The once adorably loopy Saturday Night Live comedienne Victoria Jackson took to the interwaves recently, warning that Muslims were in charge of our weapons of mass destruction and that Muslims were training our TSA screeners and that our president was a secret Muslim, wiping his Islammy fingers all over everything we hold sacred. "There are three types of jihad: one is violence, head-cutting, stabbing, shooting," Jackson enumerated, her comically addled timing still intact, "and one is civilization jihad where they creep into a society." She never got to the third jihad (likely involving boys kissing on Glee) but instead spent the rest of her webrant pointing to pages of a book she said proved that jihadists have "infiltrated our highest positions in government" and that "this is serious."
She's right, in a general sort of way.
Religious extremists are gathering in tiny cabals across the state of Iowa today, conspiring to choose the presidential candidate who will subvert our Constitution to the laws of their sect. They seek to subjugate women, regulate our bedrooms, teach faith as science, and declare holy war on non-believers.
Just like they have for decades.
Fortunately for freedom, this year they can't seem to make up their minds.
"The field is so spread, with so many to pick from," lamented jihadist Jeff Mullen to the Wall Street Journal. The pastor from the Point of Grace Church of Waukee has been meeting with his evangelical co-conspirators for months, trying to settle on an apostle who can also lead them to righteous victory. The immediate obstacle is to overcome Mitt Romney, an admitted Mormon and suspected antichrist, and then there is the tricky business of finding a candidate zealous enough to please the Lord who can also garner enough of the heathen vote to bring down Barack Obama, false Christian and almost certain Anti-Christ.
Evangelicals flirted first with Michele Bachmann, but some of the faithful found her lacking in the penis department. ("I just don't think a woman can lead," a good Christian woman told NPR last week.) Rick Perry was next, but it was wisely decided we didn't need another blithering Christian in the White House.
And so, over the weekend the evangelical vote finally congealed around Rick Santorum, who has all the fanatical particulars, including the strongest stance against the scourge of man-on-dog sex. There is one potential sticking point, according to the Journal: "reservations from some Christian conservatives about his Roman Catholic faith."
Anti-papist fervor has waned these past 500 years, but it survives, apparently, in Iowa. This seems odd, and ill-advised. For while ecumenical differences do exist -- Catholics ridiculously extend their respect for human life to opposing war and execution, for example -- evangelicals and American Catholics are on the same side of this fight, and have been from the beginning.
Sixty years ago this past April, the Catholic social cult known as the Knights of Columbus voted to revise our pledge of allegiance, modifying "one nation" with the phrase "under God." (Vague, but back then everybody knew whose god.) The following year the group petitioned the president and Congress to change the state's pledge to the wording of the Church.
The creeping jihad had begun.
Originally published in a slightly different form at Time.com, January 3, 2012