Religion in AmericaPosted: September 28, 2008 | |
No doubt about it, we are a religion crazy country. Even our Communists worship at the altar of St. Karl. We scare gay politicians into the closet and then blame them for being in the closet when they get caught. Americans just can’t make up their minds. That is why we need a state religion. Our state religion must stress Jesus and Moses with a passing nod to Mohammad. Our clergy must fully embrace the Protestant Work Ethic and People Magazine can be our holy book. Our high priest can be an ex-president and our high priestess can be Oprah. After all, rich people are morally superior to all of us. Put that all together and we will have a religion we can all unite against. Maybe then we will come to our senses as a nation.
Paris Hilton does not work as a virgin priestess, which is why she had to go to jail. Britney Spears can be forgiven for being bipolar. This is why her father leaked her private psychiatric information to the press. It’s one thing to get drunk and dance around without your panties before you have kids. It’s another to do it after you have given birth twice. Moral America was about to put its collective foot down. That would have ended her record sales. Now that we all know that poor Britney is bipolar, Moral America can pity her. No doubt that saved her career and her cash value to her family. Public figures give up their privacy in return for publicity and suffer under the judgment of Moral America. Both celebrities and politicians are treated equally under the scrutiny of Moral America. I heard one old codger say he was voting for McCain because “Sarah Palin is hot.” There seems to be a major confusion between world leaders and band leaders in the United States.
Morality is always ordained by God and is therefore part and parcel of the Protestant Work Ethic. If you are God’s chosen you can do whatever you want; it’s moral. A woman can be raped at a Church of All Worlds event and it’s all her fault for being sexually repressed. (That is the greatest sin for CAW members.) Another part of the Protestant Work Ethic is that the holy writings are beyond question. If you are one of the elect, you never question the holy writings, and those who wrote them have to be prophets. This is why Libertarians revere Jefferson like Christians revere Jesus, and why there are American Marxists who treat Herr Karl like he walked on water and returned from death. It’s all part of the American Religion.
I learned about the American religion from Dr. Perry Troutman at Lebanon Valley College. His Religion in America course stayed with me all my life, and the most important thing I took out of it was the concept of the American religion. American Religion takes on certain characteristics which are as immutable as Confucianism in China. The first characteristic is that American religions are obsessed by morality. The second is that America has never grown out of the Puritan Work Ethic. We still somehow think that rich people are morally superior to the rest of us. The third is that we look at public figures as if they are somehow clergy. Especially, God save us all, the President.
I will never forget the time a Church of All Worlds priestess jumped up and down screaming, “monogamy is immoral!” I mention this to demonstrate that even the alternative religions in the United States have the same obsession with morality. This is why we have Libertarians and Communists at each other’s throats instead of sitting down and working things out. Of course each and every group in America, religious or otherwise, has different standards of morality. The sorriest thing is that so few of them incorporate “live and let live.” The Democrats are immoral because Bill Clinton had sex in the Oval Office or the Republicans are immoral because some of their members were forced out of the closet. Nobody ever stops to think that it is morality itself which is the problem. If America was not so morality happy, sex in the oval office would have remained the nonevent of the century. vIf the United States was not so obsessed with morality, the closeted gay Republicans would never get as far as they have by pandering to American morality.
It seems that the boundaries between church and state lack definition. America confuses religion with its politics as well as its entertainment. We find ourselves judging our fellow human beings by superhuman standards. So what if Bill Clinton fell of the fidelity wagon? So what if poor, crazy little Britney drank a little too much? When push comes to shove, it’s none of our business. I really don’t want to hear about what Larry Craig does in strange bathrooms. The fact of the matter is that politicians are human beings and they are going to do human things. The same with entertainers. There is something really creepy about Britney’s father telling the world that his little girl has a brain chemistry dysfunction. There is something really petty about making Paris Hilton stay in jail simply because she is a celebrity. Not only does America confuse religion in everything, but it brings the worst out of us.