I know that these folks don't represent all religious folk. I have friends who are religious. I have family who are religious. But late at night, when I can't sleep, my fear is that these reasonable religious people that I know are the minority, and the freaks described in Taibbi's story are the majority. How freakish was this experience? Well, they were all asked to describe the "wound" that had shattered their "normal" and Matt lied this up:
"Hello," I said, taking a deep breath. "My name is Matt. My father was an alcoholic circus clown who used to beat me with his oversize shoes."
The group twittered noticeably. Morgan's eyes opened to tea-saucer size.
I closed my own eyes and kept going, immediately realizing what a mistake I'd made. There was no way this story was going to fly. But there was no turning back.
"He'd be sitting there in his costume, sucking down a beer and watching television," I heard myself saying. "And then sometimes, even if I just walked in front of the TV, he'd pull off one of those big shoes and just, you know — whap!"
And nobody blinked an eye at this story. And then there's this, from the grand commencement ceremony:
"In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, I cast out the demon of the intellect!" Fortenberry continued. "In the name of Jesus, I cast out the demon of anal fissures!"
It's a great story, an excerpt from an upcoming book by Taibbi, who remains one of my favorite writers at Rolling Stone. Take a look, it's a fascinating, occasionally funny and occasionally horrifying read.