Following the death of George McGovern, it seems that pretty much every media outlet has published a eulogy to the man. The Revealer’s favorite, published by The New Republic, paints McGovern as an individual concerned with decency and mutual respectfulness above all else. It includes this nugget:
“If only elections could be framed as referenda on decency. If only someone shooting straight from the hip could call Americans to their better selves. If only … then the world would change. This, more than any alleged policy extremism, was the soul of McGovernism. But Americans were not prepared to be called back to decency like that.”
While the election has been one great big mess of far from “decent,” larger questions remain: Who’s to blame for our political and cultural indecency? Are Americans making steps toward being more decent to one other? Are we “prepared to be called back to decency?” Are there any “decent men in an indecent time?” (Yes that’s our token Batman reference, for those of you not so excited by politicians from the ’60’s).
The NYPD could not be called decent, at least by those already disenfranchised (and we don’t mean you, poor maligned banksters). Brooklyn’s Aliya (Alternative Learning Institute for Young Adults) has started a petition urging the District Attorney to drop felony assault charges that an assaulting police officer filed against Ehud Halevy (I hit you, I charge you). Aliya had given Ehud, currently homeless, permission to stay in their Center the night of October 8th when police took it upon themselves to remove Ehud from the premises. What happened next was caught on security tape (warning: it’s pretty violent).
The Catholic Church has got its own decency issues (count the ways). No, I’m not talking about finally canonizing a Native American. Long, long overdue but at least they’ve finally made amends. I am, however, referring to that lovely headdress worn during the ceremony (seriously, check out the picture in the link). I kind of figured crappy Halloween stores would be banned in Vatican City. Or at least that dated and cliched stereotypes of minorities were off limits (seeing they’re really all the Church has left.) What with the myriad of American Indians who had travelled to the ordination, they could only find a white woman to participate!
The Mennonites are up for a little indecent action, too. Call it intolerance or recognition of same-sex relationships apparently the less orthodox Anabaptists are having their own divisive moment.
The American Atheists are similarly throwing their hat(e) into the indecent society ring, following Mitt Romney’s campaign with a mobile billboard that says, among other things, “Shame on Mormonism.” Indeed. Needless to say, the Mormon Church feels, um, misrepresented.
Why would atheists band together to fund such a billboard, you ask? Because, frankly, they’re tapping into a well-documented, deep-seated anti-Mormon sentiment in the American population. Terry Mattingly points to sources that suggest that 24% of Democrats would never vote for a Mormon, and 33% of Protestant Evangelicals are willing to express an “aversion” to Mormons. Indecency, it seems, is popularized. Of course we would be remiss to not mention that Mattingly is ever skillful at promoting his own malicious world view while smiling most broadly. When he says Get Religion, he often means his.
Often it’s the process of popularization that makes things indecent. For a look at how an as-yet-unpublished study by an as-yet-ungraduated PhD candidate at UCLA that has everything to do with “facial sex-typicality” was preemptively repackaged by online media as a study claiming that Republican women are better-looking than their Democratic counterparts, check out this post at Echidne of the Snakes. Is it nice to say that Republican women are prettier?
Southern California seems to be getting in on the indecent act. In Encinitas, a group of parents are protesting a series of bi-weekly yoga classes which the school district claims are not religious. It’s exercise! While participation in the classes seems to be optional, some parents are still worried about the classes’ ability to “indoctrinate youngsters in eastern religion.”
And that’s not all. The San Diego Union-Tribune is being made over by its new owners, , essentially repositioning itself to be a mouthpiece for conservative movements and ideologies. In a front-page editorial, the Tribune warned that reelecting Obama would result in “Arab terror states” attacking Israel, “death panels” rationing health care, and tax rates between 60 and 70% for most Californians. If you’ve been reading The Revealer over the years, though, you’re probably not the least bit surprised by this latest bit of indecent fear-mongering.
Nor is lack of objectivity in the press an isolated American issue. Check out the Jakarta Post‘s recent article “Shows of Faith,” on the preponderance of religiously-themed soap operas on the country’s major networks. The article closes with this gem:
“As Indonesia is predominantly Muslim, many Islamic soaps and TV films grab high ratings. However, there is room for improvement because while many of them claim to promote Islamic themes, they still feature un-Islamic values, from swearing to sensuality.Without these gratuitous elements, and armed instead with good storylines and quality acting, the Islamic soaps and films can educate people on good values and, eventually, become real remedies for the hearts.”
Perhaps the Jakarta Post‘s eagerness to both promulgate and define the appropriate Muslim agenda in entertainment media is a reaction to large numbers of conversions to Christianity going on in the country? (Not that religious or media paternalism needs an excuse.) One Mennonite congregation belonging to the Jemaat Kristen Indonesia synod claims that, while services they offer in Los Angeles only attract 50 to 70 parishioners, they have converted 80,000 Muslims since the mid-80’s. Their three megachurches draw upwards of 10,000 people each Sunday, as well. The success of the church is such that Java’s Gospel of the Kingdom Church is being considered as the host site for the Mennonite World Conference in 2021.
If Indonesia, the country with the largest Muslim population in the world, is struggling in the eyes of its own media members (or at least those employing the media members) to live up to its Islamic mandate, imagine what they’d think of Russia. Following the banning of headscarves in many public schools there, Russia’s Muslims are increasingly concerned by ties between the Russian Orthodox church (or at least the establishment of Russian Orthodoxy as the norm) and the Russian state. While Putin has made claims that Russia is a secular state, the fact remains that there are only 5 mosques in Moscow to serve a Muslim population of 2 million. (Read our fantastic posts on the Russian government and the Russian Orthodox Church by Irina Papkova.)
So, there you have it. There’s indecency everywhere. And with the multiple views reasonable people seem to be able to take up on any number of issues, it’s hard to know what anybody can do without opening themselves up to being labeled as indecent. But perhaps we’re being just being too morally or culturally relative for our own good.
Well, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. And has The Revealer got an option for you. We received word of this opportunity just moments ago, actually. In that other mysterious inbox labelled “Spam.” WELL WE HAVE HAD ENOUGH OF YOUR LABELS INTERNET/WORLD!
This may be indecent, but damn is it clever. The writer even funnels his messages through an English Yahoo! account to avoid government meddling. Once you fine readers have reaped the benefits of this one, be sure to include The Revealer in your will:
My name is Captain Paul Benson from, United States. I am an American
Citizen currently serving in Afghanistan. I formally served in Baghdad
Iraq in 2003. I’m 37yrs old the reason I contacted you is that, I want you
to help me receive a consignment Box that I deposited with a security
company in Baghdad Iraq; the consignment (Box) contains 10million dollars.
Please note that the security company does not know that the box contains
money. I listed it as containing family belongings Anyway i think i should
tell you how i came into possession of this money. In 2003, I was the one
commanding the US 3rd Infantry Division in Baghdad, Iraq.
On our raids of 23 and 26 April 2003 in Baghdad, we came across a huge
amount of money in containers. Please visit if your willingness to assist
me in receiving the consignment from the security company.
Let me know if you are interested then you send me a mail in my private ,
email address: firstname.lastname@example.org