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Road Trips, Radio and Religion

I love road trips.  For too many reasons to mention here, the great stretches of highway and winding roads which cross this nation are my sweet spot.  I find no better way to become reacquainted with this America, and reexamine my own life, than to spend a couple days on the road.

One of the finest benefits of not flying from one city to the next is the opportunity, for better or worse, to be caught, in “the middle” with no option but to listen to whatever local radio station you’re lucky enough to pick up.  Maybe find yourself with 5 country stations, 2 right wing political rant channels, and a couple of the more Biblically inclined… it reminds you why this country has the political drama it does.

Living in cities, you become insulated.  Hell, living anywhere you become isolated, in a way, from wider political and cultural dialogue.  It’s hard enough to come to an agreement on values within a town, let along a nation.

Consequently, we take things for granted.  Cultural assumptions bind us within a community and only get discussed when some national political issue touches off parties of different view in separate regions, and another divisive culture war is raged on Fox News and the blogosphere.

On my way to Madison’s Willy Street Art and Music Fair this weekend, I was fortunate to catch a wonderful taste of the American debate concerning evolution.  The argument was that the concept of “animal rights” (upheld by “the liberals”) was detrimental spiritually and practically as it ignored the apparently obvious “truth” that “God made us in him image” and “God gave us control” over the world, and it was tied to a “disgusting” misconception that humans are no better than chimps or trees.

Well, for many of us engaged in this discussion, of course, it’s perplexing that there is even a “debate” to speak of.  And for those of you in Europe who cannot comprehend why this remains such a divisive issue in our country, please accompany me next time through rural America, that you may read the billboards and hand painted signs placed along highways to remind us all of just how religiously conservative this country remains.

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