A couple weekends ago, Ashlee and I stopped at a Friendly’s in West Haven, Connecticut to satiate a bizarre craving she was feeling for a chicken salad. Who even knew that Friendly’s made a notable chicken salad? As the saying goes, you can take the girl out of Wilbraham, but you can’t take Wilbraham out of the girl. (Wilbraham, MA produced both Ashlee and Friendly’s.)
The experience could have been a complete disaster, as the booths were filled with the dregs of society and their wailing hideous babies, all stuffing their faces with ice cream. It was a repugnant scene, to be sure.
But our waitress was an adorable young woman named Sara, who smiled and seemed happy to be there and just made me feel good about spending my money and raising my cholesterol. In spite of her crappy job, she looked genuinely content and made the experience quite, well, friendly. A simple smile goes a long way. In fact, more than a decade later, I still remember a wonderful Friendly’s waitress from Madison, NJ, who I always admired during high school.
Also delivering top-notch customer service are the Mormons. I was recently approached by some young Mormon lads while sitting on a park bench. They wanted to know if I was interested in God. And, of course, I was!
But at the risk of alienating that segment of our audience, please humor me while I whine yet again about religiosity. I know it gets old, but I just can’t help it. This God guy totally gets my goat!
The Lowell Sun recently published a tedious centerpiece on its front page, titled: “Faith and the 5th.”
Beyond its existence, I guess there’s nothing particularly offensive about the content, aside from the nauseating photo that accompanies the package: a soft-focus shot of a rainbow over a hillside, with headshots of the 5th district Congressional candidates. (For one of the poor saps, they actually used a picture where his eyes are closed!)
The sub-head for the Sun story is a reassuring pat on the back for panicked voters who are worried that Marty Meehan’s replacement might be some heathen <gasp> non-believer.
For the rest of is, it’s just another kick in the nuts. “Many backgrounds, but one thing in common: Religion matters.” Phew!
I wasn’t even going to do one of these today, but I must direct your attention to this clip. I posted Hitchens on Anderson Cooper yesterday; but I should’ve posted this one. Dough Boy gets taken to the cleaners.
Let it buffer so you can take it all in one long hit. Then the rest of the night, you’re on your own. Dowutchafeel.
Take, for instance, the Lowell City Council and the Greater Lowell Interfaith Leadership Alliance (GLILA). At the behest of GLILA, and more importantly, the city’s lawyer, the City Council recently agreed to stop reciting the Lord’s Prayer before its meetings. (Click here for prior coverage on Lucy the Blog.)
It doesn’t take much smarts to see that the Lord’s Prayer is a distinctly Christian prayer, and thus wholly inappropriate to kick off meetings conducting city business. Taking things a step further, logic might also dictate that there are better places than the City Council meeting to pray out loud to any God. And perhaps one of those pleasant moments of silence would be more appropriate. But that’s not what we got here in Lowell.
Instead, the City Council adopted a watered down “nonsectarian” prayer, written by GLILA, which they read as follows:
Today as this session opens, we pray that your presence will be before us and everyone who serves in the decision-making process of our city. We pray for direction which will lead our city to be strong and unified. May we continue the legacy of our founders. May we be granted this day the wisdom to make decisions which will be for the good of the city.
We also pray for your special blessing on all those who are working to transform our city and make it a better place to live and work.
According to a Lowell Sun op-ed piece by Stephen Fisher, president of GLILA, “The use of a nonsectarian prayer welcomes everyone into full participation as citizens.”
Uh, not quite, Stephen. To the contrary, standing up for the Lord’s Prayer or this lame-ass substitution makes me feel excluded, itchy, and isolated, since I don’t really believe in your one-size-fits-all God. And, in fact, when you froth all over him and ask him to guide our city, it sorta creeps me out. So count me as one citizen not feeling the full participation vibe.
Fisher also writes, “When the council prays at a meeting, it is no longer simply a personal devotional matter but a public action taken on behalf of the whole city. [Gee, thanks!] The use of a nonsectarian prayer welcomes everyone into full participation as citizens.” Again, Stephen, not everyone.
While I object to the premise of the councilors praying out loud at the meeting to begin with, I also object to the mamby-pamby lunacy of this Mad-Libbed nonsectarian prayer. If I was of any religious ilk, there’s no way I’d say it. What’s the point of pretending that your God is some super-unifying force? That the Christian’s God is the Jew’s God is the Hindu’s God is your momma’s God. Has everyone lost their goddamned minds?
Climb on board kiddies, because Captain Barbarino’s in the cockpit and he’s taking us for a one-way flight around This Week In the Noose!
Only history can say where our journey will take us. But the No Smoking light has been turned off and you are free to roam about the cabin. So pack a magazine, eat some peanuts, and pray to the everlasting Chocolate Jesus above that we’ll reach our destination unscathed.
What? Not even prayer can save us now? Say it ain’t so!
The week got off to a rough start for our fellow travellers. Airline passengers carrying the bird flu were detained and later executed by New Jersey state police, while real-life comedian Eddie Griffin totaled a $1.5 million Ferrari.
In other news MONDAY, an Alberto Gonzalez aid vowed to take the Fifth rather than testify against Dos AG at the Senate. And the results of Anna Nicole Smith’s autopsy led to speculation about her bowel movements.
Other results proved that Alabama is the most religious state in America. And Time tried to bring the rest of us up to speed, only to receive the wrath of bourgeois leftist secularists. It’s Adam and Eve, Rachel Sklar, not Adam and Steve. Get off your high horse!
A judge in England ruled that drunk women can, indeed, screw. And between you and I, some are even prone to once they get a couple in ’em. Like when I was 5, I gave these twins a sixer of Zima and they totally let me take pictures of their tits. But who hasn’t that happened to?
Also Monday, a teacher stabbed himself in the neck, distraught over allegations that he’d been improper with a student. And a nerd war erupted between Boston Globe scribe Dan Shauneghssey and conservative pitching sensation Curt Schilling. (Full disclosure: Schilling and I are colleagues here at WordPress.com and often engage in playful cafeteria grabass.) Continue Reading This Week In the Noose: March 26-March 30, 2006…
For 40 years, City Councilors here in Lowell have opened their meetings by reciting the Lord’s Prayer. I’ve only attended one of those meetings, and that part was pretty uncomfortable. Most days, being an infidel is easy – and made easier by the fact that I rarely leave the house. The only time it can be a drag is weddings or funerals, when you have to put on your nice pants and sit upright while everyone else kneels on the kneeling bar thing. And the person in the pew behind you is breathing down your neck and Jesus Christ is hanging up there on the crucifix all sad and skinny. I doubt He finds those sculptures too flattering.
That slight discomfort is expected at a wedding or a funeral or a Christmas Eve mass. No biggie. But it should not be expected at a government meeting. Apparently the Lowell City Council finally gets that. Kind of. Maybe.
After months of contemplating the issue and securing a legal opinion saying the practice violates the First Amendment, a formal sub-committee voted last night to put the Lord’s Prayer to bed. According to the Lowell Sun, Councilor Rita Mercier told the meeting:
“I love the Lord’s Prayer, and I want to keep it … however, I know that I’m not above the law. You can’t imagine how it hurts me.”
Rachelle Comtois, of the Interfaith Leadership Alliance, had this to say:
“I find it sad to see the Lord’s Prayer go myself, being a practicing Catholic, but at the same time, I know it’s the right thing to do. We have to trust when that change happens that God is there.”
It seemed that for once, logic and reason had prevailed. With the situation soundly resolved, the Councilors could now move on to more important issues. But not yet! As they say in the Beast Lair, More Mindbending Melodrama Awaits! Believe it!