Many of us remember a day when there was a whole swath of the pious population that was…, well, decent.
That is, if you ran into folks who professed to be godly, who claimed to have faith in some one and only true creator of the universe, who, for chrissakes, got down on their knees at night and prayed, you could be perhaps 50 percent assured that they’d be loving, caring souls. Many religious types actually gave a good goddamn about the homeless, the hungry, the sinners, the lame, the halt, the overindulgent, the rash, the suspicious, the loners, the foreign…, hell, all of us.
But now, at least the most vociferous of deity idolators are, quite frankly, jerks. Let the kids and the elderly in the caravan die — it’s their own fault. If you haven’t got the dough to afford health care, too bad. The homeless are lazy bums. Why should I help you?
Let’s go a step further. Tons of self-identified Christians are gaga over President Gag. To wit:
Today, following their Dear Leader’s lead, many religious types don’t give a shit about the homeless, the hungry, the sinners, the lame, the halt, the overindulgent, the rash, the suspicious, the loners, the foreign…, hell, all of the rest of us
So how did this happen?
Naturally, I have a theory. For thousands of years, religion and faith in god was a way — the way, mostly — to explain the world. How did we get here? Why are we here? Where are we going? All those Q’s, seemingly, were answered by those who claimed to have an in w/ the Big Man. These explanations made us feel better. They took the fret out of everyday life. There’d be an eternal reward after we cashed in our chips. And all our pain and suffering was not for naught.
Virtually everybody bought into this, from the smartest philosophers to the most ignorant backwoods hunter-gatherers. Gradually, through the centuries, the most observant of the Greeks, the Egyptians, the Arabs, the Chinese, the Asian Indians and others started discovering that more and more things could be explained by natural processes. Science was born. The answers were less and less to be found in the Well, God did it school of thought.
This gradual chipping away of the role of god has brought us to the year 2018 where the belief in a creator threatens to fall below 50 percent of the pop. sooner rather than later. And a huge percentage of those who do hang on to their deism no longer see the Ultimate Boss as the be all and end all of everything. Ask any of your friends who continue to believe in god what that god is and you’ll most likely see someone struggle to answer. That answer, say, in the year 1862 would have been something on the order of He willed us into existence and controls all aspects of our lives. He created the birds and the flowers and knew from the onset whether we’d be good or evil. And so on.
Now, it’s more like, Um, god is a force or some such nonspecific evasion.
That’s because we don’t need him to fall back on as an explanation for How did we get here? Why are we here? Where are we going? And so on.
The curious among us, the observant, those who know what plate tectonics is, who are familiar with natural selection, and can tell you, briefly, what the Big Bang was and how long ago it happened, have weeded themselves out, to a large extent, from the legions of believers.
So who’s left among those ranks? A fast-growing share of them are people who “loved” god because he was all-powerful, was angry, was vicious, was vengeful, was a man, created women out of a man’s rib bone, ordered us to worship him and him alone in his first four Commandments, was inflexible, refused to forgive us unless we prostrated ourselves before him — rather like the fellow a minority of us elected to the presidency in 2016.
Sadly, the rolls of this holy land’s Judeo-Christian religions are more and more the incurious, the idolatrous, male-fetishist, authoritarians. They don’t love people; they love obeisance. God, to them, isn’t a unifier; he’s the almighty doorman, the existential ICE agent, filtering the “chosen” from the rest of us.
This doesn’t mean everybody who believes in god thinks that way. I know far too many good, loving, kind, decent souls whose faith is real and unshakable. Only they’re fast becoming the minority in the roll call of disciples.
The Religious Right’s infatuation w/ Li’l Duce isn’t puzzling at all.
South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg announced the other day he won’t be running for a third term in 2019. You remember Pete, don’t you? He was the chirpy young dude who waged an exciting campaign for chair of the Democratic National Committee in 2017. As his star ascended, some national publications even began speculating that — mirabile dictu! — Buttigieg might be a player when the Dems get around to choosing their nominee for president in 2020. And wouldn’t that be a Hoosier hoot, especially considering Pete’s an out gay man who, since then, has married his longtime male partner.
Buttigieg has presided over a mini-renaissance in South Bend, a working class town that went straight to hell after its auto industry collapsed in 1967. In fact, Newsweek magazine in 2011 named South Bend one of America’s 10 dying cities. Things are looking a tad brighter there these days; whether that can be attributable to Buttigieg or he was just lucky enough to be in office when the bounce-back happened is for smarter folks than me to quibble about.
In any case, Buttigieg remains a comer in Dem circles. Hell, the Washington Post the other day went out on a limb and flat-out declared he’s pretty much in the ’20 race. He visited Bloomington in June, 2017, to address a house party full of Democratic women (and a man or two). He spoke about the Democratic message and how the party ought to return to its roots championing the Little Guy.
I did an eight-minute feature on his chat that summer when Big Talk was but a short part of the WFHB Daily Local News. Now the Glab-gabfest is a stand-alone half hour program so — what the hell? — I figured I’d put an extended Pete piece on air this afternoon. So tune in to WFHB, 91.3 FM, today at 5:30pm to hear what he has to say.