Thursday, September 11, 2008


The thing that really chills me about the speech Sarah Palin gave at that speaking in tongues church, the Wasilla Assembly of God, is the peculiarly glib attitude she has about religion and spirituality. I don't know of any evidence that her faith is insincere or shallow, but what do you make of someone who hits the stage and says, "It was so cool growin' up in this church and gettin' saved here"?

Gettin' saved? That was cool? I'm irreligious, but I've always dutifully given big, mainstream religious experiences plenty of respect - the benefit of the doubt, perhaps, but ultimately more than that: Religion being such a contentious and fraught topic in our country, indeed in our world, I think it's fair to enter any debate about it with the assumption that the faithful actually have profound experiences that they ascribe to God. Others may disagree as to the source of that experience - rationalists would trace it no further than the firing of synapses in the brain - but it seems churlish to deny that the pious are subjectively feeling something powerful, mysterious, ineffable; something sublime. But gettin' saved? What the fuck is that?

Aw shucks. 'Member when we were growin' up, goin' to school, skinny dippin' in the pond, gettin' saved? 'Member that? It was so cool when we'd pile in the pickup truck and head to Taco Bell, eat chalupas in the parking lot. Have unprotected sex. Get saved.

Was it cool gettin' saved, Sarah? Was it really? Why? What does it mean to be saved? You think your barren land's a refuge for the holy as they await the rapture. Finally, the parsing of good and damned. That's cool too, right?

Things to do today:

Snow machine to garage
Buy Thinsulate gloves
Willow to OB-GYN
Get kids saved

Where did this banal, cherry Jell-O spirituality come from? Why is this nauseating tendency, this maddening mix of hypocrisy, arrogance (our will is God's will), smug self-regard and intolerance, all framed in supreme, bourgeois shallowness, particularly American?