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Friday, March 25, 2005

Pilgrims, Hip Hop, Religious Fervor and a Dash of Tepid Resistance

A colleague just asked me if I thought it "bad" that she was happy Good Friday pilgrims were getting cold this morning as they walked to Chimayo. She said she found herself thinking, "that's what they get for being zealots." I told her I didn't know if it was "bad," but, certainly, not a great use of energy. I, personally, have nothing against religious zealots per se. I've interviewed people making that pilgrimage many times. I think whatever people need to make themselves happy, stronger, better people is fine, be it religion, pilates or good works. So be it. Just stay out of my business and don't tell me how to live, I'll stay out of your business and we can all do our part to try to make the world suck a little bit less. As philosophies go, it's neither original nor brilliant but it is, nonetheless, becoming a bit rarified.
I know I said I was going to lay off the morning TV news, but addictions are hard to break and, apparently, getting worked up over coffee and CNN is an addiction for me. All the segments this morning had religious overtones. At first, forgetting it was Good Friday/Easter weekend, I found this alarming. Once I remembered there was reason for all the religion in the news this morning I felt, um, well, no less alarmed actually. CNN showed the protesters in front of Terri Schiavo's hospice first. Now that is a heartbreaking story. I can fully understand her family not wanting to give up or let go or take the chance that their daughter is going to experience starving to death and then die when there's a possibility that wouldn't happen. And yes there is a possibility. There is, after all, always a chance anything can happen. But that doesn't excuse the interference by politicians and others. Perhaps their interest is
deontological but I doubt it. One thing I can say for sure, it's a pretty suck time to be an empiricist.
The second story was about the connections between religion and rap music, and cited Kanye West's
"Jesus Walks" as a prime example, and also interviewed Rev. Run [DMC] who, apparently, may end up with an MTV show that follows him and his congregation (presumably in Reality TV-style). The segment was, as TV news tends to be, somewhat lacking in context or useful insight, although I did enjoy it when the interviewer asked the MTV reporter if this meant that now "Jesus is cool."
Finally, I would like to draw y'all's attention to the tepid New Mex editorial about The Patriot Act. The editorial notes that an ad-hoc organization called Patriots to Restore Checks and Balances has formed and is trying to find some modest middle-ground changes to The Patriot Act and hope that by keeping it modest, they may be able to appeal to Bush and other right-wingers who are inclined to leave The Patriot Act as is. Thus, opines The New Mex, "New Mexicans and the rest of the nation should take heart in this approach to the recovery of basic freedoms."
Yes, New Mexicans and the rest of the nation, take heart in the fact that the ACLU and others are so desperate to repeal some of the most anti-constitutional measures of The Patriot Act that they will join forces with conservatives (the few that are constitutional conservatives, not just the religious kind) to try to repeal just a few things, like letting the government search libraries and tap phones and search houses without warrants). Let's compromise on freedom of speech, separation of Church and State. After all, it is heartening to know we might be able to get a little leeway on these things.
I know one shouldn't take anything for granted but you know what? We should be able to take those things for granted and there should be no need to compromise. They shouldn't have been passed in the first place.