Saturday, July 21, 2007

Hail, hail Rock and Roll

“But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”

-Thomas Jefferson

Imagine calling a town Hail Mary. If you can't that's all right, because there is a real one. The town of Hail Mary, Florida is now open for occupancy.

Florida is a state full of such things: trailer parks and campgrounds, Church retreats and theme parks with religious themes. "Jesus is lord at Sheffields" was declared on billboards in the days when I used to drive from Chicago to Florida. Perhaps he still is, although I never spoke to them about whether he was Lord elsewhere. It's a state full of cars and trucks festooned with religious slogans and quotes and even sales fliers I get in the mail tend to have bible quotes and that little fishy symbol on them.

Nobody ever seemed to mind that I've noticed, but when I read on the ABC News website about the completion of Pizza man Tom Monaghan's project intended "to help people get to heaven," as he says, I was struck by the defensive nature of the comments. A heavenly host of straw opponents was invoked to make it seem like the town and it's inhabitants were being persecuted and attacked (Just the way Christians all over the country are) by Liberals, non-Christians, the ACLU and other heretics who "attack Christian values." I'm not sure whether Protestants are included, but that's their fight, not mine.

Unless you consider freedom of religion to be a license to interfere with others' freedom, this is of course, nonsense or worse: an attempt to justify aggression by using a manufactured enemy.

I'm very much inclined toward a live and let live policy and whether you say Hail Mary or Hare Krishna; whether you say Allahhu Akhbar or like me, worship doughnuts at the snack bar, I really don't care as long as you leave me alone and don't make me pay for it. I think most Americans agree and our laws are based on such sentiments, but evidently that's not enough. They have to pose as victims, carry chips on their shoulders and vilify laws that are there to protect the freedom they enjoy.

I am not a believer. I am a Liberal. I belong to the ACLU. I don't care that Ave Maria exists or that people want to live there as long as they don't indulge in the religious persecution that so often abounds in sectarian enclaves. My only regret is that another piece of Florida's natural beauty has been paved over and that we have to put up with another batch of professional victims spoiling for a fight. Otherwise. . . .


Intellectual Insurgent said...

Your conclusion pretty much sums it up - at some point, our culture shifted and the way to score points is to be a victim. Doesn't matter if you've invented the victimization, brought it upon yourself or that it doesn't even exist - political debate is now a contest over who is the bigger victim.

This is group identity politics, divide and conquer. Gays, transgendered, religious people, racial groups, fat people, etc. Each is a victim of something and deserves to milk the system.

All the while, the sheeple continue to be fleeced.

Capt. Fogg said...

Well if I were a cynic, I would chuckle at our descent into tribalism and superstition. . .