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Sundays With The Christianists: In Great Artist Jon McNaughton's Novel, Wingnuts Finally Win Every Argument
Sternums up, everybody! Time to wrap up our visit to the mind of Great American Artist Of America Jon McNaughton, as revealed in his teen novel Knight of the Superstitions. It's a stirring tale of a young Mary Sue named Josh Knight, who with the help of his guardian angel Nathaniel becomes adept at seeing and defeating the surprisingly boring demons and other evil influences that plague our world. Last week we looked at Josh's spiritual journey, such as it is; this week, we'll take a look at the book's very insightful political content, although we suppose McNaughton would say there's no difference. So strap on your Spiritual Armor — we recommend strong coffee or maybe a Bloody Mary — and we'll watch Josh strike a blow for liberty against the oppression of liberal education.
Josh, you'll recall, has been homeschooled for all his life, but on his first day of public school, Josh has secularism rammed down his throat in his very first class, Earth Science:
On the walls were typical pictures of scientific models and graphs. He saw signs with statements like, “SAVE THE PLANET" and “BIG BANG THEORY." He had studied all of this at home many times and was not a believer in environmentalism — in the sense that birds are more important than people are. He also questioned whether Darwinism was the absolute truth in the universe.
And of course, the teacher's very first question is about the Big Bang theory, which one student answers in those words that every 11th grader has had drilled into them each day of public school:
“The Big Bang Theory is that the universe was created by a singular explosion of dense matter approximately 20 billion years ago,"
Ah, but Josh has other ideas! He raises his hand and asks the teacher,
“Since it is just a theory, isn't there room for any other theories?"
“What do you have in mind?"
“Well, the universe is pretty complex. Could there be some kind of master creator that many people don't know about?" said Josh.
“You mean like God? We don't talk religion in here young man," he said as his lips tightened.
The exchange prompts Nathaniel, who's invisibly looking on, to reflect with all the wisdom Heaven has provided him,
“People have the funniest ideas. To think all the complexity of the universe began with an explosion? That's like saying a bomb dropped in a junkyard and created the space shuttle.
10 "pages" (if e-books have such things) into the book, and we're already in Chick Tract territory.
And so on. Josh goes to art class, but is disappointed to learn that his teacher is a pot-addled hippie who thinks representational art is old-fashioned and that good art "should not look like anything." He tells the students they are to do seven paintings for the semester: "two of them with reds, two with greens, two with blues, and two with a combination of colors." Ha-ha, he is so stoned that he cannot even count! Nathaniel wryly observes,
“That guy needs to stay off the marijuana!" said Nathaniel as he looked at the paintings on the wall. “These artists from the 1960' s think they know everything. The fact is that there is good art in all styles. To say traditional, representational art is old fashioned is just as sensible as saying God is old fashioned … preposterous!"
In English class, Josh meets Ms. Schwartz, and we get some trademark McNaughton Exposition, too!
On the wall of her classroom was a picture of Jimmy Carter. Josh wondered if she realized that Ronald Reagan was now the President. Ms. Schwartz was very political. She had several books on her desk about feminism, socialism, and great Democrat Presidents.
Some writers might use music or clothes to indicate when their story takes place; Jon McNaughton uses a scary feminist's deluded clinging to a discredited, failed president.
And then the teachers largely vanish from the novel until the final third, because Josh has some seriously tedious demon-fighting to learn. As part of his spiritual education, he gets all-night visits from a parade of Biblical figures, starting with the Apostle Peter, who warns him that "the world continues to persecute Christians," and followed by most of the major characters, who "all had interesting stories and insights for Josh." (McNaughton doesn't elaborate, and we aren't sure whether to feel cheated or relieved). The next night brings a series of Great Thinkers, starting with Einstein, who explains that he very definitely believed in God, and that "Many scientists today do not allow for opposing thoughts. They have become like a religion in their own right." On the third night, he gets Great Historical Guys: George Washington, who was absolutely 100% a Christian (and doesn't mention his habit of avoiding Communion, duh) and tells Josh that the Constitution was definitely divinely inspired. Josh says his teachers all say "it was dumb luck that started our country," and GW reassures him:
“Your teachers are uninformed. Historians with an agenda have tried to remove the truth for years. We, as Americans made a Covenant with God with the signing of the Declaration of Independence."
SO THERE. Also, Jon McNaushington warns that America in 1980-something is headed for Big Trouble:
unless they root out the Evil that is spreading among the elite in Washington, it will lead this country to utter desolation. Even now, there are those who wish to usurp the powers of the people and remove their liberties. Once you voluntarily give up a liberty, it will take nothing less than the blood of many to restore it. Our Nation was designed to offer liberty to all people, but if it restrains its own citizens from worshipping the God of this land, we will lose His Divine Favor.
