America’s Revolutionary Guard

J.K. Rowling suggests a difference between the Christianists in the United States and those of other countries (“J.K. Rowling Reflects on Fame, Fans and Harry Potter,” The Associated Press, 19 July 2007):

I had one letter from a vicar in England — this is the difference — saying would I please not put Christmas trees at Hogwarts as it was clearly a pagan society. Meanwhile, I’m having death threats when I’m on tour in America.

Of course, even the letter from the vicar is preposterous as European Christians appropriated the decorated pine tree as part of the symbolry of Christmas from early European pagans in an attempt to compete with preexisting celebrations long before — fictional, mind you — pagans reappropriated the tree to themselves.

Money is always a compelling issue — witness our China policy just for starters — and we’ve got a lot of it so people have to deal, but I wonder at what point the rest of the word declares the U.S. a bunch of incorrigible kooks and throws up their hands? Will the day come when a foreign author simply avoids the United States market, when an author is subject to the Salman Rushdie treatment in the United States? One can already almost see the analogy between the United States and Iran. A young, costal, cosmopolitan elite committed to freedom and secularism oppressed by a self-appointed and semi-officially condoned bunch of religious thugs. I can almost hear the first report of a Christian enforcer throwing acid in the face of a feminist on a book tour.