An Online Magazine in the Reality-Based Community.

"These People Are Nuts"

Friday, October 13, 2006

Did anyone out there catch "Scarborough Country" last night? I usually don't tune into former Representative Joe "What Dead Intern?" Scarborough's show, but it was right after KeithO's show and they teased me in with a piece on Stephen Colbert.

Anyway, Lawrence O'Donnell was on a three-headed panel along with Republican Strategist Terry Holt discussing the Mark Foley imbroglio. As an "A Positive Christian Atheist", I was stunned and giddy with glee to hear O'Donnell call the fundamentalists what they are: "nuts".
LAWRENCE O‘DONNELL, POLITICAL ANALYST: I don‘t think they‘re going to land very strongly on President Bush. He‘s going to be able to take to his pulpit as preacher in chief [Ooh, I like that one!] and sound very convincing, which I think he actually is, to evangelicals. I think the good news here is that people working in the White House think that Pat Robertson is nuts. They should. Pat Robertson is nuts.

It would be much worse if they paid lip service to these people publicly and privately actually believed what people like Pat Robertson believe. I mean, these are people—these are millions of people in these movements who believe that every Jew is going to burn in hell forever because they have not accepted Jesus Christ as their personal savior.

...Look, listen, Joe, you know that each side believes that they have interest groups coming at them who are nuts. There are Democrats who are fairly liberal who believe that there are environmental extremists who lobby them, and they pay lip service to them and they nod during the meetings, and when those people leave, they‘re talked about as nuts. Same thing with these people in the White House. The good news is the White House thinks they‘re nuts. That‘s good news.

TERRY HOLT, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, I‘m continually stunned by the comments of the last commenter. In fact, this is one of the most conservative countries in the world and it‘s highly religious. [Unfortunately true] So to pick on religious people I think is a loser....

O‘DONNELL: Exactly. Listen, everybody in the Democratic Party thinks Al Sharpton‘s a nut, OK? He‘s a nut. That‘s the way he‘s talked about behind his back when he leaves the room. They don‘t like dealing with him. He represents a crazy end of the party, and that‘s the way he‘s talked about. Now, when they‘re in Al Sharpton‘s presence and they‘re on a stage with him, they shake his hand and they put their arms around him, but they think he‘s a nut. And that‘s the good news because he is. He‘s a convicted felon. He‘s nuts.

I mean, this is really good news, that the adults in the White House think that Pat Robertson and these Christian fundamentalists who are demanding so much from them are nuts. ....
Now this goes back and forth for a while. The third head got some back and forth with Joe "I Served With Foley, I Knew Him Well, But I'm Totally Shocked" Scarborough. Then O'Donnell sets his sights on Holt and demands an answer to a question Holt is wayyyy too politically savvy to answer honestly:
O‘DONNELL: Is there anyone on this panel who believes that every Jew on earth is going to burn in hell forever if they do not accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior? Do any of us believe that?

HOLT: But you‘re attacking Christians. You don‘t have a reason to attack Christians!
O‘DONNELL: Do you believe that? Do you believe that? Because if you do, you‘re a nut!

HOLT: And you‘ve used the word “nut” probably a hundred times in the last seven-and-a-half minutes, and I don‘t know why.

SCARBOROUGH: And I will just say that I go to church with people that believe that you need to be a Christian and you need to have faith in Jesus Christ to enter the kingdom of heaven. It‘s in the Bible. Maybe that‘s a radical philosophy for you, Lawrence, but I certainly...

O‘DONNELL: No, I think it‘s insane, Joe. I don‘t think it‘s radical. I think to say that most of the people on the face of the earth will burn in hell forever is insane.
Ah, it does my skeptical secular humanist atheist heart good to hear someone on national TV call fundamentalist Christianity "nuts". Of course, I figured that out at age eight when I questioned the logistics of Noah's Ark, the ability of Jonah to live in a whale, the alchemy required to turn Lot's wife into salt, and, as O'Donnell notes, the idiocy of believing that the many-billions of people who have ever lived on Earth throughout history face an eternity of torment and hellfire just because they were unlucky enough to, for example, be born a Chinese slave building the Great Wall or an Clatsop Indian warrior fishing for salmon in pre-Columbian America, and thereby unable to know that a middle-aged Jew was tortured to death two-thousand years ago so George W. Bush (and others) can go to Heaven just by saying "I believe".