We greatly appreciate that you’ve reached out to the Cubic Zirconium Cathedral Ministries Hotline. Normally we charge 99 cents per minute to provide you with direct, Scripture-based, Dove-to-Supplicant discernment and wisdom. However, today you have blessedly reached the philadelphic phone of yours truly, CPO of this multi-billion-dollar Prosperity Gospel ministry. And what’s a CPO, you may ask? Why, Chief Pastoral Officer, of course. Thus, I hope you don’t mind paying a moderately increased rate of $5 per minute for the privilege.
Now, to whom do I have the pleasure of guiding down the straight and narrow path of righteousness? Whose loins am I about to gird with Fruit of the Holy Spirit smallclothes?
Oh, Congressman Gowdy! So good to hear from you again! I apologize I didn’t recognize the firm pinions of your steely Southern drawl. Next time just say “Libya-Libya-Libya,” and I’ll know it’s you immediately.
Here, let me transfer you straight to our Bible Beltway operator staff. They’ve undergone special certification training by The Fellowship in order to goad and assuage the consciences of our national political leaders. I can only imagine how conflicted yet energized your soul must feel about wasting—I mean expending—taxpayer dollars on the newly reauthorized House Benghazi Special Investigation Committee. Have a blessed day! Ta-ta!
Dumbass. Couldn’t tell a chanticleer from a chandelier. Probably got his law degree from a box of Count Chocula.
Oh, hello, didn’t see you there! Thanks for coming by! We’re always delighted to take on good volunteers whenever we can. Just because we’re a 501c3 doesn’t mean we can’t use a little more unrestricted revenue—gotta pay for that summer short-term missions cruise to Monaco with Mrs. Pillow somehow! (Those baccarat tables are just ripe for evangelizing, by the way.)
And I see you’ve brought some tuna Fritos goulash from home. Here, let me put this in our stainless steel cylindrical pantry while I take you on a quick tour of the phone bank facility. I’ve got to get upstairs in a few minutes to deliver today’s sermon.
Honestly, I really don’t care how you handle callers—just do your best to keep them on the line for at least 15 minutes. That covers overhead. (And overhead includes my GL-Class Mercedes SUV.) Not everyone has an Master of Divinity, so if you get stumped by someone’s spiritual issues, just start reading aloud from Our Daily Bread or Focus on the Family. I’m sure you could fix just about anything with one of your tortilla chips covered dish recipes.
Also, make sure you work in plenty of references to the enemies of Christ. And remember that an enemy of Christ is a bosom buddy of Beelzebub. If a caller is worried about Muslims or Democrats moving into the neighborhood—or even, God forbid, folks with rainbow bumper stickers, and I’m not talking about people who’ve seen the movie Noah—remind them that it’s okay to stick dog turds in the mailboxes of people going to hell.
And try to sell callers several of our 2014 Prayer & Fasting Advent Calendars. I know the timing isn’t perfect, but we’ve got to get rid of them at this point.
Once you’ve unloaded a calendar or two, make sure you keep playing up the enemy card. Timing is perfect with what’s going on in our gravely fallen world. Black market blacks loose on the streets of New York City. Syrian-trained jihadists roaming about the French countryside. Pope Francis’ mug showing up randomly like an ecumenical whack-a-mole.
Don’t forget to throw in a few positive plugs about Lockheed Martin and Raytheon—the CZC Mutual Fund invests heavily in DOD contractors. Also, we’ve got some stylish Christian-themed projectile weapons on the CZC catalog website. The semi-automatic Jonah & the Whale harpoon was a very popular item over the past holiday season.
Say, here’s your cubicle. Just remember, there are a lot of really guilty Christians out there. They pass by homeless people every day. They’re constantly inundated with commercials about starving children and abused animals while watching football. And it’s very bothersome for them to deal with the supposed fact that Caucasians might—and I stress might—be just as capable of blowing up buildings as any old Muslim.
Anyway, I’ve really got to get upstairs. Just remember: enemy-making is the best thing our global military industrial complex has going for it. Which means it’s the best thing for our ministry annual budget. So build up the enemy and remember to prepare a definite place for him in hell. That’s what our callers want to hear.
Please open your hymnals to No. 4379.
Oh I can’t control myself
Don’t leave me hanging on the telephone
Hang up and run to me
Behold, the Christian Right Weekly Round-Up!
The Christian Right Media Reacts to Paris
If I were the editor of one of the largest Christian news organizations in the country—say, Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting News—I’m pretty sure that in a week that saw such horrors as the Charlie Hebdo massacre and the failed terrorist bombing of an NAACP Colorado Springs chapter office, my lead U.S. news story would not be an anti-gun control story by Alveda King.
