Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addressed the State of Michigan after a plan to kidnap her and other Michigan government officials was thwarted by state and federal law enforcement agencies. She started by saying thank you to law enforcement and FBI agents who participated in stopping this [...]
The temperature Friday, 1:30 p.m., is a sun-bleaching 85 degrees. I could use an ice-cold bottle of water. Free. Handed out with a smile by six young, white, twenty-somethings.
They are eager in their facial expressions. Eager to bring surcease to parched throats. Eager to be a helping presence to students and faculty still left on Wayne State U’s campus on a July summer.
I see their van parked on the corner of Warren and Cass, in front of Marwil’s bookstore, where I stop to check if a book on order, “Inside Scientology,” is available. A beaming youngster offers me a temptingly chilled, visually icicled thirst quencher. I resist his offer.
I sense an alternative motive in such unasked for generosity. OK. What’s the gimmick? I ask myself, once my business at Marwil’s is successfully concluded (at 20 percent discount). There’s no such thing as a free lunch or an on-the-spot hydration, I remind myself. Resisting temptation, fluid and otherwise.
Back on the street corner, an older woman, somewhat pleasingly plump – as the saying goes for overweight, matronly types – probably a chaperone to the bottle brokers, smiles and offers me her bottled wetness in the academic desert, with a wink and a postcard that says HOPE in large letters.
H-O-P-E! Baptist. That’s the only clue I need. It all falls into place. We’ll give you a bottle of free water, free ice-cold water, if you’ll – God knows that there’s the off chance that you just might – attend our church. The Way! The Truth! The Life!
Without hesitating I launch my verbal thirst quencher. “You people should be ashamed of yourselves. The way you treat gays, lesbians, transgendered people. It’s wicked, cruel, truly un-Christian. Your treatment of Muslims, Hindus, and persons of other faiths than yours isn’t much better.”
“You don’t know anything about how I feel about gays or lesbians,” says the somewhat startled chaperone Bible bottle bootlegger. “You don’t know me at all.”
“True, I don’t. I do know however what you Baptist fundamentalist, born-again evangelicals believe in collectively. Your track record on anything that has to deal with homosexuality is totally anti. It’s beliefs like yours that cause young gays to commit suicide and others to hate themselves. Shame! Shame on you!”
While my two-minute tirade I’m sure won’t make a dent in their biblical craniums, I suddenly feel invigorated. Suddenly calm. Cool. Refreshed. Looking directly at one of the young bottle brigadiers, I footnote my comments (just in case that some day he might be induced to think independently).
“Have you ever read Thomas Paine’s “The Age of Reason”? Or, how about Robert G. Ingersoll’s “The Mistakes of Moses”? Or, any of that Great American Agnostic’s essays?” Just for emphasis I repeat the names and the books. Then add: by the sweet bye and bye, are there any blacks in your church? Are you sure?”
This isn’t my first encounter with fundygelicals. Last time it was the Business Men’s Bible Club. They stood on campus corners gifting copies of the New Testament. (Whether the words of Jesus were printed in red for good luck, I’m not sure.)
I verbally assaulted one of their number standing on the corner near where I have my morning coffee. I began with my usual bully pulpit attack, “You guys should be ashamed of yourselves. The way you treat gays and lesbians is truly an abomination! ….”
I then enjoyed my morning coffee and nutty doughnut with added zest. When I finished and walked up to the corner, Bible Barney Barnstormer was gone. I doubt that my preaching to the choir made any difference. (Unless he was singing alto.)
But, damnit it all to hell in a beaded, Gucci hand bag, it made my day. (A rainbow day at that.)