Friday, December 09, 2011

Muscular Christianity

Rick just don't know how to quit us.

Rick Perry reached into his Brokeback Mountain closet the other day and grabbed Ennis del Mar’s coat before recording his latest for the Iowa market.

“I’m not ashamed to admit I’m a Christian,” the Texas governor announces while planted on a green slope alongside a crick obviously located somewhere other than the Hawkeye state --- there’s a light dusting of overnight snow on the ground here and more elsewhere this morning; nippy outside, too. No green to be seen, other than the Christmas tree.

“But you don’t need to be in the pew every Sunday,” Perry goes on, “to know that there’s something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school.”

The Texas governor then pledges to end President Obama’s “war on religion,” and fight against “liberal attacks on our religious heritage.”

Now I’m all in favor of Perry’s wardrobe --- wear jeans and Carhart to church myself sometimes. It’s just not clear how effective a Christian soldier this old boy is. Recent polls suggest that even the state’s Republican God squad no longer takes him seriously, moving instead to embrace a decrepit thrice-married serial adulterer.

LGBT people have had the most fun this week with Perry’s remarks and I thought I might find something else to use here, but most of the video parodies are not suitable for family viewing. Heck, I even had to Photoshop the cuss word out of the illustration up top.

It’s just not clear that reinstituting Don’t Ask Don’t Tell or saying a few snarky things about “gays,” in the nicest possible Christian way of course, will do much for the economy. But poor Rick, like poor Ennis, just don’t know how to quit us. Love the hair, though. And the Carhart.


It’s always wise for Iowans to beware of Texans bearing Bibles, I think, so a brief presentation the other evening by a local preacher who hopes to bring “The Power Team” to town intrigued me.

The Power Team is a Dallas-based outfit that fancies itself a 21st century expression of the old-fashioned Billy Graham crusades --- featuring instead of Billy and George Beverly Shea, however, overdeveloped mesomorphs who run around in tight pants breaking bricks and snapping baseball bats like twigs.

All of this, according to the team’s Web site, is guaranteed to win souls (presumably young ones, by implication male) for Jesus --- and fill the pews of sponsoring churches with young bodies on Sunday mornings.

Suspecting that this was just another version of spreadsheet Christianity --- moving souls from the “lost” to “saved” column in five minutes or less, then moving on as rapidly as possible --- I searched the Powerteam Web site for some mention of discipleship. Couldn’t find a one.

So it’s not clear to me what a congregation is expected to do if, after a crusade, it should end up with a pewful of muscular --- or wannabe --- young men anxious to snap baseball bats. Or, for that matter, if girls would be welcome.

I’ll keep watching to see what develops here.

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