Friday, March 19, 2010

Glenn Beck at Ozz

Tonight (or I guess last night) I played some wonderful pool with our former home teacher who gave me some great mentoring in the game. As we were getting ready to leave and as the juke box stopped playing, I noticed a somewhat familiar and sickening sound coming from one of the tv's. It was Glenn Beck fomenting about some ghastly conspiracy pulled directly from his butt at that very moment. I just remember hearing the word "soviet" and a bolshevik and a few other things that made no sense. The lady at the desk was very nice. I asked her if she ever played MSNBC. She said that Fox News scared her "s' much". So I said "Well, why don't you change the channel." She said she wouldn't watch or listen to "any of the other ones anymore."

The whole thing reminded me of nothing so much as the the Book of Mormon, specifically when Amalikiah takes over the Lamanite nation by treachery and then, by means of weird, yucky, but effective propaganda, gets a reluctant people to go to war with the Nephites against their own best interests, scruples, and judgment:

Alma 48
1 And now it came to pass that, as soon as Amalickiah had obtained the kingdom he began to inspire the hearts of the Lamanites against the people of Nephi; yea, he did appoint men to speak unto the Lamanites from their towers, against the Nephites.
2 And thus he did inspire their hearts against the Nephites, insomuch that in the *latter end of the nineteenth year of the reign of the judges, he having accomplished his designs thus far, yea, having been made king over the Lamanites, he sought also to reign over all the land, yea, and all the people who were in the land, the Nephites as well as the Lamanites.
3 Therefore he had accomplished his design, for he had hardened the hearts of the Lamanites and blinded their minds, and stirred them up to anger, insomuch that he had gathered together a numerous host to go to battle against the Nephites.
4 For he was determined, because of the greatness of the number of his people, to overpower the Nephites and to bring them into bondage.

I honestly don't know how anyone listens to even 15 seconds of the political pornography on Fox News or right wing radio. It is so toxic and hate-filled, whatever your political beliefs, that I can't imagine anyone consuming it without being injured. This is particularly true of Glenn Beck, who is, I suppose, more disturbing to me because of our shared faith.

I call it political pornography. I used think of it as the news equivalent of professional wrestling or televangelism. The wrestling is phony but ultimately benign. The televangelism rips dumb people off and turns smart people off of Christianity. But right wing tv and radio darken and pervert minds the same way pornography does. But as damaging as pornography is, it is not destroying civil discourse, thus democracy, thus America, and thus the world.
* * *
I was also reading in the Book of Acts today while my two youngest kids climbed around the play structure at Carl's Jr. What an inspiring book. I think Acts is my favorite. Primitive Christianity was so inspiring and pure (it rocked). The right wing evangelical movement has nothing discernible in common with Christianity as described in Acts, other than the names of Deity. The early Christians were strict communitarians. I mean, really strict. I'm not sure, honestly I have no earthly idea where the capitalism/Christianity connection was concocted. Here are just a few excerpts from Acts:

Acts 2
44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common;
45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.
46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,

Acts 4
32 And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.
33 And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.
34 Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold,
35 And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.
36 And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus,
37 Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

Acts 5
1 But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession,
2 And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
3 But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?
4 Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.
5 And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things.
6 And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him.
7 And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in.
8 And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much.
9 Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out.
10 Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband.

Saturday, March 13, 2010


I went to the temple last week and had a couple of thoughts.

God created things that sustain themselves and are themselves creative. We can and should create things that do the same, that bloom and blossom more abundantly with time on their own, that are themselves creative entities. Maybe this is what eternal increase is. I think Emily Dickinson said that she only planted perennials.

Our future is formed by our sacrifices, whether we realize it or not. Sacrifice and creation are one in the same. I am defining sacrifice here by the traditional LDS concept of "giving up something good for something better."

Friday, March 5, 2010

RNC Fundraising Powerpoint Cynicism

This slide from the recently leaked RNC fundraising powerpoint
presentation lists only extremely cynical or ignorant reasons for
contributing to the republicans. I think it is a window into the
extreme cynicism of the party and movement: