Two kinds of (mildly) offensive on Palm Sunday

Two Tweets bugged me, just a little, on Sunday. I respected this special sabbath by not commenting on that day itself. But since I think it offers some insight to how both the left and right alienate me (and therefore help to define this blog), I offer them now. The first was from our governor:

Nikki Haley (@nikkihaley)
4/17/11 1:43 PM
Spending the day appreciating the sacrifices He made for us and our blessings on this beautiful Palm Sunday in South Carolina.

The second is from someone I never heard of — she was retweeted by Howard Weaver, a former McClatchy VP:

Annie Heckenberger (@anniemal)
4/17/11 1:19 PM
dreamt I stood in mass & told off a priest, closing w/ “ur the reason This Brand is failing in the western world.” James Franco was there.

Can you see, without my explaining, why these examples of typical attitudes on the left and right would put me off? If not, I’ll briefly explain…

The first is, simply put, an example of public prayer of the sort that was proscribed in Matthew chapter 6:

“When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.
But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

Frankly, I have what some might regard as a conflicted view toward that passage, although I prefer to think of my position as “nuanced.” For instance, someone who doesn’t understand my view might say I should also be put off by my friend Warren Bolton when he writes such a column as his Passion Sunday reflection. Or they might wonder why I quietly return thanks before eating in public places. It’s because, in our cases, I see it as countercultural.

Jesus was speaking within the context of a culture that rewarded public piety. You advanced your position in society by praying on a street corner. In the United States of the 21st century, you’re asking to be regarded as a nut if you do that. Big difference. And if you’re a newspaperman, well… if you’re not, you probably don’t understand the degree to which that is NOT the way to get ahead in the world. (Of course, being a newspaperman, period, is no way to get ahead in the world, but I’m speaking of the times when Warren and I were coming up in the business, before the collapse.) So I always encouraged Warren to write columns like that, for the same reason I encouraged him and other board members to write columns, period (and to some extent why I started blogging) — so that readers would know the people behind the editorials. And that is definitely who Warren is.

But there are certain subsets of society where Pharisaic behavior is to your advantage. And that is the case among Nikki Haley’s political base. So I see something like that from her, and I think, “That’s exactly what Jesus was on about.”

Now, if she had done something WITH it — made some original observation or something, that somehow played off the liturgy — I wouldn’t have bridled at it. But what she said was so bumper-sticker, so unoriginal, so “Look at me; I’m a Christian,” that it saddened me to see it. (And yes, I know that judging other people’s expressions of faith doesn’t seem like something that puts me in too well with the Lord, either. But I thought there was some relevant commentary to be made here. I hope I’m right.)

Then there was the second Tweet, which is just a pointless little fling at religion (particularly the flavor to which I subscribe) that was SO gratuitous, and in its own way SO like what Nikki did, that it helped inspire this post. How, you ask, was it like what the gov did? Here’s how: This writer ALSO had nothing to say to the world except to declare, to a certain subset of it, “Look at me! I’m one of you!” In her case, it was, “I have generalized hostility to organized religion, and particular to those atavistic creatures, Catholic priests!” Or perhaps it was simply, “I am a thoroughly modern young woman!” to put it on its most basic level.

The thing that got me about it was that the object of her scorn in the dream wasn’t a particular person with a particular narrative that the reader might join her in condemning. No, he was merely “a priest,” making her dream diatribe a blanket condemnation of all priests — which was all that was needed to establish her credentials with the social subset she was appealing to.

Now, fact is, this one does have some extenuating features. For one thing, it includes self-deprecating humor, with the addendum about James Franco. That lightens up the whole tweet. (I mean, I assume it was self-deprecating. If I had a dream about James Franco, and told the world, I would certainly be holding myself up to ridicule.) And her bit about “the Brand” makes me slightly curious to hear more. Is she saying she cares about and wants to protect and/or improve The Brand, and how does she define that brand? Such a discussion might prove productive.

For that matter, I can defend the governor’s Tweet, too, as being innocuous, even positive. I certainly don’t disagree with anything she said. And I realize that criticizing her for it can be seen as nitpicking of a low order. I also realize that honest, praiseworthy expressions of faith can easily, and unfairly, be mistaken for cynical, self-serving public piety. There can be something wonderful and uplifting about pausing to say “Behold this beautiful day that the Lord has made,” and I’d hate to inhibit anyone from doing so. (And if Nikki had sent that Tweet back before she became the darling of the Tea Party and so nakedly, obviously ambitious, I might have retweeted it with an “Amen.”)

But as it is… I’m just sharing with you how I reacted to those two Tweets, which came within moments of each other — and soliciting your thoughts as well.

50 thoughts on “Two kinds of (mildly) offensive on Palm Sunday

  1. bud

    Don’t much care for our governor but you are WAAAAAAAAAY over the top nitpiking here. Perhaps this is mild piety on her part but so what. There are many things you can and should write about our misguided governor but you’re overdoing it with this and risk losing your credibility.

  2. Matt Bohn

    As a Catholic who was raised in the North, it took me a long time to get used to public displays of religion when I came to South Carolina in 1989. People praying in restaurants and wearing their religion on their sleeves was off-putting to say the least. Wouldn’t it be better to keep it private? Do we really need public invocations? What about praying the Hail Mary before events in South Carolina? Wouldn’t that offend many here? As for sending tweets bad-mouthing other religions, that’s just tasteless and juvenile. It seems to me that we would be better off if people were just good and nice to each other. Keep the religion private.

  3. Mike

    “And I realize that criticizing her for it can be seen as nitpicking of a low order.”

    Seriously. After reading this post, can I have the last three minute of my life back now?

  4. Brad

    Well, I’ve really stepped over the line when Bud sticks up for the governor…

    Seriously, guys, gimme a break. My reason for writing this was to honestly express something about my discomfort with our Culture Wars, and the related war between Right and Left, in our society.

    I find that I have a lot of trouble explaining that on this blog. Some folks have trouble understanding how I can be against one side without being for the other. Bud constantly accuses me of being artificial when I give both sides grief about something or other. But the truth is that both sides really do bug me. Even to the point that I feel it even when I’m reading forgettable, or even innocuous, statements such as these. And when I see a new opportunity to communicate this, a way I hadn’t tried before, “I jump in it.”

    As far as it being nitpicking or unfair or unkind or reaching to be critical — well, I realize that. And there’s probably nothing you can say that I haven’t said to myself along those lines.

    But for the same reason that I encouraged Warren and Cindi (and earlier, Mike and Nina and Claudia and John) to write columns revealing who they were and what formed their points of view, I feel obligated to try to communicate my point of view here — so that when you read my views on something that IS worthwhile (rather than just idle thoughts about rather unremarkable passing Tweets), you’ll have a better idea of where I’m coming from.

    That might seem like excessive navel-gazing to you, but when you spend as much time as I do trying to express your views (and not be misunderstood), sometimes a little digression like this seems valuable.

    But I realize that’s highly debatable.

  5. Brad

    And Matt, when you say, “As for sending tweets bad-mouthing other religions, that’s just tasteless and juvenile,” I agree with you.

    But… I’m not at all sure that this was about OTHER religions. The person who wrote that may not be a fallen-away Catholic, but she sure sounds like one. They tend to go out of their way to say things like this, to assure people that THEY, at least, are no longer taken in by all that papist mummery.

    And yeah, as someone who came deliberately to Catholicism as an adult, I do find that tiresome.

  6. Lynn

    What part of Governess Haley being a Sikh don’t you get, Brad? She became a Methodist for convenience not out of deep or studied belief. She obviously never did a course at Clemson on comparative religion. She must have been way busy studying that accounting she is so proud of. I chalk it up to profound ignorance.
    And remember she gets a pass because she did intend to offend. Don’t tell her the Easter Bunny is not a Christian symbol either. That’s more than she can handle.

