Friday, June 07, 2013

An embarrassment of witches

Yes,  many of us still think we can fix stupid with an embarrassment of regulations, but hey, there's one thing I've learned down here in the Cracker State is that you can't fix ignorance, hate, fear and superstition by kindness or firmness or cynicism or by embarrassing the practitioners thereof. People who like, who get rich on a society of serfs and barons don't want it fixed. If you're in the religion business, you sure as hell want a large reservoir of the downtrodden.

The town of Pahokee, Florida might be in Palm Beach County, but you'd hardly confuse affluent Palm Beach with this town of roughly 6000 people, almost as many churches, 12 billion mosquitoes and I don't know how many alligators. It's a sugar cane town and only an aging and unstable levee separates it from becoming the bottom of Lake Okeechobee once again.

Very little separates it from most rural South Florida towns. High crime, low income, high unemployment, low education and a hell of a lot of churches, both mainstream and esoteric; most of whom seem overly concerned with witches. Yes, I did say witches and in that respect, Pahokee seems to have much in common with far flung places like Wasilla, Alaska where a popular preacher and friend of Sarah Palin has bragged about killing such unfortunates in Africa.

The Lake Okeechobee Resort and Marina will, if all goes well,  host its first Lake Okeechobee Summer Solstice Festival on June 19-23. Now, recognizing the change of the Sun's apparent angle in the sky is more than geometry.  As every SwampChristian knows it's PAGAN and pagan means witchcraft, and witchcraft, both here and in pagan Papua New Guinea as a great danger to our moral, spiritual and actual health and the preachers of Pahokee ain't gonna stand for it, by God.

"An abomination" said Pastor Brad Smith, Florida Director of Kids for Christ.  “We don’t need this in our town. Not now. Not ever,” said Rev. Raul Rodriguez, of Church of God Door of Jesus Christ.“We cannot expect our city to survive and prosper if we allow these things,” said Pastor Eugene Babb, of Harlem Church of God. “God cannot heal our land if we have witches and warlocks violating our community,” said Evangelist Lillian Brown, of Saints on the Move. “We are opening ourselves up to things we should not, like belly dancing and magic spells,” said one citizen at a recent city commission meeting where protest against letting anyone express the most attenuated form of  religious freedom: abominations like belly dancing lessons.

So am I indulging in the same intolerant  thing by mocking the rubes, poking fun at Christians because I'm an atheist and think I'm superior to people who believe that occult incantations change nature and that tolerance of freedom risks having one dragged down to eternal torture by demons?

Not really. I'm mocking people who think it will ever be different, people that a free and liberal democracy is compatible with the culture that derives from and thrives on ignorance and superstition and hate, that tolerance of and indeed the support of such ignorance, poverty, disease and depravity is required by the mandates of "Smaller, less intrusive government."  I'm talking about the Republican base.

What will I be doing while witches shake their demonic bellies while the Devil beats the drum on the 21st?  If weather and witchcraft permit I'll be on Green Turtle Cay.  I mean who wants to be near Pahokee when the sky begins to fall.

No comments: