“Except we turn back and become as cows, we shall not enter the
kingdom of heaven. For we ought to learn one thing from them:
chewing the cud. And verily, what would it profit a man if he
gained the whole world and did not learn this one thing: chewing
the cud!” (Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra)
I voted for John McCain and Sarah Palin. I
didn’t mind that McCain is a Baptist, Palin some sort of
Pentecostal. McCain had known enough in the 2000 election to call
Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson forces of intolerance (though later,
out of a sense of political expediency, he tried mending fences with
them). Palin said that she did not see her role to advance pet
theological causes through legislation. All right, then. If she
happened to believe the earth was created six thousand years ago, or
six hours ago, what did I care? On the other hand, I cared little
for the James Cone style of Black Theology espoused by the Reverend
Jeremiah Wright and, one would naturally have to assume, by his
close buddy and parishioner Barak Obama. Obama also had oodles of
inexperience, combined with apparently Socialist leanings. There
seemed plenty of reasons not to vote for him, so I voted for McCain.
But my guy lost.
won, I decided to put the political past behind me and root for my
new president (elect). After all, he seemed smart and tough. Maybe
he could make the great liberal experiment work. I hoped so. I
determined I would not be a sore loser like the Democrats had been
ever since 2000, with their hysterical claims of election-stealing.
I would not embrace “Obama Derangement Syndrome” as they had
succumbed to “Bush Derangement Syndrome.” I wanted to breathe no
more of that politically poisonous atmosphere. When people began
trying to connect Obama with the corrupt governor of Illinois, my
thought was, “Oh no: here we go again! Why can’t we just make a new
But then I
found myself socked right between the eyes by the unbelievable
announcement that Obama had invited the buffoonish Rick Warren to
give the invocation at his inauguration! What the hell? I would have
groaned had a President McCain announced such a choice. But Obama?
Now I am caught between the worst of both worlds! Let me get this
straight: Obama is trying to reach out to the Religious Right by
inviting aboard their stupidest, most theologically infantile,
representative? The author of the treatise in imbecility, The
Purpose-Driven Life? Will we see in the near future a
collaboration volume, The Purpose-Driven Administration?
or McCain invited Warren to pray at his swearing in, that would have
been all the evidence liberals needed that Bush and McCain were
Puritanical totalitarians, which they weren’t and aren’t. That was
always liberal propaganda. What will they say it means for Obama to
draw attention to such an association? In a recent interview, George
W. Bush freely admitted he did not take the Bible literally,
something the Left would not have wanted us to know. They preferred
us to picture Bush with a Dispensational chart and a Tribulation Map
open on the desk in front of him in the Oval Office, an absurd
slander. But what does it means for Obama to seek the blessing of
this peddler of cultish Bible-quoting mind-control? I have to assume
it is one more piece of political posturing, albeit a bungled one,
by Obama. I will laugh at the liberal spin doctors trying to show
how Obama’s recruitment of Warren does not mean he is the
fundamentalist zombie it would have made Bush in their eyes. Watch
As for me,
I would rather have an invocation delivered by Jeremiah Wright,
ending in “God damn America!” Or one of Father Richard Pflager’s
stand-up routines. Anything, in fact, but the sugary superstitions
of Rick Warren. As far as I’m concerned, the honeymoon’s over.
it mean for Rick Warren to occupy the post of National Shaman? The
news media seem to think Billy Graham’s role as national pastor will
go to Warren. Jerry Falwell had once campaigned for the succession,
but his failure to gain such recognition was moot (and please don’t
mispronounce it “mute”!) since Falwell died while Billy Graham yet
lingers. Billy Graham never betrayed much theological
sophistication, but Rick Warren is just a bag of religious vacuity.
To choose such a man as the Icon of American religion shows what
people expect from religion, and it is not encouraging. It is a
“recognition” that religion is totally non-cognitive sentimentality.
And sentimentality by itself is dangerous: it can prevail to the
neglect of both critical thinking and morality. It can forgive too
easily. It can recoil in horror at what must be done in such messy
areas as espionage and national security. It can be so idealistic it
doesn’t want to be confused with the facts. And it can glorify
ignorance as a form of nostalgia for “the good old days” when we
didn’t know about things like evolution. Not that scientific
ignorance was what made them good, but we did happen to be ignorant
then, and nostalgia wants all things as they were “back then.”
Creationism has about as much going for it as flat-top haircuts and
the Jitterbug: a rosy aura around the less complicated past.
expect public servants to be theologians. They have expertise in
other areas. But if they are going to have religious advisers, you’d
think they would be theologians, specialists. But in religion
there is a strange paradox: it seems people are eager to place their
trust in the “professionals” who have the least expertise, who know
the least about their subject. People who look at the Bible
simplistically, even superstitiously. People who exalt blind faith
in a creed others taught them and unquestioning subservience to
divine authority (represented, of course, by a human representative
like Rick Warren with his Bible).
I can only
hope President Obama will pay as little attention to the gas-bag
sagacity of Rick Warren as he said he did that of Jeremiah Wright.
Maybe he knows better than to take seriously anything either of them
say. It is a shame that, things being as they are, he has to pretend
So says Zarathustra.