This is the first Monday I’ve sat down to write (here on the blog, at least) since school started back in August. I have this opportunity because it’s Fall break this week and I’m on vacation. As we normally do this time of year, Diana and I are spending a week in the semi-tropical paradise of Baillie’s Bluff on the Gulf Coast of Florida. But, getting here wasn’t exactly easy this time.
If you live in the southeastern United States, you probably have an inkling why things were so tough. If not, I can sum it up in two words: Hurricane Matthew. Between worrying whether we would even be able to get here (we usually come down I-95), to almost getting trapped by flood waters in at Diana’s house Saturday (roads all around us flooding), to a 14 hour trip with traffic that varied from a virtual standstill to almost clear sailing, it has been an interesting four days. But, we’re here and I’m writing this from one of favorite spots on the planet: the fabulous screen porch at D’s family house in Holiday.
What, you might be thinking, could pressing enough to drag me to a computer when I could be soaking up the last bit of sun and fun for the year? First of all, time on my hands. When we’re vacationing, Diana likes to sleep in, while I couldn’t sleep past 8 o’clock unless I was coming off a 3 day coke bender. When I have time on my hands, I think about things. And, this morning, what I’m thinking about is Donald Trump and the repulsive shit that spewed from his face hole in 2005.
As awful as those words are, there is something worse: people who call themselves Christians making excuses for them or, in some cases, saying they just don’t care. What the fuck? How can you say that shit? Do you really want a man like this running the country where the women you claim to care about live? Because, if you do, I’m not so sure you care about them all that much.
The first time I heard that shit, my response was, “I’m not sure what to say to that.” It’s taken a few days, but I think I’ve finally come up with an appropriate response.
To pastors and Christian “leaders” who make excuses (it happened before he had “spiritual influences” in his life) or dismissing it altogether (Christians don’t really care about this), you should turn in any credentials you might hold and stop calling yourself a pastor, because you aren’t. The one constant in Jesus’ teachings (remember him? The guy you claim to follow?) is love. Love your neighbor, love one another, love your enemy. I’m just spitballing here, but I’m pretty sure He wouldn’t consider treating women as conquests to be gloated over “love”.
To those of you who say you don’t care, I say “Are you fucking kidding me?” Do me a favor, if your mother is still with us, go look her the eye and say “Mama, Donald Trump’s comments don’t bother me in the least. In fact, I firmly believe that a man who brags about assaulting women is the best person available to lead our country.” Then, come back and tell me how it went.
Let me make this perfectly clear: if you overlook, gloss over, ignore or do anything but condemn Donald Trump’s treatment of women, you should either fall to your knees and ask the Almighty for forgiveness or abandon any pretense of being a Christian. It’s just that fucking simple.
I think I’ve said this before, but I’ve gone back to school. And, this semester, I’m taking a creative writing class. The first unit was poetry and, unsurprisingly, I’m not much of a poet. I struggle with it because you can toss out the rules and do pretty much whatever the hell you want; which sounds great, but it’s pure hell for someone with ADHD.
Of course, there are some forms of poetry that are pretty strict, like the sonnet and the villanelle, but if you don’t like them, you can always write free verse. It’s heaven for rule breakers and the biggest rule breaker of them all was Edward Estling Cummings, who you probably know better as e. e. cummings.
A lot of people love Cummings’ poetry, but I am not one of them. So, what was one of the first assignments? Yep, write a poem in the style of E. E. Cummings. Oh joy. But, I told myself anything that makes me stretch as a writer has to be good, so I put my nose to the grindstone and got to work. And, by “put my nose to the grindstone”, I mean I decided to be sarcastic. Shocker, huh? Anyway, here’s what I came up with:
ode to an iconoclast
rules? CUMMINGS cared not.
punctuation? CAPS? Ignored
or tossed in wherever he pleased.
The look the feel thats
what counts any slob can
write a poem people can read
the anarchist who lives
deep in my soul finds all
this a pure delight the
grammar nazi in my head
wants to kill it with fire
In case you’re wondering, the teacher – who is a huge Cummings fan- loved it.
