I remember this book that I read when I was in high school. It was long, sometimes boring, sometimes kinky, it had plot lines that went all over this place, a central character who went through a complete personality switch, and five different accounts of the last days of one character. It read a lot like a Quentin Tarantino movie plays out. The central character of the first half of the book is a major badass. He is The Sopranos on steroids of galactic dosage. He kicks his kids out of the house the first time they disobey him, and then he rags on their decedents constantly rubbing it in how they will never live up to his standards. He leaves people stranded in the desert, and was legendary for sending small numbers of trained troops to take out entire cities. Then he has a mid-life crisis, gives himself a personality overhaul and decides to have another kid. Then he pulls a Howard Hughes and hides himself away, only speaking to the world through his son. His son is as mild mannered as they come. He doesn’t want to be anything like the stories of his old man. He/s so mild mannered that people are always trying to trick him into telling them it is OK to disobey his father. He may be mild mannered, but he isn’t stupid. He tells people to pay their taxes to the feds, even though they accept his father as the big kahuna. When a gang of vigilantes want him to join in on some raging justice he shames them into going home. The only time he loses his cool is when he finds that some people are trying to turn his old man’s house into a circus complete with caged animals for sale and carnies trying to take the tourists for all they are worth. The son gets hung out to dry and killed, saying that he is doing it so his old man will someday spare them even though they are being such wanks. The climax of the book is an end of the world sequence, but it comes off like Jacob’s Ladder and you don’t know where reality ends and the hallucinations begin.
Like most best-sellers this book has a lot of devoted readers. People even take classes to understand its more subtle nuances. I read it, and I remember a fair chunk of it, but I didn’t buy into it being the end-all-be-all book of knowledge. So, in my world view I don’t feel like a hypocrite if I don’t live up to the ideals espoused in this book; any more than I feel the need to live up to Ayn Rand’s ideals in Atlas Shrugged.
Some people though have made this book their religion. It’s their Bible, their code of conduct, their written record of how their God wants them to live. Why is it so many people who claim that haven’t bothered to read the Cliff Notes, let alone the whole book? When someone claims to believe The Bible is the word of their God then I feel I have every right to call them a hypocrite if they live contrary to the ideals taught in that book.
In the United States we have a lot of hypocrites. We have stadium sized “churches” that are run like circuses, and make the money changers that upset Jesus look like kids with lemonaid stands. The ringmasters are the worst, as they have built their empires in the houses of their Gods. (I say it pleural because if you listen to them they all seem to be worshiping someone different. It’s hard to tell, since they have stripped their God of it’s name and they only call it by title.) They profess to worship a God of love and forgiveness, and then they urge their followers to support their government that kills for oil. They can’t be following the same book I read.
Then there is Pat Roberson. Pat Roberson founded an organization called â€œChristian Coalition of Americaâ€. On that alone I would assume that he believes himself to be a follower of the mild mannered character I described above; but I’d be wrong. Pat Roberson lives in backwards land. Where Jesus said â€œturn the other cheekâ€ Pat Roberson says “We don’t need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator,” he continued. “It’s a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with.” Pat Roberson was talking about the president of Venezuela and he also said “It’s a whole lot cheaper than starting a war … and I don’t think any oil shipments will stop.“
Have you seen the bumper stickers that say “What would Jesus do?” I think he’d fly into a rage and tear down Pat Roberson’s empire. Here is a “man of god” who is more worried about whether oil shipments will stop than whether he goes against the teachings of the God about whom he preaches? Sounds like a politician, not a preacher, to me. Hit him where it hurts: Strip him of his religious tax exempt status and make him conform to campaign finance laws. (Jesus did say to pay unto Ceaser what is Ceaser’s, but that’s another teaching that gets ignored.) Maybe that would finally shut him up.