Look, I’m a Pagan. I always laugh at the absurdities conservatives utter about Pagans and Paganism. Take Gun Owners of America’s head Larry Pratt’s asshattery. Oh wait, there’s so much of it. You’re asking which asshattery in particular?
Alright. For starters, his claim from back in January that gun safety laws are “paganism.” By all the gods above and below! Are you serious, Larry Pratt? When did gun safety laws become “paganism”?
Since you asked, here’s Pratt’s “logic chain” (if it can be called that): guns are “the most pagan of paganism” because Paganism “view(s) inanimate objects as possessing their own will.”
And if you’re liberal enough to say guns kill people, you’re a Pagan. Welcome to the tribe.
I’m used to GOP-bizarre. I really am. And I’m not going to get into the actual theology here because nothing is going to stop idjits like Pratt from thinking Pagans worship rocks and trees (we don’t). But before people start throwing around terms like “Communism” and “Nazism” and, of course, the original evil-ism, “paganism,” people ought to try to understand them.
I’m like Ferris Bueller on this; Ism’s are problematic in the extreme: “It’s not that I condone fascism or any ‘ism’ for that matter. Ism’s, in my opinion, are not good. A person should not believe in an ‘ism,’ he should believe in himself.”
But it’s not ism’s that are the real problem here. It’s asshats like Larry Pratt. And yes, he is a product of his environment. The GOP’s playbook, the Old Testament, labeled the non-Jewish Other “Gentile,” and the Canaanites came to embody that Other. For conservative Christians, we’re all Canaanites, and the Old Testament is very clear how Canaanites are to be treated. BOHICA. None of this is a surprise.
But somehow, someway, Pratt thinks Paganism is an impeachable offense. That’s what it comes down to when he demands, as Right Wing Watch reported at the time, the impeachment of President Obama over “Pagan” gun safety laws.
This outbreak of Paganism leads us to the Manchin-Toomey bill recently defeated in the Senate (Politifact has the low-down on the amendment). Rather than cracking on Pagans this time, Pratt went after Bill Clinton when making the claim that it was prayer that defeated Manchin-Toomey:
Pratt: The one thing that the other side will never understand about how a small group like ours was able to do what we did is because we pray. That’s so far outside their box that you could tell them that and they would probably think you were kidding or so what, you know what I mean.
Deace: They would probably think you’re referring to p-r-e-y and wondering why you want to pick on endangered species too, Larry.
Pratt: Either that or we had Bill Clinton loose among us.
Har! That’s funny, Mr. Pratt. But Pratt not only likes to claim things he doesn’t like are Pagan and to claim that prayer actually works to defeat those things he doesn’t like, but he likes to lie. Pratt, you see, is upset that Senator Manchin (D-WV) told the truth when he said his amendment would not create a national gun registry, that Senator Manchin should be “committed” if he believes it: “You are functionally so stupid that you can’t operate in the modern world if you believe that,”
Well, talk about functionally stupid…it turns out that the Manchin-Toomey bill specifically banned a gun registry:
- “The Attorney General shall be prohibited from seizing any records or other documents in the course of an inspection or examination authorized by this paragraph other than those records or documents constituting material evidence of a violation of law.”
- “The Attorney General may not consolidate or centralize the records of the … acquisition or disposition of firearms, or any portion thereof.”
- ”Any person who knowingly violates (the prohibition against consolidating or centralizing records) shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 15 years, or both.”
You’d think this would be enough evidence for even someone so functionally stupid as Larry Pratt, but you’d be wrong.
But hey – and no surprise here, I know – conservatives aren’t about facts and they aren’t about solving problems they can instead use to sow more fear. They are about generating emotionally negative responses among their functionally stupid fellow conservatives.
And those functionally stupid (and dishonest) conservatives don’t like anything that might somebody prevent them from owning surface-to-air missiles or drones of their own. Lying is not, and will never be, an impediment to the gun lobby in the United States of America.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.