Monday, November 08, 2004

Now, for the rest of the story

I'm back in my Colorado office, and thought I'd finish the trip report I began earlier.

RC traditionalists, just being themselves
During the conference (the entire conference was videotaped, btw, and will be made available through Alph and Omega soon) a couple of traditionalist roman catholics approached the NTRMin book table and wanted to debate me over the legitimacy of Vatican II. They apparently were friends of Mario Derksen (little surprise--I think all traditionalists know each other). In any case, there were lots of people crowding around the table wanting to talk to me, so I declined the debate. I was told later by the event coordinator that one of them had only moments before cursed at him and childishly walked out of the room chanting "Na-na-na-na-na." That surprised me even less.

You're Listening to the Jesus Christ Show!
I left the hotel early Sunday morning to catch a flight in San Diego. Since it was a two-hour trip I began searching for an L.A.-based radio station that might be worthy of a listening ear. I tuned into 640 am (about 6:15 in the morning) and began listening to what I originally thought was a "Bible Answer Man"-type radio pastor answering a caller's question about baptism. Turns out I was really listening to Jesus Christ himself. That's right; I had tuned into "the Jesus Christ Show." After the show broke for a commercial and then came back on air, the radio voice (imagine the same radio voice that introduces the Sean Hannity show) let me know I was listening to "the Jesus Christ Show." Ok, I thought, bad name for a Christian radio talk show. What I heard next was worse. The host came on and said--I kid you not--"Thank you for tuning in to the Jesus Christ Show. I AM . . . your Holy Host." When callers began calling in, they addressed the "holy host" as Christ himself. "Thank you for taking my call, Jesus. I think your most fabulous miracle was when you raised Lazarus from the dead." "Au Contraire," replied the host, "my greatest miracle was when I raised myself from the dead." And on it went, as the host told one caller she should attend her gay friends' wedding in a show of support even if she disagrees with their lifestyle.

. . . Only in California.

They Still Don't Get It
I remember a Far Side cartoon I saw many years ago. It depicted a bunch of bears who had just purchased and donned "human suits" (the ACME boxes were still close at hand), in an attempt to lure humans into their trap so they could eat them. As soon as the humans saw them, they ran--and for good reason; the bears still looked like bears in loose-fitting human suits and hoods. They looked nothing like humans. One bear commented that he just couldn't figure out why the suits weren't working.

When I arrived at the San Diego airport, I bought a newspaper to read on the plane. The only paper they had was the LA Times, a bastion of liberal ideology (btw, I've never paid so much for a newspaper and a cup of coffee in my life). I began reading the opinion page and came across this little gem from a Democrat columnist:

Democrats and the God Gap
". . . [Kerry's] stiffness cannot fully explain the 'God gap' that drives people of faith, and those more concerned with moral issues than economic ones, to vote disproportionately Republican. They just don't believe that the Democrats share their values. . . . We do not agree with those who say the Democratic Party must embrace moral issues as now defined by conservatives and exploited by Republican strategists. Opposition to gay marriage and abortion rights will always be Republican issues, and the Democrats shouldn't want them. What the Democrats should do is recast their own issues in moral terms. It shouldn't be hard. Democrats seem oblivious to their platform's moral potency: innocent children suffering because their families can't get health insurance; platoons of young men and women dying in a war that didn't have to be; the pillaging of God's green Earth. Those are 'values' issues too, but Democrats haven't figured out how to frame them that way. The voters who think liberals are godless monsters who care only about gay marriage and personal freedom are mostly decent, well-meaning people. Can it really be impossible to persuade them that they don't want to live in a country where 50 million people have no health insurance? Democrats have the words, but they don't have the music--and the music matters. A good choir and a minister who can preach improve the attendance at any church. . . . It is not a matter of pandering, but giving bread-and-butter issue a moral toehold in the political discourse."

Nope; it's pandering--and downright insulting. And I think this is just what Kerry attempted to do. He made a point of speaking to churches, misquoting Scripture, referencing God, etc. He was still a bear dressed in a human suit; and no ACME human suit, no “music” is going to make his ideals more palatable to those who reject them on the basis of what they truly are, and what their ramifications are; not what they simply appear to be. No doubt some will be persuaded by it--there are gullible people everywhere, after all. But if the columnist is attempting to appeal to those who have strong convictions about God-ordained things, that approach just doesn't stand a snowball's chance in hell.