By Dominick L. Auci
On January 20th, Barack Obama will take the Oath of Office as the forty-forth President of the United States of America. All the social progress implicit in his election will be tempered as he yields the podium to the Reverend Rick Warren, an arch-conservative, anti-intellectual Evangelical Preacher from Southern California. Warren was asked to give the invocation for the new Administration. Progressives, who overwhelmingly supported Obama in the last/ election, feel angry and betrayed by this choice. True, Warren recently drew accolades from Time Magazine, Newsweek, and US News and World Report by calling on churches to finally tackle global poverty and disease. But he is widely despised for a much longer history of incendiary rhetoric, hateful bigotry and rabid sexism. It is truly amazing what hellacious diatribes are tolerated as mere opinion even in civilized societies if they come in front of a cross.
Obama justified his controversial pick with the rather weak excuse that America “Needs to come together, even when there’s disagreement on social issues.” By that same logic, he might have invited the Grand Dragon of the Klu Klux Klan to say a few words. But no matter, Progressives shouldn’t take it too personally. It’s strictly politics. Both men have a lot to gain from each other. Evangelical Christians voted overwhelmingly against Obama in the last election, yet even in defeat, they wield a fearsome power. Obama himself acknowledged that his party cannot hope to maintain a ruling coalition without making at least some in roads with these voters, which amount to nearly 30% of the American electorate. Warren, for his part, gains an international stature, the potential to become the next Billy Graham, and really bank some serious bucks, the ultimate goal of any good cult leader. In this unholy collusion lays the frightening reality for America and the stark lesson for Russia
None of this is new. Monotheistic cults like Christianity, protected by governments since Constantine the Great, have preyed on the poor and ignorant with a callousness that could make David Koresh blush. In the bitter struggles between labor and capital down through the ages, the monotheistic cults of The West unanimously chose the side of aristocracy. They used countless innocents as cannon fodder, arguing amongst themselves over how many angels could sit on the head of a pin. To this very day, these cults continue to violently resist every square centimeter of human progress, punishing logical and critical thinking with death, both spiritual and physical. Instead, they teach children that great virtue and eternal life is attained by faith in the patently absurd. Their leaders commandeer pulpits from which to justify and spread their medieval psychopathology as a natural and high morality pleasing to some mysterious being abiding far beyond the scrutiny of modern science. And coincidently, they also earn a very nice living.
One of the few great achievements of the Bolshevik Revolution was the near extermination of these malicious cults in Russia. But almost immediately after the collapse of Communism, the infestation returned. Cleverly, and quite predictably, they take the guise of Russian Nationalism and find fresh victims among her poor and uneducated. If Russians will entertain this intellectual cancer, it is not hard to imagine that very soon, it will wield as much, if not more, influence in Russia as in America. So after Obama takes the Oath of Office, as Reverend Warren takes the podium and begins to spew his delirium, I hope that my Russian friends will ask themselves these questions: Hasn’t Russia suffered enough already without this kind of snake oil salesman? Will Russia squander, in the same mass delusion that made the dark ages dark, the golden opportunity presented by the current crisis to finally catch up to the West? Will she at last succumb to the very same soul sickness, spread to her from The West over a thousand years ago? I hope not. Every hundred years or so, almost in spite of herself, Russia does something incredibly heroic that ends up saving the World. The way things are going, it might be getting near that time again.
Dominick L. Auci, Ph.D.