Yeah, I know I haven’t written in a while, but this school thing takes a lot more time than I expected. Between my class schedule and homework, my blogging frequency has dropped off dramatically. But, a recent development has prompted me to shake the dust off of the Progressive Redneck and dispense my own particular brand of “wisdom” once again.
Last week, the NCAA and the ACC both announced that until HB 2 (NC’s bathroom bill) is repealed, they will not schedule any events in North Carolina and the already scheduled events would be moved to another venue that didn’t have such a discriminatory law on the books. That, my friends, is the heaviest blow we’ve been dealt so far.
Now, if you’re not from NC, you probably think, “So what? If all the stuff that’s happened so far didn’t move them, why will this make a difference?” It will make a difference because much of my state’s pride is tied to its universities and their prowess in sports. I know that doesn’t sound like much, but when you’re a vale of humility between two mountains of conceit, you take what you can get.
This was a particularly effective action, even more so than Springsteen cancelling his concert or the NBA moving the All-Star Game. How do we know this? Because Governor McCrory and his Republican colleagues have started making overtures about a possible repeal.
That’s right, beloved, the governor and his pals have spent last six months on their collective soapbox, shouting that HB 2 is a necessary, common-sense protection of the safety and privacy of North Carolina womanhood. Now, faced with the premier sporting events boycotting the state (and, let’s be honest, no true North Carolinian gives a flying fuck about pro sports when the ACC’s available), they fold like a cheap suit. Could it be there’s more to this story than meets the eye?
I’d say yes (you knew that was coming, didn’t you?). You see, there’s another development that isn’t getting quite as much attention as the latest sports news: McCrory is losing his reelection bid and badly. His opponent, Attorney General Roy Cooper, leads him by an average of almost 5% according to RealClearPolitics. It’s taken 6 long months, but it appears that the guv has finally figured out that HB2 is a millstone around his neck.
He’s not going down without a fight, though. It seems that the Republican offer of repeal comes with strings: before the governor will even call a special session to consider rescinding this bit of heinous fuckery, the Charlotte City Council has to walk back their ordinance. You read that right, folks, they’ll talk about repealing HB2 if Charlotte actually repeals their law first. I wonder if these guys have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell?
I have to wonder what makes McCrory think this course is even possible? He’s spent months pumping up his base with talk of not giving in to “political correctness” and dog whistles about awful trans folks just waiting to molest their pure-as-the-driven-snow daughters if they’re allowed into women’s restrooms. Now that he’s losing, he’s willing to remove the only thing protecting their precious angels provided he can get concessions from the enemy? I don’t think that will fly.
Charlotte’s leaders would have to have rocks in their heads to fall for this bit of political chicanery. McCrory is on the ropes and HB2’s chances aren’t looking good either. A similar case in Virginia was heard by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals (whose jurisdiction includes NC) and it didn’t come out well for the anti-LGBTQ crowd. Hang tough, Charlotte. In a couple of months, we should be rid of the one of the worst governors in state history. Unfortunately, the stain he’s left on our state’s reputation will take much longer to clear up.
This is not turning out to be one of history’s more inspirational election cycles. Unable to bring themselves to vote for Trump or Hillary, many people are considering a vote for a third-party candidate. Unfortunately, Jill Stein and Gary Johnson aren’t proving all that inspiring, either. But, there is a light shining in the darkness and his name is Andrew Basiago.
Who is Andrew Basiago? First of all, he is an actual candidate for President having met all the requirements and filed the proper paperwork with FEC. Second, and much more importantly, he is the visionary truth-teller America so desperately needs right now.
So, what will Andy do if we elect him? According to his website, he will “lead the American people into a bold, new era of Truth, Reform, and Innovation as great as they are great.” And, here are a few of the things he’s proposing to make that happen:
- Open government files on secret technologies _ These files include DARPA’s Project Pegasus and possible cancer cures. In doing so, we reclaim our role as the world leader in science.
- Disclose U. S. Time Travel Technology _ By 1970, the aforementioned Project Pegasus had created 8 different approaches to time travel, from teleportation to chronovision. This amazing technological feat has been kept secret from the American people for far too long. Basiago aims to release this information and energize our scientific potential.
