Trail Of Fears

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Memo to Coral Ridge Ministries: YOU ARE SCARED.

It's always nice to occasionally get a fresh insight into what the crazy people are thinking. Especially during an election year. We learned in 2004 that if you can motivate the Jesus-freaks using what they fear the most, you can get them to vote against what might otherwise be their best interests. Which is why I'm so very thankful that Coral Ridge Ministries, the empire of televangelist James Kennedy, polled its membership.

The results of one question in particular are hilariously enlightening. That question? "How dangerous are the following to the spiritual health of America?" And lo, unto the faithful of Coral Ridge a list was provided, and for each heathenistic, morally degraded item on the list, they were able to choose three options - Very, Somewhat, and Not Very. And lo, the morons did speak, and their voices were heard. And the single most dangerous thing to the spiritual health of America is...

THE ACLU (AND SIMILAR GROUPS)! Congratulations, ACLU! You've won a lifetime of undeserved bitterness and scorn from people you'll at various times be called upon to defend, even though they see you as Satan's own legal minions, marching up to schools and town halls and churches and ripping Jesus off his cross and throwing him right into the dumpster. I'm not even sure what the "and similar groups" means. I'm having a tough time thinking of any groups similar to the ACLU. The closest I can think of is the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and I don't think Coral Ridge Ministries' members can even pronounce "net neutrality", much less have an opinion on it.

But the ACLU didn't win by a blowout. Only 96% of respondents said it was Very Dangerous. Nipping at its heels, with 95%, is "Pro-Homosexual Indoctrination". Now, for those of us on the secular left, the idea of pro-homosexual indoctrination is absurd. Luckily, local columnist Katherine Kersten has been crazier than usual in the past month, and a few weeks ago alerted us all to a textbook case of pro-homosexual orientation: a school anti-bullying program that included, amongst the things you shouldn't beat kids up for, being gay. As long as bullies aren't able to commit teenaged hate crimes, I think we can all agree that the spiritual health of America is in grave danger indeed.

Winning the bronze medal in the hundred-meter fundie-threaten is the perennial favorite, abortion. In a completely coincidental aside, not in any way meant to show irony or hypocrisy on the part of the members of Coral Ridge Ministries, the Bush administration's policy of rendition and torture was not included on the list of dangers to America's spiritual health. I'm sure that was just an oversight, and if it had been on there, something close to the 93% who felt the keen danger of blastula removal would feel similarly about locking foreigners up without a trial and torturing them for years on end. Really.

Hey, look, an obvious segue into #4, "Islamic Terrorism". I don't understand this one at all. Islamic terrorism is clearly occasionally dangerous to the physical health of America. Nobody disputes that. It was on the teevee and everything. But how could it be dangerous to the spiritual health of America? I mean, I'm exactly the kind of leftist, blame-America-first heathen Coral Ridge Ministries has nightmares about, and I wasn't looking to convert to fundamentalist Islam on 9/12. It's not so much a conversion tool as it is a building removal technique. I really don't see how America's spiritual health is threatened by acts that turn people en masse against one of Christianity's main competitors.

"Darwinism/Evolution" took a distant seventh place, with only 85% of respondents judging it "Very Dangerous" Of the remaining 15 percent, one guy pointed out that the two things weren't the same at all, and the other 14.99999% beat him up, tied him to a chair, and forced him to watch Ben Stein's "Expelled" until his ears bled.

I am particularly disappointed by the ninth-place showing of atheists. When two whole percent of the Coral Ridge ministries members think atheists are Not Very Dangerous, and another sixteen percent only consider us Somewhat Dangerous, we are clearly not doing our jobs right. Maybe we should file another lawsuit to take the motto off the money, or get Dawkins to title his next book "Coral Ridge Ministries: Wronger Than The Rest, Even". Come on, folks. We barely cracked the top ten. We only polled three percent higher than "Apathetic/Uninformed Christians", for fuck's sake.

I love that, by the way. It's very telling that there are only three points of daylight between Doesn't Believe In God At All, and Doesn't Believe In God The Exact Way We At Coral Ridge Ministries Do. That says it all right there in a fucking nutshell. Maybe we can get Coral Ridge Ministries fighting with another megachurch. Like Rod Parsley's. It looks like all it would take is a simple playground whispering campaign - maybe tell them Parsley said something bad about Kennedy's momma. Then they can dig deep, find all the ways the others are apathetic and uninformed, and start trashing each others' gift shops.

Bringing up the bottom of the great fear list are "public education", which makes sense, because public education would be the most Jesusy thing that ever Jesused a Jesus if it weren't for the ACLU... and similar groups. And at the bottom is Congress, with only 63% finding them Very Dangerous. Which just proves those fuckers can't do anything right.

Looking at this survey, one thing is perfectly clear. Our quest to re-word the Pledge of Allegiance to read "One nation, under a hot naked guy, with liberty and justice for all" and donate one dollar to Planned Parenthood every time someone utters that pledge? That'll probably have to wait until AFTER the November elections. Disappointing, I know, but it's just too risky during an election year.