Yesterday’s victory of Christine O’Donnell in Delaware’s senate primaries seems to have shocked a lot of people. Have these people not been paying attention? Did they sleep through Beckpalooza? Have they failed to see that Sarah Palin’s lackluster life story has become a best-seller? Are Americans in denial that we are facing a major Religious Right comeback? The problem, yes, problem, is that Americans are not taught to think about religion for themselves. Raised with the idea that their political and religious leaders have some special channel open to the divine, they are sheep led to the, well, you know…
Society pays for its sins. One of the most fatal of the deadly sins is the refusal to take ownership of religious education. Unreflective religion in the hands of politicians is a fully armed atomic warhead. Many Americans like to think this is only a problem in nations with Islamic infrastructures, nations unduly influenced by shahs, ayatollahs and imams. Nations influenced by Tea Parties, Neo-Cons and biblical amateurs are much safer, much more friendly.
Problem is, the Bible’s a mixed bag. Some of the loftiest spiritual sentiments nestle down uncritically next to calls for genocide and harsh repression. As long as it is the magic finger from above that’s written it, that’s good enough for tea-tipplers. There are few opportunities to call Americans together for a religious town meeting. We’re all too busy off doing it our own individual way. In such a climate, isn’t it best to let those without any formal religious training tell us what the Bible says we should do? Do you want one lump with that, or two?
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