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Book Review February 20, 2002
 
Breathe On Us, Oh God!
By John Dolan Browse author Email
 
Page 3 of 4
 
Laughable as it sounds, this sort of paranoiac drama gives you a sense of why Christianity appeals to so many lonely Americans. Unlike the Catholicism I knew, this religion makes the worshippers the center of the universe. God, no less, is manipulating your very flight-times to give you the word about Satchmo, or Shinbone, or whatever it was. The Protestants are nice that way: they coddle their worshippers, set them up with plain, chubby, equally devout dates, and bring food around -- Protestant food, with lots of casseroles and marshmallow things -- when they're sick. They make you feel important, in a pitiful sort of way. The Catholics had a simpler attitude: "You owe the Church everything; the Church owes you nothing." And they wonder what went wrong!

One thing that went wrong for the Catholics is very clear from Dutch's tract: the militant Evangelicals stole the best bits from the Catholic agenda. Tops on the list is abortion. Thirty years ago, abortion was a Catholic obsession. The Protestants didn't give a damn about it, and associated it with Rome's mad drive to swamp the Anglo-Saxon lands in a tide of brown babies. But the Evangelicals grabbed the issue somewhere along the line. Dutch can't shut up about it. It's perfect: a guaranteed source of sin, at which he and his fellow pastors can rail forever, licking their chops as they get the calculators out to tote up the ever-rising total of dead babies which can be laid against the sinners' tab: "We have now killed over 40 million babies in what was supposed to be their safe haven of nourishment...."

What hits you when you read these denunciations is that Dutch's churchgoing people loathe America, if only so that they can redeem and love it once more. It's the whore they can't resist, and that bipolar orientation makes for them an endlessly exciting ride. It's like marrying a cocktail waitress: at least you won't be bored.

But no other American sins are invoked in these lists. None of the horrors perpetrated in SE Asia, Latin America, or for that matter Chicago, show up on the lists. America must be denounced and despised for her sins, but only from the inside; America, when juxtaposed to any other country on earth, is right, period. All America needs is a president who stands with "the Church."

And that, finally, turned out to be what this odd little tract was about: the election of George W. Bush. Little anti-Clinton jibes pop up from the start: "And speaking of partying, our former president did a lot of it." It infuriates Dutch that no divinely directed lightning bolt slithered under the presidential desk to zap the presidential dick, as it tickled the Mon's uvula. "God is capable of dealing with... wicked, ungodly politicians," Dutch says. "When he doesn't, we need to ask why."

Well, not to give away the plot, but it turns out God inflicted Clinton upon us because there was a curse on the nation. Something about those McDonald's-like abortion figures: "Over 40 million fetuses hosed!" Or was Clinton the cause, rather than the effect, of the curse? It's not always easy to follow the logic of these people, but at any rate: there was a curse, OK? And there was only one magical cure: electing George W. Bush. You'd think Dutch would be sly about this -- I thought American preachers were supposed to be a little bit coy about political endorsements. But nope, it's right out there. When "God shared his passion for America with [Dutch]" in October 2000 -- just before the election -- he, or rather He, told Dutch to start a "prayer alert for the upcoming election." I'll let Dutch himself tell it from there:

"This alert ultimately went to millions of people, resulting in a great mobilization of prayer for God's person to be placed in office.... And then, even when the election was finished, the identity of the next president had not yet been determined. The high level of spiritual warfare was very apparent... we desperately needed a president through whom God could work."


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dolan@exile.ru
 
 
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