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Why “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” is so relevant to politics and religion today

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“There are three things I’ve learned never to discuss with people: religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin.” So declares Linus in It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.

Today, let’s discuss all three. 

We’ll begin with the last. As Maggie Maloney observes in Country Living, “No autumn is complete without the most sacred of traditions,” which she identifies as viewing the classic Peanuts movie. The Halloween special first aired in 1966. It centers on Linus’s belief that the Great Pumpkin exists and that he will appear on Halloween night. 

Alas (spoiler alert), the evening ends with no Great Pumpkin sighting. But the movie closes with an undeterred Linus vowing that the Great Pumpkin will come to the pumpkin patch next year. 

Now, in a sign of the times, we learn that the film will not be shown this year by any of the major or cable networks but will air exclusively on Apple TV+. The good news is that the streaming service will offer it free to all users from October 30 through November 1. 

What does the Great Pumpkin have to do with politics and religion? A great deal, as it turns out. 

Hope in an election and a vaccine 

The 2020 election is less than two weeks away. Depending on whose polls and analysis you read, Democratic nominee Joe Biden is on his way to a landslide victory, or he will eke out a narrow win, or the race is too close to call, or there will be no winner on November 3 and the election will descend into chaos, or President Trump will win reelection. We’re all waiting to see which version of the story will come true. 

Meanwhile, the coronavirus pandemic is spiking as predicted. The World Health Organization noted in a recent press briefing that Europe’s case numbers grew by a million in the span of just ten days. One official warned that a much larger number of people could die in this upcoming season of COVID-19 than did in April. 

Reports indicate that more than…

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