Friday, June 03, 2005

Oh...THAT American Life

My fiancee and I are sitting at home tonight listening to This American Life which, this week, is doing a show ostensibly on the separation of church and state. This is the kind of thing that makes my darling wife-to-be insane, because Ira Glass is letting the other side speak and isn't, well, correcting them. She doesn't ask much, really, just that somebody, when Kenneth Blackwell maintains insistently that Christians are oppressed in America today while at the same time claiming that the point of democracy is to enforce the legislative agenda of their super-majority over the objections of the non-Christian, says, "Actually, Kenneth, I don't think that is the point of democracy, and your two points contradict each other besides." But the interviewers don't oblige her, so she becomes insane.

Before I return to my zen-like, acupuncture-acolyte, at-one-with-the-universe self, I'd like to say this on the subject of the media: presenting "both sides" of an argument when one side is giving making an actual argument and the other side is telling lies IS NOT OBJECTIVE REPORTING. I'll leave it to the reader to apply any context that may be lacking in this statement.

Where was I? Oh yes, the separation of church and state. A little later in the evening, my local NPR station was replaying Friday's Talk of the Nation interview with Bill Clinton, and for just a little while we got to re-experience a time when just hearing the sound of the voice of The President of The United States didn't make us completely insane.

Apparently, in the eight years when Bill Clinton was President, there were some conservatives in this country who were driven insane (insane!) when they were forcibly reminded that he was leading their country in the same way that I, and 125,000,000 of my closest friends are presently driven mad by the fact that George W. Bush is the holder of the highest office in the land when he is, well, the very beatable combination of religious conservative and a not very smart man. It's obvious to me what makes us insane about GWB, but it's not so obvious to me what makes the right so insane about Bill Clinton leading the country. Nor is it immediately obvious what makes the Religious Right so insane that some people in this country don't agree with their beliefs, don't take the bible literally, and don't particularly want to have their lives governed by laws based on those beliefs or a literal interpretation of the bible when, in fact, we live in a country founded on the very idea that this was wrong, very wrong, incredibly and demonstrably WRONG.

(Sorry, I lost my "objective" slant there for a second. It won't happen again. Until it does.)

So in that respect, what makes us (by "us" here I mean my fiancee (who, in a sub-parenthetical remark I will here and now dub 'L.' and refer to her as such from now on) and me, but you can substitute whatever "us" you like) insane about people spouting that they're being oppressed for trying to express their religion is that they so fundamentally don't "get it." At the same time, they're sitting around thinking the exact same thing about me (or, people like me, since I'm pretty sure they don't know me. Yet). So what is that thing that I'm not getting?

I would imagine it's the "God" part. Sometime in the future I'll talk about my huge problem with the anthropomorphic Christian God that--while apparently unconditionally loving and all-powerful--hates homosexuals, people who have sex before a Christian church okays it, people who choose to use birth control or have abortions, and people who vote for any of the people who believe that any of these things are actually not mortal sins. And, oh by the way, sorry, but the same God, again, all-powerful and all-loving, gives you one 80-year shot at figuring out that you, e.g. have to hate homosexuals, is going to fuck with you the entire time, and if you don't get it right in that time, is going to banish you for all eternity to unbearable torture and damnation. I mean, nothing says unconditional love like that.

(I'm sorry, I did it again. On the bright side, now I don't have to write that entry about my problems with the Christian god. Pretty much covered it there.)

*ahem* I imagine it's the "God" part that they're insane that I'm not getting. Because of course the "God" part is there. I have to imagine a reasonable, loving Christian is a little embarrassed about the people who interpret the metaphor of the Bible as literal fact, but at the same time recognizes that their hearts are in the right place because they recognize the truth of "God." What that truth is, I gotta tell you, I have no idea. But I'm working on it.

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