Archive - 2008

December 29th

Drama Queens

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Memo to Matt Barber: YOU ARE HELLA DUMB.

One of those fun/not fun things about living through the latest era of conservative despair is watching them try to outdo each other in their attempts to transform the downturn into their political fortunes into the kind of epic, dramatic struggle they can't seem to get through life without pretending to be a part of. Their normal shrill gets shriller, their normal swagger gets swaggier, and their normal stupid gets stupidest.

Case in point - over at World Net Daily, which has never been known for even a tenuous grip on reality, Matt Barber has taken the commandment to demonize liberals the way he takes the Bible - completely literally. He has come to the conclusion that today's progressive movement is in fact the modern-day equivalent of... wait for it... the worship of Baal.

Let me state right upfront, as a liberal, progressive, secular humanist, that I have never worshiped Baal. I'm an atheist, I don't worship anything or anybody. I'm also an egotist, with the same result. But even if I were somehow inclined toward worship, I wouldn't worship Baal. It seems messier than the front row of a Gallagher concert, to hear Barber describe it. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"Ritualistic Baal worship, in sum, looked a little like this: Adults would gather around the altar of Baal. Infants would then be burned alive as a sacrificial offering to the deity. Amid horrific screams and the stench of charred human flesh, congregants – men and women alike – would engage in bisexual orgies. The ritual of convenience was intended to produce economic prosperity by prompting Baal to bring rain for the fertility of 'mother earth.'" - Barber, in his column "Today's Baal Worshipers".

Now, the obligatory five minutes on Wikipedia told me what I instantly suspected - that Barber's "Ritualistic Baal worship" is based on an overdramatic rewriting of events for which the historical record is both murky and largely written by the conquerors, and thus potentially suspect. But even if the people of ancient Carthage (the only one of dozens of Baals throughout history that remotely resembles what Barber is talking about) did the things he says they did, how do you sanely compare that with liberalism? You don't. But you can do it INsanely. And the best way to start is by stretching words to their breaking point.

"The principal pillars of Baalism were child sacrifice, sexual immorality (both heterosexual and homosexual) and pantheism (reverence of creation over the Creator)."

You can see where this is going. Child sacrifice? Abortion. Sexual immorality? Pre-marital sex and gay rights. And reverence of creation / Mother Earth? Environmentalism. See? Because progressives support legal abortion, equal rights for homosexuals, and think it's bad when a billion tons of toxic coal sludge spill anywhere (even Tennessee), that means we're no different from primitive swarthy Middle-eastern pagans who use the stench of burning toddler flesh to heighten the sensation of our blood-drenched bisexual orgies. Got it? Good.

His definition of "pantheism" is especially rich, because it's such an obviously biased description. Pantheism doesn't mean reverence for the creation over the Creator unless you reflexively reject the pantheistic idea that the creator and the creations are all part of the same whole. Someone interested in being remotely fair to pantheistic religions would come to the conclusion that they have reverence for the creation AS the creator. Someone interested in being a dickhole would characterize environmentalism as dissing Jesus.

This is all well and good, but Barber goes on to practice his own unique form of conservationism. He's got a huge brush, and it's simply loaded with tar, so why use it just on progressive atheists? He's got another pass all lined up for anyone who believes in both Jesus and Obama:

"Because emergent Christianity fails the authenticity test whenever subjected to even the most perfunctory biblical scrutiny, I suspect it will eventually go – for the most part – the way of the pet rock or the Macarena. But this does not absolve leaders within the evangelical community from a duty to call leaders of this counter-biblical revolution on their heresy. It's not a matter of right versus left; it's a matter of right versus wrong – of biblical versus non-biblical."

OK, I can accept the intellectual laziness of twisting the definition of "pantheism" to meet your ends. I can even accept the intellectual laziness of cherry-picking historical evidence of pagan cults and filling in the gaps with complete nonsense in order to make your point. But I cannot accept a level of intellectual laziness that would settle on the pet rock and the Macarena as historical examples of fads. For this crime, Charo should get to throw pet rocks at Matt Barber's exposed crotch until I decide he's learned his lesson.