September 29, 2006

Cornucopia / Cynthia Dewes

Conspiring to believe the unbelievable

It’s funny how we tolerate things about those we love that would drive us crazy in a stranger. The old saying “love is blind” seems to be true.

Which brings me to Frank, a dear friend from childhood. Every so often, he calls me on the phone and we reminisce. As we visit, we share opinions, and this is where the toleration part comes in. To be blunt, Frank is a conspiracy theorist of the worst kind, a quality I despise in everyone else.

Last time we talked, Frank told me when political candidates call him for money he always asks them: What happened at the meeting in 1965 (1965?) between President Bush, Vincente Fox, president of Mexico, and someone from Canada? Of course, the solicitors never know the answer and neither did I so Frank enlightened me.

He said the three leaders discussed how to combine the entire North American continent into one country. He also said their desire to accomplish this was the reason not much has been done about protecting our borders in past years. I was so flabbergasted that I forgot to ask him where he got this information.

Now, Frank isn’t the only one advancing outrageous theories. Just think about The Da Vinci Code. And merely claiming one’s ideas to be true, as Dan Brown did in that novel’s preface, does not make them so. Credible sources and logic must do that, unlike the imaginative nonsense that too often passes for authenticity.

Then we had Oliver Stone’s movie, JFK, in which the Grassy Knoll figured prominently. After seeing it, if you didn’t believe the Warren Commission, you’d be convinced that JFK assassins with umpteen murky motives are still out there. Poor, crazy Lee Harvey Oswald would be only one of several.

Or how about those who declare that the Holocaust never happened? That it was all a plot to gain sympathy for the idea of a Jewish homeland, or something? How’s that for outrageous? Considering the vast number of people who saw the death camps in person, how could such a notion exist?

But the conspiracy theory that disgusted me most recently is one I read in a Wall Street Journal column by Heather Wilhelm. In it, Wilhelm, “director of communications for Americans for Limited Government,” takes the Presbyterian Church to task for allegedly publishing a conspiracy theory. The Presbyterians!

According to Wilhelm, Westminster John Knox Press released a book called Christian Faith and the Truth Behind 9/11: A Call to Reflection and Action. Written by David Griffin, the book “argues that 9/11 was a highly orchestrated Bush administration sham. The collapse of the World Trade Center—which the book says was brought on by controlled demolitions, not Islamic hijackers—was merely a ‘false flag’ operation, designed to spur wars in the Middle East. The goal: an all-powerful American global empire.”

Wilhelm concluded: “The old adage that ‘if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything’… seems to apply to the Presbyterian leadership.”

I don’t know about that, but if you ask me, it certainly applies to Griffin, Frank, Oliver Stone and Holocaust deniers.

(Cynthia Dewes, a member of St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Greencastle, is a regular columnist for The Criterion.)


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