News of the accident that killed twelve West Virginian miners was beamed around the world in January thanks to the drama of the rescue attempt and the cruelty of families being told the miners were alive when all but one was dead. Just weeks later two more miners were killed as the Governor signed more safety legislation into law.
One of those miners, Don Bragg, will be laid to rest on Sunday. A radical anti-gay Christian church plans to picket his funeral because these mining accidents prove god hates West Virginia. God killed Don, not because he was gay, but because he lived in a country full of gays.
Yet for all this (and perhaps because of it) I suspect America’s radical Christians are on the way out. The whole thing’s gone as far as it can go. When the anti-gay Christians took on the might of the pink dollar in a battle over Ford, they lost.
Then there’s the battle for creationism to be taught in schools (albeit rebadged ‘intelligent design’). Leading televangelist Pat Robertson offered an apocalyptic warning that a vote against intelligent design is a vote against God after a school board was voted out for supporting it. Nevertheless, the creationists lost and keep losing.
When the Vatican says intelligent design isn’t science (and reconciles Christianity and evolution) it shows that this kind of radical Christianity can only exist in America. Beyond the borders of the USA, established Christian churches, mostly Catholic and Anglican, enjoy near monopoly status. Pat Robertson has no congregation outside of the USA. And they’ve got liberal America too.
As the radicals’ apocalyptic vision for America and the rest of the world becomes ever clearer, support for them will dwindle and sense will prevail.