The New Church

A Facebook friend, Verna Brunet, said,

“I suspect either the mainstream news media lies are the lies we want to hear, or something about the way the lies are presented, makes them desirable.

Many of my friends behave as if news anchors should never be doubted, questioned or contradicted… anyone who does so cannot be trusted. Same attitude many people had toward religious authorities at one time. Many people have this attitude toward science today.”

I definitely think she’s noticed something.

People, it seems certain, are simply in love with the idea of being told what to think, what to believe, what to do. In former times we went to church for this, to learn our received beliefs, receive our instructions.

Today most people don’t go to church for that, or for any reason. Church membership is way down.

But most people anyway are DEVOUT followers of today’s new church: TV NEWS. That’s where we go today, to the TV, to learn our dogma, to learn our received beliefs, to receive our instructions.

Anyone who doesn’t follow along is heretic, outcast.

I’m not a church-goer, won’t watch TV news, won’t accept it. Won’t read its service program pamphlet (the NYT, WaPo) either.

But let’s be honest. I wasn’t always this way. What exactly got into my mind before? When did it get there and what was it? Some kind of built-in deference to authority. I remember identifying an instance of it. Deference. I don’t know what to call it, what words describe it. There are no words. Just something wrong though.

In the 90s the Catholic Church rape scandals became news, suddenly one day. That priests would rape young parishioners, and get away with it, systematically, this became news. My friend told me this, that this would be covered in the news. That it would come out into daylight.

My friend was Catholic, identified as Catholic. It mattered to her, being Catholic. So, all respect and honor to her for having the right answer to this question. I had the wrong answer; I hesitated, didn’t know, wondered, deferred.

She knew:

They’ll be tried for crimes in a court of law, like any other accused of crime.

“What will happen to these Priests accused of such crimes?

I entertained the idea, I’m sorry to say, that the relation of “holy men” to the law raises questions. How will they be treated? But she knew the right answer. No. It doesn’t raise questions; they’ll be tried for crimes like any other.

Obviously so, and of course they will be. The only obstacle was deference. Deference was the problem. And is the problem.

It’s in play with TV news. We assume that TV news anchors, whom we defer to, are above reproach. If a News analyst is paid $30,000 a day to deliver opinions to us and shape our beliefs, well, then  so it is. She must be right, whatever she tells us to believe, whatever she instructs. She’s qualified, intelligent, risen through the ranks, up through the meritocracy, she’s earned the right and proven her skill. She knows what we should believe and she’s the one to tell us.

Deference.

If she tells me to hate that country and that other country, to fear and demonize this leader and the other, to wage war, directly and by proxy on these and the others, and to prepare for the next, well without question. It’s her job to tell me what to believe and mine to believe it. It’s for her to deliver my instructions, and for me to follow them.

To question her is unconscionable, and in the first place inconceivable. Doubt is for heretics, cast out. I am devout. Doubt has no place in my scheme. Tell me what to believe and I believe. Tell me the rules and I follow.

Such is human nature, evidently.

But I disavow, the television church and its priest, Rachel Maddow.

MSNBCCNNWaPoNYT is a hideous church, a 24/7 hate-streaming, other-demonizing, war propaganda-spewing, …a vile Church as Orwell knew:

“Want a vision of the future? Imagine a boot stomping on a human face, forever.”

As long as we defer to it. As long as we consent to it, gorge ourselves on it as if we have no idea what else to do.

It is the end of life, not knowing what else to do.

I return to Catholics. To their credit, there are those among them, many, or all of them now, once the dam broke, who are judging crime as crime.

This we’re not yet capable of, evidently. Again the Catholics have beaten us to it, by centuries? A more mestizo view, a saner view, Catholics. I wrote about this before: Happy Thanksgiving

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