January 27, 2010

Government Officials Wallowing in Religious Delusion

I am going to try something a little bit different for this post. I think you will enjoy this.

I'd like you to do a bit of visualization, some guided imagery if you will. Start by think about an extremely primitive sort of ritual you might have seen on TV or in the movies. Maybe it is a voodoo ritual where a circle of people are writhing under torchlight while several drummers keep a furious rhythm. Maybe you'd prefer some sort of shaman or witchdoctor in exotic native dress. That would be fine too.

Clearly picture the scene in your mind as if you are standing on the edge of it and watching it unfold before you. The drums are setting the pace for the dancers as they gyrate and twist wildly. There is chanting in a language you don't understand. As the priestess/shaman appears, the intensity rapidly builds. The drums are faster, and they seem louder somehow. The priestess/shaman is in the center of the circle. She's in a trance state. The participants have a dazed look on their faces, fully engrossed in the ritual. The drums are even faster now. She is covered in sweat, spinning wildly in the circle. You are standing on the edge of the circle. You look around and realize that you are the only one who isn't caught in the grasp of the ritual. What is wrong with these people? How can they give themselves over so completely to this religious nonsense?

Come back to reality now, and with the scene slowly fading from your mind, watch this video. Listen both to the words and the tone of the pastor. Notice the expressions on the faces of the audience members.




What is the difference between our primitive voodoo ritual and this political prayerfest? None whatsoever. And yet, here we are in 2009 - almost 2010 - watching elected members of the Senate and House of Representatives willingly participating in this mumbo-jumbo as if they actually believed it!

Like the Voodoo priestess slaughtering a chicken and letting the blood run down her arm, these morons are calling on magic, on angels, demons, ghosts, and gods, to affect the natural world they inhabit. The fact that they might not all believe it and may simply be pandering is no comfort because it is clear from the video that many do believe it - that ancient magic will come to their aid.

Forget for a moment that government officials in a secular democracy have absolutely no business publicly wallowing in religious delusion. Forget that the same people who likely claim that the Christian bible is "holy" are doing precisely what it says not to. Even forget that they are praying that their neighbors are deprived of health care. If they are going to put this out there as a public spectacle rather than a private religious ceremony, they deserve - even demand - mockery. For the good of our society, this demands ridicule!

If these are the people we elect to represent us, then what the hell does their behavior say about us? Are we the primitives dancing around the circle, eyes clouded over with the fog of ignorance and superstition? Enough!

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