|Monday's mail brought one in a large white envelope with these words splashed across the front: "Same-Sex Unions and Child Sacrifice: Obama, McCain, Jihad & The Judeo-Christian View."
And below that: "Also Inside (and Free!) … * Obsession, the movie on DVD * Video Sermon on DVD"
I didn't recycle this one. I had read press releases and news stories about the recent distribution of this mailer, so in an odd way I considered it a stroke of good fortune to get my hands on the actual item, which I promptly opened.
Inside was Volume 1, Number 1 of "The Judeo-Christian View," which bills itself as "a multimedia newsletter for leaders of Jewish, Christian or mixed-heritage which seeks to research, report on and uphold the Abrahamic and Judeo-Christian foundations for Creator-endowed human rights, religious liberty, civil freedom and tolerance, respect for women, family structure, American exceptionalism and Western Civilization."
It goes on to state that The Judeo-Christian View, based in Vista, Calif., and reporting an initial circulation of 325,000, does not "endorse, oppose, coordinate with or advocate on behalf of any politician or party; rather, we seek to uphold the Judeo-Christian View."
That's best characterized, apparently, by concern over "same-sex unions child sacrifice," both of which the mailer argues Barack Obama supports wholeheartedly. It makes this case in the print newsletter, which begins:
"Our nation faces a fork, a divergence between the high road and the low road—and you and your congregation could very well determine the direction we take. The high road upholds America's peaceful tradition of Judeo-Christian tolerance and morality. The low road marches us toward militant secular-paganism, militant Islam, or both."
It also makes the case in a seven-minute DVD, which contains a "mild version" and "graphic version." The mild version, which still deals with issues of same-sex unions and child sacrifice, is "suitable for all audiences," according to the packaging.
Also included in the mailer was a "summary/sermon outline" on same-sex unions and child sacrifice, which quotes Old and New Testament verses and highlights the positions of Barack Obama and John McCain.
Tossed in for good measure was a copy of "Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West," a 2005 film from the Clarion Fund, which is "devoted to educating the public about national security issues." In addition to this mailing, the "Obsession" DVD was sent in September as a paid advertising supplement in newspapers to 28 million Americans.
Holding and considering this packet, it is difficult not to think of it as an election-year artifact. It's a thing that will constitute a relic, if it survives, for our descendants; a piece of our history that will tell them something about us.
They will understand the deep-seated fear of some over homosexual unions. They will try to follow how some of us made sense of science and morality regarding abortion. They will witness a battle of civilizations stuffed in an envelope. Will they be able to play the DVDs? Who knows. Maybe they'll just twirl the disc on an index finger and wonder what it would have showed …
Of course, the real fear of the mailer's purveyors—which includes Christians and Jews—is that the wrong choice in the voting booth Nov. 4 means Western civilization will die as we know it.
"Decide for yourself—but please do so quickly; there's not much time left," the newsletter pleads.
Indeed, this artifact's dominant message to future interpreters will be, "We are afraid in 2008."
Are you afraid? If so, a Judeo-Christian view has something to say about that, too.
Cliff Vaughn is managing editor of EthicsDaily.com.