Monday, June 28, 2010
In the midst of the Satanic Ritual Abuse scare of the 1980’s, certain Christian preachers wanted us to believe there was a Satanic Cult in every Podunk burg in the nation just waiting for you to turn your back on your toddler long enough for them to snatch him or her up and butcher them as a sacrifice to their Dark Lord. I was always suspicious of these claims for many reasons, not least of which if these Satanic cults were murdering kiddies at the rate these fundamentalists claimed it would have been impossible to walk through a park without stepping over the dismembered remains of the entire student body of the nearest elementary school.
Not to be so easily deterred, these folks vainly offered “evidence” that these cults were real. And sadly, these holy harlequins were actually taken seriously enough by some local law enforcement folks to have these hacks make presentations detailing “how to tell if your town is overrun by Devil-worshippers”. Among the telltale signs: graffiti. Yep. It seemed that, according to these “experts” graffiti and the devil went together like secularism and casual abortions. Seems if there was graffiti on your town’s dumpsters with pentagrams, "666" and the names of MTV hair bands, your town was infested with demon-lovin’ child killers.
It is, for that reason, I found it especially and delightfully ironic that decades later it’s now the Christians who are breaking out the spray paint in order to advance their particular supernatural viewpoint.
The story is this: the North Carolina Secular Association put up a billboard quoting from the original Pledge of Allegiance: “One Nation Indivisible”. Almost predictably, within a week, Christian vandals – taking their cue from the 1954 act of Congress that altered this original version of the Pledge– broke out their navy blue Krylon cans and inserted “Under God” on the billboard indicating it was to be placed between “nation” and “indivisible”.
There’s so much irony here I don’t know where to begin. First, there’s the incongruity between the Christians’ self-professed law-abiding nature and the use of vandalism and defacing of others’ property to promote their agenda. Next, there’s strangeness in their using a medium that mere decades before they themselves had condemned as being associated with them damned devil worshippers. Third, this act of vandalism has given the North Carolina Secular Association far more publicity than they otherwise would have had. But finally, and perhaps most significantly, the morons who defaced the billboard MADE THE SECULARISTS' POINT!!! The secularists were arguing that the insertion of religion into patriotism was – in itself – divisive. So much so that the mere expression of an admirable sentiment from the original pledge can no longer be safely stated in public without some religio-drones vandalizing it!
This is typical of how the religious right works:
1. Hijack a perfectly good secular national motto / pledge / whatever and alter it into a religious one.
2. Pretend the religious one was the one that had always been there.
3. When someone who knows history points out that it was the Christians who subverted the original intent of these statements, accuse them of not being true patriots, despite the fact that it is the secularists who are the ones who are promoting the original intent of the founders.
Those who vandalized the billboard in North Carolina proved yet again that religion is a divisive force in our nation. If you want to be religious: fine. But when you try to entangle your beliefs with government to make your point, you’re doing nothing more than causing unnecessary division within the land you claim to love so much.