With US midterm elections drawing near, I’m reminded of a day prior to President Obama’s inauguration in 2008 when religious zealots gathered to pray for “rain of Biblical proportions” to come down “two minutes before the acceptance speech.” In other words, our God will drop whatever he’s doing all over the universe and perform as we ask him to.
An alarming number of current candidates for office claim to defend American-style democracy and ‘family values’ as they engage in gay-bashing, want creationism taught in schools, equate masturbation with adultery, denigrate minorities, are anti-abortion, anti-immigration, and pro-gun. They point to the moral superiority of their fundamentalist beliefs … and many will be elected.
Why should this bother me? Because I’m discouraged and probably naive. Not because nutjobs will be elected, but because as a species we’re unable to learn from history, incapable of thinking for ourselves, and all too easily persuaded by crazed orators.
I too was raised to ‘believe’ certain things to be true — because someone said so on Sunday mornings. We were not a religious family but did what was expected by kneeling in church, confessing sins to a stranger, and swallowing bits of dough as ‘the body of Christ.’ We were taught that Jesus loves children and doesn’t judge but save, and that his father (not Joseph, but the Other God) crushes the heads of anyone (and their babies) who doesn’t obey. And then we grew up and began thinking for ourselves.
May our cousins to the south vote wisely on Tuesday.