  7. Karen McLeod

    My immediate response is to agree with you about Ms. Haley’s tweet. But, I would have to back off precisely because I dislike so much of what she does that I’m likely to be looking at something innocent through prejudiced eyes. On the other hand, I tend to view overt religious sentiment that is expressed by mass media release as suspect, especially when expressed by a politician. With the other quote, I can understand how someone who isn’t a member of the Holy Roman Church might express that sentiment in light of the ongoing publicity regarding sexual abuse committed by the clergy, and the policy of silence which was, intentionally or otherwise, the response of the Church hierarchy until recently. While I understand it, I don’t agree with it. I have known many good priests of the Roman church in my life, and they don’t deserve the rap they’re getting.

  8. Brad

    By the way, I heard another public expression of faith today that did NOT offend me — in fact, quite the opposite.

    Today at Rotary, Mac Bennett of United Way gave a really good presentation on homelessness in our community. To illustrate a point, he had Bill Ford stand up to be introduced. Mr. Ford is a college graduate who was a fully contributing member of society before he took an unproductive path in life, and ended up homeless. But he’s now working to put his life back together, has been instrumental in starting a nonprofit called “Homeless Helping Homeless,” and in fact had to leave before our meeting was over because he had an appointment at 2 p.m. to see about getting permanent housing (he’s been living in a tent, although last night he was in a hotel, courtesy of a church). But as Mac wished him well, Mr. Ford paused, still standing there, wanting to say something. He said, “To God be the glory!” Then he went on his way.

    I liked that, probably in much the same way that Jesus approved of the public “crying in the wilderness” done by his advance man John the Baptist.

    Perhaps it’s unfair, but when one becomes a leading Pharisee, or a governor, you inspire less confidence in your sincerity when you make such public pronouncements. We tend to believe it more coming from the downtrodden or marginal people.

    And because I’m aware of that, sometimes I actually feel sorry for the rich and/or powerful — because bloggers and other critics are so unwilling to believe them so much of the time.

  9. Doug Ross

    Seems to me like you took a fairly innocuous tweet from Haley and tried to create a right/left conflict that doesn’t exist.

    Sometimes a tweet is just a tweet. ™

    I think the interpretation of the biblical passage is related more to the private, personal relationship one might have with God. Try to reconcile that passage with Jesus’ very public words spoken on the cross.

  10. Lynn T

    I can’t read Haley’s tweet without remembering her campaign website announcement that she “consults Jesus about every decision.” That statement conjures up the image of a some alternate universe Jesus who says “yes, Nikki, go out and buy yourself a Cadillac SUV and donate less than half of one percent of your income to the poor, that is a great thing to do!”

    However, I don’t agree with Lynn in her comment above (despite our shared first name) — I’ve seen no evidence that Haley actually believes or practices any religion whatsoever, including Sikh.

  11. Kathy

    In my opinion both Tweets would have been better left “untweeted.” I have some FB friends who post nothing or almost nothing but self-serving religious comments. I find it extremely “off putting.” As a Baptist, I was taught to witness, but I’ve never understood how saying that I’m a great Christian, etc. does anything more than turn people off. I’ve always thought that witnessing should be done on a personal level when the Lord leads one to reach out to another person. Haley’s tweet reminds me of the Sanfords’ Christmas cards which always told everyone what wonderful Christians they were. Of course, those cards were mailed to thousands of people that the Sanfords would not have known if they had fallen over them (my family, for instance). If people have to constantly talk about their faith in inappropriate ways, that makes many people wonder what their motives really are, doesn’t it?

  12. Kathy

    Lynn and Lynn T, I remember the pre-election interview in which Haley stated that she’s a Christian because “it works for me.” I’ll say no more on the topic.

  13. Kathryn Fenner (D- SC)

    How could Haley, an avowed Methodist, play of “the liturgy”–when I sang in Methodist churches, they didn’t have a liturgy?

