Long ago NPR had a mission to improve and progress the service of public radio back in a time when the news was owned by large corporations and companies that had a bias to not hold their own companies accountable. They hired woman anchors and journalists at a time the rooms of high journalism were segregated to cis-gendered white men, interviewed Vietnam War Protesters and the members of the early Black Power Movement. They covered the Gulf Wars focusing on conflicts, reported in the most dangerous areas, and did not dismiss or both side the Iraq and Afgan wars and torture on Guantanamo. Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me even punched up at Dick Chaney. Yet despite this, there was one man who fouled the waters of NPR and across Midwestern America and began a crusade by creating a lost cause and fantasyland called Lake Wobegon and doted himself a good-old-Lutheran. His name is Garson Keillor and his rhetoric and actions in and out of NPR would lead to the rabbit hole of Liberal Christan Nationalism all rolled in a show called A Prairie Home Companion. The absence of this show leads Conservative Liberals into the trap of Radio Neoliberalism, Fox News, and QANON, and latter NPR’s downfall from progressive mission to a corporate money maker.
What is Christan Nationalism?
Christian nationalists believe that the US is meant to be a Christian nation and want to “take back” the US for God.
I was baptized as a young child yet I never felt I belonged because I have high-functioning Aspbergers which meant a lot of people who were of the Evangelist or Fundmentlist sects of Christianity preyed on both my agnostic mother and my father who was raised on German Christianity. I had a DK Bible which talked about the good book from a theological and archeological perspective such as the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Gospels. Many Christian Nationalists call the King James Bible the authoritative word of god when it’s just an Old English Bible.
However, when I think about what a good Christan is now that I’m older I go to a quote by the man himself who Mr. Keilor admires most Martin Luther. He says that the good Christan Shoemaker does not have to put crosses on his shoes he just has to be himself, a good shoemaker. He also translated the Latin bible into his native language German at a time when people had to join the Catholic Church to read the Bible. He and Guttenberg were considered outlaws by the Catholic Church even though Jesus himself was an outlaw who forgave a thief and robber on the cross alongside him. He also said that it’s hard for someone like Garrison Keilor as rich as he is to get into heaven despite giving Martin Luther a Wireless catalog and a mug every month.
Martin Luther hated that the Catholic Church was stealing and preying on poor people in very silly ways that they would be worthy material for Veggie Tales. One way was for people to pay off their sins in the form of indulgences which went back to the Catholic Churches penthouse pockets, how? By stealing relics from other Churches and having people pay-to-prey or soul contracts like in Cuphead that gave you free access to heaven. One such relic was a hair from Mary that would rid you of 1,000 or more sins. So one day after a violent thunderstorm which he saw and many medieval people did as a call from God, he wrote 95 reasons why the Catholic Church was going against the original message of Jesus and what to do about it on the door of his monetary known as The Ninety-Five Theses. Unlike Garrison Keilor his tracts and even jokes about how the Chruch exploited people were more Monty Python and less Hee Haw. He also allowed music and other subjects to be taught in the church which allowed composers like Bach, Handel, Hyden, and Mozart to create the greatest works both secular and non-secular. Even Art Clokey who was adopted by a Lutheran father created both Gumby and Davey and Goliath which he was never credited with until much later.
Gorge Fredrick Handel wrote his famous work The Messiah in a debtors prison in Brittan during a time when people who were too poor to pay up were prisoners, soldiers, or enslaved as indentured servants to America or Australia. He then used his piece to hold charity performances to help other debtors and the poor which is one of the tenants of Lutheran Church is giving goods to the poor and needy. Since then his work is performed in Lutheran Churches all over during Christmas. The Lutheran idea of education and knowledge to the masses expanded into the Enlightenment and Revolutions of both America and France exposing the flaws of wealthy monarchy's who gave very little to the people. Many of our founding fathers were agnostic and atheist at the time they wrote our Constitution and knew what happens when religion and government are intertwined into a theocracy which was their greatest fear for our country and its citizens. One debate cost Alexander Hamilton his life and it was about who owns wealth and what happens if the wealthiest people are unchecked and unaccounted including churches who exploited people into tithing and threatening them if they did not give enough.
Christan Nationalism is nothing new in America where two Great Awakings happened which brewed groups like Jehovah's Witnesses, The Mormons, The Flat Earth Society, Temperance, and many others who denied law and new progression in science and humanity. Temperance seeped into a pseudo-science movement called Eugenics which handed out money and trophies to parents and children who were well-bred and good stock like cattle, sheep, and pigs. Deemed Irish, German, Jewish people degenerate along with medical textbooks with terms like moron, invalid, and retarded.
Around this time was also The Great Disappointment where thousands gathered for the end of the world which never came and Monkey Trials in which a science teacher was put on trial for progressively teaching evolution. This story inspired a play we were made to read in High School, Inherit the Wind. I was assigned the role of the wife of Mr.Brady who feels ignored, neglected, oppressed by her woman peers, and did not fully feel like her own individual as a woman but a figurehead for Brady and his holly art thou causes and bullying of the teacher, his wife, students, and his lawyer who is an outsider in a small town with brutal gossips and harassers. The part where I brought out Mrs.Brady’s freedom and relief was the scene where Mr.Brady dies after writing a speech to become the President of the United States. After reading his letter she realizes that she is finally free from a man who saw women as figures and not as people, and is free because his death is karmic for all the suffering he caused her, others, and the freedom of the country. This got me in trouble from a girl who told me I would burn in hell and when I called her out I had to leave the class. The problem with the story is that both sides Theocracy and Democracy which is a pillar of Christan Natinaolism that goes against our Constitution and all the principles of our Bill of Rights.
