Friday, September 20, 2019

Chicago prays: Let us not be Bible-thumped



     The line snaking through the deafening, dripping bowels of Union Station, waiting to squeeze up the stairs to Madison Street, can take an eternity. When you finally break the surface, into light and air, one more hurdle awaits: the permanent pair of Jehovah’s Witnesses hoping to break you on their rack of literature.
     No biggie. Sidestep them and be on your way. But they are also the opening salvo in the constant barrage of admonition and entreaty that is the price of walking downtown.
     On Madison Street you’ll likely encounter a mendicant or two on cardboard, blessing you for whatever funds you contribute to their meth addiction. And if you’re really unlucky, Joe Scheidler and the entire Pro-Life Action League will be waiting across the bridge, human easels for their five-foot-tall color posters of the diced up fetuses of women they wouldn’t bother to spit on in person.
     That’s life in the big city. Window shopping on Michigan Avenue? Dare make eye contact with a well-scrubbed millennial holding a clipboard and they will bound over, flash you a Colgate smile, asking some inane question — “Do you like animals?” — while snaking a hand into your pockets, metaphorically.
      Finished? I’ve barely begun. State Street is the home of gaunt, Elmer-Gantry-style preachers screaming into blown-out loudspeakers about the fiery pit that awaits cigarette smokers and sodomites. All December much of Daley Plaza becomes a jostling religious anti-science fair, with little Lord Jesus asleep in the hay close by Muslims brandishing their star and crescent and the brutalist steel menorah of the Chabadniks, a decoration Albert Speer might have used at the Nuremberg rallies had the Nazis, you know, been into that kind of thing. Worst of all, the flimsy, anemic glowing red “A” of atheism, a physical manifestation of their feebleness relative to the Biblical passion of the Godstruck. 

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17 comments:

  1. 1. Thank you for ripping that atrocious Lubavitch menorah. Calling it something Albert Speer would approve of is the perfect comment about that truly fugly mess.
    2. I do however disagree about Billy Graham looking like a saint compared to his rotten to the core son. The father was a vicious anti-Semite, a fact that only came out when he was a really old creep & few people know it, as it got so little traction.

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  2. Right, that was sort of my point. People realized Billy was a vicious anti-Semite when the National Archive released those Nixon tapes—he baldly lied about his comments previously, then pretended not to remember. People realize Franklin is a vicious bigot whenever he opens his mouth.

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  3. Can I get an AMEN to the quashing of this holy mess...?!

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  4. I definitely don't want to approached by these students, but at first blush, since I wasn't aware of this until now, I'm leaning toward siding with them. Assuming they're not harassing people, it would seem they'd have as much right to do their thing as any of the other (often annoying) people you mentioned.

    The closing swipe against their supposed hypocrisy in not relying strictly on prayer doesn't seem fair. Few religious practices lean exclusively on the power of prayer; human action is often seen as the answer to prayer.

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    1. A while back, an obscene little story about prayer made the rounds of TV talk shows. It seems little Bobby asked his Mom why Jesus didn't answer his prayer. Mom told him that Jesus had answered his prayer but sometimes the answer was no. This was accepted as great wisdom by the believers. So Jesus sometimes says yes to relief pitchers but no to stopping genocide? They give their god credit for every good outcome and make excuses for him when things go bad. "It's a mystery" the priests and nuns would tell us. No, it's a lie.

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  5. This isn't an original idea by any means, but isn't legitimate respect for free speech demonstrated by allowing speech one disagrees with?

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    1. Agreement or not doesn't matter. If they were standing in front of the Bean, making a speech urging people to read my column, I would be against it. Because once you open the door, then the Bean becomes Bughouse Square, a mecca for every sect, party, cult, faith, hobby and delusion to express itself. Free speech means you're allowed to speak; it doesn't mean you're allowed to speak EVERYWHERE.

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    2. I’ll buy that. But it does seem as if the park district is limiting speech activities to a very limited area, not just forbidding it around the Bean.

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  6. If I were to find out what church those Bean botherers attend, stand outside it on Sunday morning and hector them about how there's no such thing as God and every religious person is a credulous fool, they would undoubtedly applaud my outspokenness and express respect for my freedom to speak my mind hahaha just kidding. They would call the cops on my ass before you could say amen.

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  7. Bravo. As a Chicagoan now living in Iowa, I applaud any sentiment suggestive of a big STFU when other opinions are forced into one's face anywhere, anytime.

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  8. What heydave said--a million times over!!!!

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  9. Some of these asshats are not the brightest crayons in the box. When Jehova's Witlesses bang on my door, I point to the mezuzah on the doorpost. Most of the time, they don't even know what it is.

    I sometimes tell them it was installed to keep folks like them away, and since it doesn't work, I'll have to send it back. They give me puzzled looks, so I then have to explain that a mezuzah means I'm Jewish. They usually don't get the connection.

    "I never heard nothin 'bout no damn 'zuzah," I heard one elderly black gentleman mutter to the other, as they retreated down my porch steps.

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    1. I could be wrong, but I bet more people don’t know what a mezuzah is than do.

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    2. Once my mother came across a couple of bright-eyed, perky Evangelical girls who told her they were going on a mission to Florida "to convert the Greek Orthodox to Christianity."

      Mom didn't let on that she was Greek Orthodox. She just asked them, "Tell me, honey, what language do you think the Gospels were originally written in?"

      One of the girls said, "Why, English, of course!"

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    3. Thanks for a new idea for when those annoying JWs show up. Now I'm going to point to my mezuzah & tell them, it's to keep the Angel of Death & his minions, you JWs away from me!

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    4. I knew a Catholic priest who had left the church. When the Jehovahs came to his new Florida home, he invited them in. Not prepared to debate someone who had actually studied the Bible, they went scurrying back to their leader, with permission for him to come by Joe's later. After 30 minutes or so he promised to never send his drones by again.

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