    My reaction Warren’s “editorial” was that with an ever-shrinking window to comment on state and local events, a *sermon*, for which there are many venues, seemed wrong. His job as editor is to comment on the news, not preachify.

  14. Brad

    Joanne, that’s just what my wife says.

    No, wait… what she says is that I shouldn’t actually send Tweets DURING church…

    Yeah, that’s it…

  15. Brad

    Kathryn, where’s my venue for “sermons” if not here?

    At church, I just get to read other people’s words.

    Surely you’re not suggesting I become one of those nuts on the street corner.

    Just kidding, street corner guys — I was being ironical…

  16. Steven Davis

    If it were up to me religion would be left in the church. I don’t particularly care to hear someone talk about/preach religion… if I wanted to hear it I’d go to church. Leave the Bible thumping at the door.

  17. Brad

    Oh, and I thought that Methodists were liturgical. I think of the liturgical churches as Catholic, Angligan (just another kind of Catholic, only with King Henry thrown in), Lutheran and United Methodist.

    Maybe I’m mixing this up with the fact that they have some shared sacraments, hence the LARCUM project. What do I know?

  18. Tim

    I don’t like the editorial section being used like this weekends column, I don’t care how well-intentioned. And Bolton already does this so much I don’t read him anymore. That’s what the “religion” section is for. Could care less what Haley tweets.

  19. Doug Ross

    Was the inclusion of a scene in a political ad showing Vincent Sheheen saying grace around the dining table with his family cause you as much concern as Haley’s tweet? Seemed like the same type of pandering you find in Haley.

  20. Brad

    No, that was OK. Vincent was engaging in bizarre Papist rituals, which don’t get you any juice in SC…

    Seriously, though, I did not remember seeing that. I remember the ad; I just didn’t recall the tenth of a second devoted to apparent prayer. And therefore it was not on my mind when I saw that Tweet from the anti-priest girl, which made me take another look at the Haley Tweet, which inspired me to write this post.

    But if I HAD seen the Vincent thing, and thought about it, I might have been slightly bothered by it. But… and this will probably send you ballistic… even more slightly than the way I was bothered by Nikki’s. And here’s why: Vincent WAS trying to say to nonDemocrats, “Even though I’m a Democrat, I’m not a godless freak!” (Which, unfortunately, some South Carolinians have to be told. Not that they believe it.)

    But he was also taking a risk with liberals, who… and you may have noticed this on this thread, and on the previous one about the invocation in CONGRESS… get actively OFFENDED at public displays of faith.

    Nikki doesn’t care what liberals (or moderates) think, because she doesn’t want their votes. When you’re a Democrat running for statewide office in SC, you can’t take a single vote for granted, including in your base. Which makes it a little different. Not entirely different, but a little.

  21. bud

    My ideal world would eliminate “In God we Trust” from the currency, do away with any kind of public prayers, invocations or other religious declarations and would collect property taxes on church property. But I don’t live in the real world so as Brad says I’ll just have to “get over it”. We should at least try to keep religious indoctrination from going any further. I say lets call a truce and let it stand as is. That is until someone wants to bring back prayer in public schools. At that point the fight is on.

  22. Brad

    Sensible stance, bud.

    As for prayer in public schools — I’m kind of neutral on that. Have it or don’t have it; I don’t get worked up either way. (Another reason why the culture wars don’t appeal to me.)

    I’m old enough to remember prayer in public schools, and folks, it was neither some great threat to the Constitution nor the salvation of the nation, as the two sides would have it.

    My clearest memory of the practice… one day in my class (I’m thinking this was my second-grade class in New Jersey), after the prayer one of the kids ratted out a classmate, telling the teacher, “Johnny had his eyes open during the prayer!”

    As you might guess, the teacher asked, “How did you know?”

  23. Lynn T

    Methodists do have liturgies, I believe they are called the “Order of Worship” and are in the back of the official Methodist hymnal. In my childhood (not yesterday) there were more formal and less formal versions, depending on the preference of clergy and congregation. Methodist liturgy is heavily derived from Anglican, reasonably enough since the Wesleys were Church of England and never officially left that church.

  24. martin

    I’ve quit reading Warren for the same reason as Tim.

    Vincent’s praying ad was offensive to me because it didn’t have to be done.

    And, given his many extremely long, wandering pieces lately, I’ve been wandering if Brad is on a new antihistimine that hypes him way up.

  25. Karen McLeod

    Brad, re: prayer in schools. You and I experienced prayers that were rooted in our local society’s cultural context, that is white anglo saxon protestant. Would you approve if your grandchildren (when they reach school age) were asked to participate in a Hindu or Muslim prayer? Our world is a bit more polyglot now.

  26. Steven Davis

    “But he was also taking a risk with liberals, who… and you may have noticed this on this thread, and on the previous one about the invocation in CONGRESS… get actively OFFENDED at public displays of faith.”

    So now I’m a “liberal”?

    If there’s separation of church and state, why is there an invocation performed in the legislature?

    I want my legislators dealing with problems in this country, not wasting time listening to today’s sermon by the daily winner in the preacher lottery.

  27. Barry

    I am “friends” on facebook with nikki- so I can read her posts. Not because I supported her.

    I saw that particular update and actually thought about the same thing Brad has written here.

    I had my own post on Facebook on Sunday that simply said “Wonderful Palm Sunday at church.”

  28. Phillip

    “But [Sheheen] was also taking a risk with liberals, who…get actively OFFENDED at public displays of faith.”

    That’s no risk at all. The number of liberals in South Carolina who would sit on their hands in a general election pitting a moderate against a Tea Partier due to taking offense to a tiny display of faith in a TV ad is probably in the single digits. Any liberal living in this state understands that a Democratic candidate hoping for statewide election has to observe certain standard pieties: they have to be seen worshiping God, and they have to be seen carrying some kind of gun.

    Even the most ardent civil libertarian would not begrudge Sheheen this in his campaign, and if any Sheheen adviser had spent even 30 seconds discussing the “risk” this might cause to the “base” (base? what base?), he should have had himself committed, immediately.

  29. Brad

    Karen, first of all, I’m not a WASP. OK, if you’re counting, I’m white, and there’s SOME Anglo Saxon in my family tree, but plenty of Celtic, too.

    And as a fellow Catholic noted above, typical expressions of evangelical Protestantism can be off-putting (although less so to me, since I was originally baptized in a Southern Baptist Church — it’s just a familiar mode of worship that I chose to leave behind later, rather than something that seems alien to me).

    As for “Would you approve if your grandchildren (when they reach school age) were asked to participate in a Hindu or Muslim prayer?” No, I would not, because that would be patently ridiculous — unless they lived in a Muslim or Hindu country. If they lived here, I would expect the prayers to be reflective of the community. That means they would be very different from what I’m used to at St. Peters, but, as you said “rooted in our local society’s cultural context.” Which I consider to be appropriate. Such local flavor is a legitimate thing, a bulwark against the McDonaldization of society.

    That’s one thing that kind of bugged me about Amazon. It came in and demanded that the local custom of blue laws be abandoned, and local folks fell all over themselves obliging. Fine, if that’s what they deemed appropriate, although there was something rather unseemly and desperate about it. Now, Amazon is making another demand, which seems a demand too far to me…

  30. bud

    It came in and demanded that the local custom of blue laws be abandoned, and local folks fell all over themselves obliging.

    Well at least one good thing came out of this whole Amazon debacle: the end of the anachronistic blue laws.

