Friday, October 12, 2007


The cold-blooded reality of fundamentalism in America is demonstrated time and again in American history. Cold-bloodedness began very early. It was Catholic as well as Protestant in the New World. Now it’s also and insanely Moslem. But here’s an early take on how the hyper-religious imagine that their imaginary god works in the interests of Christianity. It’s from the book Lies My Teacher Told Me by James Loewen (p. 72).

During the next fifteen years, additional epidemics, most of which we know to have been smallpox, struck repeatedly. European Americans also contracted smallpox and the other maladies, to be sure, but they usually recovered, including, in a later century, the "heavily pockmarked George Washington." 
Native Americans usually died. The impact of the epidemics on the two cultures was profound. The English Separatists, already seeing their lives as part of a divinely inspired morality play, found it easy to infer that God was on their side. 
John Winthrop, governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, called the plague 
"miraculous." In 1634 he wrote to a friend in England: "But for the natives in these parts, God hath so pursued them, as for 300 miles space the greatest part of them are swept away by the smallpox which still continues among them. So as God hath thereby cleared our title to this place, those who remain in these parts, being in all not 50, have put themselves under our protection ...." God 
the Original Real Estate Agent!

Many Indians likewise inferred that their god had abandoned them. Robert Cushman reported that "those that are left, have their courage much abated, and their countenance is dejected, and they seem as a people affrighted." After a smallpox epidemic the Cherokee "despaired so much that they lost confidence in their gods and the priests destroyed the sacred objects of the tribe." After all, neither Indians nor Pilgrims had access to the germ theory of disease.
Indian healers could supply no cure; their medicines and herbs offered no relief. Their religion provided no explanation. That of the whites did. Like the Europeans three centuries before them, many Indians surrendered to alcohol, converted to Christianity, or simply killed themselves!

Less malevolently, but in exactly the same manner, golfer Gus Johnson’s claims his imagined god aids his golfing exploits.


The photo is from a recent trip I took to Whidbey Island to visit old pal from Spokane, Doug. Looking from near Clinton toward Everett.

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