I've often claimed that the reactionary right is incapable of creating clever satire due to the fact that one needs to have a proper conception of reality in order to satirize said reality. And yet there are also those times that, for the same inability to comprehend reality, right-wing organizations end up unintentionally satirizing themselves. Often, when I encounter these strange moments of [sad] hilarity, I become confused: are they truly being sincere - is this strange and whacky web page really what it claims to be or is it an offshoot of the Onion?
The evangelical website Objective Ministries is yet another example of right-wing earnestness that has turned back upon itself, transforming into unreflective satire. There is something oddly retro about Objective Ministries (that advertises itself with the circular motto: "turn to an objective for an objective Christian perspective), as if it belongs in the 1950s. I know that most evangelical Christian ideology is, in some ways, a product of those bygone days of family bliss that never existed, but this one actually sounds and looks like it belongs in that era. When you peruse its contents you cannot help but feel as if you've entered a parallel dimension where today's computers and the world wide web existed in 1950s America.
It is impossible to completely explain the utter hilarity that is Objective Ministries, but here are my favourites:
1. "Godly US Flag Proposal":
This newly designed flag, where the word GOD will stand above the stars and stripes, is intended to "educate the ignorant and keep our citizens focused on our cultural values without being led astray by hate-filled, anti-American and anti-Christian demagogues."
One nation under God in a very ham-handed, visible sense - just to stop people from forgetting.
But less the detractor think that the new flag will be culturally specific, the genius reformers of Objective Ministries demonstrate their tolerant multiculturalism: "Some of the more Liberal may argue that the word 'God' is disrespectful of our nation's Mussulmen who worship Allah. In fact, 'Allah' is just Arabic for 'God' and so there is no real conflict. Since we are an English-speaking nation, it is most appropriate to use God's English name, hence 'God'."
Leaving aside the fact that Mussulmen is an antiquated orientalist term only a little less archaic and offensive than Mohammedan, at least the bright minds at Objective Ministries aren't raving Islamophobes like their evangelical counterparts at VAST. Because Objective Ministries, being objective and all, understand that the real enemy of America is not the "mussulman" but the godless atheist. And the newly designed flag will help solve the problem of atheism, won't it?
2. Space Cross:
The folks at Objective Ministries believe that Jesus will be well-served by the construction of a giant cross that will be launched into orbit. Yes: a space cross. A space cross to bring about the Second Coming.
They have called this project Orbital Cross Alpha and, because I really can't do justice to this brilliant idea in my own words, will let Objective Ministries speak for themselves:
"I propose launching into polar orbit a cross of significant dimensions, with a sun-reflecting surface that will be easily visible in the night sky to the naked eyes of unbelievers. This space-age testimonial will fly over Communist China, Mussulmanned Saudi Arabia, Hindooed India, Godless France, and all other nations in need of the simple yet profound message of Christ's sacrifice and His offer of Salvation. All the people of the world will see it shine, like a beacon of hope on the runway of the aircraft carrier of the night sky, an omnipresent reminder of the Lordship of Jesus over our world."
(Mussulmen and hindoos... As I mentioned before, this page belongs in the fifties.)
Of course, Orbital Cross Alpha cannot exist without a Christianized NASA... A space brigade of evangelicals, cooperating with evangelical soldiers fighting the War on Terror, to bring "peace" to the supposed violence committed by "secularists" and "Islamofascists" - wait a minute, weren't our friends the Mussulmen supposed to be well represented by the flag? Apparently the odd moment of multicultural tolerance no longer matters:
"The goal of an orbital cross is attainable; we have the technology, the vision, and the faith to do it. [...] I will not lie to you and say it will be easy or cheap, but the one thing that it will be is necessary. Islam is the fastest growing religion on the planet, followed only by the nihilism of Secularism. The Satanic forces of anti-Christianism are mustering on the horizon, planning their siege of this stronghold of Faith, America. Of course, we cannot lose this war, for God is on our side and has foretold our victory, but that is no excuse for laziness. This is the End Times, people! It will happen only once. This is what we will be talking about for the rest of eternity, so lets not embarrass ourselves with a slapdash effort. We must make our stand in this epic battle for the souls of Mankind and we must make our stand one that will shock and awe our enemy. [...] Orbital Cross Alpha will be both shocking and awesome."Like the Six Million Dollar Man "we have the technology, we can build it!" Most importantly, however, the space cross is NECESSARY! Truthfully, I'm sort of into the idea space cross: if the American Military sinks more funds into building a giant orbital cross as opposed to weaponized satellites - believing that a massive orbiting icon will give them real military power - I'm kind of all for it...