  31. Karen McLeod

    Brad, when/where you grew up may have been mostly white protestant, but Columbia has mosques, temples (Buddist, Hindu, Jewish, and Mormon), not to mention meeting places for other religious expressions that I wouldn’t even know about. I imagine when/where you grew up would have been pretty upset with even a “Hail Mary” had that prayer been foist upon your young minds. Can you not understand that if we have prayers that end with “in Jesus name” we should tolerate prayers to Allah and Siva since children of those faiths are also a part of our culture now?

  32. Karen McLeod

    P.S. From what I’ve grown to know about you, Brad, I’d say that if a dictionary ever wanted a precise definition of WASP they could just take a picture of you. I know that you’re Catholic now, but your birth culture shines through.

  33. Kathryn Fenner (D- SC)

    Brad– I was talking about Warren’s sermon and the severely limited and ever shrinking window for actual local editorials.

    Your blog is infinite (like the Longines Symphonette,–extra points for IDing the reference) and it’s here for you to post whatever you like. Feel free to post paeans to the BVM, if you like. It’s your blog.

  34. Joanne

    @Brad: I was raised in my early life by my ARP mother. I couldn’t even take a secular book into the church to read while I waited through my second church service in one day to read while she sang in the choir.

    My mother wouldn’t do housework on Sunday, and I can clearly remember being told that we had to be quiet if playing outside on a Sunday.

    I guess I was taught, thinking back on it, to separate secular from religious…is that a layman’s “separation of church and state”? 🙂

  35. Brad

    Joanne, your mother and I have something in common — I don’t do housework on Sunday, either!

    We have something else in common — ARP in our family history. In my case, it’s way back. Some ancestors — either direct, or great-great uncles — had something to do with starting Erskine College, way back when. But I didn’t know any of them, and I’ve never been in an ARP church to my recollection.

    Although I do remember this… when I was very young, my grandparents lived in what had been the house of the president of Erskine. Maybe it still WAS the president’s house, and he was on sabbatical or something; I don’t know. But they lived there until my grandfather died when I was 4, and then my grandmother left Due West.

    Big old house on the edge of town.

  36. Brad

    Karen, you’ve been talking to Kathryn! She’s always accusing me of being WASPy, too. And after I went to all the trouble of becoming Catholic 30 years ago to escape that label.

    But I know what you mean. I strike people as Teutonic. I got some new wire-rim glasses a few years ago, and one of my sons said I looked “German.” I think he was referring to the fact that I looked a bit like a Wehrmacht colonel or something. I see a picture of myself in those glasses, with a short haircut, and want to click my heels and say, “Jawohl, Herr Oberst!”

    Ironically, of course…

    Herb and Kathryn, you may now correct my German.

    I like having my German corrected, because it makes me feel less… Teutonic. Like I’m not good at it. It’s just so unfashionable.

  37. Brad

    As for what you said about, “Can you not understand that if we have prayers that end with “in Jesus name” we should tolerate prayers to Allah and Siva since children of those faiths are also a part of our culture now?”

    Yes, I understand what you mean. I just disagree. I agree that we should TOLERATE all prayers — or nearly all (I’d discount satanic rituals that involved human sacrifice in a deserted churchyard at midnight, for instance — and I have no problem with making judgments like that).

    But in a community public school in South Carolina, prayers to Allah or Siva would be out of place (unless, maybe, it was a special school only for students of that faith at USC or something, and then it wouldn’t likely be a public school — this is not LA or Toronto, with vast nonChristian immigrant communities).

    And no, the anomalous fact that there are a handful of people of those faiths present somewhere in the community does not change the fact that that is NOT the local culture. Just as I would not expect to hear Southern Baptist prayers in a public institution in Tehran. OK, there are OTHER reasons why we wouldn’t hear it in Tehran. Say Mumbai…

    And this, of course, is why we fight about it so much, and why we no longer have official prayer in public schools. Because people won’t lighten up about the fact that they are in an evangelical community. People feel threatened or something, or just don’t want to let the majority express it’s culture on general principles.