- Reveal Extraterrestrial presence on Earth _ For years, the U. S. government has concealed the fact that our atomic bomb tests at the end of World War II attracted beings from other worlds (57 different species at present). As President, Basiago would end this massive cover-up and come clean with the American people.
- Disclose Secret U. S. presence on Mars _ Yes, the U. S. has a presence on the Red Planet, a fact that has been concealed from the American people for 50 years. Basiago would pull back the shroud on the CIA’s Mars jump room, the Mars Colony Corporation and other related matters. He would also seek a UN treaty protecting Mars’ fragile ecosphere from exploitation by Earthlings.
- Declassify Secret Space Program _ Under our noses, the CIA has maintained a secret space program. Basiago would open the files on this program and force that agency to reveal their secret programs and off-planet treaties.
- Protection of Sasquatch Species _ Like Theodore Roosevelt, Basiago has actually encountered a Sasquatch and understands the importance of preserving this majestic creature. To that end, he will put them on the endangered species list.
Some of these proposals may sound a bit far-fetched, but they are not. Like the Sasquatch, Basiago has intimate knowledge on all of them. As a child, he was a participant in Project Pegasus and, over the years, has made multiple trips through time and space, including a trip to Gettysburg in November of 1863, And, he has photographic evidence of that trip.
He has also made multiple trips to Mars. On one, he was accompanied by a young Barrack Obama. On another, he and a fellow chrononaut William White Crow defended themselves with AR-15’s against a horde of dive-bombing pterodactyls. This man is a true American hero and will lead us into the greatness we so truly deserve.
Is Basiago bat crap crazy? Probably. Does he have a prayer of being elected. Not no, but hell no. But, if we’re being completely honest, neither do Stein or Johnson. So, if you’re bound and determined to vote third-party candidate, why not do it with some style?
Like a lot of folks this election season, evangelicals are struggling with the “lesser of two evils” argument. Interestingly, many of them are reacting the same way as progressives: contemplating either a third-party vote or not voting at all. Today, I want to address a couple of articles advising evangelical and fundamentalist Christians on how they should vote by laying out a biblical or moral case for Donald Trump.
The first is from Wayne Grudem, titled “Why Voting for Donald Trump Is a Morally Good Choice“. The second is “To The “Never Trumper”- A Biblical Case For Trump” (no author credited). Perhaps the most interesting thing about these two articles is that neither present anything particularly biblical or moral about Trump. I wondered why that might be and began comparing some of Trump’s actions and words with scripture and found that much of what The Donald has said, done or proposed flies in the face of almost everything Chirstians stand for. Here are a few examples:
- “I love the old days, you know? You know what I hate? There’s a guy totally disruptive, throwing punches, we’re not allowed punch back anymore. … I’d like to punch him in the face, I’ll tell ya.”_ “But I say to you that you must not oppose those who want to hurt you. If people slap you on your right cheek, you must turn the left cheek to them as well.” Matthew 5:39
- “It’s a horrible thing. They’re using them as shields. But we’re fighting a very politically correct war. And the other thing is with the terrorists, you have to take out their families.” _ “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who harass you, so that you will be acting as children of your Father who is in heaven. He makes the sun rise on both the evil and the good and sends rain on both the righteous and the unrighteous.” Matthew 5:44-45
- “Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on,”_ “I was hungry and you gave me food to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” Matthew 25:36 (Not a direct quote, but a policy position)
- “(Cruz’s) father was with Lee Harvey Oswald prior to Oswald being, you know, shot. I mean the whole thing is ridiculous. What is this, right, prior to his being shot? And nobody even brings it up…, What was he doing — what was he doing with Lee Harvey Oswald shortly before the death? Before the shooting? It’s horrible.” _ “The Lord detests false lips; he favors those who do what is true.” Proverbs 12:22 (So many Trump statements have been proven false, it is not feasible to list them all here. I chose this one as a representative sample because it’s one of the most outrageous.)
