Sunday, May 22, 2011

Armageddon and evensong

The Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Des Moines

Well, so far as I know the world didn’t end --- but it’s early yet. The trains still are running, however, and that’s a good sign.

Except for those caught in the trap of faith in or fear of a false prophet, the world pretty much has had a good laugh at the expense of Harold Camping and his followers --- and in a way, at Christianity in general.

That’s one of the odd things about the old faith lately --- if interested in marginalizing Christians, you don’t need to hire outside agitators. Them suckers ‘ll shoot themselves in the foot right before your eyes and you don't need to do a durned thing.

But you’ve got to wonder how many of us, raised in the day when Christian culture was maybe 75 percent about terror and 25 percent about grace, weren’t just a mite uneasy as 6 p.m. Saturday arrived in New Zealand and then rolled around the globe.


The Minnesota House overnight voted 70-62 to put a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage on the ballot next November, hardly a surprise in a Legislature dominated by Republicans and their Christianist shills.

But not before another foot-in-mouth moment --- Self-styled metal-head preacher and noted homophobe Bradlee Dean took a potshot at President Obama, implying that he wasn’t a Christian, during Friday’s session-opening prayer.

Democrats were incensed, even some Republicans engaged in considerable hand-writing. Interesting moment.

All of this is happening at a time when polls show a majority of Minnesotans aren’t interested a marriage amendment and the most recent Gallup poll suggests that 53 percent of Americans favor marriage rights for same-sex couples --- a earth-shaking shift in the last 15 years.

I’m sure all sorts of factors are involved in this, but you’ve got to wonder if part of the credit doesn’t go to Christian over-emphasis on the end-of-the-world card --- listen to the rhetoric and it’s clear the Christian right is playing this hazardous hand for all it’s worth.

I’m all for marginalizing hate-based Christianity, but would have some regrets if the haters managed to take the whole great fleet of faith down with them. Others, however, wouldn’t mind.


Whatever the case, I’m off to Des Moines for a day-long conference. If all goes well, I’ll sneak out a little early to attend the last choral evensong of the season at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul. If the church goes down, I sure hope they let us keep the music.

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