Salon is one the more popular internet news sources that I sometimes mix up with Slate, probably because both names have five letters starting with the letter “S”. While Salon is definitely the more glossy of the two in style, both carve out roughly the same space, along with Huffington Post and other online news sites that are worth reading.
This weekend there was an article in Salon by Jeffrey Taylor that is recommended reading for anyone eligible to vote in 2016, entitled “These religious clowns should scare you: GOP candidates’ gullible, lunatic faith is a massive character flaw”.
Taylor’s article concerns the recent Fox News Republican debate, where Megan Kelly
decided to extract a (patently ridiculous) religion-related question from her channel’s Facebook feed and give it air time. Prefacing it by calling it “interesting,” she put the query to the politicians assembled on stage directly and in all seriousness: “Chase Norton on Facebook . . . wants to know this of the candidates: ‘I want to know if any of them have received a word from God on what they should do and take care of first.’” She paused. With just a hint of insouciance, and in one of the most understated segues I’ve ever witnessed, she then asked, “Senator Cruz, start from you. Any word from God?”
What were the answers? As you could guess, scary. Very scary. For someone trying to lead one the largest and diverse countries on the planet.
The question gave Cruz the chance to display his bona fides as a faith-deranged poseur. He told us, to waves of applause, that he was “blessed to receive a word from God every day in receiving the scriptures and reading the scriptures. And God speaks through the Bible.”
Does it get any better? No.
Wisconsin governor Scott Walker spoke next. He admitted to being an “imperfect man” and straightaway proved it by claiming to have been redeemed of his sins “only by the blood of Jesus Christ.”
Really? The article, goes on to say:
Consider that it does serve to highlight the bizarre conceit of the Christian cult: that the good Lord could think of no other way to give us a boost a couple of millennia ago except by orchestrating a cruel, ghastly act of human sacrifice involving His own kid. (Some dad.)
Will he, if elected president, opt to introduce crucifixion as an approved means of execution? According to the Bible, God visited genocide, warfare, exile, slavery, and rape on humanity, and has drawn up plans to destroy the vast majority of us. Which of these banes would a President Walker chose, as part of his personal faith journey, to impose on his fellow Americans?
He goes to discuss the other responses, which I leave for you to read, before ending with the real issues behind these thoughts:
Presidential candidates have the constitutionally protected right to profess the religion of their choice and speak freely about it, just as atheists have the right – and, I would say, the obligation – to hold religion up to the ridicule and derision it so richly deserves.
In that regard, nonbelieving journalists in particular should give openly devout candidates no passes on their faith. Religion directly influences public policy and politics itself, befouls the atmosphere of comity needed to hold reasoned discussions and arrive at consensus-based solutions, sows confusion about the origins of mankind and the cosmos, and may yet spark a nuclear war that could bring on a nuclear winter and end life as we know it. I could go on (and on), but the point is, we need to talk more about religion, and far more frankly, and now, before it’s too late.
He concludes with a powerful statement:
These religious clowns should scare you: GOP candidates’ gullible, lunatic faith is a massive character flaw. Their deluded debate answers removed any remaining doubt: These kooks belong nowhere near the White House.
Be sure read the full article and consider you choices for President when you vote in the upcoming elections.