|Florence Baptistery ceiling|
Honestly? I was sorry that Facebook banned Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan from its global social media platform for his steady patter of anti-Semitic nonsense, which is old as the hills, common as dirt, and lodged, in larger or smaller shards, in the hearts of half the people in the world. Maybe more.
Not that his twisted worldview isn't harmful. It is. The harm is real. But like most bigotry, like most self-administered poison, it is destructive primarily to the possessor; the career of Farrakhan is ample proof.
He yearned to shine on a larger stage, to be taken seriously and touch the hearts of millions, and came close at times. But like any addict, either because he was feeling too good or too bad, he celebrated his successes and mourned his setbacks with another heady hit of hatred while good people, revolted, looked away.
Generally. Some folks like junkies. Find them thrilling, romantic, fun. While Farrakhan's flock of die-hard faithful is small, he is largely tolerated, certainly not denounced, among a larger group of supposedly-decent observers because raging against whites in general and Jews in particular provides them with a low-rent naughty pleasure, a kind of catharsis. They never pause to realize they are doing the exact same thing — diminishing the humanity of a group they don't know based on laughable fiction — that they find so offensive when directed toward themselves. It's not a unique shame — all humans are prone to this, alas — but nothing to be proud of, either.
When I worked at the Wheaton Daily Journal, a third of a century ago, conservative Christians in that town engaged in a strategy I called "wallpapering the world." They would seek out what they objected to and try to cover it up so they didn't have to look at it, whether Playboys tucked behind the counter at the local 7-Eleven or the College of DuPage performing "Sister Mary Ignatius Explains it All for You."
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