Wright, Hagee, Parsley, and now Pfleger. How many more examples do we need to conclude that religion has no place in politics? Every few weeks, we get a glimpse of some religious spectacle and like idiots who cannot learn anything from the past, we repeat the same stupid mantras:
“How could [candidate name goes here] believe [bombastic religious leader name goes here]?”
“Oh my, this would NEVER happen in my church!”
First, if one is to subscribe to Christopher Hitchens’ theories, all of these ministers believe in stuff that does not pass any reasonable scientific test. When a man believes, let’s just take a random example, that the Red Sea truly parted, how can anything else that man says hold any credibility? Religion and politics reside in two entirely different spheres and mixing them up results in absurdity. Faith has its place. Belief in miracles, if it gets you through the night, has its place. Deciding on how to provide health care for everyone has an entirely different place. Deciding how to get out of Iraq has an entirely different place. Unfortunately, our candidates are so eager to appear pious that they align themselves, deliberately or not, with bombastic, controversial, and yes sometimes NUTTY personalities.
I have written before that I believe Obama is as religious as the typical person. He takes from his religious life what suits him and he ignores the rest. He has the distinct disadvantage of not being able to say “Oh my, this would NEVER happen in my church!” His church is on display on YouTube and the 24 hour news cycles. But folks, let’s be honest. Most folks have heard some pretty wild stuff from the pulpit. The trick is you get to hear your stuff in relative privacy. No prying cameras. No one looking to discredit you the day before a critical DNC committee meeting. The hypocrisy of the religiously self-righteous is staggering.
Either we agree once and for all to separate church from state or we take a more intellectual road and view some of this religious fire and brimstone as satire. Think about it. I give you an exercise. Listen to Catholic Priest Michael Pfleger with your eyes closed. I defy you to tell me how his characterization of Hillary is any different from the satire you might see on “Saturday Night Live”? In fact, to help you with this exercise, I provide two videos below. First Pfleger and then Amy Poehler as Hillary Clinton. If we’re going to really listen to Pfleger then listen to him as satire. Satire is designed to illustrate truths through exaggeration. Both Pfleger and Poehler succeed at this. (Quite frankly, I thought Pfleger was hilarious, probably because as my wife points out, he is an entertainer. MANY pastors are entertainers. They are no different from Amy Poehler. They’re playing to an audience.)
Vodpod videos no longer available.
If we’re going to insist on religion playing a role in our politics then we better get used to the idea of religious leaders saying stuff that might turn a few heads. Accept it, analyze it from an intellectual point of view and get off your religious high horse about how offensive it all is. Otherwise, get the cameras out of the church and let’s just talk about how to bring our boys and girls home from Iraq.