Saturday, April 3, 2010

An Obaminable Easter Message

A*bom`i*na"tion, n. [OE.
abominacioun, -cion, F. abominatio. See
Abominate.] 1. The feeling of extreme disgust
and hatred; abhorrence; detestation; loathing; as, he holds tobacco in

2. That which is abominable; anything hateful,
wicked, or shamefully vile
; an object or state that excites disgust and
hatred; a hateful or shameful vice; pollution.

Antony, most large in his abominations.


3. A cause of pollution or wickedness.

Syn. -- Detestation; loathing; abhorrence; disgust; aversion;
loathsomeness; odiousness. Sir W. Scott.

From the 1913 Webster Unabridged Dictionary -- copied from

The word abomination is overused in Christian circles, but I think it aptly describes the interweaving of Passover/Easter with self-congratulation in President Obama's April 3 weekly address. The President's slide from exaltation to banality begins as he praises the "peace of mind" that comes from working for a paycheck and touts his administration's reversal of the "devastating slide" of the economic crisis of the last eighteen months.

Thou Art Covered

"Our health is the rock upon which our lives are built." No, this is not a modern translation of Jesus' words in response to Peter's Confession: "You are the messiah, the son of God." It is President Obama's trite and inartful attempt to cast health care reform, for which I am grateful, as the Central Saving Act of his Presidency. Christians and Jews; Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims; atheists and believers alike should be equally disgusted by this crass blending of ecclesiastical and civil religion. Even the Clintons acknowledged, in answer to Harry and Louise, that "we're all going to die." No health care system can change that fact and I, for one, hope I shall be remembered for more than my reasonable copays and eyecare coverage.

Ecclesiastical religion has its pitfalls: it provides cover for unspeakable crimes by trusted shepherds; it entices the faithful into a fantasy world and away from the liberating discoveries of science. Civil religion is fraught with danger as well: it relegates those who see no relationship between god and country to second-class citizenship and harnesses religious bigotry to justify acts of intolerance and agression. But this sloppy stew of priggish platitudes should offend sacred and secular sensibilities alike.

One can hope or pray, as one chooses, that President Obama will spare those who actually listen to his weekly addresses any further displays of this sort. They insult the people and cheapen his image.

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