Evangelist Billy Graham’s Evangelist son recently said Mormonism is not a Christian religion and President Obama is a Moslem. I have often been advised that discussing politics and religion with friends and relatives does nothing but cause trouble. That is good advice, though I have often ignored it; sometimes with regret. However, with Graham’s recent pearls of wisdom, I feel I must ignore said advice once again.
I was born in Kansas and raised in the Evangelical United Brethren church. By my teens, having arrived at a state of pseudo-intellectualism, I rejected that church’s concepts and decided to find a religion more in tune with my anticipated future as a writer of great literature. Thus, I began investigating the great religions of the world. Though I felt this was not my first life here on earth, I rejected all Wheel of Life religions and, instead, settled on Judaism. I was certain that if something was worth believing in, it was surely worth suffering for. I kept this matter to myself and, after a time, I realized that due to nerdish tendencies I had probably been shunned enough and the only suffering in my future would be for my art. I dumped all plans for Judaism. Eventually I settled on Deism, the choice of Presidents Washington and Jefferson. Deism advocates natural religion based on human reason rather than revelation, emphasizing morality, and in Washington’s time denied the interference of the Creator with the laws of the universe. That seemed intelligent enough and should be easy to comply with since there was no mention of eternal salvation or damnation, no Heaven or Hell.
Which leads me back to Kansas . . . its old-time religion, conservatism, and dogmatic Republicanism. I chose to be a Liberal and, in most cases, adopted the Democrats’ point of view. I found politics fascinating and followed the country’s political ups and downs and reversals of fortune. My favorite time was during presidential nominating conventions. The States’ delegations parades and hoo-haw, their pitiful nominations of favorite sons. The nomination of actual contenders. The rumors of back-room wheeling and dealings. And, finally, the third or fourth day, the party nominee would grace the stage. His major acts were his glorious acceptance speech and the naming of his running mate: often his most vigorous critic, but now his soul brother to the end. Then would come commercials, minimal debates, and election night . . . with exit-polling, judicious predictions by those who supposedly knew upcoming results, the waiting up till wee hours with the hope your man would win and the other side’s man would be dead meat.
Now the only occasion of similarity is the toned down election night. We have suffered through a year of inane TV commercials ad nauseam, been punished with countless “gotcha” debates, primaries, caucuses, and, long before the convention, we will know the candidate. All the convention does is present a party platform of pledges, which is dead upon arrival and present a running mate, of whom most of us don’t give a rip. Only on two occasions have I given a rip. The first was General Curtis LeMay whose persona was defined by: “I’ve got more bombs than you and I wouldn’t mind using them.” He scared the hell out of me. The second occasion was most recent. Yes, Sarah’s political diatribe made me want to vomit and the thought of her anywhere near the White House again scared the hell out of me. There, I said it and have probably blown any rapport with some of you, or at least been a bit irritating.
So, we are not to discuss politics or religion both of which are guilty of much oppression. Both of which have caused the needless deaths of millions. The basis, or at least excuse, for all of recorded history’s wars. I ask, “What are we allowed to discuss?” The weather? No, even that is no longer safe due to the small matter of global warming: a volatile issue of debate between realists and those who keep their heads up their you know what.