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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Christian Crusade

Although I was born in California and have lived in Ohio for years, I consider myself an Oklahoman, because I lived in Oklahoma for most of my life. I think of Tulsa as my hometown, because I grew up there. I've yet to talk about the glancing mention that ILLUMINATUS! gives to the Sooner State, but I'll do so now.

On page 128, ILLUMINATUS! mentions publications such as Communism, Hypnotism and the Beatles and Rhythm, Riots and Revolution, put out by "the Christian Crusade in Tulsa, Okla." The novel says these are books put out after the anti-Illuminati folks feed information to the Christian Crusade through "third parties" about the Illuminati's nefarious use of pop music.

The publications mentioned in ILLUMINATUS! may sound like satire, but they are real, and so was the Christian Crusade; I once went to a service as part of a religious studies class at my Unitarian church, and I knew a kid in junior high who went there. The church, explicitly anti-Communist, was led by an evangelist named Billy James Hargis. An excerpt from the Wikipedia biography: "He preached on the evils of sex education and Communism, and urged the return of prayer and Bible reading to public schools long before the modern Religious Right. He accused the government, media and pop culture figures — among whom he included the Beatles — of promoting (directly or indirectly) Communism. (A subordinate, Rev. David Noebel, was the author of the 1965 work Communism, Hypnotism and the Beatles, which he expanded into Rhythm, Riots and Revolution the following year. Both pamphlets were published by Christian Crusade.)"

Hargis' career was undone by a sex scandal; one young couple, on their wedding night, allegedly realized that Hargis had slept with both of them.

More true Oklahoma facts: the Legislature for years had a Democratic member named John Monks, who warned that when Communists take over a country, the first thing they do is outlaw cockfighting.

Cockfighting was finally outlawed in Oklahoma a few years ago, so perhaps the Communists finally won. Then again, it seems unlikely that the Republican majority in the Legislature and the Republican governor would look the other way if radicals took over. Years ago, when I was a political reporter, the Legislature approved a bill to make Woody Guthrie's "Oklahoma Hills" the official state folk song. The great folk singer was an Oklahoma native, and the bill was requested by the small town of Okemah, where Guthrie was born.

The idea, in other words, was to aid tourism -- Okemah has an annual Woody Guthrie folk festival -- but many Republicans in the Oklahoma House voted against the bill, because they could not bring themselves to vote for a "Red" like Woody Guthrie.


Gary said...

Ugh the cockfighting issue rears its head once again. There was also controversy of the Flaming Lips' bassist Michael Ivins wearing a CCCP t-shirt in the state capitol when the band was being honored by Governor Brad Henry.

michael said...

I try to not pay attention to "news" these days, for the simple depressogenic effects it has on me. But I did take note that Oklahomans voted to ban Sharia Law...I don't even know where to begin with this.

Thom Foolery said...

The Flaming Lips are the sand in Oklahoma's vaseline, for sure. On the one hand, they probably bring more attention to OK than Oral Roberts. On the other hand, they are FREAKS. (Wait, I guess Oral Roberts--or Anal Roberts, as RAW once described him--is a freak too...)