3. Game Theory Shenanigans:
Objective Ministries would not be worthy of the name "objective" if did not possess some sort of scientific justification. Just how can it justify its "scientific" appeal to space crosses and godly flags? With the "science of game theory"! Citing Pascal's Wager as an example of a "scientific" argument for God (because gambling is apparently oh-so-scientific), Objective Ministries is planted on the firm foundations of game theory. I like Blaise Pascal and I think that Alain Badiou has done a good job of explaining why Pascal, wager and all, is important to take seriously. But I'm not entirely convinced that he was trying to run a game theory racket with his wager - it sort of defeats the whole purpose of his fideism.
In any case, the science of game theory is, for the folks at Objective Ministries, irrefutable. Examine the following game matrix:
Now this is pretty interesting: gambling on the Golden Rule clearly makes more sense than the "Satanist Credo". I can almost get behind this: I would go further and say that you could substitute "golden rule" for "communist ethic" and "do what thou wilt" with "capitalist individualism" and the essence would remain the same. The only problem, however, is that Objective Ministries' resident game theorist would not like this logical substitution one bit:
"As you can see, the same science of Game Theory that I and my fellow Defense Department tacticians used to defeat the Godless Soviets during the Cold War can be used to defeat Godlessness here in our own land. It is up to us Christians to learn and deploy this powerful weapon in our war against ignorance of the Lord."
Yes, I can clearly see that the Soviet Union fell because of game theory. Now convinced by this mighty science, I am utterly certain that it was game theory, and not other historically convincing factors, that led to the fall of "Godless Sovietism."
4. Cleansing the Internet:
According to Objective Ministries, the internet is essentially Christian and thus should not be used to spread secular values. Earlier, with all the hooplah surrounding the space cross, the bright minds behind Objective Ministries praised the values of "freedom" - and yet, once again, the typical right-wing meaninglessness of "freedom" affects most of their positions. Bizarrely theocratically, opposed to any sort of intellectual or social freedom, they really have no logical reason to use the word in the first place.
But I think they're just angry. If you scroll down on the page of this link you'll see a warning about how one of their pastors is being fraudulently represented on the internet. It is unclear to me, however, how a fraud Objective Minister can be crazier than any of the real ones. One of the fraudulent activities apparently has to do with emailing "bad poetry" - maybe that's the problem?
5. Cross-promotional Activities:
The "authentic" Christian businesses and organizations Objective Ministries supports are as odd as the ministry itself.
Rebuilding Noah's Ark, the War on Christmas, Homosexual Satan's desire to steal our children... These are only some of the "Christian" businesses that Objective Ministries supports.
(There was one that popped up earlier in my investigations, about converting the "Godless Beatnik" and getting a free Bible, but I couldn't get it to pop up again.)
6. The Perils of Militant Atheism and Secular Humanism:
Seriously, who uses the words "secular humanism" anymore except for the Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson types? But at Objective Ministries the perils of Militant Atheism and Secular Humanism (synonyms, really) are clear: they are the secret scourge at the heart of Godly American society. Apparently the Militant Atheist is evil because s/he is a creature of "violence" and enemy of "peace" - again, another bizarre contradiction coming from the site of the space cross where visitors are encouraged to wage war against everything un-Christian and un-American.