At the end of the play, he lifts both Darwin’s book The Origin of Species and The Bible at equal weight when in reality Charles Darwin fought against both Eugenics and Slavery calling them impediments to the progress of all human kinds evolution into a harsh world. What Darwin needed was progress in sociology and psychology that would prove that all animals in their way have different forms of social intelligence and survival intelligence which he should be proud of Koko the Gorilla, Kanzi the Bonobo, Alex the Grey Parrot, and the new insights into social and intelligent invertebrates both good and bad. Ants force other colonies into slavery with a pheromone causing all-out war, Octupues build gardens and create armor to avoid sharks, eels, and other preditors, Worker and solder bees are all females, and when their Queen retires she makes a royal jelly so one worker bee can become queen.
We have always attributed human attributes to animals because we were animals at one point who ate strange things like fungi and took risks living in caves making art about what we saw around us which were animals. In every mythos a hero has an animal helping them including the gods and goddesses of many myths. Even Jesus is associated with shepherds and fishermen, people who take care of and feed people, and how they must be respected.
The reason why the Parable of Progial Son pops up from time is that the message of unconditional growth and love is universal. It’s about a father who divides his money between two sons with the youngest spending the wealth on himself in a far off land until a famine hits changing him from very wealthy to the most horrid and taboo of jobs which makes him think he’s unworthy when he really was not and his father and brother still love him. In this story, there is no chosen one because it says we are all on The Heros Journey as humans.
They Woke up with a Wolf in Red Shoes and Shaggy Hair
“If I had a dollar for every woman who asked to take a selfie with me and who slipped an arm around me and let it drift down below the beltline, I’d have at least a hundred dollars. So this is poetic irony of a high order. But I’m just fine. I had a good long run and am grateful for it and everything else.”- Garrison Keillor
Along with Christan Nationalism being seeped in Racism, Homophobia, Xenophobia, exploiting parents of impaired and disabled children, rejecting science for homeopathy, and picking peoples pockets it has always been a sexist and suppressive movement towards women. This means when people like Mr.Keilor spew about the Good Ole Days they are talking about a time when men could get away with and mock the abuse and assault of young women. A good model to understand this way of thinking is the Bill Gothard Umbrella of God.
For those who are familiar with shows like 20 Kids and Counting the Duggars are followers of the Quiverful Movement which is Garrison Keilor's Lake Wobegon on steroids and pain killers. The founder of the movement is Bill Gothard who founded the Institute of Basic Life Principles. The name borrows from the fact that they raise their children to be religious soldiers fighting for a Christian Nation which is based on a quote from Psalms
Lo, children are a heritage of the LORD:
and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man;
so are children of the youth.
Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them:
they shall not be ashamed,
but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.
And it’s not just the Quiverful movement that follows Mr. Keilor's philosophy to the extreme but groups like Oath Keepers, QANON, TERFS, and many others see either people like Mr.Kelior or Donald Trump as saviors because of their status and success at manipulating masses of people and their wealth. Many destructive cults like Christan Nationalism and Scientology have a savior narrative to lure people in or claim to be a replacement to make things the way they were. This is why Fox News uses narratives of attacks on the culture to make people who were once progressives feel fearful and angry towards the Monster of the Week when that monster has a demeanor of Elmo and Cookie Monster and does not want to hurt anyone.
For groups like Drum Corps International and Bands of America, band directors and corp ideology are seen as the savior figures no matter how many horrible things they do to students in the corp or band and scorn music teachers as socialist and Marxist. Many students of these groups in turn convert new members throughout their time in the corp or band. This is what Steven Hasan's BITE model calls, “Major time spent indoctrinating other members”. This is why when Praire Home Companion was taken off air people found other sources like Fox News and Alt-Right outlets and pundits. They want something similar to the thing they had before that was familiar and comfortable. This is why Donald Trump found Christan Nationalist the easiest party to manipulate and command with his ego and big lies along with Garrison Keilor who found NPR listeners the easiest to manipulate to go from progressive journalist to corporate radio station.
Many of the people who loved him are leaning farther to the alt-right including people who were once liberal and socialist. Now my NPR is fearful when they do address issues like the Larry Nassar scandal, workers fighting Amazon, Embrigde’s pollution and plans to drill through the Great Lakes because those companies give money to them. Now many NPR programs are supported by Koch Brothers and Autism Speaks which think they can cure my Autism like the alt-right thinks it can cure the gays. They are also responsible for spreading homeopathy for Austim and anti-vaccination rhetoric under the veil of helping us when they are not. If NPR wanted to be true to the mission they had before they would
Fight alongside unions and their causes.
Hire more reporters who are disabled and impaired to increase neurodiversity and listen to our communities.
Not mock mental health issues like toxic positivity.
Hold businesses, corporations, and charities accountable for abuse and neglect.
Hold Christan Nationalists accountable for their attack on the Capitol.
Commit to environmental, socialist, and progressive groups that don’t take corporate money or funds.