Long Take

Christian art? Art is art; painting is painting; music is music; a story is a story. If it’s bad art, it’s bad religion, no matter how pious the subject.

~Madeleine L’Engle

Why is it so difficult to find quality representations of faith in fiction? Most of the films I see tend to present characters as Christian, but not too Christian. If faith is relevant to the story at all, it tends to be very watered down. Finding an honest discussion about faith vs. rationality anywhere in the media is pretty difficult, although it does happen occasionally. (I am reminded of that wonderful moment on Lost where Jack says that having faith is taking the easy way out and Locke shoots back, “What makes you think it’s easy?”) This question is inspired in part by that stupid God’s Not Dead movie that seems to be doing quite well at the box office even though nobody whose opinion I respect has anything good to say about it. Let’s see, we’ve got Kevin Sorbo slumming it as a strawman caricature of vindictive atheism and the same persecution complex that has Fox News complaining every time somebody says “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas”. If this is what stands for mainstream Christianity these days, I’m so glad I’m not a part of it.

It seems that religious films are coming back in vogue. There’s that Son of God movie that is also doing quite well even though, let’s face it, it looks like a turd sandwich. Fiction, by nature, requires that the creator challenge the audience in some way. But there is nothing about these films that is even remotely challenging. They are produced, distributed by, and marketed to people who just want to be told what they already know. Even most of the Christians I know have no interest in seeing them, because the Christians I’m friends with, generally speaking, have more than two brain cells to rub together. It kind of drives home the idea (which I still don’t necessarily accept) that there are two different Americas. There is a sizable portion of the population that eats this shit up. And the only time I ever interact with them is when they’re trying to convert me.

I am going to make an unusual prediction and say that the GOP will retake the White House in 2016. I have suspected for a long time that this will be the case, and when I see how smug and complacent my fellow Democrats are about Hillary’s chances, I become even more certain. Hillary Clinton will not be President of the United States. She had a shot at the nomination back in 2008, but whether due to her own transparent bitterness or the general mood of the nation, we went with Barack, and I don’t regret it. I’m not saying she’s not qualified to be President; I’m just saying that a successful career in politics and an instinctive knowledge of how the game is played does not guarantee you the position. The Presidency is fickle that way; the job selects whomever is right in that moment, however unusual of a choice they may seem. Hillary is too obvious. If the Democrats want to win in 2016, we will have to pick someone a little more out of left field. But we won’t, and thus, we have handed the whole thing over to the Republicans.

That doesn’t have to be disastrous, by the way. There are no high-profile Republicans that I like, but there are a few with whom I occasionally agree. Chris Christie is unlikely to get the nomination after the whole bridge scandal, and Rand Paul, grandstanding douchebag though he is, does make good points sometimes. Neither one has any chance of getting my vote, but they don’t need it. Even in landslide victories like Barack Obama’s in 2008 and 2012, slightly less than half of the country went for the other guy. They think differently, those Republicans. But surely they can’t all be assholes?

Barack Obama’s life story is an interesting one. The man came from a background that, a few decades ago, would surely have prevented him from getting anywhere near the White House. Even today, I think it’s kind of amazing that he got elected even once, let alone twice, especially with such sweeping electoral college margins. When my fellow Democrats justify nominating Hillary with, “Who else are we going to get?”, I am struck that such complacency could affect the same people who elected a half-black dude from Hawaii whose middle name is Hussein. America, forgive the cliche, is the land of opportunity. And I like Hillary, but if she were President, she would lead as if it were her right all along. I hate to break it to you, Hill, but the presidency is no one’s right. Just ask Mitt Romney, if you can remember who he is.

Him? Is he rich or something?

Him? Is he rich or something?

I might like to vote for a Republican before I die, even if it’s just for dog catcher. That way, I can say that I don’t always toe the party line. This country has a two-party system, and what has kept both parties afloat for so long is their adaptability. The GOP will adapt to the changing times. It will be long and painful, but look closely and you can see that it is happening already. Every so often, I find myself nodding at a Republican and saying, “Good point.” Until the Syria debate, it had been almost a decade since the last time that happened. Ultimately, what I’ve had to accept in that time is that I do not control the swinging of the pendulum. I can feel it moving, but I don’t know how to stop it. Perhaps that is for the greater good. But I’m still voting for Hillary.

“This girl does anal, that’s for sure. You can tell just by looking at her.” —Best YouTube comment ever


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