I went for an odd run yesterday. It was windy as heck, for one thing. So my early pace of 10:00 per mile did not increase much over the first two miles. Then I turned into a neighborhood where a path through the woods leads to a forest preserve.
From there, I turned south onto the loose crushed limestone paths and kept following them into the fields beyond the preserve proper. The land is still owned by the county, but it’s nothing more than mowed scrub at this point.
I could have turned around and run back the route I normally take that loops toward home. Instead the path I followed met a dead-end and I hopped some tall grass and kept running toward the Interstate in the distance. When that field ran out I turned east and crept through even more tall grass toward the array of giant satellite disks next to the TBN production studios.
The Bullshit Network
Those satellite dishes drive at least part of the TBN network, whose network boasts,
” TBN is also a leader in using cutting-edge technology to reach more viewers around the world with programming that entertains, inspires, and changes lives through God’s message of hope and grace. From its online archive giving viewers access to tens of thousands of life-impacting programs, to its mobile app that brings more than a dozen global TBN networks to smart phones, iPads, and tablets anywhere in the world — TBN continues to be the standard bearer for faith-and-family broadcasting across the earth.”
You may not know my perspectives on most of what TBN pumps out. They’re the type of network whose supposedly grace-filled programming fuels much of what evangelical Christianity embraces as wholesome and religiously biblical content. But as we’re witnessing in real time these days, evangelical support for the prince of all garbage hawkers, Donald Trump, is fueling an authoritarian takeover of constitutional rights for millions of Americans. TBN, like so many other so-called Christian outlets are nothing more than bullshit networks designed to reap profits and control people politically and religiously. While they claim to be on God’s side, they are more like the religious authorities whom Jesus challenged for clinging so feverishly to tradition that they legalistically destroyed the lives of people rather than lifting them up.
I’m reading a book titled Unholy (Rachel Posner) that traces the direct link between racism, segregation, and the tax status of Christian schools with the launching of the Moral Majority in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The typical narrative says that Jerry Falwell jump-started evangelical political activity around the abortion issue. But that came much later. At the beginning, it was so-called Christian objections to governmental guidelines for integration that set off waves of angry protest among the prejudiced purveyors of garbage religion at the time. It was all cloaked behind claims that their “religious freedoms” were being breached. But that’s garbage too.
Pretty much, it was Christian schools trying to block black kids from attending private institutions that started the so-called Moral Majority.
That racist core of true believers never left the movement. In fact, they’ve only increased their grip on evangelicalism, all while mastering the sophistication of technology and media promotion to propagate the poison worldview of fear and hatred for minorities and anyone else judged to be “biblically unworthy” of normal societal function.
These people excel at claiming to preach God’s love while sending religious programming around the world that baldly preach intolerance (and even death) to gay people, resistance to immigration around fears of losing a “Christian majority” (to Muslims, it is said) and of course, the fatuous obsession with banning abortion because “it kills babies.” Never mind that an organization such as Planned Parenthood tries to help women prevent unplanned pregnancies. That’s far too practical for religious zealots that hate the idea of anyone having sex other than by their approved method or at their approved time.
These three topics along with resistance to science and denial of climate change are essentially the entire platform of the Trump regime. It’s a load of politically bigoted garbage filled with hate for secular knowledge and frankly, common sense. That is Trumpism in a nutshell.
That is why I found it symbolic that not long after passing the TBN studios I turned to see the scene depicted at the top of this blog, and captured again here in closeup. Because there, at the end of an underutilized industrial drive, was a pile of garbage tossed there by irresponsible citizens refusing to pay for the right to properly dispose of their refuse. That’s a capsulized image of American wastefulness and selfishness.
What is garbage?
What is garbage anyway? It’s the outcome of anything that human beings judge to be useless to them in any way. That’s exactly how Trump and his evangelical supporters view anything that disagrees with their purported values. These of course differ from actual values of conscience and consideration, because the Trump version is ultimately subject to some aspect of prejudice on the part of those claiming insight. While hiding behind the veils of tradition and heritage, true conscience and consideration are qualities that too many evangelicals and conservatives decidedly lack.
Because here’s how it works. Trump brands immigrants garbage, and his supporters go along because it feeds their fearful narrative that a Christian white majority is at risk of being upended. He’s called entire country “shitholes,” and his supporters go along because he equates human worth and value by skin color and transactional value to his personal prejudices. And his supporters go along because “the economy is good” and therefore “shithole people” should not be allowed to affect it.
