hold in his name….
So I don’t want Christmas back in the stores. I think saying happy holidays there is just fine.
What strikes me most about the so-called “intelligent design” hooha is that the religious right is hiding God. Yes, of course, that’s their trick: If we don’t call God God but instead call his work “intelligent design,” then we can sneak him into curricula because the nonbelievers are just too stupid, or so goes their rationale. Nobody — save George Bush and the 700 members of the 700 Club — is buying it. The good citizens of Dover, Pa., turned out the fanatical school board members who tried this trick. And yesterday, a federal judge called it for the sham it am. An excerpt:
The citizens of the Dover area were poorly served by the members of the Board who voted for the ID Policy. It is ironic that several of these individuals, who so staunchly and proudly touted their religious convictions in public, would time and again lie to cover their tracks and disguise the real purpose behind the ID Policy….
The overwhelming evidence at trial established that ID is a religious view, a mere re-labeling of creationism, and not a scientific theory.
And that’s the essence of what is shocking: By trying to insist that this is faux science and not religion, the religious right behind this alleged movement are denying God to sell God, lying about the Bible to drive the Bible. By trying to hide God, it is almost as if they are ashamed of him but I think he would be ashamed of them.
Ah, the conspiracy against Christmas continues: Yesterday, I was decorating the church — the church — and when the florist left after delivering the poinsettas and Christmas trees, he said, “Happy holidays.” Another Christmas killer!
We have superchurches in America; there’s a proposal to build a supermosque in Britain with multiple buildings holding 70,000.