A Rose By Any Other Name

In a self-promotional ad for his presidential candidacy, Marco Rubio proclaims “What happened in Paris could happen here.” The line is meant to be provocative, call attention to Rubio’s particular vision for America, etc. Political pundits would all agree it is meant to leverage foreign policy as difference. An essay published by The Hedgehog Review (“Soul Survivor” by Dominic Green) begins with “Reports of the death of religion have been exaggerated.” The essay is almost more power point than statistical exegesis, with various charts and tables citing recent statistical studies on the shifts in American religious involvement – affiliated (with an organized religion), unaffiliated, Christian, etc. From the standpoint of considering the demographics on the basis of espoused belief, it would appear Americans are becoming less religious. But, from the standpoint of practice, Green points out that Americans are as religious as in the past, if not more so. Instead of membership and regular attendance at a traditional church in order to improve one’s life, it is at a fitness gym. Rather than large revivals and meetings of that sort, crowds flock to celebrity events (at one time the Grateful Dead were described as the world’s largest unorganized religion). In place of a mandatory homogenous belief regime for membership, schools and employers now insist on a positive attitude, holding workshops and educational classes to ensure implementation (Shades of Pastor Norman Vincent Peale!). Charitable virtues are fostered through participation in walkathons and “run for the cure’s” – an amalgam of festivals, pilgrimages and giving alms. Etc. All of these are performed with religious fervor while underlying beliefs are various and multiple. Appealing to belief, Rubio insinuates that terrorism is happening “over there”. And “it won’t be over, till it’s over, over there” (from a World War I song, the war to end all wars). From the standpoint of practice, what’s been happening in Paris (and Europe) has already been happening here, for quite some time at that. The latest manifestation happened just yesterday at a Planned Parenthood Clinic in Colorado Springs. As our current president iterated after a previous such attack, it seems these types of incidents continuously reoccur every so many weeks. From the perspective of belief, Timothy McVeigh’s heinous act in Oklahoma was notably the most significant terror attack by Americans on Americans. From the perspective of practice, the cumulative outcomes of continuously recurring mass shootings of Americans by Americans indicate something much more insidious. Senator Rubio’s self promoting ad touting his exceptional astuteness, re: terror, is completely misleading. What happened in Paris is already happening here.

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