Fact-checking the end times
As some would have it, we live in the End Times, and Obama’s role in that is to bring on the Tribulation -- or something like that. You make up your own rules in fantasy and with extremist Christianity, like other role-playing games, sitting on the outside trying to makes sense of the internal logic can get pretty dizzying.
The question remains: What would Obama do in a second term and how would that further the End Times? -- and blogger Libby Anne does a pretty skillful job of figuring out those answers. How does she do it? By analyzing the arguments made in 2008 that specifically predicted what 2012 would look like after an Obama presidency, specifically those put forth by Focus on the Family (bit.ly/UHJchp).
And how does the future look? Well, we aren’t wearing jet packs and we haven’t outlawed religion yet.
Can we get a Rapture here?
If you wonder why the battle against Obama is filled with End Times Chicken Littles and how such arguments become so dominant in the just-under-the-radar political rhetoric, you don’t need to look much further than Arkansas. Is it that Arkansas Republicans are a special brand of crazy or that the Arkansas Times’ Arkansas Blog is a special brand of newspaper blogs, one that seems intent on calling out GOP nuttiness and documenting it meticulously? Probably both.
You’ve got Republican Representative Jon Hubbard, who argues that slavery was good for black people and that Christians are rising up just like the Nazis, and that’s a good thing (bit.ly/Oo6hSy).
You’ve got Republican legislator Charlie Fuqua and current candidate, who endorses the death penalty for rebellious children (bit.ly/Rft93R).
You’ve got Republican Representative Loy Mauch, who basically argues that Jesus didn’t think slavery was so bad (bit.ly/W1ipul).
Are these politicians or villains in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang sequels?
You don’t have to stick to Arkansas. My home state of Georgia is doing it’s part with Congressman Dr. Paul Broun, who recently dismissed all scientific reality in favor of the Biblical equivalent, mostly that the earth is 9,000 years old, following divine creation. And this guy sits on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology (bit.ly/T52pCU).
For all the tea party’s libertarian posturing, they sure do like some old-fashioned, dictatorial authority figures that don’t allow for much free thought.
It’s not just politicians, though. Other community leaders on the right are happy to pass around nonsense. Like these nuns, the Children of Mary Order, who link homosexuality with birth control (bit.ly/TgxFyE). What? Always trust nuns on irrefutable scientific data, that’s what I say.
And if they aren’t passing around nonsensical information, churches seem intent on using every ounce of power they might have with members of their congregation to stop the free flow of actual information that might inform choices, particularly those of the presidential election type.
The Latter Day Saints have come raining down on David Twede after he criticized Mitt Romney on his blog, threatening the guy with excommunication unless he "cease and desist" (bit.ly/SLOc1e). The icing on the cake is that Twede doesn’t use his name on the site -- the elders involved had to actually poke around to find out who he was.
So Obama is the one who’s going to usher in a dystopian nightmare? Really? Because his opponents are looking awfully scary to many of us. Doubleplusgood!
When zombies awaken
Don’t worry. It might all be over soon. Maybe. Not the world, just religious nonsense trying to take control through religious disinformation and strong-arming -- or at least the end to it being the public standard rather than the exception. It’s not quite a war against Christianity, more a subtle shift away from monolithic worship.
A new study from the Pew Forum (bit.ly/OTtttc) reveals that 21 percent of Americans age 31 to 49 are now religiously unaffiliated -- actually 32 percent age 29 and below. About a third of these numbers belong to Atheists and Agnostics -- 13 million and apparently consistently growing over the past decade.
There are no numbers for these particular designations, but if you add in Buddhists as well as Quakers, Unitarians and other sane, liberal Christians within the larger churches, there may be hope for the future yet.
And while we’re moving toward it, feel free to enjoy this catchy, science-based music by DJ John D. Boswell, which he calls "Symphony of Science" (bit.ly/PX6Kao). It’s fun, informative and meditative, and it reveals the beauty of the universe without the supernatural and the philosophy of reality and even love without a religion to dominate these emotions within you.
John Seven is the Transcript’s arts and entertainment editor.