January 27, 2008

Jerry Lewis Demands America Be a Christian Empire

Chapel issue, evolution show U.S. rejecting God

I would like to respond to “Evolution is just a theory” (Dec. 29), and letters about the VA chapel.

First, evolution is a theory, but has become the government’s religion. It is taught in schools and colleges as truth, where the Bible and Creation are not allowed. We are supposed to be a Christian nation yet we have allowed a state religion to throw God and the Bible in the trash can.

Restricting the VA chapel is only a new way of getting rid of God. The writer states this is at present a secular country, and like all other secular empires in history, will fall. We were the greatest empire in all history. Now the fall has started: fires on the West Coast, storms in the Midwest, drought in the Southeast Bible Belt and the fall of the dollar.

If America does not make a turnaround, things in this country will only get worse and we will be a Third World country. America has been weighed in the balance and been found wanting. At present only God can save us, but for God to save us, we must repent and return to Him.

— Jerry D. Lewis
Harrells, NC

My apologies to the person most of us associate with the name Jerry Lewis. As far as I know, that Jerry Lewis isn't a religious fundamentalist who thinks that America should become a Christian empire. I couldn't resist making the association when I saw the name of this letter's author.

For ease of reference, assume from here on that the Jerry Lewis being discussed is the crazy one who makes his home in North Carolina. He's the one who thinks that natural catastrophes are punishments doled out by a wrathful Jehovah as punishment for America not letting him play. As is so often the case with these Pat Robertson-style fundamentalists, they create God in their own image. Lewis is probably an irascible, short-tempered, vengeful sort of fellow who runs out onto his porch with a shotgun to chase those damned kids off his lawn in just the way that his deity-of-choice sets fire to houses in the American West because folks just aren't offering up enough praise these days.

The crazy Jerry Lewis thinks that America was "supposed to be a Christian nation" despite the fact that its founders never saw fit to say so in any of the founding documents they authored and signed. That doesn't matter; this sort of person is only too glad to come up with all sorts of twisted explanations for why this is the case.

I'm not sure what colleges Lewis thinks don't allow religion to be studied. Almost every sizable university in the country has a religious studies department and at least one course offering on the Christian bible. Of course, those classes don't generally advance the sort of Neolithic thinking that Lewis is advocating and they don't insist that students adopt the religion under study which, after all, is what Lewis is demanding to restore America to its former glory as "the greatest empire" the world has ever known. If we pray really, really hard, surely God will give us back the Philippines, as they rightfully belong to us.

And what of this great Christian empire that Lewis thinks existed in the past? He seems to pine for the days of colonialism and imperialism that was most prominent in America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries under such presidents as McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt. Roosevelt wasn't a particularly religious fellow, but that's not particularly germane to all of this. What is, however, is that even if we assume that American imperialism was a good thing somehow, the end of the Imperialist Era wasn't brought about by some radical change in the number of religious adherents. It ended because of a depression, for one thing. Empires are expensive ventures. It ended because subject countries demanded the right of self-determination. It ended because of a World War. If we follow along with Lewis' non causa pro causa argument, though, we could come up with any number of alternative explanations.

When America was an empire, a 40-hour work week was unheard of. Most workers had one day a week off (Sundays, interestingly enough) if they were lucky. If we'd only make people work until they collapsed in exhaustion and died in their 40's again, America would become the greatest empire in all of history.

What child labor laws there were weren't strictly enforced during the Imperialist Era. Many children were put to work in mines and factories almost as soon as they could walk. Education was largely a luxury afforded to a small proportion of the population based on their economic standing. If only we could return to the days when uneducated children dug coal until they succumbed to black lung in their early teens, America would become the greatest empire in history.

Women couldn't vote back then. Within a decade after women got the right to vote, America lapsed into the worst depression in its history. It hasn't been the same since. If only we would do the right thing and repeal the nineteenth amendment, America could again become the greatest empire in history.

For much of the Era of Imperialism, cocaine was perfectly legal. It didn't become a controlled substance until 1914, with the passage of the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act. Soon after the act passed, America became involved in World War I and Imperialism went into steep decline. Surely this precipitous decline from our rightful place as the World's Great Empire was punishment from God for the sleight of making His chosen drug illegal. If America is to rise to glory once more, we must legalize cocaine immediately!

I could go on and on with this. It's fun, actually, to dream up all sorts of strange correlations for historical events. We could never have put a man on the moon if Buddy Holly's plane hadn't crashed, after all. The scary thing is that there are people who believe this, and many of them cite religious causes and then gather into groups to mutually support one another's fallacious gibberish. They then vote as blocks and are carefully courted by people who run for national office. They influence law and policy. Imagine that; life-changing decisions made for others on the basis of nothing more than logical fallacy and mutual superstition. Hey, it has worked out great so far! The American flag has never flown in so many places since the end of the last Imperial Era.

Mr. Lewis, God bless you and keep you... away from voting booths and people you're likely to harm.

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