Sunday, February 04, 2007

Mass Hysteria

A recent HBO documentary chronicles a road trip through the Bible Belt.
Friends of God: A Roadtrip with Alexandra Pelosi shows the narrator as she visits a truck stop where nightly prayer sessions are held; as she interviews a man who erects gigantic white crosses all over the South; as she chronicles brain-washing sessions for children where overweight hucksters explain the truth of Creationism, and how man could not be evolved from monkeys; as she visits a family of ten children where the pregnant mother describes how she used to want to be a doctor, but now glories in her holy duty of procreating for Christ. The narrator attends church meetings where well-known national ministers such as Jerry Falwell tell his congregation to vote for candidates who uphold Christian values such as anti-abortion. She shows us Christian comedians and Christian rock stars, and Christians who proudly declare themselves "soldiers for Christ" at "Battle Cry" rallies.

She shows us mass hysteria.

How much of a threat is it? Is it growing, or declining? What would these people do if they gained complete political power? What would happen to atheists, agnostics, gays, and members of every religious sect other than fundamentalist Christianity?

The ideas are so ridiculous, the worship is so... cheesy, that I find it hard to take seriously. Hopefully, a majority of Americans will always feel as I do. Hopefully, a majority of Americans will respect science. Hopefully, a majority of Americans will uphold the separation of church and state. Hopefully, a majority of Americans will stand for religious freedom, the right of people of different faiths -- and no faith at all -- to live together peaceably. Hopefully, a majority of Americans do not want government legislating personal morality.

These Christian true-believers are laughably small in stature. They take the Bible literally. They believe the earth is 6,000 years old. They believe God created man in His image and that evolution is false. They are hypocrites and guiltily engage in the sexual practices they say are evil.

As they battle for Christ, they tell us they would outlaw abortion. They would ban certain sex practices and homosexual acts. They would use government money to fund their causes in violation of the First Amendment. All of this they have admitted.

And if they really got all of the political power they crave, what would their true colors be?


Thomas Rowland said...

If all fundamentalists and true believers looked like and acted like the ones you describe, I doubt if there would be a problem. Did any of them look like George Bush? That's the problem.

Galileo Blogs said...

The documentary really is worth seeing. A good deal of the people interviewed were "mainstream" conservative Christians such as Jerry Falwell. These are center of the line people for George Bush.

People really do need to see that, despite a seemingly reasonable exterior, Bush and the other fundamentalists are believing in blatant irrationality.

It cannot be completely compartmentalized, either. Plenty of Objectivists have written about how Bush's Christianity and "turn-the-other-cheek" beliefs have hamstrung him from fighting the terrorists effectively. I believe this is true. Bush is torn by the need to show "mercy", so he cannot fight hard. Furthermore, he is probably troubled, on some level, with fighting "sincere" religious believers like the Muslims.