I count religion but a childish toy,
and hold there is no sin but ignorance.
Christopher Marlowe, The Jew of Malta
Sunday, August 14 promises to be a great day for the Lord. Not that it’s the only exciting day. George Bush gave Him another in early August. But I get ahead of myself.
August 14 is Justice Sunday II. That’s the day that’s been selected by those who support the nomination of John Roberts to the United States Supreme Court to make a joyful noise in support of remaking the Supreme Court. The event will be broadcast from Nashville, Tennessee. The roster of speakers is as impressive as the roster of non-speakers.
One of the most impressive speakers is the scourge of all things that creep and crawl, large and small, Tom DeLay. Commenting on Mr. Bush’s Faith Based Initiative in 2002 he said; “I see it as a great opportunity to bring God back into the public institutions of the country. God has been removed from all of our public institutions.” Now he can show support for bringing to the Court new Justices acquainted with his God.
Another distinguished participant is James Dobson of Focus on the Family. He recently drew attention by comparing stem-cell research to Nazi experiments conducted on prisoners during the Holocaust. He suggested that “if you wanted to take the time to read about it, there would have been some discoveries there that benefited mankind.” He did not identify them but presumably he got his information from the Lord and it should not be doubted by the likes of me.
Dobson’s comments probably pleased the right wing as much as Bill Frist’s displeased them, which may explain why Mr. Frist is not on the roster. Instead of comparing stem cell research to the holocaust Mr. Frist permitted his political instincts to guide his medical instincts and announced his support for stem cell research, something his medical instincts had formerly opposed.
Also not included is Pat Robertson. Judging from his website, it seems Mr. Robertson wants to be known for his invention of Pat’s Diet Shake which is available at GNC stores around the country. On his website he describes it as a “delectable shake that will help you build muscle and lose fat.” People who’ve taken it have “achieved remarkable weight-loss, lowered their blood pressure and cholesterol, increased their energy, and even improved the quality and texture of their skin.” When not promoting the Shake, Mr. Robertson can be found preparing his “Age-Defying Protein Pancakes” that combat the build-up of plaque and provide “complex carbohydrates to keep your system running at its best.” There are also cooking tips to help “make your pancakes light and fluffy.”
In addition to his cooking skills, Mr. Robertson is a man of the Lord. Why he was not invited to participate in Justice Sunday II is unknown. It was he who suggested a prayer he asked his viewers to offer up. It goes like this: “Take control, Lord! We ask for additional vacancies on the court.” That seems unchristian, suggesting that the prayer’s offeror is asking the Lord to end one or more lives of those now serving on the court in order to create vacancies. Although some of its members are old and in the case of Justice Rehnquist quite ill, it nonetheless seems inappropriate to ask the Lord to hasten whatever it is he has in store for them. Probably the Lord knows that that kind of a prayer is inappropriate and may well conclude that Mr. Robertson should quit talking to Him and concentrate more on shakes and pancakes.
In addition to the excitement generated by the upcoming event, during the first week in August George Bush waded into the debate about intelligent design. Ignoring those who would suggest that his occupancy of the White House gives proof, if proof is needed, that there is no such thing as “intelligent design” Mr. Bush said the theory should be taught in the public schools as a companion to another interesting idea called “evolution.” As he explained to reporters: “I think that part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought.” His comments helped fuel the textbook debate now being fought in Odessa, Texas over a book that will now be used in the classroom in that city. The book reportedly includes a statement that NASA scientists are now able to prove that somehow two days of time has gone missing since earth was created thus proving that the bible was speaking literally when it made reference to the sun standing still.
All in all, it’s been a great August for the religious right. It’s not so good for the rest of the country.