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This is the blog of Ian Rosales Casocot. Filipino writer. Sometime academic. Former backpacker. Twink bait. Hamster lover.

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Sunday, July 06, 2008

entry arrow8:04 AM | The So-Called Church of Oprah

It's a Sunday morning. Perfect for this rant...

I've seen the notorious YouTube video which began circulating around since Oprah Winfrey backed Barack Obama for the U.S. presidency.* And this morning, I just got another online invitation to view the whole thing all over again -- and what can I say.... This time, it threw for a loop, because the sender is one of my most favoritest persons in the whole wide world. (He still is.) But I'm very skeptical about the whole "controversy." It's so easy to make videos like this, edited to make a particular slant. Hell, anybody can take several footages of Mother Teresa and edit them to make it look like she's the biggest ho in Calcutta. I mean, come on, haven't you ever seen that mock trailer of Stanley Kubrick's classic horror movie The Shining made to look like it was a touching father-and-son bonding story or as a romantic comedy? That one is available in YouTube, too.

And I know very well the panic-inducing tendency behind this effort since I grew up with a very typically Christian fundamentalist environment. I was a devoted Sunday School kid and teenager with such loyalty to Calvary Chapel, back when it had great and compassionate pastors. When I was a kid, I used to write Jack T. Chick Publications for free copies of their comics and tracts (especially The Crusaders series -- I had the whole set), all of which tried to make all of the world -- Africa, the old U.S.S.R., India, evolution, Islam, Mormonism, the Catholic Church, Bible scholarship, rock music, the New Age movement, hitchhiking -- into grotesques masks of overpowering evil. And fundamentalists are often the most gullible people I know -- they swallow everything their pastors tell them. In one church meeting I attended, one guest pastor was shouting at the congregation with a conviction that all women should go back to the kitchen and the bedroom where they belong. I was so aghast at that message and wanted to walk out, but when I looked around, people were nodding and nodding. And in one recent luncheon with my own family, I found my blood boiling when I found most of them running their conversations (gossip was more like it) this way: "So-and-so is this. Is he Christian?" or "So-and-so just passed the Board. Is she Christian?" or "So you're friends with so-and-so. I hope they're Christian." That kitid-thinking drove me absolutely nuts. (In Church parlance, ni-backslide ko. I don't mind that ostracism, because I am still secure in my Christianity naman. You really don't need any gossip-swinging, judgment-bearing church to be Christian.)

But back to that Oprah video, which I won't even link here. It is so sad how earnestly "Christian" people try to bring other good people down, especially those who are trying to make something good out in the world. Look, I don't even like A New Earth, the Eckhart Tolle book she loves, but loving the book and being enthusiastic about it doesn't make Oprah a bad person with the intention of "making" an anti-God Church. The idea itself is so preposterous and absurd, I can't believe people actually believe in it. She is not the Anti-Christ. (Patrick Buchanan is, hahaha!)

*Do you smell a manufactured controversy to blindside fence-sitting conservatives for the election? I do.

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