The fundo-right has done it. Church and State are one. The nation is ruled by the dictatorship of the holytariat. The DC in the nation's capital now stands for Dominion of Christ. The Supreme Court having nine good Christian men -- and no women -- on its bench has added the words 'Under God' to its title.
The Supreme Court Under God has ordered that the 10 Commandments be displayed wherever 'sin might raise its seductive head': bars, clubs, gyms, swimming pools, corporate mail-rooms, multiplexes, secluded beaches, public rest-rooms, motel check-ins and Catholic sacristies. The Justice Department has invoked the Third Commandment to close down 'American Idol' -- for idolatry. Congress has passed federal statutes against blasphemy, sodomy and witchcraft. Major newspapers are being bankrupted by blasphemy lawsuits brought by groups like Billionaires for Jesus. Similar charges of witchcraft are bankrupting environmentalists (for Bible-believers environmentalism is 'pagan worship of nature' the moral equivalent of Wicca). Everyone's in on the holy thing. The NRA has a new PR campaign: "Guns don't kill people; God kills people." The newly appointed Secretary of Salvation has been invited by the AMPAS to host the first faith-based Academy Awards ever. In downtown 'Holywood'.
Sound specious? Well, there are two possible origins of this particular specious. A. all these religious improvements in the American landscape appear in my new book The Messiah of Morris Avenue. B. they're also the actual goals, proposed goals, or hot, sticky wet-dreams of the theocratic thugs who have our nation in their paws.
It wasn't until I started promoting the Messiah over the last few days that I began to get a taste of just how hard it is for your average hard-working blue-collar satirist to keep up these days with religious thuggery. When I began writing the book last year I was happy to come up with the satirical notion that Congress had passed laws against blasphemy. It was a very useful satirical device. Then I read a story in Harpers about the 2005 NRB convention. Ardently debated there -- by the likes of James Dobson, who runs a hate-group called Focus on the Family -- was the pressing need to get Congress to pass federal statutes against blasphemy AND sodomy AND witchcraft. Not whether but how. (The NRB -- National Religious Broadcasters -- are one of the most repellent ultra-right pseudo-Christian groups around).
A few days ago I had intense déjà vu. I was doing a phoner on a national drive-time show. There was the usual morning-show gang-banter I get about Spinal Tap and I figured I was among like-minded folk. I began pitching the Messiah and got into the blasphemy-sodomy-witchcraft stuff. A deathly hush fell over the happy throng. "I reckon laws like that'd be a great idea" snapped the host and cut me off the air. Later the same day there was another radio show -- in the South -- where I went through the entire opening paragraph of this post without getting any reaction whatsoever from the host. (I can usually count on a chuckle or two). Then, though he hadn't read it, he began rhapsodizing about my book. It took me a moment or two to realize that he saw my 1984-style theocratic nightmare as a lovely vision of Christian utopia.
The Messiah was conceived in 2004 in anger at the sanctimonious preening of the GOP after its 'Christian' victory. It evolved into more than an angry satire: it really sets out to challenge the pseudo-Christian right's vile caricature of Christ. Does who Christ is or was, matter? I think so. The imminent American theocracy -- as Kevin Phillips' brilliant eponymous must-read underlines -- is the most vital issue we face -- even more than the crime family squatting in the White House. Long after they're gone or in jail, the theocracy will still be looming.
Its glue is the nature of Christ. Pseudo-Christians pay lip-service to Christ's forgiveness and mercy but it's only for the pseudo-Christians. It's terror that holds them in line. Fundamentalist terror. Terror of Christ's judgment, the terror Christ will wreak when he comes (which could be as soon as Tuesday) to kill billions of Falwell's and Dobson's and Robertson's enemies, starting with Barney Frank, Susan Sarandon, NPR, every Muslim on earth and all of Huffpost. Their sweetest dream is inconceivable slaughter and pain, they preach on it every Sabbath, the Left Behind books (80 million sold) wallow in oceans of human blood.
And these are people who call themselves pro-life.
As a practicing Catholic (which is to say I need a lot of practice) I believe that Christ never was or claimed to be a Nietzchean ubermensch bent on faith-based genocide. Nor do I believe for a second that he's going to rapture the Baptist-Evangelical-Pentecostals' hate-mongering, willfully ignorant, terminally intolerant, gun-toting, gay-bashing, race-baiting, blame-the-poor-for-poverty, I'm-saved-and-you're-not asses up to heaven.
The Messiah is not and was not like that, in any way. For starters I don't recall that in his 33 years here below he killed anyone. The odd fig-tree, some swine -- but no human swine. Without going further into what I believe Christ to be -- you could always check out my book -- what better day of the year than Easter to suggest it's time to rise up against these enemies of freedom? Sure, we respect their right to believe whatever they please. But we're under no obligation to respect what they believe. Especially when it's genocidal garbage which the morality-free panderers in the Administration are turning into foreign policy. Especially when it directly threatens the Constitution and our well-being. (Federal laws against witchcraft indeed!) The Christian right are no more Christian than Osama bin Laden. It's time for all those they hate and menace, Christian and non-Christian, young, old, secular or spiritual, gay, straight, native or immigrant, of color or not, to bury their differences and, by any means necessary, bring them low.