Sunday, November 14, 2004

Left Behind for the blue-state crowd
I was chatting about the depressing state of American politics with a friend last night, when the conversation turned to the ascendancy of the religious right. Somehow we started talking about Left Behind, the popular evangelical novel and film series based on the idea of the Rapture. For the non-religiously indoctrinated (like me), this involves the End of Days, in which all the devout Christian fundies are whisked away to Heaven and everyone else is "left behind" on Earth to deal with the Antichrist, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, who is bent on world domination. To give you a peek into the mind-set of this crowd, here is an excerpt from Steve Travers, who wrote one of the 1,998 (!) reviews of the first installment:

"It is amazing to me how many people refuse to acknowledge the Truth about God, Christ, Satan and the universe, despite what is presented to us every day. The way Nicolae mesmerizes people in the book hits home, and reminds me of my theory that many successful people in Hollywood, rock music, or other endeavors of fame and fortune very possibly made deals with the devil, and their achievements are a result of their Faustian bargains."

I remarked to my friend that it would be pretty funny to write the anti-Left Behind, from the perspective of atheists, non-fundamentalist Christians, and the four billion devotees of other religions who would probably be quite happy if all the John Ashcrofts, Pat Robertsons, and Jerry Falwells of the world were suddenly transported elsewhere. Earth's fun quotient would instantaneously triple.

At least we would finally be free to teach evolution in schools without having to re-enact the bloody Scopes Trial every time some fundie wants to teach your children about "intelligent design." Think about it -- No more pretending that preaching abstinence is a good sex ed. program. No more banning Catch-22 and Huck Finn, no more networks refusing to air moving, important and disturbing war films because they might take some heat from religious activists and the increasingly-creepy FCC. No more right-wing loons insisting on posting the Ten Commandments in the courtroom, no more white-supremacist millenarian cults that force bloody showdowns with the federal government, no more having to defend Roe v. Wade like it was written yesterday by some "activist" appeals court judge instead of 31 years ago by the Supreme Court of the United States, no more attorneys-general who aren't allowed to dance, no more Federal Marriage Amendment. And so on.

In short, I can't describe to you how happy I would be if the entire membership of the American Taliban moral majority were granted their most fervent wish. If they could take everyone in al-Qaeda and Hamas too, plus all the medieval fascists who are now busy expelling alcohol retailers and Christians from Iraq, all the deranged Hindus who like to burn down mosques in India, and anyone else who can't grasp the very simple concept of tolerance, kind of a multi-faith fundamentalist trip to the moon, the world would be a much better place. In any case, I think it would make for a pretty funny satiric play.

And I said "satiric," not "satanic."


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