All right, I know I haven’t blogged in, like, forever. Hey, school’s out for summer. And besides, it’s too damn easy to throw a quick observation onto Facebook. But this past week has offered the perfect opportunity for me to get a good rant on.
I’ve been inundated with Jesus freaks this week. The weather report in Mt. Juliet: It’s raining Christians (Hallelujah).
Item 1: Wednesday afternoon. I was coming out of Target. Two middle-aged men wearing golf casual clothing and looking incredibly Republican approached me. One held out a pamphlet and said, “I’d like to give you some information about a local church.” I started to reach out my hand (a natural impulse when someone hands you something), but then held it up in an Indian “How” posture. “No, thanks,” I said, smiled and kept walking.
Item 2: Friday morning. I was sitting at my desk working when the dogs started barking their fool heads off and somewhere in the midst of all the growling I heard the doorbell ring. I answered the door (still in my pajamas, mind you) to two people who I KNEW, before they even opened their mouth, were Jehovah’s Witnesses. They tried to make small talk about my dogs. You know, door-to-door saleman rule #1: Get them to like you. Finally I said, “What can I help you with?” The woman held out a pamphlet. (Apparently, no one is getting into heaven unless they have a pamphlet.) I read the headline as she spoke. It said, “Will you survive the end of the world?” Since there could have been a slight chance they were environmentalists, I let her speak for a few sentences until her motive became clear. At her next breath, I interrupted her. “I don’t proselytize my religion, and I would appreciate it if you gave me the same respect.” They smiled, said okay, and left. I think maybe they were pretty used to this response.
Item 3: Thursday afternoon. I pick up The Chronicle of Mt. Juliet, our local free weekly newspaper, from the end of the driveway and bring it in to my desk. On the cover is a blurb which says, “Calling all clergy: The City of MJ needs You (Page 5).” I was intrigued. On page five I learned that the city leaders of my little burg were holding a “special city update brief for leaders of all Mt. Juliet churches.” It was announced that this update would include information on police activities, infrastructure work, finances, and economic development, among other local issues. The Mt. Juliet City Manager, Randy Robertson, was quoted saying the reason for this meeting was that “these men and women touch and influence the fabric of our city.”
Of course, I fired off a letter to the editor of the Chronicle jumping up and down about the First Amendment and the Jeffersonian principle of separation of church and state. I argued that this kind of “exclusive” offered to church leaders in a city with an overwhelming preponderance of protestant Christian churches was a de facto “estalishment of religion.” I wondered in print why the city leaders couldn’t simply hold a town hall meeting open to ALL citizens interested in local politics. I reminded city leaders that there were indeed those of different religions or even no religion who also constituted the “fabric of our city.”
Now, all we have to do is wait and see if they print it. Publication of such a letter in this neck of the woods is certainly not a given.
(Sigh.) I really want to like Christians. But, they don’t make it easy sometimes.