Friday, December 4, 2009

No Afterlife, No Honor

It appears that the left is finally fighting fire with fire and learning to match the right in its flair for public displays of patriotism. And that's got to be confusing.

Just saw this YouTube piece with three Fox newscasters pushing God and Country. In this case, bewailing the fact that once again, as happens each year at Christmas, Christians are being asked to keep religion out of the public arena, even though we all know this is a Christian country and non-Christians need to learn their place as Also-ran (did I say Second-Class) Citizens.

One of the Fox people confused is Ainsley Earhardt. More on her later.

First, a little sociocultural context.

Ever since Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson and their ilk were informed by the Holy Ghost that it was time for them to stand up for Christianity as the only true religion and take their faith into politics, we seem to be bumping heads over whether my Christian daddy can beat up your non-Christian daddy. Listen to the rightwing Christians and they’ll tell you the country is going to the dogs, and you know why. All you have to do is read your Old Testament and you will see that the nation that turns its back on God ends up in the flames of hell (a Zoroastrian concept, by the way, but let's not get distracted).

This view apparently leads you to ignore what you learned in kindergarten. That you are supposed to share your things. Not so, say the Christianists. Not when it comes to a definition of the one and only Big True Daddy.

It’s that damn Establishment Clause. We can’t get agree on what it really says. Is this or is this not a Christian country? Have we not always loved the Baby Jesus? And hated Scrooge? At least till he came around.

Tradition. You know how tradition works. The pope doesn’t want Turkey in the European Union because, he says, it will threaten the dominance of the Christian religion. Unfortunately for this Rip Van Winkle of an inquisitor-pope, Europeans have been reading their Christian history of late and aren't as keen on recreating the world as it was before he went to sleep. And modern Americans are equally unenthusiastic about the Disneyland version of America with its villages and its happy little cobblers and its blacksmiths and its little churches in the wildwood, oh come come come.

Ask a modern-day Archie Bunker. “You could see this coming,” he’ll tell you, “Once you damn fools snatched power away from white American males and tried to make this your country, it was bound to come to this. Now that the blacks, the women, the gays and the atheists think they're as good as the people who used to be what this country is all about” you’ve got the mess we’re in today. Listen to Sarah Palin. She'll tell you. The handful of old boys advising the modern-day equivalent of “save your Confederate money” have retreated to Idaho and a few southern states. And to Fox Network.

It’s called the Culture War. Ugly, but terribly interesting. You have to understand "tradition” as a cover term for power. Will we hang on to it, or will the new kid on the block get some?

Now you've got atheists wanting to erect monuments to atheist soldiers who died in Iraq.

Atheists getting together and demanding a little respect for their own kind.

What’s next, the folks in Pennsylvania are wondering. Will the Muslims come in and build their minarets? Will we look like fools when we vote them out like the Swiss just did to their Muslims? Will the Hindus come in and give kids the idea that there can be lots of gods (or gods with lots of faces, rather than just three, as we know is actually the case?) So much to think about.

Will we have Flying Spaghetti Monsters on the green in every village in New England? And in the town square in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania? No, say the local authorities. Best to cut out all displays and head this problem off at the pass.

Not if Fox News has anything to do with it.

Republican traditionalists can rejoice that we have Fox News to fight back at this attempt to disestablish Christianity as the default (we're not allowed to say established) religion. Fox covered the exact same story last year, in Washington State, where Foxcaster Dan Springer reported oh so objectively that Mary, Joseph and the Baby Jesus were “not welcome at the Rotunda at the Capitol.”

To keep the balance in “fair and balanced” they of course interviewed the atheists last year who put up their “provocative” signs saying there was no god.

Taking pot shots at Fox over fair and balanced is unworthy shooting of fish in a barrel, but I couldn’t resist because of what came next from this guy Springer. At minute 2:56, Springer tells of a tree that is a (I blush to even say it) “Holiday Tree” and not a “Christmas Tree.”

And you actually doubted there was a plot to destroy Christianity and its symbols…

But Springer isn’t the dumbest of the bunch. That honor goes to Ainsley Earhardt,
graduate of the School of Journalism in Columbia, South Carolina.

When presented with the information that the atheists wanted to honor their fellow atheist veterans, Ms. Earhardt’s response (minute 1:55, if you don’t want to watch the whole thing) was,

"My question is, if they want to honor the veterans who have passed away, but they’re atheists, they don’t believe in life after death… who are they honoring?".

Can’t argue with that.

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