I’m not sure what was running through CBN News Washington Senior Correspondent Paul Strand’s mind when he wrote the Alveda King piece—but I’m sure it wasn’t, “Hey, I’ll bet a good many of our racist, theocracy-mongering readers would gobble up a bunch of anti-gun quotes by the niece of Martin Luther King Jr.” No, never.
At the same time, I also probably wouldn’t run a second major story that leads with the statement “reminding” readers “that Western values are under assault [by Muslims]…”
Ah, Western values. Like the vestiges of slavery and colonialism. Like an economic system that has led to the impoverishment of billions. Then there’s the global military industrial complex. Don’t worry, I won’t even mention smooth jazz.
And if I were the editor of Christianity Today, I probably would not go out of my way to completely ignore the terrorism in Paris with my five lead website stories. I have the screenshot to prove it too. Seriously, it’s way more important to speculate on “Which Churchgoers Would Skip Sunday Service to Watch Football” than to consider major world events like the Charlie Hebdo Tragedy, the NAACP bombing, the Boko Haram Nigerian Massacre, etc. (Back to the football question: it’s kind of odd, isn’t it, considering that the vast majority of churchgoers attend service hours before any NFL game kickoff?)
Hey, for as much trouble as we give the Wisconsin Christian News, at least they aren’t recommending that their readers T.P. the nearest mosque. (That is a progress, of sorts.) Instead, they’re recommending ways to “Avoid the Flu”:
“Drink tea, eat broth-based soups, and keep a bottle of filtered water at your side. But avoid sugary drinks and concentrated fruit juices, which can actually be harmful to your immune system.”
First sound advice from any Christian Right media source this week. As such, I intend to have a bowl of broth-based soup by my side for the duration of this article.
Anyway, outside of Christianity Today and Wisconsin Christian News, thousands of columnists and bloggers have taken to their keyboards this week to write about the epic showdown between freedom of expression and fundamentalist iconoclasm. Here in fact are more than 70 articles alone on the subject written by the good writers of Patheos.
Earlier this week I wrote what I thought was a unique take on the Charlie Hebdo tragedy, having previously spent several years of my life looking over my shoulder while writing biting religious and political satire for a gonzo alt weekly in Columbia, South Carolina. That article is called “Je Suis Charlie / Je Suis Satirist / Je Suis Jesus.”
Yet none of us is probably surprised that the Christian Right didn’t have anything very intelligent to add to the Charlie Hebdo discourse. And that’s part of the point I want to make today.
Violent jihadists don’t know Allah from a Popsicle, yet they speak so confidently for God. Why? Because for them the complex world has been reduced in over-simplistic terms, with the barrel of a gun as a punctuation mark.
Make no mistake that the worldview of U.S. Christian fundamentalism is no different. Christian fundies also engage the Bible with oversimplified interpretation; their leaders have no compunction speaking for God. And they have no qualms about encouraging the stockpiling of arms.
Thankfully, with respect to resources, life in the U.S. remains more or less a state fair fried-fattened-calf-on-a-stick. I say “thankfully,” because this makes for a somewhat lazy fundamentalist subculture. Few fundies among us feel the exigency to engage their supposed enemies violently. (Though this sadly happens more often than it should, my point is that as long as U.S. fundies have access to bacon and Slurpees, their non-believing neighbors stand an actual shot at being left alone.)
Another major difference is that while Islamic fundamentalism is not strongly rooted in Western political systems, Christian fundamentalism is absolutely rooted in the U.S. political system—as well as the economic system. Christian fundamentalism sadly isn’t fringe in the United States—it’s in fact mainstream. Fundies by the church bus-load in fact serve multiple terms as governors, congresspersons, senators—Presidents even. They’re district attorneys, CEOs, college presidents, defense contractors, angel investors, drone pilots, film producers.
All to say, the next time you hear someone talking about Muslim fundamentalists wreaking havoc across Europe, just remember that American Christian fundamentalists are wreaking havoc across the entire world. Both strains of fundamentalism are ruinous to Civilization.
It’s futile to compare both strains. They are the same.
That’s a wrap!
Please open your hymnals to No. 1976.
Oh, peace train soundin’ louder
Glide on the peace train
Ooh, ah, ee, ah, ooh, ah
Come on, now peace train
Progressives, the November Elections are—damn, you missed it. It’s too late. While we Progressives sat around drinking craft beer, more than one-third of our fellow fundamentalist countrymen rushed to the polls and elected the most idiotic group of human beings ever yet to rule a superpower.
But don’t worry. We’ll get another shot to right the Good Ship Civilization on Tuesday, November 8, 2016. Hopefully our Little Blue Planet will still be alive and kicking by then. And hopefully we can all get off our Balaam’s asses this time and find a voting booth.
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