There he sits, face scrunched, eyes clenched tight, fists balled up like he's clinging to the last Valium on Earth, colon in tortured knots, soul shriveled into a tiny black speck of bile and nothingness, invoking God and sodomy and incest and quivering like he's sitting on the red-hot poker of divine enlightenment itself. You go, Pat.
You know this image. It appears regularly on the noxiously quasi-religious "700 Club" on the Christian Broadcasting Network, one of those frightening and culturally surreal little cable channels you skip over as fast as possible on your way to "The Daily Show" or maybe "Taxicab Confessions" or "South Park."
Pat Robertson is praying feverishly to his apparently deeply homophobic and hate-filled Almighty, asking if He'd pretty please stomp on over ASAP and forcibly remove three specific Supreme Court justices from the bench and replace them with scowling conservatives who are equally homophobic and quivering and desperately small minded as he is.
Apparently, it's Pat's patented 21-day "prayer offensive" (not to be confused with his customary "offensive prayer"), some sort of cosmic faux-Christian effort to oust those sodomy-condoning judges who don't agree with the Right's hardcore anti-gay agenda and also because apparently God only listens to sweaty bundles of self-righteous indignation if you implore Him over and over again for three weeks straight. Check the PalmPilot, man. God is busy.
Robertson is raving about his favorite demons, sodomy and prostitution and incest, like he was caught in some sort of John Waters fever dream, and it is absurd and sad and pitiable and yet because tens of thousands of deluded heavily narcotized believers seem to actually listen and respond to his words and send him wads of money, his pseudo-religious spasms makes national news.
Because this is how organized religion works. God takes sides. God favors certain worthy groups. This is how it works. God wears stars-and-stripes underwear, brushes His teeth with macho NRA slogans.
It is timeless and time tested and insipid and Robertson does it and Falwell does it and BushCo does it and Osama does it and Saddam does it and the Shiites do it and Mormons do it and Israel and Palestine do it and Scientologists, well, they don't really do it because they believe in creepy and very expensive alien cults featuring giant hunky posters of "Top Gun"-era Tom Cruise.
God smites those who don't follow His prickly misinterpreted rules or who make the mistake of falling in love with someone of the same gender or believe in the subtle and beautiful power of goddesses or trees or magic or ancient ritual or the divine potency of sex or open-souled personal expression. Oh yes He does. Just look at Pat's desperately earnest little face. It must be true.
This is how God operates. He divides His time between remaking the entire universe at all times in all dimensions for every living creature everywhere, and giving a crap about whiny fundamentalist Christian zealots and their toxic sex phobias.
God is customizable. God force-fits into whatever narrow little channel of bilious self-righteousness the world's fanatics and their medicated perspective want Him to. This is the nature of God. He is supremely convenient. He can be used to back up almost any claim. He is rubber and you are glue and whatever you say bounces off him and sticks to you.
Alas, Pat is not alone. Huge indeed are the hunks of the culture and of religious fundamentalism as a whole that fully and wholly believe their particular version of God possesses exactly their very own set of ragin' intolerant lopsided values and hatreds and fiery finger-points and if you don't agree you are gonna burn and pay and cry.
Robertson is proof. Born-again George W. "God is on America's side" Bush is proof. Osama "Allah hates America" bin Laden is proof. The Israel-Palestine conflict is proof. Falwell is proof and Franklin Graham is proof and even the pope his own doddering self is sad, semi-tragic proof.
That we are not quite ready to evolve. That we are not quite ready to break free. That we are not ready for larger and more enlightening and illuminating answers that don't consist of narrow pinprick quietly misogynistic worldviews that kill spiritual individuality and snuff divine expression and thwart love's potential.
It must come straight back to the individual. As always. Back to you, believing for yourself, defining God for yourself, locating Him/Her/It inside the self, independent of doctrine and BushCo and snarling military leaders and Pat Robertson's sanctimonious little roadblock to the progress of the human soul.
Because believing in God should not make you dumb. Believing in divine power should not make you a blind lockstep jingoist zealot right-wing homophobe drone, bowing and kneeling and feeling unworthy and sinful and then changing the channel to ESPN2 and watching log rolling.
Believing in your own divinity should, of course, make you radiate. And think. And squirm. And ponder and investigate and get calm and wonder and explore and lick and drink good wine and make love to any gender you like and allow that divine definition to shift and transform with time and self and breath. Simple, really. And also very, very messy. As it should be.
This just in: The divine is right now launching its own offensive, called "Oh just shut the hell up you buncha bickering sexless little faux-religious simps of the world." Pat and Jerry and the organized religions of the world were, understandably, unavailable for comment.
Mark Morford's Notes & Errata column appears every Wednesday and Friday on SF Gate, unless it appears on Tuesdays and Thursdays, which it never does.
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