I'm back from the provinces, however temporarily. Much to write about and hard to decide where to start, but before I scramble through a backlog of impressions from Alaska and crab fishing, I'm struck by an annoying bit of news that keeps popping up in headlines and irritating the shit out of me (and what is this blog for if not for griping about current events?).
It seems that richard warren is to give the invocation at Obama's inauguration. I suppose that there are more toxic religious figures out there. It could be worse, much worse, but I have to register how much this decision irritates me. Why him? Why did they have that stupid thing at his bloated church before? Because he sells a lot of books? His books are stupid. My mother sent me The Purpose Filled Life back when it first came out and I tried to read it. I wanted to like it is theory, but it just isn't very good. The writing is crap and the ideas are vapid. And he's anything but a biblical scholar. It is just feel good crap for dumb middle class people not quite happy enough with all their excess who want a religious leader to give them a quick fix to feeling better about their lives. I read for a few days (it is a daily devotional guide) and then flipped through looking for anything that suggested it shouldn't be shelved then dropped it. When I admitted to Mom that I thought it was crap, she admitted that she had also found it kind of useless and quit reading after a few days.
I'm not the most religious fellow these days, but I'm pretty fierce about it when I've got to deal with it. I appreciate the desire to find and feel magic and the supernatural in everyday life (and that is exactly what religion at its best is about), but most of these modern bullshit artist peddling god for mass consumption and easy digestion kill all that with their assembly line vacuum packing of the Word. I was a uptight religious nerd in an earlier incarnation and read and poured through the Bible nightly, seeking and analyzing and praying and meditating. And I thankfully made my way out someone intact and avoided the looney bin that would be the likely end point of my trajectory had I gone to these false prophets and snake-oil peddlers instead of straight to the text. And even that would have likely left me mentally crippled had I not had people to challenge the popular interpretations and assumptions and force me to also find the Word scattered as it is through so much other text. All of this is just to say that having invested so much time in this subject matter I'm not inclined to be particularly generous to folks who condescend on it and proceed to talk out of their ass.
People are going on about mr. warren's support for prop 8 and of course that pisses me off. All his idiot blather about "a five-thousand year old definition" and crap about every culture having the same definition of marriage as between one man and one woman... has he even read the Bible? The definition of marriage changes through out the Bible and even if it doesn't endorse same sex relationships (other than David and Jonathan's love for one another), it certainly explicitly endorses polygamous marriages. I'm not so concerned that he is just one more homophobic prick (who, irritatingly says, "I'm not homophobic; be nice to gay people," right after saying vote to make the law say we are lesser citizens), but rather that he just isn't much of a religious leader. He is apparently effective and people seem to eat it up, but what the man may have in organization, he lacks in charisma. Billy Graham is a rock star; even if you disagree with the man, there is no denying that he has that umph. If we've got to have a religious invocation, could we at least have someone dynamic instead of some fat mega-church fool?
Most of religous leaders (at least on the national level) in this country are idiots. And so are most of their followers. Surely though, there is someone else? I suppose it is only fair, this guy gave Obama something of a fair shake and leveraged his visibility into an opportunity to reach out to evangelicals, so I can't say that it doesn't make some kind of sense. But it is still a dissappointment; it is a failure, if not of standards, then certainly of style.