Sunday, July 14, 2024

Evil

I recently went to hear the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra play a Mozart Clarinet Concerto. The soloist was a young Chinese fellow. The beauty of it made me cry. It was a much needed reminder in these dark times that there is much in life to bring joy. Baltimore gets a lot of bad press, particularly from our Sinclair-owned television station. Sinclair has bought the Baltimore Sun. That once great paper has been a shadow of its former self, but now it will be one more right-wing shill for those who think news is what you want it to be.

So much “information,” or what is purported to be information, is so profoundly distorted that we live in an age where billionaires buy up multiple sources and use them to disseminate their personal views and call it “news.” The sorry news is that somewhere in the last half century we have devolved into a profound ignorance. Opinion is not truth. Even in the best sources, the old who, what, when, etc., is often lost in the dark and stormy musing of whomever is writing and reporting.

The same dilemma has been destroying the religious institutions. Instead of preaching faith and morals, pastors are running political action committees. Astounding rhetoric makes the Sermon on the Mount seem “woke,” and actual teachings of the Gospels are an affront to congregations steeped in right-wing political disinformation and QAnon madness.

This election season, or at least a verisimilitude of a primary season, has seen character assassination at an almost incomprehensible level, and Republican politicians spew nonsense claiming that any effort to bring Trump to account for the myriad charges against him is merely politically motivated. These folks, whose job it is to govern, insist that he is the poor, innocent victim of liberal persecution. Even if a jury, or several juries, find him guilty of miscreant actions, they insist they will support him.

The man or man-child Don is profoundly crude, cruel, and a liar. Everyone who comes into his orbit is corrupted. Folks who escape look back with shame for their part—those who stay become even worse. “Religious” rallies engage such luminaries as the My Pillow guy or the disgraced general Flynn to vilify the current president or anyone who challenges the “chosen one of god.” Trump corrupts anyone in his inner circle. That kind of influence is a manifestation of evil. The man isn’t just awful; he is evil.

Now, I do recognize that talking about evil is unsophisticated. Scott Peck talks about the mundanity of evil. I recommend reading his “The People of the Lie.” Refusal to accept that there is a level beyond just plain badness that becomes actual evil or avoiding discussion of their faith at all has left the field open to those who present their distorted view of whatever scripture they claim to follow. The Sunni Muslim gangs like ISIS or Boko Haram interpret the Koran to justify actions contrary to its teaching and, like many purveyors of the Gospels, condemn any and all who challenge their vision. Modi has allowed or perhaps encouraged Hindu mobs to assault Muslims and destroy their Mosques. Buddhists are murdering Rohingya. The bottom line is we are in a time of such astounding heresy.

Here in America, the current antichrist, aided by a cohort of foul, cowardly toadies, has become the center and fulcrum of an increasing movement based on corrupted teaching. Elmer Gantry could never compete with these hellish minions.

It is past time for the creepily cowardly folks whose fear of Trump’s words and the retribution they might face to stand up, find some backbone, and name the man for what he is.

 

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M.A. Callahan
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