I think the problem with the Militant/Secular Atheist/Humanist is that hir notions of violence are not proper notions of violence. For instance:
Here is the example they give of Secular Humanism's "justice" - the justice of the French Revolution where the poor guillotined the absurdly rich. The folks at Objective Ministries don't like this because, in light of their War on Terror propaganda, they would prefer that the absurdly rich command the poor to bomb the poor.
They also have some weird notions about the Planet of the Apes, convinced that it is secret atheist propaganda, that has enabled the Militant Atheist to "infiltrate our foxhole." Here's where the bizarrely whacky becomes scary: further down the page they defend the theocratization of the military and even cite the Minutemen as an example of a "godly" paramilitary group. To hate atheism/humanism for its supposed violence and yet to condone violent hate groups (the current incarnation of the Minutemen patrols the border to Mexico and shoots at illegal immigrants) is, again, a frightening contradiction.
7. The Ideologue:
Remember how I keep noting that Objective Ministries is a site that could only exist if the 1950s possessed the world wide web and modern information technologies? Well chief Objective Ministries Game Theorist and former member of the U.S. Department of Defense, the cold warrior "Diamond" Jack Holgroth, proves my point.
I mean, look at this guy! The picture looks like it belongs on the cover of some muscle-masculinist 1930s-1950s pulp novel. No wonder they love space crosses! This is the sort of man who would fly into space, punch the commies in the face, and ride the space cross through orbit singing hymns and firing his six shooters at the sun.
Chiselled and cock-sure, "Diamond" Jack Holgroth is like a cross between my grandfather and an aged Bill Bixbee of Incredible Hulk fame. A Game Theoretician and a Vexillologist you say? Well that explains the redesigned flag (vexillology is the study of flags - I confess I had to wiki the word)...
Apparently he single-handedly developed a solution to the "Fisherman's Quandary" which was "key" to winning the arms race. Really? Not, you know, developing more arms and taking over countries? I did not know that these abstract problems, and pseudo-mathematical games, were how cold warriors like "Diamond" Jack emerged victorious over Godless Sovietism. Those Soviets were just not very good at games, I guess.
According to the "scientists" of Objective Ministries, dinosaurs still exist... in Africa! Project Pterosaur is an Objective Ministries venture that will certainly locate pterosaurs and place them in a proposed "Pterosaur Rookery" in order to finally disprove godless evolutionary theory. They also believe that other dinosaurs remain, but that these dinosaurs are too large for their rookery: Aptosaurs are hiding in the Congo jungles, Plesiosaurs in the oceans, and Velociraptors "terrorize the goat herders of Puerto Rico and are rumoured to guard the remains of the Ark on Mt. Ararat."
They even have plans for an expedition, as this picture shows, where they will capture and/or document the existence of dinosaurs, thus proving that evolution is a hoax, and the world is still filled with monstrous creatures from a by-gone era.
Yet another reason why the folks at Objective Ministries belong in another era. It's like they still live in a world that has not been documented and investigated, and are under the [racist] supposition that the jungles of Africa and South America are still mysterious boroughs of the supernatural - the same sort of thinking that informed The Lost World or conquistador obsessions over secret cities of gold. Even the map looks like it belongs in an Indiana Jones movie.
This blog entry could go on forever: Objective Ministries is both frighteningly hilarious in its unintentional insanity. I have not even addressed the sheer amazingness of Objective Minister Fred "Skeet" Hoskins and his youth rock ministry "Zounds!" (According to the official Zounds! website "joyful praise rocks da house" with such classics as: "Who Let The Praise Out" and "Jesus Be Just A'ight".) Nor have I scratched the surface of Objective Minister Wendy Tuller and her Mall Mission ("secular consumerism" and "Santamas" beware!). But I am currently exhausted from my foray into Objective Memories.
So, until the Orbital Cross Alpha is completed, I exhort you to LOL. Meaning here, of course, "love our lord."