Seven percent of American voters believe the moon landing was faked, six percent say Osama bin Laden is still alive, and thirteen percent think President Barack Obama is the Antichrist. Fourteen percent of Americans believe in Bigfoot.
Is this good or bad news for Obama? Walk softly and carry a big stick, which you’d have to do anyway with one big foot and one cloven hoof. These percentages were prepared by Public Policy Polling, a group that surveyed 1,247 registered American voters in March of 2013 about what’s really important.
Now, we have conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ claim that a “weather weapon” deployed by the U.S. government caused the massive tornado that devastated Moore, Oklahoma. The tornado was deliberately unleashed to deflect public attention away from scandal-ridden Washington. And more have been deployed since the success at Moore.
How do these people manage to live? Not the Oklahomans, mind you – those hardy folk survive and thrive in one of the most disaster-prone parts of the country. It’s the wild-eyed, foaming-at-the-mouth paranoid conspiracy fanatics who puzzle me. Can they ever even use the toilet without thinking a government camera is hidden under the seat, ready to snap pictures of their private parts?
Yet they vote and they reproduce –scarier and more immediate threats than either Bigfoot or Satan.
Here’s the thing: If they were all out to get you, they’d have gotten you by now. You’d be dead, or mentally re-programmed via some mind-control brain chip that covert government operatives stuck in your ear late one night while you were snoring in your Laz-E-Boy after a six-pack or two and too many bags of deep-fried pork rinds. It would finally be 1984.
I can understand “God sent the whirlwind” better than “Obama sent the tornado,” though. Vengeful gods can presumably do things like that; Washington can’t even agree on a lunch menu.
Our good Christian friends at the Westboro Baptist Church claim with gleeful relish that God lobbed Hurricane Sandy at the east coast as punishment for letting the LGBT community do things like breathe and buy groceries and pay mortgages and get married.
But their God managed Sandy the way a vengeful Congress would – ineptly and wastefully. I daresay that a quite few gay persons escaped the hurricane, and quite a few straight, God-fearing, law-abiding, socially-conservative folks were devastated by it. You’d think God, by virtue of omnipotence and omniscience and omnipresence and all those other divine perks of office, would be a better shot. He needs to stockpile better assault weapons than hurricanes.
Do we really need an armed, slipshod and sloppy God? He’s created in our image, of course. But still.
Maybe I should give Alex Jones more credit for his whacko weather-weapon theory. He knows better than to imply that God is slipshod and sloppy. Blaming the government for a devastating tornado is a much safer bet, and won’t land you in hell for all eternity. The Lord thy God is a jealous God, and doesn’t take kindly to slights. Don’t be giving the Antichrist Obama credit for the work of our Father. Or Bigfoot, either.
My good friend Mark tells me that God is the water molecule. Mind you, he does not mean that the reigning God swirls Himself into hurricanes or tornadoes at whim to rein in disbelievers. He means that water is holy because water is life itself — omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. My good friend Mark is a mellow child of the seventies, raised in the warm welcoming waters of Hawai’i. We’re usually in our cups when he preaches this creed – cups that aren’t full of water molecules. I need to get the dry details of the catechism from him sometime, since I rather like this idea.
Then again, Mark has kept a large dented can of Kuner’s red kidney beans enshrined in his office for fifteen years. He tells people it’s part of his religious practice (I suspect that my good friend Mark has read too much Tom Robbins). No-one ever laughs — the dusty beans have a lei wrapped lovingly around them, and the can’s faded label has a venerable look. It clearly amounts to more than a hill of beans. There are water molecules in there, after all.
God has a funny taste at my house these days – the water coming out of my kitchen faucet tastes like moldy cardboard. I noticed it last week, but was too busy to give it much thought. Saturday morning, though, I about gagged when taking my miracle death-defying dietary supplements (I read somewhere that vitamin-popping Americans have the most expensive pee in the world). Nothing was posted on the city utilities site about work on the system, but it did say that bad-tasting water is reason enough to call the emergency line.
The answering service connects me to an irritated off-duty technician, who says, “So, is this a health risk? Or can it wait until Monday?” “I do not know if this is a health risk,” I say. “It tastes like a health risk. I am not going to drink the water coming out of my tap.” “So, what type of pipes do you have coming off the city line?” she asks. “I do not know what type of pipes we have,” I say. “The pipes are buried. I have never seen them.” “So, have any of your neighbors had problems? Have you checked with anyone else in your area?” “I do not know if any of my neighbors have had problems,” I say. “I have just started having this problem, myself. You can probably tell me if any of my neighbors have called you.”
She harrumphs and says that only I have complained. I tell her my neighbors are none too swift. They’re all survivalist-types steeped in conspiracy theory.
Now, though, I have to sheepishly call and cancel this morning’s scheduled trouble-shooting visit. I thought things through after a second cup of coffee Saturday morning (coffee which also tasted like moldy cardboard), and decided to test the water molecules coming out of the bathroom tap. Those were fine and pure and unsullied by dead and decaying things in the feed line somewhere. So the problem is in my kitchen faucet, which hasn’t been working properly for months and probably has all sorts of toxic microorganisms growing in its loose fittings. I doubt that’s the sort of Helpful Bacteria we need in our systems.
If God is indeed the water molecule, I wish he’d work with me on this one and fix my faucet. Is that too much to ask? I need a reliable conduit to the Almighty, and I’m no plumber.