Friday, July 3, 2009

Pentagon Nixes Christian Festival Fly-over Request

Posted By on Fri, Jul 3, 2009 at 12:27 PM

The Pentagon apparently denied Nampa Christian fundamentalists their traditional pre-Fourth of July military hardware hard-on, according to the Idaho Press-Tribune:

"Basically, we applied to have a military flyover," Director Patti Syme told the Idaho Press-Tribune Thursday. "We were given (Federal Aviation Administration) approval, and then had to apply through the Pentagon. When we applied they denied our request because, as the gentlemen stated, our Web site specifically stated that this is a Christian event."

We have a call in to Langley to confirm this and find out if it is a new policy. How ironic that our nation's military is finally becoming conscious of the danger of these types of events to society and yet local media continues to pander to them year after year.

The Press-Tribune gives the Nampa God and Country Festival soft coverage every year, including when I worked there and was assigned to cover the show. Though they do not dare explore the fundamentally bigoted basis of the festival—the widespread misconception that the United States is a Christian country—and it's weirdly erotic link to th e military industrial complex, at least the Press-Tribune has a sense of humor about it, a tradition I like to think I started.

When I covered the festival around the turn of the century, I tried to lead with the craziest folks I came across, the dude that talked to a reporter about Satanism, or something like that. This year, reporter Bryan Dooley went with the guy from Boise who was glad to be away from all the beer.

My fellow Americans, America is at least as much about beer as church.

Though he is not free to point it out in the story, Dooley also gives us a taste of the blatant contradiction of God and Country with his lead quote from Bryan Yeager of KTSY Radio: "There's too much division—political division, belief division—so much that pulls us apart," Yeager said. "This is just an opportunity to come together around the things that we share."

Yeager, you are the separatists in this particular case.

The Idaho Statesman, however, has no sense of humor about Christian Fundamentalist doing their separatist thing.

Reporter Aimee Niles, who we hear is an intern, confused patriotism and worship in the lead of her story, or the headline. (We're not sure which is which in the Statesman these days).

But the worst line is this one:

Actor Chuck Connors founded the festival, originally called the God and Country Rally, in the 1960s to honor the belief that America was founded on Christian principles and faith in God.

Note to journalism newbies: repeating a falsehood, just because a Web site says it, is not helpful to the public discourse.

Happy July 3!

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