    Personally, I’ve always felt out of place in one way or another wherever I was, and I just accepted long ago that other people… I don’t know… really, really love ice cream when it’s deadly to me. Or really, really believe in all that nonsense that the Democrats and Republicans spout. Or really, really LOVE football with every fiber of their beings. Or express their devotion the way Southern Baptists do, which is way different from the way I do. (Actually, the one that alienates me the most is the football religion, but I just have to accept that other people around me are like that.)

    It’s just not that hard to have generic, vaguely protestant devotions that are non-offensive. I grew up going to nondenominational Navy chapels. I went to the Protestant ones, but the Catholic (and probably other faiths) masses were in the same sanctuary; they’d just swap out the wimpy protestant cross for the blood-and-pain Catholic crucifix between services. No big deal.

    When I go to Ecuador (where I lived longer than anywhere else growing up, talking and thinking and dreaming in Spanish, just to erode your image of me as the WASP a bit), I expect to hear Spanish. When I go to England, I expect to hear British accents (and Indian and Pakistani and Irish and Scottish and Jamaican and German and Italian and all sorts).

    And when I go into a school in South Carolina, I would expect to hear evangelical prayers. Or I would expect it, if Madalyn Murray O’Hair hadn’t been so offended by it.

    Anyway, back to where I was — I don’t care to fight about it either way. I think both the antis and the pros make too big a deal of it.

  38. Mark Stewart

    A class of third graders visited the Governor’s Mansion last week and the Statehouse. The Governor took the opportunity to sign each of the kid’s school shirts “_____, God Bless You, Gov. Haley”.

    When I saw it, I thought, hmmm, that’s not quite right. It was just off; not so much offensive as, well, off.

    I thought it revealing of both her as a person and the struggle that she feels she faces within the state to radiate her Christianity.

    But I thought it pretty cool that she would take a few minutes to show a field trip around both the Mansion and, more importantly, the Statehouse.

  39. Mark Stewart

    Growing up my mom used to take us on occassion to the services of different religions (well, except the Mormon Tabernacle as we couldn’t get in without fibbing).

    We’re not so different underneath the pagentry was what I saw then.

    Now, I would say that a lot of our differences are really forced distinctions.

  40. Kathryn Fenner (D- SC)

    Yes, Mark– In Aiken, kids used to go to each others’ services. I remember my Babdis’ friends being shocked that Lutherans serve wine (wine!) in church, and I remember my cheeks feeling tired from so much smiling at the Babdis’ churches (not a bad thing at all). NOBODY went to the Catholic church and vice versa. We had Catholics who didn’t attend St. Mary’s and St. Angela’s, but I think it was still verboten to attend Proddy services. Consequently, some pretty torrid rumors of what actually occurred at Catholic Mass circulated around–I mean, the Lutherns had wine–what could possibly be more exotic than that? Must be some rilly strange going’s on at the Catholic Church!

    Karen, you nailed it– Brad is a WASP. Not Teutonic. My dad is Teutonic to the point that when he was in Argentina (where the Boys from Brazil actually settled in great numbers) people addressed him in German. He also played a Nazi in an industrial film.

  41. Matt Bohn

    Using the logic “and when I go into a school in South Carolina, I would expect to hear evangelical prayer,” what would those schools look like today if the cultural majority had had their way in the 1950’s and ’60’s regarding the end of segregation? OK, that’s dramatic. But still… Again, let religion be private.

  42. bud

    This is why it’s important to be vigilant against tyranny whenever it raises it’s ugly head. Someone who means well like Brad spouts off complete nonsense like it’s some innocent community custom to indoctrinate children into a particular religion through the school system. And it’s why really mild forms of religious indoctrination like the verbiage on our coins is so dangerous.

    This is really, really simple. We absolutely should NOT have teacher led prayer in public schools. The supreme court correctly established that a half century ago. Just like the flying of the Confederate flag this issue has been resolved. Unlike the flag issue it was resolved correctly. Time to move on. Next issue.


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