It keeps going. His administration, the Republican Party and the evangelicals who drive it clearly view gay and transgender people as garbage unworthy of basic civil rights, much less the right to marry. And his supporters love to claim that their right to discriminate against LBQBT should be protected by their religious beliefs. What a load of garbage that is. Certainly Jesus Christ never spoke against people of any sexual orientation, at least according to the Bible.
But it was stated by Paul, the former persecutors of Jews who experienced a dramatic conversation to a worshipper of Jesus who held to the legalism of his prior tradition and branded relations between two men an abomination. All that proves is that Paul never relinquished himself completely to Jesus. He remained a bigot just as Martin Luther remained an Anti-Semitic while he launched the Reformation. None of these people is perfect. Some of their views should be dumped into the garbage pit of religious ideology.
Earth as a garbage pit
It doesn’t stop with ideology. Trump and his administration view the natural resources of this country as their personal property from which they can extract whatever they like and trash the rest without penalty. Meanwhile Trump distracts the citizens of this nation by pitting them against each other over trivial issues like wearing masks to combat the Covid19 pandemic. I get so angry at times I wish there were a hell for Trump to face when he’s done with this world. But we’ll get to that in a moment.
Staring at that garbage pile I was angry at our nation for allowing this trashy jerk of a con man to do this to our country. I despise what his supporters have done to enable him, because they are contributors to the trash heap of history to which I pray that Trump is soon consigned. They care not whether people’s lives are destroyed by Trump’s feckless denial of the Coronavirus threat. They don’t give a shit if Trump’s fascist support of white supremacists and dog-whistle encouragement of police brutality winds up killing people right and left.
To Trump supporters all those lives are disposable. They are collateral damage to the supposed higher purpose of Making America Great Again.
MAGA is a pile of garbage
So let’s be blunt. MAGA is the biggest pile of garbage that America has ever been fed. And I do blame religious hucksters like the soft-spoken zealots at TBN and the Moody Bible Institute and the entire spectrum of garbage theologians preaching biblical literalism and creationism. All this is designed to gain and maintain political control while real problems like climate change threaten the entire human civilization, and we’re not doing a damned thing about it. Because Jesus is coming back to fix it all. What a garbage claim for anyone to make.
Jesus himself would tell these jerks they’re the purveyors of garbage and creating a hell on earth. The original definition of “hell” was the town garbage pit where everything from human waste to dead bodies was tossed into a pit and left to rot in the sun. I quote from a Medium.com blog by Ali Kellogg explaining what the notion of hell was all about:
(Gehenna) was originally used by the ancient Israelites who sacrificed children and burnt their bodies to appease the pagan Canaanite god Molech. In Leviticus 18:20, God expressed his hatred of the false god Molech, and deemed the place unclean. Gehenna was eventually used as a landfill by the inhabitants of Jerusalem, where people took their trash to be burned. The place began to wreak havoc on daily life in Jerusalem. The smell of burning sewage, flesh, maggots and garbage wreaked absolute havoc on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, causing documented medical problems like nausea and breathing difficulty. Clearly, the place was unpleasant — frightening even — and thus it’s no surprise that Gehenna was used, and still is today, as a metaphor for the final place of punishment for the wicked. It was first used as a symbolic depiction of Hell in Mark 9:47. Gehenna was translated to Hell later, around 1200AD.
Yes, I’m angry as hell at Trump’s supporters. They voted in a garbage president and are trying to tell us that he’s a messenger of God. But their version of Make America Great Again is actually a reincarnation of Gehenna. A garbage pit for the terminally selfish hoping only to discard whatever they find unworthy of their own heinous worldview.
Finally I turned away from the ad hoc garbage pit at the end of the abandoned industrial drive and started my run toward home. Along the way there were other piles of junk tossed from the trunk of cars. One almost has to be on foot to notice it all. Driving past in a vehicle, it all mixes in with the landscape.
But I noticed it. I’ve been watching stuff like this accrue in the landscape for years. And it’s not the way to Make America Great Again. Far from it.
Aren’t you sick of all this garbage? I bet you are. So it’s incumbent on those of us that vote for conscience and consideration to show up at the polls in November and vote this garbage purveyor out of office. And if he won’t leave, we’ll have to send in an armored backhoe, scoop up his orange highness and dump him in whatever Gehenna we can find.