How true this is. And look how it has come to pass: Nobody can pray anymore. Josh is also visited by a list of other great Americans, including "Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Abraham Lincoln, [and] Frederick Douglass," but again, we're spared the details, except for their universal disappointment in "how the history books had skewed the truth about their feelings for God and the establishment of this country." Now we really are disappointed, because we'd have loved to see what lies McNaughton would have put in Jefferson's mouth.
Later, after some very boring demon-banishing, Josh asks his dad, "what's the deal with all the political correctness going on today?" You know, the constant looking down on people who aren't liberal, he explains. Jon McDadton explains how poor old Joe McCarthy was destroyed for speaking truth to power:
“I think that there are some people that feel it's intellectually superior to take the liberal stand regardless of the consequences. Almost thirty years ago, there was a U.S. Senator named Joseph McCarthy that wanted to root out the Communist sympathizers in the government and he got in hot water for speaking his mind and pointing out those whose actions were un-American. He was the most politically incorrect man in America at the time and they destroyed him. In today's world, if you don't play by the rules — you're finished."
This conversation leads us to the John Galt's Speech part of the book, where Josh debates his history teacher. She won't let him use his notes, but he doesn't need them! He proves conclusively for his applauding classmates that America is One Nation Under God, just like the title of that great patriotic painting by Jon McNaughton. Not that it's a fair fight, since his teacher, Ms.
StrawmanHarding, asks him such well-informed-liberal questions as "Where in any document from the Founders does it refer to their dependence upon God?" You know, because the average high school history teacher is probably unaware of that "endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights" stuff.
Once Josh explains that the Declaration of Independence is a "written Covenant of a new nation to God for His protection," she starts ranting — again, think of the typical "Darwinist" in a Chick tract — and challenges Josh to find even one single reference to God in the Constitution, angry exclamation point!
Josh patiently explains that while God isn't mentioned in the Constitution, the Founders just knew that America was a Christian country, and "it would have sounded crazy" to suggest otherwise. (We guess Josh does not know his US Constitution as good as Bryan J. Fischer does.) But because they feared tyranny, they wrote the First Amendment to protect all people's right to worship as they pleased, but not to keep God out of school, which is a modern corruption of the Founders' intent. This goes on for page after page, with Josh citing, from memory, 19th-century Supreme Court decisions affirming that the USA is a Christian nation, and it's only recently that people have started thinking this "separation of church and state" nonsense meant you can't tell children to pray in school:
“I stand as a witness with George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, John Adams, and countless other American patriots from then and now, to testify thatAmerica is One Nation Under God.We have strayed from His grace and must remember the Covenant that was made in 1776 and by so doing will be blessed as a land of freedom and liberty forever more." Josh ended speaking and the class erupted in applause. Mrs. Harding stood against her desk, speechless. Josh turned; looking behind him, he saw the spirits of the Founders lining the wall. Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Madison, and many others; they were also applauding. Josh felt a strong love in his heart for his country and he thanked God that he was able to remember so much. It had been as if someone else was speaking through him.
And it looked almost exactly like the left side of this painting:
After that, he explains to his English teacher that socialism can never work because it just makes everyone miserable and oppressed (and there is no Sweden in this novel). Finally, he caps off his string of victories by getting his Black Best Friend to agree that "African-American" is RIDICULOSE because "I don't like it when people call all black people that. I'm just an American, okay?" and Josh exclaims "Dude, you ROCK!" Also, the science teacher gets cancer and Josh is the only one who visits him, restoring his faith, and the art teacher is so impressed by Josh's realistic depictions of the Superstition Mountains that he admits that abstract art isn't the only way to paint, and he sponsors Josh in a state contest. SUCK IT, Liberal schools!
There's a bit more — notably, the Big Vision that Josh gets near the end, where he sees the future:
The country became more divided as people chose less liberty and embraced Socialism. I saw the first black American President elected and the people followed him blindly as he led the country down a path to destruction. Racism and political correctness raised a blind eye to the treachery that surrounded us. Those who were Christians and Conservative were treated as enemies of the state.
And then there's a worldwide economic collapse and famine and rioting and America gets invaded because it's weak, but that's OK because then Jesus will comes back and WIN, the end.
In other words, this is an excellent book that is targeted perfectly for its intended audience.
Knight of the Superstitions, by Jon McNaughton. Self-published for Kindle, e-book only. $7.95, approx. 318 pages.