- “I think apologizing’s a great thing, but you have to be wrong. I will absolutely apologize, sometime in the hopefully distant future, if I’m ever wrong.” _ “Don’t do anything for selfish purposes, but with humility think of others as better than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3
- “My entire life, I’ve watched politicians bragging about how poor they are, how they came from nothing, how poor their parents and grandparents were. And I said to myself, if they can stay so poor for so many generations, maybe this isn’t the kind of person we want to be electing to higher office. How smart can they be? They’re morons.” _ “But if a person has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need and that person doesn’t care—how can the love of God remain in him?” 1 John 3:17
These are just a few of the things that I found and I believe that they, along with the scripture references provided, conclusively debunk the idea that there is a biblical or moral context to vote for Donald Trump. You can vote for the man if you want, but you probably shouldn’t use the Bible to justify it. Because it just doesn’t hold up.
Well, the Democratic National Convention wound up last night and I have to say, from a comedy standpoint, it was boring as fuck. To be fair, though, it did have a hard act to follow. But then, next to the shitstorm that blew through Cleveland last week, “Blazing Saddles” (widely acknowledged as one of the funniest movies of all time) would seem like a big yawn. Of course, comedy isn’t everything and from a “save the damn country” outlook, DNC 2016 was awesome.
That’s not to say, however, that the event was devoid of whimsy. From Corey Booker’s address being totally overshadowed by the First Lady, to Hillary’s thorough lambasting of The Donald last night, there were some decent moments. As I did with the Republican’s soirée earlier this week, I’d like to offer a few observations on Hillary’s coming out party.
As I mentioned just a minute ago, Corey Booker gave the speech of his life Monday night. It should have been his moment in the sun, his “Obama in ’04” moment. Unfortunately, he was completely upstaged by Michelle Obama. To be fair, he wasn’t the only one; no one seems to remember what came before or after Michelle’s address. Diana pointed out the Republicans didn’t offer any young, up and coming voices a chance to shine on the national stage. I said that’s because Trump didn’t want share the spotlight with anyone. It may be a moot point, though. I mean, if Trump wins, there may be another election for any young, up and coming voices to take part in.
A recurring theme throughout the convention was that Hillary is first female nominee for president. Yeah, about that.., Hillary is the first woman to nominated by a major party. You see, the actual “First Woman Presidential Nominee” was Victoria Woodhull who was nominated by the Equal Rights Party in 1872. I’m not trying to take away from Hillary’s accomplishment, but Woodhull was nominated for the highest office in the land 52 years before women were even granted the right to vote. You’ve got to admit, that’s pretty damn impressive.
The DNC wasn’t without its drama, either. Monday night was punctuated by a goodly amount of booing. It seems that some Sanders supporters who were singularly unhappy with the outcome of the Democratic primaries. They were even more unhappy when Sarah Silverman told them they were being ridiculous. Several Bernie or Bust folks took to Twitter, renaming her “Sarah Sellout”. Why, that’s not ridiculous at all!
But, the drama didn’t end there. When Bernie took the stage in an attempt to heal the rift between the factions, his full-throated endorsement of Clinton reduced many of his supporters to tears. And then, on Tuesday, when Sanders himself moved to nominate Clinton by acclamation and turned all his delegates over to her, many of those delegates walked out. Well, that’s mature.
I’m thinking all of the upset over Clinton’s nomination is best summed up by Seth Meyers: “We don’t have time for this. Donald Trump is ahead in the polls. The house is on fire, stop crying because we’re not putting it out with your hose!”
Just as Clinton was a frequent target of speakers at the RNC, Trump wasmentioned frequently this week in Philadelphia. And, Hillary in particular didn’t spare his feelings. She questioned his temperament, intelligence, ego and general ability to lead in her address. At one point, she shared this direct quote from the short-fingered vulgarian: “I know more about ISIS than the generals do”, replying “No, Donald, you don’t.” The criticism he had already received during the convention had driven Trump to the brink of violence. I can’t wait to see how he reacts to this.
Perhaps the most interesting thing to come out of the convention is the reaction of some Republicans. Basically, Republicans are stunned and appalled that Democrats have seized the ground that their party abandoned this election cycle. Sorry folks, but that’s what happens when you nominate a narcissistic troll for President.
