Wednesday, October 15, 2008

My God?

When I first saw a clip from the video below on Countdown with Keith Olbermann I thought it was a joke. I thought this video actually came from an extremest religious group backing McCain. I was dumbfounded when I saw that this was the bona fide invocation delivered at a McCain rally in Davenport, Iowa last Saturday.

Reverend Arnold Conrad here spreads the notion of the "other." The idea that "he's not like us, so he must appeal to the other." This is unabashed ignorance. I would think that the pious of this nation would condemn his blasphemy when he tells god what to do. I bet God didn't know his "reputation" was riding on this election. Reverend Conrad what exactly are the "various reasons" that the "other" religions of the world would want an Obama victory? Desire for peace over war? Energy policies that actually emphasize renewable resources? A leader who will listen to them?

This instance of misguided self-righteousness is a symptom of the certainty that plagues the American Evangelical movement. This certainty is what lead the United States into preemptive war, and is the same type of malicious certainty suicide bombers have in their minds at the moment of detonation. The certainty that "my God" is better that yours.

In the fall of 2004 I was in my senior year at college in New York State. I would drive every weekend back and fourth across the 200 mile stretch of interstate 86 between Fredonia and Ithaca, the part of the state known as the southern tier. I would often leave Ithaca before the sun came up on Monday morning to return to Fredonia for my 9 A.M. instrumental chemistry class. During the three weeks leading up to the presidential election that year I noticed something that I hadn't in all my drives along that beautifully bucolic stretch. Loping through the Allegheny hills, an ear-grating malice oozed from the radio stations. I could swear that some FCC authority had increased power to these provincial stations to spread lies about John Kerry. Over and over on these otherwise benign stations I heard graphic descriptions about how John Kerry was a baby-killer and hated America. Stern voices came over the airwaves warning people of the impending doom of a Kerry victory.

After the election I was not able to pick up some of the stations that broadcast during that time. My hope is that the inter-connectivity of society has grown past the point of no return and that the internet will act as the disinfectant that makes the fear promulgated by the Arnold Conrads of the world powerless.

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