Friday, May 21, 2004

It can't be just a coincidence that so many religions, living and dead, emerged from the cauldron of the Middle East. Perhaps that empty sky and blank desert cause more than just mirages. Something about the place inspires heresies, or at least very original theologies, like that ancient Persian idea of a universal war between a good and a bad God. Even thinking about the area seems to have that effect. A recent example is the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who seems to have bought into that old Persian dualism in a brand new way:
Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., a key Democratic supporter of President Bush's decision to wage war on Iraq, said the president must demonstrate that he understands the "nature of the damage" caused by the abuse incident by "determining who is responsible, no matter how far up the chain of command this goes." Once those people are identified, Biden said, Bush must "demand the resignations for whoever is involved in this policy, and that includes Lord God Almighty himself."
Perhaps this is a compromise with Nietzsche's view that God is dead. Biden only wants him to quit. Is he thinking of vengeance for The Clenis by planning the impeachment of the Deity? A more frightening question is, whom does Biden, with his known Presidential ambitions, have in mind for a replacement, if he convinces God to pull a Nixon and walk off the job?

The Dover Demo-gogue isn't the only one driven over the edge by the sands of Saddam:
The father of Nick Berg, the American beheaded in Iraq, directly blamed President Bush and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Thursday for his son's death. "My son died for the sins of George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld."
This seems more like a specifically Christian heresy, but a brand new one. Berg senior seems to think that the death of Jesus was not enough to atone for everyone's sins, and new sacrifices are constantly needed, or possibly that the particular sins of George and Donald were so vast that not even that Crucifixion could cover these new horrors. Either view would astonish two thousand years of theologians. Perhaps he is really saying in a subtle way that he thinks Our Noble Leader is himself the Anti-Christ. That would amaze the folks at Rapture Ready, whose list of candidates for that position includes Saddam Hussein and a host of European possibles, like Silvio Berlusconi and Javier Solana, but not Bush (father or son).

Our demand for democratizing the Desert of Dementia does damage to domestic dissent, as well. Collective Sigh reports in "Something evil this way comes":
But according to the office of Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn, a Denison Unitarian church isn't really a religious organization -- at least for tax purposes. Its reasoning: the organization "does not have one system of belief."
While the courts have already ruled twice against that ambitious candidate for Governor's welcome new concept of "taxation if without deification", she is appealing to the Supreme Court. According to Opinions You Should Have, the evil agnostics she has ousted from the exemption lists are not praying for forgiveness:
The Unitarian Church, which was denied tax-exempt status by the Texas State Comptroller for not having "one system of belief," repudiated all of its prior teachings today in exchange for the sole doctrine that Texas should be sawed off the United States and pushed into the Gulf of Mexico. "Is that belief system enough for ya?" said Unitarian Minister Obiah P. Dowd....

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