Monday, August 22, 2005

Housecleaning

Hello, friends. My big news right now is that I just returned from Crawford, Texas, where I my buddy Kevin Sandlin and I spent a day and night in Camp Casey, just outside of the Bush vacation ranch. I took voluminous notes, and will collect my thoughts in just a couple of days, but rest assured that the Crawford is Ground Zero for the movement to end this war. And this war will end, whether President Cheney, Co-president Rove and their administration and most of the politicians and the media want it to or not. The citizens are demanding it, the soldiers are demanding it, and those who think they are in control will find out very differently.
But for now, let me clear out some writings that haven't found a home yet. I'm beginning to think my first book will be called "Not Quite Ready for the Shreveport Times," given all the opinion pieces they pass on. This one refers to an article from two weeks ago, in those halcyon days when gas was $2.25 a gallon and we still cautiously told each other, "Kind of a mild summer, huh?"

The Sunday Times roundtable discussion “of Unity, Theology and Outreach,” featuring six local ministers, was simply baffling much of the time, both in structure and content. It is very difficult to believe that anything resembling the spiritual diversity of Shreveport-Bossier was even attempted, despite the claim that, “The Times invited pastors from across denominational, racial and geographic lines….”
First, there was no crossing of gender lines. All six ministers were men, although I can think of three area female ministers I’ve met, even though I am not a regular churchgoer.
Second, there was denominational diversity only within the confines of Christianity. There was no rabbi, no Muslim minister, no representative of any spiritual belief from India or the Far East.
Finally, in a community that is close to equally divided racially, the ratio of white to black ministers was 83% to 17%.
Now that the structural analysis is complete, let’s look at some of the content of the discussion. Most of the ministers state opinions about our society that simply border on the delusional. The presidency, Congress and the courts are increasingly dominated by fundamentalist Christians like Bush, Delay, Ashcroft, Frist, Santorum and Scalia. A non-believer would face a tremendous uphill battle running for city- or statewide office here. Yet many of these ministers would have us believe that the Red River separates Sodom and Gomorrah, not Shreveport and Bossier.
Some of the sweeping generalizations are simply mind-boggling. In the very first paragraph, Broadmoor Baptist Rev. Chuck Pourciau says, “…society is at its healthiest when religious influence is at its greatest.” Given that statement, which is not taken out of context, I would assume that that Rev. Pourciau’s ideal societies today would be Iran, Saudi Arabia, most of Afghanistan. Utopias of the past would include Spain under the Inquisition and Salem at the time of the Witch Trials, no doubt.
Let us not forget Iraq, either. As a new Iraqi constitution is being written, there is a good chance that women will face severe restrictions because of concessions to fundamentalist Islamic factions. Let’s consider that for a moment. Because of greater religious influence, Iraqi women could be facing a situation where they are legally less free than they were under the secular dictator Saddam Hussein. Incredible.
Under the topic heading “On combating secularism,” Our Savior Lutheran Rev. Craig Boehlke asserts, “We’re living in a post-Christian era. It’s post-modern. Nobody believes in truth anymore,” (italics mine). I would assure Rev. Boehlke that there is at least one Shreveport who believes in truth, which is why I spend so much of my time combating the political expression of fundamentalist religious hypocricy, whether it be the misogyny and indiscriminate murder of Osama Bin Laden or the lies, willful ignorance, election theft and imperialistic cryptofascism of George W. Bush.
Finally, Praise Temple Full Gospel Baptist Cathedral Bishop Larry Brandon says, “I was shocked two weeks ago when I was walking out of Books A Million and right in the front window they were displaying a book on witchcraft. Once upon a time in this area that would not have been so visible.” I have two issues with this statement. One, why is a criticism of witchcraft contained under “On combating secularism”? A serious practitioner of witchcraft is acting on spiritual, not secular, beliefs. There is nothing in the full statement that relates to secularism, only to what Bishop Brandon obviously would classify as a competing belief. Also, I’m going to go out on a limb here and speculate that Bishop Brandon is referring to the new Harry Potter book. If I am wrong, I apologize in advance. But my experience of Books A Million is of a bookstore catering to very conventional tastes, with a large selection of “inspirational” Christian titles. I don’t think the local covens, much less the serious secular intellectuals, are finding much of interest there, any more than they’ll find much of interest in the Times’ treatment of religious diversity.

1 Comments:

Blogger TheDevilIsInTheDetails said...

And on a lighter note than pure criminal lawyer , check out the funniest trial transcript ever! If it's not serious enough of a topic, well, just pretend it's the Brit's version of criminal lawyer !

5:14 AM  

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