Lunacy: Our State Religion

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Americans, apparently, have nothing else to think about but the Moon Walk and the Madonna concert that have occupied so much of the front pages of newspapers—or what is left of them—and news websites.  Of Madonna and the victim of her collapsing stage, all I can say is that the the photographs of the ungracefully aging exotic dancer should be enough to kill anyone who likes women.

Of the Moon Walk, I well remember that warm July day in 1969.  I was back in Charleston, after spending time in graduate school, and I was revolted by the hype.  Astronauts are undoubtedly brave men and occasionally quite resourceful, but in riding a bullet into space they can hardly be compared to the thousands and thousands of brave men and women who   explored and settled the American frontier.  Though we had not yet learned to chant, “U-S-A!  U-S-A!, we were already, back in ‘69, a nation of chest-pounding braggarts who could not distinguish between real soldiers, cowboys, and physicians and the people who play them on TV.

I was even more disgusted by the religious zeal with which Americans celebrated the technological conquest of space.  Who knows, I heard even back then, we might someday discover life on Mars or Venus.  Well, what if we did?  I did not understand, back then, that the subtext of so much science fiction and the glamorization of space lay in the challenge that undereducated atheists thought it presented to Christianity.  If there is life on Mars, this disproves Genesis, disproves the Christian notion that man is at the center of Creation, debunks the fable that God became man and died for our sins.

There is, of course, a theological opinion that holds that extraterrestrial life is impossible, but I have never much believed in it.  Frankly, the Being who created everything out of nothing can pretty much do anything He wants to, and it is not up to me or to hundreds of brilliant theologians to exclude the possibility.  In any case, it is a serious mistake for Christians to pin their hopes—much less their faith—on somebody’s scientific theory of generations past.  Young Earthians and Flat Earthians alike make this mistake, treating the Old Testament as a science textbook and reducing the miracle of Creation to a numbers game.

I frankly don’t much care what they find in “Outer Space,” whether it is fungus, “The Thing,” or the insufferable liberal Klaatu, come to save us from our violence.  (They should have plugged him the moment he started his sermon!)  What I do know is that I resent NASA’s violation of the most sacred principle inserted into the Constitution by lying liberals, the non-existent “Separation of Church and State.”  Christians are forced to pay their tithe to a program, one of whose fundamental purposes is the destruction of our religion.  Next, they’ll be forcing me to pay taxes to subsidize sex education in the anti-Christian government schools.  (Please, oh youth of America, do not write in to reveal to me that this is already happening.)

Of course, neither the brave astronauts nor the people in mission control had any such agenda in mind.  Indeed, though it was not known at the time, Buzz Aldrin took communion on the moon—the first human  food consumed on another world—by eating bread and drinking wine his Presbyterian pastor had blessed.  Aware of a Madalyn Murray O’Hair suit against NASA—the Apollo 8 team had read from Genesis–he kept quiet about the celebration. It would have been a beautiful moment for a Christian nation, but we were already being held hostage by the enemies of Christendom.  In the America we live in today, a supposedly Catholic university had to cover up all Christian images to avoid offending the Obama.

In July of 1969 I had already more or less realized in what direction the country was being taken by its leaders.   What should I have done?  Gone to Cape Kennedy—as I believe we called it then—to protest?  Refuse to pay, a la Joan Baez, the portion of my taxes that goes to NASA?  Run for Dog Catcher on the slogan, “Keep your damned hands off the moon!”?

What I did, in fact, was to organize a beach party at Sullivan’s Island.  We ate and drank and recited poems—one of them written by me—that memorialized the beauty of the moon. “Regarde la lune…”  ”This lunar beauty has no history…”   “With how sad steps, oh moon, thou climb’st the skies!/ How silently and with how wan a face….”

A stupid, futile gesture?  Of course it was.  It was meant to be.  But we had a wonderful time, and some of my friends were listening to Philip Sidney and W.H. Auden for the first time in their lives.  Most important of all, several pretty girls were impressed.  To quote another poet, “Obla dee, obla da, life goes on.”

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