“DO SOMETHING” . . . Dayton, Ohio, August 4, 2019*
Evangelical Mike (VP) Suggests Spending More Time On Your Knees
Untitled, Oil on Canvas, 18” x 28”, Richard J Van Wagoner, Courtesy of Van Wagoner Family Trust**
For many survivors, prayer serves as genuine palliative in the aftermath of mass murder. Many political figures publicly invoke prayer (often coupled with thoughts, sometimes hugs) as the palliative in the immediate aftermath of mass murder, including Trump-inspired domestic terrorism, committed with legally-acquired assault rifles and high capacity magazines. Doing so they demean prayer, shift accountability and dishonor the victims by assuring they died in vain.
Politicizing religion and prayer (in response to criticism of his wife’s decision to teach at an anti-LGBTQ Christian school), Evangelical Mike (VP) thinks you should spend more time on your knees. I wonder whether his prayer, in response to Trump-inspired mass murder by Christian Identity white supremacists, would seek divine guidance and an open mind on the obvious ways to reduce gun violence, race-based hate crimes and mass murder, or simply reinforce his politics. I’m guessing the latter.
So, let us pray:
“Dear All Knowing All Powerful God: During these difficult political times we beseech Thee to continue showering America with the blessings of heaven by assuring Donald J. Trump is reelected President of the United States so America, through his unparalleled leadership, will continue along the path of becoming great again. We pray that through Your divine intervention the GOP will maintain control of the Senate and retake the House so the President’s vast array of divinely-inspired policies to make America great again, including construction of an impenetrable wall along the southern border, can take root and blossom, and so the evil plans and devices of the socialists can never come to fruition.
“Dear God, we know the Constitution, through Your inspiration, assures citizens the God given right to own and possess all manner of firearms and destructive devices for self-protection, sport and to prevent the government from taking them away. If the Democrats keep the House, take the Senate and the White House and the filibuster is eliminated, these socialists, through dark design inspired by the adversary, will pass all manner of laws to require background checks and ban assault rifles, silencers and high capacity magazines. They may even try to require licenses for gun ownership. The slope is steep and slippery.
“We recognize, Dear God, the increase in gun violence in America is the direct result of sin and unworthiness. We know the answers lie in reintroducing prayer in public schools, displaying the Ten Commandments in all government buildings, eliminating the heresy of evolution from public school curricula, terminating the scourge of abortion, and making America’s youth afraid of Jesus. We entreat You, Dear God, to soften the minds and hearts of people who refuse to recognize America as the great Christian nation that it is. Until these solutions are more fully embedded in our national psyche and we become more godly and God fearing, we implore Thee to remove free will from these godless people who would commit gun violence, including mass murder, unless in defense of self or others. And please comfort the survivors so they will think their loved ones did not parish in vain. Amen.”
Some people believe if they pray hard enough god will remove white supremacists’ free will [as opposed to the weapons] to commit mass murder. Is god not hearing or answering their prayers? Are people not praying hard enough? Or, would the number of mass murders be even higher in the United States but for god’s intervention? Too bad for the victims of the killers god chooses not to stop.
Will the prayers of these morally vacuous cowards, who for power, money and fear, take none of the obvious measures to reign in the epidemic of gun violence, suffice for the victims who lose . . . everything?
God must be so confused by all the prayers asking for different, often inconsistent and conflicting things. Thankfully there are people who bring these issues to god’s attention. But what is a god to do?
Publicly invoking prayer in this context is a placebo posing as meaningful action and with mind-numbing effect, as intended.
Blaming Everything, Anything, Mental Health, Video Games, A Sinful Nation. Except The Obvious.
If you pay much attention to the Bible belting preachers, money ministries and right wing huck[abee]ster pundits, you now know the exponential rise in mass shootings over the last three years and the several-fold surge in hate-crimes in the counties where Individual-1 held campaign rallies are the direct result of . . . sin and the absence of religion — not just any religion — in government and public discourse. The sins include:
• [but not adultery, coveting thy neighbor’s wife, grabbin pussy and other forms of sexual assault including rape and child rape, bearing false witness, fraud and other financial crimes, campaign finance violations by paying to silence a porn actress and Playboy model]
• removal of prayer — not just any prayer — from public schools
• separation of church — not just any church — from state
• gay marriage
• interracial marriage
• teaching evolution in public schools
• efforts to require insurance coverage for birth control and
• attempts to force bakers to make wedding cakes for gay couples.
This also explains the increase in number and severity of hurricanes and the recent outbreak of measles.
Apparently, if these sins are removed, mass murders in the United States will cease.
The bright straight line between Individual-1’s hateful, racist rhetoric and policies and the dramatic increase in mass murders and hate crimes seems pretty clear. No one even has to rely on faith. I am having some difficulty, however, seeing any connection between the referenced evils and the sharp upsurge in crimes of violence against minority populations, including mass murders by white supremacists whose Christian Identity and screeds parrot the words and policies of Individual-1.
Maybe god’s just pissed off. Maybe these mass murderers and hate-crime mongers are simply carrying out god’s will, doing god’s bidding, to punish us. Are all of those mass murder victims and targets of hate crimes so evil, so vile and sinful, that god decided to take out his wrath on them? To send a warning to the rest of us? Or are they just collateral damage, disposable in god’s eyes, for the demise of religion — and not just any religion — in government? And why is god picking on America when there are plenty of other countries more godless and at least as “sinful” if not more so, when it comes to the identified evils?
The combination of fear of losing power, arrogance and stupidity is mind numbing.
*My brother the very talented fiction writer and novelist, Robert Hodgson Van Wagoner, deserves considerable credit for offering both substantive and technical suggestions to https://medium.com/@richardvanwagoner and https://lastamendment.com
**Richard’s list of honors, awards and professional associations is extensive. He was Professor Emeritus (Painting and Drawing), Weber State University, having served three Appointments as Chair of the Department of Visual Arts there. He guest-lectured and instructed at many universities and juried numerous shows and exhibitions. He was invited to submit his work as part of many shows and exhibitions, and his work was exhibited in a number of traveling shows domestically and internationally. My daughter Angela Moore, a professional photographer, photographed more than 500 pieces of my father’s work. On behalf of the Van Wagoner Family Trust, she is in the process of compiling a collection of his art work. The photographs of my father’s art reproduced in https://medium.com/@richardvanwagoner and https://lastamendment.com are hers