Friday, November 5, 2010

There is no hiding from them!

So I came to Chicago to give a talk at the annual congress of the Midwest MLA. I believed that leaving Southern Illinois for a couple of days will entail leaving behind the Bible Belt and the attendant religious lunacy.

Sadly, this was not to be. While I was registering for the conference, a man approached me and handed me the sheet of paper you can see on the picture. The typewritten story told me how he had been "saved" by God in 1994, and how his life consequently got so much better. The paper then proceeded to offer me advice on which version of the Bible to read, how to pray, how to seek forgiveness for my sins, and how to listen to tapes of the Scripture in my car. Furthermore, the paper encourages me to "get baptized in water as a public confession of your new faith and new life in God." Then, the author of the paper states that he realizes all this "may seem hard to understand right now" (because we, the academics, are notoriously stupid) and so he offers his phone number to let me get in touch and ask him questions about Jesus.

I kind of hoped that at least at a scholarly conference I will be free from badgering by religious fanatics. It isn't like I go to their prayer meetings distributing reading lists and suggestions on how to educate themselves and become less stupid. So why can't they leave me in peace to enjoy my scholarly activities without being condescended to by yet another sorry fanatic?

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NancyP said...

nuh-huh, Clarissa. The sidewalk evangelist is an American phenomenon, to be found in all cities. Trust me, they are in NYC.

You need to have an encounter with an evangelist handing out "Chick Tracts", or else google and view. Eons ago Jack Chick wrote a series of evangelistic comic books about youth about to "go wrong", meant to appeal to said youth (and bored businessmen waiting for the train, etc). These comic books are true Americana. I imagine that they have been translated (at minimum) into Spanish.

DM said...

C'mon, you also have religious fanatics picketing geology conferences because geologist disregard biblical chronology.

Clarissa said...

DM: Really?? I had no idea this particular kind of insanity existed.