falling off the turnip truck and floating up to heaven

I still think that Chuck and his friends did the right thing in leaving Michigan and heading out to LA to pursue careers in the film industry, but pictures like this one that they just posted to their group blog make me wonder if perhaps they might be a bit too wide-eyed and innocent to make it in the big city.

I look at this photo and cant help but think, Ive never seen such a midwestern bunch of kids in my life. Theyre so happy, so white. They look like the cast of Up with People Im not a violent man by any stretch of the imagination, but when I look at this photo I feel like robbing them or at least trying to sell them a handful of magic beans.

Speaking of leaving Michigan for greener pastures, I just read an article from a Florida newspaper on former Michigander and owner of Dominos Pizza, Tom Monaghan. Apparently, when folks in these parts didnt roll over and let him build his unaccredited, fringe Catholic university the way he wanted, he packed up shop and headed down to Florida, where he bought an enormous tract of land in a relatively uninhabited, economically depressed area. Now, theyre getting ready to build the university and the enormous crucifix that will tower over it. Heres a clip from the article on the new Ave Maria College:

On rural land now populated by snakes and raccoons will rise the nation’s largest crucifix, God and Collier County officials willing.

The 60-foot, red-tinted glass cross with a 40-foot figure of Christ will be affixed near the entrance to a 150-foot-tall Catholic church that will seat 3,300 souls — more than any other Catholic church in the United States.

(I’m sure that’s how Jesus would want to be remembered, as a giant, horrifying roadside attraction rising out of the Florida swamps, dripping blood and frightening children.)

Let me just say, while were on the subject, that I dont have anything against Christianity. I actually think that Jesus sounds like one hell of a guy. My problem is with intolerance and the forms of Christianity that are practiced by people like Pat Robertson, Tom Monaghan and others.

And, while were on the subject of so-called Christians that I dont like, heres a link to Terry Gross interview with Tim LaHaye, cofounder of the Moral Majority and coauthor of the wildly popular Left Behind book series. According to LaHaye’s understanding of the Bible, only Christians of the born again variety will be allowed to float up to heaven when the judgment day comes. The rest of us, no matter how good we might be, will be left here in hell to suffer the wrath of God. Its a great interview. Hes very matter-of-fact about the whole thing. Its like hes reading from a history book about something thats already happened.

At one point in the conversation LaHaye makes reference to the fact that Satan, according to prophecy, will ride in on a horse and offer world peace. (I guess Satan couldnt find a car.) It just boggles the mind that there are people that would read these texts so literally as to believe that an evil man on horseback will bring the apocalypse… It’s like believing that an evil witch with the butter churn will change the course of history. It’s an anachronism… “Yes, an alchemist in a Model-T will make a proclamation and then….”

LaHaye says that he and his wife hope that the rapture will come soon, before they pass away from illness or old age. They want it to happen soon so that they can float up to heaven together as those of us who are left behind burn in lakes of fire. Its really quite a romantic notion You know, I sure wish that the end of the earth comes soon, so that Linette and I can smugly drift up to heaven as the tormented souls of Jews, Muslims, Catholics, and all of the other non Born Again faiths writhe in pain beneath us. That thought really brings a smile to my face.

And this is a man who has the ear of the President.

Heres something that Collin just sent in. Its a synopsis of LaHayes first Left Behind book for children. (Yes, there is apparently such a thing.)

“Someday, Jesus will return to take his followers to heaven…. We will disappear right in front of disbelieving people. Won’t that be a great day for us and a horrifying one for them?” That was old Pastor Billings droning on again about the Rapture, and Judd was bored out of his skull. A sarcastic 16-year-old, way too cool for all this Jesus stuff, Judd had even lied about receiving Christ as his Lord and personal Savior. But poor hotheaded Judd is about to be very, very sorry.

The first book in the children’s version of Jerry B. Jenkins and Tim LaHaye’s sleeper-hit Left Behind, The Vanishings introduces us to Judd (“The Runaway”) and his three imperfect companions: Vicki (“The Rebel”), Lionel (“The Liar”), and Ryan (“The Skeptic”). These four teens, for one reason or another, all failed to submit to the power of the living Lord, despite their friends’ and parents’ best efforts. And when Pastor Billings’s Rapture actually happens–sending Christian-piloted trains, planes, and automobiles crashing as millions of true believers literally vanish in the blink of an eye, leaving behind nothing but their skivvies and their W.W.J.D. necklaces–the four wayward teenagers get religion and fast. The saga continues when they receive a second chance in book two. (Ages 9 to 12)

What a great story for a nine year old. I think its really important to learn at an early age that youre superior to others and that God loves you more.

I’m going to try not to write about this any more… it kind of freaks me out. Part of me, like a very little part back at the back of my mind worries, “What if they’re right? What if God is a terribly vengeful fucker that wouldnt hesitate to torture a newborn child for an eternity for not accepting him as their Lord? And, worse yet, what if he reads blogs?

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One Comment

  1. Patrice
    Posted May 31, 2009 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

    You know, I couldn’t agree with you more.
    People living with the lable “Christian” above their head and screwing it all up.

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