Another unhappy Republican said that they heard “a lot more about God and faith at the DNC than the RNC”. Yeah, the RNC didn’t exactly set a high bar for “God and faith”. Other than an overtly partisan speech and prayer by a prosperity gospel preacher, I’m not sure God got mentioned there at all. At the DNC, however, the Almighty was mentioned numerous times. Most notably by North Carolina’s own Rev. William Barber, called “one of the nation’s most powerful voices” by the Huffington Post. I could write pages on Rev. Barber, but it’d be better if you watched the speech.
So, both parties have had their big “Look at us!” moments and the slate is set. This time around, we get to choose between a Terminator disguised as a grandmother and opening the seventh seal and ushering the apocalypse. All I can say is “Go Cyberdyne Systems”.
During a recent Facebook Live prayer event, Franklin Graham said that our country “is in trouble”. He even went so far as to say, “We’re on the precipice of anarchy.” And, I agree with him 100%. Why would I ever agree with anything Franklin says? Simple, I’ve been following the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. And, if what went down in Cleveland last week is any indicator, anarchy is what we’re in for if we elect this Roald Dahl villian come to life.
Starting with a speech which turned out to have portions lifted from that of another First Lady and ending with an address that had everyone who heard it shitting their pants, this year’s RNC was a “five-alarm dumpster fire”. I realize that’s a little unkind to dumpster fires, but it is an apt description. Why would I say that? Check out the following observations:
- Monday night, we were treated to a speech from Melania Trump. By now, the plagiarism angle is old news. But, there is something I haven’t heard brought up: Melania’s speechwriters decided to steal from Michelle Obama, someone Republicans have spent the last 8 years belittling and demeaning. So, Michelle is a joke of a First Lady until you need some words for cour candidate’s Barbie doll wife to say during her first public outing? Why that makes perfect sense!
- Then, there’s Rudy Giuliani, who
contributed to the fear-mongeringspoke on “Make America Safe Again” night (also Monday). Filled with the usual half-truths and empty rhetoric that characterizes any Republican speech about Hillary, Rudy’s address was notable for two reasons: Giuliani took the “angry white man” shtick to another level and, amazingly, he didn’t mention “9-11” one single time. That’s pretty impressive for a guy who uses that phrase as punctuation.
- Tuesday’s theme was “Make America Work Again” . Now, one might expect a night with such a title to be about jobs and such. Instead, it was a Hillary Hatefest. including a mock trial of Hillary Clinton conducted by Michelin Man impersonator, Chris Christie. Evidently, the only jobs Republicans are interested in are Fox News pundit or Unhinged Right Wing Talk Radio Host.
- Wednesday night, Ted Cruz spoke and, well, it was awesome! Cruz, in an act of defiance, refused to endorse Trump, instead telling the crowd to vote their conscience. The crowd’s response? They booed. I mean, really booed. You know, if someone tells you to ” vote your conscience” instead of blindly endorsing your candidate and you boo them off the stage, what does that say about your candidate?
- Of course, we have to talk about The Donald’s acceptance speech. Like Giuliani and all the other speakers who did their level best to scare the living shit out of anyone within earshot, The Donald pulled out all the stops. The America in his speech made the desert hellscape of “Mad Max: Fury Road” look like a utopian paradise. It makes sense, though., since Trump probably has more in common with Immortan Joe than a U. S. president.
- But, perhaps the most interesting thing about this little shindig was the absence of anything remotely related to Jesus and what he taught. That’s a little funny don’t you think? I mean, the Republicans have told us for years that they own Christianity and yet, from what I saw, Christianity was pretty much absent from their convention. Jesus (you know, the guy the Christian faith is based on?) told his followers not to fear, to love their neighbors, to welcome the stranger, to care for the poor and more. In other words, pretty much the polar opposite of everything said in Cleveland last week.
After watching this shit show unfold, I have reached an unavoidable conclusion: If you aren’t horrified by what we’ve seen the last few days and driven to do whatever it takes to keep this deranged Oompa-Loompa out of the White House, you are no longer in touch with reality. Trump should be polling behind a fucking sweet potato. Instead, he’s neck and neck with Hillary. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like what that says about America right now.
Since the beginning of the year, I have written several pieces about the tangerine-hued hairball the Republican Party has hacked up on our political rug, aka Donald Trump. Most of them have focused on my bewilderment at evangelical Christians support of Trump and the fact that, no matter what he says or does, the man’s popularity continues to grow.
