In my sorry state, however, all I can do at the moment is riff on a theme he brought to mind: self-righteous exclusionary bullshit.
This is by no means a purely Christian trait. It's a human one. I read quite a lot of history, and many common themes run through it. Self-righteous exclusionary bullshit is a major one. Call it tribalism, nationalism, or religion, it all comes down to one group of fuckers thinking they're better than all the other fuckers to such an extent that they get obnoxiously overprotective of their petrified views. Nobody else could possibly be as perfect as they are, so nobody else's point of view means jack shit. And if that's all it was, it would just be annoying, but the self-righteous exclusionary fuckers then go on to paint everyone else's views as evil.
Every human group and enterprise suffers from variations of the disease. I'm fully aware of that. The very definition of human could be "a jackass who thinks they're right and everyone else is wrong." It's just a matter of degree. Some of us jackasses pause a moment to ask, "Am I right?" before gleefully proclaiming everyone else wrong. Some of us enjoy being proved wrong, or at least handle it gracefully and adjust accordingly. The jackasses I'm talking about not only refuse to admit the possibility they could be wrong, they won't accept proof when they are and instead of adjusting themselves, they try to adjust everyone else by force of dogma or arms rather than evidence and persuasion.
The self-righteous exclusionary fuckers can't budge aside to accomodate differing views. Most of the folks I hang about with these days may hold views diametrically opposed to mine, but we put more emphasis on the points of agreement, allow the apostasy, and would never, ever, dismiss or exclude each other on the basis of a few disagreements. Not so the self-righteous exclusionary fuckers.
Having been drawn to Senator Obama’s remarkable “love thy neighbor” style of campaigning, his express aim to transcend partisan divide, and specifically, his appreciation for faith ("secularists are wrong when they ask believers to leave their religion at the door before entering into the public square"), I did not expect to be clobbered by co-religionists.
On the blogs, I have been declared “self-excommunicated,” and recently at a Mass before a dinner speech to Catholic business leaders, a very angry college chaplain excoriated my Obama-heresy from the pulpit at length and then denied my receipt of communion.
You heard that right. Doug Kmiec, devout Catholic, was told he couldn't cannibalize Jesus because he backed the wrong candidate.
Granted, the chaplin's reaction was extreme, and I doubt many Catholic priests would deny some poor bastard communion just because he's voting for Barak Obama, but it's a perfect illustration of what I'm talking about. There's no room for dissent in that particular chaplin's flock. He's a self-righteous exclusionary fucker practicing self-righteous exclusionary bullshit.
So was the fatwa against Salman Rushdie for The Satanic Verses. Modern fundamentalist Islam has raised the art of self-righteous exclusionary bullshit to a pinnacle not achieved since the Middle Ages. Our very own fundies can only aspire to that kind of bullshit. Nothing would make them happier than a theocracy - or so they think. (Just wait until the wrong denomination gets their hands on the reins, you silly shits. You'll be begging for the good ol' days of separation of church and state.)
I gave up Christianity because of this crap. Other religions, including other branches of the Christian (dysfunctional) family tree, seemed to have some pretty nifty ideas, but God forbid you bring them up. Church X had it right and Churches Y, Z and T had it completely wrong, and as for those other so-called religions, they're all tools of Satan. It got so bad among the youth group that the youth pastor devoted an entire night to slamming M.C. Hammer - that's Christian Minister M.C. Hammer - for having a dude in a red devil costume in one of his videos.
My Christmas cards in the following years were in direct protest of this trend. They had a cutsey little painting of people of multiple colors and faiths gathered round, and a quote that said, "God created so many different kinds of people - why would He allow only one way to worship Him?"
Good question, Rocko.
America's self-righteous exclusionary bullshit gets up my nose just as badly. America goes through these petulant phases where the rest of the world has absolutely nothing to contribute and America is the only way. American fashion, American democracy, American entertainment, American ad nauseum - and ignore the fact that other democracies do a better job taking care of their people, other countries produce entertaining entertainment, other countries are leading the way in fashion. You remember that whole flap over Japan and trade back in the nineties? America was so perfect she couldn't possibly be losing market share because America's no longer top dog in manufacturing. Oh, hell, no. Those evil Japs were up to all kinds of shennanigans. Total conspiracy to keep America down. Or some such crap. The problem with self-righteous exclusionary bullshit is that it can't admit reality. It sure as fuck doesn't allow for course corrections.
Thankfully, we didn't have a self-righteous exclusionary fucker in office at the time, or we might have seen some extremely stupid antics. Like a second invasion of Japan.
The self-righteous exclusionary fuckers in power right now have taken the bullshit to a whole new extreme. America used to admit that, although she was perfect in every way and couldn't possibly be made better by other countries' input, treaties like the Geneva Conventions weren't beneath her. She could abide by them without undue difficulty. Then the fuckwits took over, and decided that since America was perfect in every way, nothing she did could possibly be wrong, so what the Geneva Conventions quaintly called "torture" was just "enhanced interrogation" and absolutely fine as long as it's America or her proxies doing it. The self-righteous exclusionary principle went into overdrive, excluding every opposing view.
You see how that weakens a country, right? Weakens a country, a faith, a person.
Self-righteous exclusionary bullshit serves no one in the end. All of these self-righteous exclusionary fuckers playing holier-than-thou lose an opportunity to adapt, grow stronger, savor a world that's full of variety and incident and damned interesting stuff. And they make it harder for folks like myself, who try to avoid being completely self-righteous exclusionary fuckers, to include them. You see, the problem with a self-righteous exclusionary fucker is that if you give a millimeter, they take ten thousand miles and run you out of the country in the bargain.
That complicates matters.
What I'd like to see is a world of self-righteous inclusionary bullshit. Humans are always going to be self-righteous and full of bullshit, but the world's a banquet, and I'm damned tired of the fuckers who insist that only certain items at the buffet can be enjoyed.