Today’s edition of Crimes Against Divinity comes to you courtesy of Alice from “Alice at Wonderland”, who hosted one of my Chick tract dissections yesterday. If you haven’t already taken a look at her blog, get your ass over there. The story below “… is about the day I encountered a bunch of religious nutters screaming about hellfire on our campus (where I work as a librarian). They even gave me actual Chick Tracts. Unreal.”
Clearly a logical choice to follow up a Chick dissection. Enjoy.
It was just another one of your average, heart-stopping, exciting days at the library – until around noon when I noticed some of my coworkers staring outside. At first I thought they were just torturing themselves with the promise of freedom, but then one of them spoke up.
“Alice,” she said. “There’s a bunch of guys from some church out there shouting and waving signs.”
Well, this was new. I mean, sure, back when I was a student at this same college I’d seen a guy standing in front of the administration building handing out those mini Bibles while informing us that we were hell-bound. Jeez, just what I wanted to hear at 8 A.M. on a Monday. No one else really wanted to hear it either, because you could see the kids making two widely spaced lines around the guy so as not to get anywhere near him.
But that was just one crazy guy. Not all that unusual, given this university is in the Bible Belt. This promised to be something different. My two coworkers had packed sack lunches for the show. I decided to follow them out there – I mean, I needed to see this. For . . . research purposes.
As we got closer to the fountain in the center of campus, we could see the – honestly, I’m not exactly sure what you’d call them. They wore matching orange T-shirts (so they could pick out the saved from the unsaved I guess) and several were carrying signs. A couple of people were also handing out some kind of leaflets.
One man stood up on a chair holding a sign as big as he was and shouting at the top of his lungs for us to repent for we were in a cesspool of depravity. What? Oh, I guess he meant our university. Well, that’s nice, thanks a bunch. I mean, sure, we’re supposedly secular here, but we also have student organizations with their own buildings representing Baptists, Catholics, Methodists, Church of Christ, etc. so we’re not exactly lacking in religious offerings. Maybe this guy should have checked out the campus before he started shouting, you know, done some research. Nah.
My coworkers sat down on a nearby bench and popped salad into their mouths. They were new employees – one was a Yankee, so this was really far out for her. Her eyes grew wide as saucers as she stared in disbelief.
“We’re not all like this,” I assured her.
She relaxed a little. Meanwhile, the unfortunate students tried to pass through the blockade to, you know, get to their classes or to have lunch. Or, I suppose, to boil their cats, though I kind of doubt that. College kids are too lazy to go to that much trouble. Whatever they were trying to reach, they were having a heck of a time getting through. I’m sure they were thrilled to hear that they were going to burn in a lake of fire for their sin of eating too many curly fries or whatever.
Like finals aren’t bad enough.
One kid walked by us and muttered, “Yeah, THAT’S a good way to bring people to God.”
Certainly sounded appealing to me! The man continued to shout and I stepped a little closer so I could clearly make out the signs. One said all homosexuals were going to burn. Nice. I wondered what church this was exactly, since this was pretty whack even for the Bible Belt, so I approached one of the, um, messengers. She handed me two Chick Tracts.
Say what? In case you don’t know what those are, check out the last post. I didn’t think people even made those delightfully cheery fire and brimstone booklets anymore. What a discovery! I flipped through them as I walked back toward the library. But then, another voice shouted above the din. I went back. A young female college student was shouting back at shouty man. Oh, okay, this was getting good now.
She yelled, “This is NOT Christianity! We have a right not to hear you yelling this stuff in our faces!” And he yelled back, “Blah blah sin hellfire blah!” The student whipped out her phone and called the campus cops. I wanted to stay and watch some more, but I figured they might actually start to miss me in the library. What if there was an archival reference emergency? You just never know.
So I went back inside. I showed the tracts to my good buddy, who happens to be a Catholic. One of the tracts was, predictably, anti-Catholic complete with a woman staring into a crystal ball. Cause Catholics do that, you know. I asked if he’d seen the nutters outside.
“Oh, yeah,” he said. “I stopped and talked to one. It went pretty well until she told me all Catholics were necromancers.”
“Hey, I never knew you guys could summon the dead,” I said. “Where do I sign up?”
We bantered back and forth a bit more. Fortunately said coworker happens to have a great sense of humor. Still, I found it unreal that Christians would hate another group of Christians. I mean, they worship the exact same God. I really don’t get it. But I did know one thing. I had Chick Tracts, something ripe for comedy – and a blog post! Then I stumbled upon Senator Jason’s awesome tracts and figured he had done all the dirty work so I’d just let him entertain me instead.
Whatever happened to the nutter evangelists? The cops did show up, but apparently they just stood around and did nothing. The crazies were exercising their right to free speech. Fair enough, but somehow I doubt they’d be so laze-fair about a Muslim shouting about Allah, or an atheist declaring that God is dead. But this is God’s country out here, so that’s the breaks. I’m just thankful that their particular brand of Christianity is not the most common. I have enough problems dealing with archival emergencies.