According to a report from the Pew Research Center, Seventy-eight percent of evangelical Christians support a thrice-divorced casino owner who has committed adultery on numerous occasions, made multiple semi-incestuous comments about his daughter and appeared on the cover Playboy. Wait, what? Isn’t this stuff on their laundry list of mortal sins? I am so confused.
In part, this groundswell of support may be due to the fact that evangelical leaders absolutely love them some Trump. (Is it just me or that sound vaguely sexual?) From Jerry Falwell Jr. to Pat Robertson to James Dobson and more, the big names on the Religious Right are falling all over themselves to endorse this baby-handed fucktrumpet. You have no idea how much I wish I was making this up, but I…Am…Not.
First up there’s Liberty University president and first-born son of Jerry Falwell, religious right icon and founder of the Moral Majority. Falwell has endorsed Trump offered up his university as a forum for this unhinged Oompa Loompa. Trump may have appeared on a Playboy cover, but he was never in a gay cartoon. And, isn’t that what really matters?
Then there’s James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council, who has personally vouched for Trump’s evangelical bona fides. Recently, at a meeting with Trump and evangelical leaders, Dobson said that Donald had “found” Jesus. (He was hiding behind the couch the whole time.) Obviously, Dobson and I have very different ideas about what it means to be a Christian.
Finally, there’s Pat Robertson, the televangelist’s televangelist. Pat is famous for his gaffes and crazy talk and his interview with The Donald was no exception. At one point, he tells Trump “You inspire us all”. Inspire us all? To do what? Shit on immigrants? Dump on veterans? Relentlessly attack anyone who is remotely critical of anything you say or do? If you’re a Christian and Donald Trump inspires you to do anything other than vomit, I’m pretty sure you’re doing Christianity wrong.
This love is filtering down to the masses, too. Check out this report from Full Frontal with Samantha Bee:
Did you get that? If not, starting at the 1:17 mark, an evangelical Trump supporter says, “I believe, truly, that Trump is appointed by God to lead this nation back in the direction it needs to go.” Another states that “Donald Trump is the answer to our prayers.” But, perhaps most chillingly, is this remark from a young (possibly pre-teen) man: “We know that he is a godly man.” Holy Shitballs, you guys!
Someone, somewhere, may read this and think, “Yeah, but what about Hillary? She’s no paragon of Christian virtue.” Yes, you are correct. Clinton’s embrace of Wall Street and support of the use of force overseas should cause any Christian worth their salt no small amount of distress. But, there are two “yooge” differences: 1) Clinton hasn’t attempted to make her faith part of her brand the way Trump has and 2) she isn’t receiving the same, hypocritical praise that is falling on the Donald.
In a recent Facebook discussion with some of my friends who support Trump, one said that “we do not have a true Christian option for president.” I responded that, given all the compromises one has to make to even run for President, I’m not sure a true Christian option is possible and he agreed. So, why don’t we drop all the bullshit about a candidate’s faith and judge this solely on the basis of who will do the best job? Yeah, don’t bother responding; I already know the answer.
Earlier this year, John Oliver said, “Donald Trump can seem appealing, until you take a closer look; much like the lunch buffet at a strip club. Or the NFL. Or, having a pet chimpanzee. Sure, it seems fun. But, one day, Coco’s gonna tear your fucking limbs off.” That may be the absolute best way to look at the candidacy of Donald Trump I’ve ever heard. But, no matter what he does, the guy just keeps getting more and more popular. That leads me to ask, “What is it about this short-fingered vulgarian, that people find so appealing?”
Most of us who don’t support Donald Trump wonder why his supporters want to burn it all down, but the better question is why wouldn’t they? If the elites had spent the last 50 years using the system to fuck you, you’d probably want to burn it down, too.
The rise of the of the Tea Party and it’s ultimate candidate, Trump, is due in no small part to the betrayal felt by work class whites toward the establishment. The GOP has promised these people the world and they haven’t delivered. More to point, they never had any intention of delivering.
