I spent some of the day today reading a local religious newspaper, the Christian Examiner. Formerly the Minnesota Christian Chronicle. Sheesh!

Feeling sorry in advance for the people who follow these fanatics. I remember the Nixon years, and how precious few people later would admit to having voted for him. It’s going to be a sad spectacle when the truly devout Christian people in such fringe groups figure out how they’ve been shilled.

Why do I mention Nixon? Because in one of the reading and discussion groups listed in the back of the paper, the faithful are not exhorted to read the Bible. No, they’re reading Chuck Colson. Maybe someone should fill them in on the purposes of Nixon’s Enemies List way back when. Colson wrote the list, whose purpose was to use the available federal machinery to “screw” Nixon’s political adversaries, including media people and black Congresspeople and well-heeled liberal businessmen, by means of the IRS, by manipulating federal contracts and grants, by … well, let’s just say that after the name of the head of Common Cause it said succinctly: “A scandal would be most helpful here.”

African-American Rep. John Conyers’ enemies entry suggested “has a known weakness for white females.”

Sheesh.

So Chuck Colson went to prison for his sins and came out spouting Jesus’s name. He started prison ministries and now that he’s a born-again right-winger, the right wing is pushing for-profit prisons. I’m sure he made some interesting friends in the Alabama slammer. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to suggest some direct link there, but I don’t have to, because there’s so much else in this “Examiner” that gives me pause.

I did not realize, for instance, that the Twin Cities had been saturated in prayer recently by Operation Jericho. It ran for seven days, while the Cities were “circled in prayer seven different ways: on foot, bicycle, car, motorcycle, airplane, helicopter and in prayer.” Participants included the Christian Chamber of Commerce, the Capitol Prayer Network, Young Adult Koinonia, and the Minnesota Teen Challenge Ministry. On the last day, September 17, you could have attended the Midwest Hebrew Ministry’s 33rd annual “Prophecy” Conference, a day of end-times teaching.

“Can you see things coming together? You surely can if you try.” I am quoting there Jan Markell, founder of Olive Tree Ministries and radio personality, who is referring to “those pesky last days that no one wants to address.” Ms. Markell professes herself open to any conspiracy that’s outlined in the Bible. (Sheesh.) She believes creepy, hidden globalists are the steering force behind the Muslim Brotherhood “so it’s bigger than radical Islam.”

Her message is picked up in another article. Lovely U of M coed Cheyenne Richardson, pictured, is going to start a CUFI chapter this fall to celebrate Israel. CUFI was founded by John Hagee, senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio. Our Hebraic roots are being reconnected at St. Michael’s Lutheran in Bloomington. A person named Chris Heeb – I kid you not, that’s his name – tells people on a regular basis, “If you don’t understand Genesis 12-50, you can’t understand what all the fighting [in the Middle East] is all about” … wait for it, it’s not Palestinian statehood, it’s … “the birthright of Abraham and the blessings of God.”

The ads include a come-on for the Religious Analysis Service. They are here to help you. If a Jehovah’s Witness, Mormon or other “cult” type knocks on your door, they will help, because they are fighting to defend the truth of biblical Christianity.

Another ad promotes a coming attraction, a movie titled “Courageous” hailed by Pastor Rick Warren of the Saddleback Church as the best movie of the year.

It’s co-produced by a Baptist organization called Sherwood Pictures Ministry Inc. but it seems to have in its distribution some other, better-known names in entertainment, Tri-Star Pictures and Sony Music Entertainment. I can’t say exactly what it’s about from the ad but it looks like a cross between the TV show Chips and the song YMCA.

Buff state trooper types in brown shirts and tight pants, a foursome of guys, strides purposefully toward the camera, the long shadows they cast falling in front of them.

This fits in with my own personal conspiracy theory of the week, that the untold BILLIONS of dollars spent during the Bush-Cheney years on Preparedness will really be used to create a pathetic vigilante corps of retired military men, sheriffs, Eagle Scouts and the Salvation Army, joined by citizen patriots on horses and motorbikes, who think the President’s Hawaiian birth certificate is a phony forgery and who talk to each other – probably about Christian fatherhood – on their own frequency walkie-talkies.

Well, let’s hope that’s not true. It’s bad enough knowing that there’s something called the Heartland Apostolic Prayer Network circling the capital to put Rick Perry in the White House. They are praying and hoping to “eliminate compromise in our government,” not that their type isn’t doing it already. (Sheesh.)