thc’ ever learn to read and think.rnIam telling Christians something that man of them know alread’rnsomewhere in their hearts, that American culture hasrnreplaced Christ and St. Nicholas with the cargo cult of SantarnClaus who drops relief packages down chimneys and has reducedrnweddings to the level of Las Vegas productions —partrnhigh-school prom and part Dating Game episode —completernwith therne decorations, smutty anecdotes, and program lishngsrnthat tell }ou who the contestants are.rnSome Christians seem to realize that Marxism and feminism,rnenvironmentalism and Scientology’ hae functioned asrnsiuTogatcs for the religion that has heen displaced by consumerism,rnbut no one seems to have noticed the proliferation ofrnanti-Christian sects that are sucking in disgruntled Americans,rnleft and right.rnConsider the growing cult of UFOs and extraterrestrials,rnmade popular by anti-Christian films like Steven Spielberg’srnETand Encounters and by anti-Christian pscudoscienhstsrnlike Carl Sagan. Sagan regarded Chrishanity as an absurd supershhon.rnCod and his angels cannot exist, said the great scientistrnwhose contributions to astronomy were nil, but somewherernout there is a race of beings infinitclv wise, infinitelyrngood, and infinitely long-lived — no, not “gods” but spacemen.rnIf it sounds like science, then it cannot be a religion, and Saganrngulled who knows how many people into contributing to hisrnproject for establishing communication with E’l’l (extraterrestrialrnintelligence).rnThe June issue of D/scoverv’ magazine reports on the schemernof Jean-Marc Philippe, a Paris “artist,” who is filling a satelliternwith letters from second millennium earthlings. The letters arernaddressed both to future generations of humans and to ETIs.rnAmong the messages reciting the usual school lessons on violencernand pollution, one young woman expressed her desire “tornkiss your intelligence with mine,” while another girl waxedrneven more mysfical: “O, extraterrestrial, I know you, it is yournwho are in the silence behveen the notes of m’ music.”rnThose who cannot reach for the stars or project into the fuhirernma’ content themselves with powerful creatures of the distantrnpast who bring joy into our boring world. I mean, of course,rndinosaurs. The Cliristian Beowulf died fighting a dragon, “thernenenn of mankind,” which joylessK’ hoarded the wealth thatrngladdened the hearts of Ccrmanic warriors. ‘I’oday, our chikrndren are taught to worship monsters of far less human interest.rnW’lieu I was young, my cousin made me memorize die namesrnand attributes of all the major dinosaurs. It was only much laterrnwhen, in a class on Creek scidpture, I had to learn the namesrnand attributes of gods and heroes (a club and lionskin meantrnHercules) that I realized my cousin had inducted me into arncult.rnDinosaurs are not kindly gods or even misehiexous elves;rnthe’ are more like I .ovecraft’s “Old Ones.” And the Rex of diisrnantediluvian pantheon was the most terrible of the terrorrnlizards. What a moral lesson is being taught by the publicrnschools and museuuis that devote billions of dollars to bringingrnback the Old Ones of the Jurassic age! Movies do a good job ofrnspreading the cult of anarchic violence to a public impatientrnwith scientific nomenclature. Again, Spielberg is the reliablernanti-Christian who made Jurassic Park into a cult movie.rnFilm and TV are a key to understanding popular religion.rnWhile Christian clergymen are portrayed as either con artfsts orrnbuffoons. Eastern holy men are wise beyond our poor Westernrnunderstanding; so are children and animals. Disney’s Tarzan isrnonly the Disne film to encourage animal worship.rnEdward Rothstein let the cat out of Mickey’s bag this summerrnwhen he pointed out in the New York Times (July 15) thatrnDisne’ heroes were almost always “outsiders” and minorit}’ figuresrnwho challenge the assumptions of mainstream culture.rnWhile older Disney films focused on opening up America tornoutsiders, the concept of an American mainstream has disaj>rnpeared in the age of Eisner, and along with it the distinctionsrnbetween Western and non-Western, human and subhuman.rnDisney is also frecjuentiy cited for blurring the distinction behveenrnstraight and gay, and one of the established religions ofrnthe new United States is the worship of AIDS. Hindus in Indiarnhave already set up a temple to the AIDS goddess, and Americanrnfilmmakers are not far behind, celebrating the AIDS patientrnas a suffering serant tonclied b’ a power beond humanrnunderstanding. People with cancer simpK’ die a painful and oftenrndisgusting death. Death from AIDS is a marbiidom experiencedrnb’ diose courageous few who have broken tiirough thernbarriers of nature and sanity. In Hollywood, the AIDS patient isrnOscar Wilde and Charley Parker and William Burroughs allrnrolled into one self-destroying hipster who is not, in fact, manrnenough to take life .straight, without needles or necrophilia.rnThe right-wing response to Disney and Spielberg is either torncelebrate their business acimien (hoping wistfnlK’ that theyrnwould act more responsibly) or to blame the Jews who controlrnHollywood. Man’ ears ago, I was told that if I wished to writernfor conservatives, I would have to push one of two buttons:rngreed or bigotry. I disagreed, confident tiiat diere was a seriousrntradition of conserxative thought that had appeal for hundredsrnof diousands of educated Americans. Perhaps I was naive.rnOn the point of spilling over into the next millennium, thernAmerican right has split into two channels, die one calling forrntax breaks for the wealthy, world markets, and world government;rnthe odier, ringing die changes on white identih’, Jew-baiting,rnand apartheid. Back in the early Reagan years, a racialist ofrnmy acquaintance used to bore Hie guests at Washington cocktailrnparties with his usual obsession. On one occasion, someonerntried to bring the conxersation to a close, asking: “So for ‘ou, itrncomes down to Cod, eountn.’, and race —is that about it? “rn”Blank tiie Lord,” came Hie racialist’s answer. “Race is thernwhole ball of wax.”rnIn his own wa’, tiie scienfific racist was right: man cannotrnbe a patriot, much less a Chrfstian, if he sees die whole world reflectedrnin die fun-house mirror of racial theory. The racialist’srnproblem is not tiiat he acknowledges racial differences. It isrnscarcely a crime to argue that the sun rises in the East or that thernNordic nations of Europe were incapable of inventing a humanerncivilization, which in any case they gave up at die samernfime as fiiey were giving up Christianit’. Race ma partiv explainrnthe barbarism of Scandinavia (as compared with, say,rnCrceee and Sieih ), but for the racialist, hovvcvcr moderate andrnsensible he ma) be in the beginning, race alwavs becomes “thernwJiole ball of wax,” and he will ride to Hie uioou and back on hisrnlittle hobb horse, oul) to stumble and fiill as soon as he dismountsrnon the level ground of everyday life.rnRacialists may speak tiie language of nationalism, but, for thernmost part, they hate tiiis mongrel nation. It is not simply thatrnthey wish to preserve the historic America, as Jean Raspail wantsrnto preserve France, and extend the same courtesy to Mexicans,rnCambodians, and Muslims from the Middle East. No, withoutrnknowing any more of Mexico than can be gleaned from thernDECEMBER 1499/1 1rnrnrn