Saturday, March 29, 2008

Ready for the Rapture?

I attended "Hubfest" today in Hattiesburg, a good-sized street fair during which a few blocks of the downtown area are closed off to make room for crowds of people, food and craft booths, and two stages of live music. Aside from the weather not cooperating very well (afternoon thunderstorm), it was fun. i had forgotten what great reminders that I am in Mississippi these things can be.

Virtually every organization I could think of had a booth. Local restaurants were well represented, as were groups ranging from the university to animal shelters. And then there were the religious fanatics.

I managed to find an entire booth devoted to "the rapture." The man staffing it had the wild-eyed look of a street preacher off his anti-psychotics. His booth was covered with signs asking passersby to consider whether they were "right with god," knew where they'd go if they died today, and the like. We was pushing literature and CD-Rs containing who knows what. It also appeared that, like any good evangelical Christian extremist in the South, he was well stocked with anti-Catholic propaganda.

What surprised me was not his presence. I have never been to an event like this in Mississippi where his kind was not well represented. What surprised me was how many people I saw stopping by his booth to talk with him and take his literature. Evidently, there are a great many people in this area who actually believe that the world is going to end soon and they will be summoned to "heaven" while the rest of us burn.

I don't know how I feel about this. I pity those who suffer from this type of delusion, but I am also enraged by their presence, as they distribute fear and hate among all the smiles.

2 comments:

damestrato said...

I don't think everyone has the ability to step back and look at things critically. Their judgment may be clouded by the number of believers that surround them. Maybe some do question, but do not want to lose the security. The thinking is "all these people can't be wrong." I just tell myself that i am lucky to have the ability to look at things in a logical manner - I don't vocalize this, because i may end up in the hospital. I'm ok with being a minority - I have faith in the younger generation. When we aren't a minority, will it be better for us?; will we be as united?

vjack said...

Good points, damestrato. The thing about keeping relatively quiet so that one does not end up in the hospital is sadly something with which I can relate.

When we are no longer a minority - or at least one that can be vocal and assert our rights - will our situation improve? I think so, but this still seems like a long way off, doesn't it. Were this to happen, I wouldn't expect us to be as united because we simply wouldn't need to be. I think that would be okay.