There are a couple of problems with Crowder’s video, however. First off, it doesn’t go very deep. Mostly, I’d attribute that to the forum; as a rule, I don’t think people are going to sit through a long, in-depth analytical video on Facebook. I know I won’t. But, there’s something else going on: Crowder, like all too many of us liberals, is pretty damn condescending to our neighbors who support the Donald.
Most of the people I know who are supporting Trump aren’t overtly, or even consciously, racist.
Donald Trump, no internal dialogue? I’m not sure he’s ever had a thought he didn’t voice. Sometimes, you should just think it and not say it.
You may not know this, but Ken Ham’s Ark Encounter opened last week. You probably didn’t know because there wasn’t much fanfare outside of evangelical/fundamentalist circles. Well, that is unless you count the people pissed off about the fact that a privately owned, overtly religious theme park got an $18 million dollar tax break even though Kentucky is one of the poorest and hungriest states in the nation. Isn’t that nice?
Now, I’m not going to go on a tear about how this tax break violates the 1st Amendment, even though it does. And, I’m not going to talk about how much the whole thing cost ($100 million) and how Answers in Genesis could have better spent that money. Instead, I’ll just talk about the Ark and let you work the rest out for yourself.
The Ark Encounter, and its sister attraction the Creation museum, are both the brain children of Answers in Genesis. AiG is a Young Earth group headed up by the aforementioned, Ken Ham, aka America’s leading creationist . You probably remember him from his debate with Bill Nye (everyone’s favorite Science Guy) about the origins of the universe a couple of years ago.
Those of us who believe the earth is older than Ham and his associates claim thought that Nye won the debate. But, that may not be so. Ham contends that the debate helped stimulate fund-raising for the Ark Park. Man, talk about getting bit in the ass.
So, what hath Ken Ham wrought in the hinterlands of Kentucky? According to the park’s website, it is “a full-size Noah’s Ark, built according to the dimensions given in the Bible. Spanning 510 feet long, 85 feet wide, and 51 feet high, this modern engineering marvel amazes visitors young and old.”
Modern engineering marvel? Dude, there are a lot of things in this world more marvelous than your “ark”. Unless you built it with Stone Age (or possibly very early Bronze Age) tools, that is. Otherwise, it’s just a big-ass building.
I don’t know if you picked up on it or not, but the fine folks at AiG have built a boat that won’t float. As my friend (not to mention, faithful reader) Suzanne asked, “How is a boat that won’t float supposed to inspire awe and reverence?” How indeed.
Here’s the thing: it’s never been about inspiring awe and reverence. It’s about soaking the rubes. You see, admission to the Ark is $40 and from what I’ve seen, everywhere you turn, there’s something else to separate people from their hard-earned cash.
But, before I get all cynical, let’s talk about what’s on Kenny’s ark. For the record, the following observations are drawn from a video posted on the Friendly Atheist site. There appear to be animatronic displays of Noah and his family engaged in various activities, cages of small “animals” (nothing in them except an audio player to generate animal sounds), models of larger ones and “educational” displays about how Noah might have pulled off this amazing feat.
Among those larger animals are…, wait for it: unicorns and dinosaurs. That’s right, my friends, Ham’s Ark contains both mythical animals and creatures who died out millions of years before humans existed in any form; not just our current modern iteration, but any form. Holy shit.
I really don’t know what to say about that. It takes some pretty impressive mental gymnastics to believe that either type of animal was on the ark Or, in the case of unicorns, even fucking existed.
Of course, we are talking about people who reject the massive weight of scientific evidence that the world is over 4 billion years old in favor of an idea from some preacher who “calculated” the age of the Earth from Old Testament stories. When that’s your frame of reference, I guess unicorns aren’t that big a deal.
Remember what I said about “separating people from their hard-earned cash”? Well, according to the correspondent from TFA, the entire first floor is basically one big store. AiG’s money-grubbing and avarice are on full display with the Ark Encounter and I think they have a lot of nerve calling themselves “Christians”.
Unfortunately, as long as Americans are gullible enough to believe this bullshit and line up to fill Ham’s coffers, they’ll keep pimping their fucked up view of the Gospel. In case it’s not obvious, I’m not very happy about that.