Thursday, September 22, 2011

Strolling Down Dominion Street

[Michelle Bachmann and her husband] experienced a second life-altering event: they watched a series of films by the evangelist and theologian Francis Schaeffer called “How Should We Then Live?” of the leading proponents of Schaeffer’s version of Dominionism is Nancy Pearcey, a former student of his [who wrote that there]  may “be occasions when Christians are mistaken on some point while nonbelievers get it right,...Nevertheless, the overall systems of thought constructed by nonbelievers will be false—for if the system is not built on Biblical truth, then it will be built on some other ultimate principle. Even individual truths will be seen through the distorting lens of a false world view.”

- Ryan Lizza, "Leap of Faith",  New Yorker, 8/15/2011

"... conspiracy theories and visions of genocide are really excuses for the Left to disregard the rules of democracy and defeat conservative Christians..."

- journalist Stanley Kurtz

"What do all of us do? We get ready to take dominion! We get ready to take dominion! It is all going to be ours - I'm talking about all of it. Everything that you would say is a good part of the secular world. Every means of communication, the news, the television, the radio, the cinema, the arts, the government, the finance - it's going to be ours! God's going to give it to His people. We should prepare to reign and rule with Jesus Christ."

- Pat Robertson, from a speech in 1984

"Robertson’s campaign went exactly nowhere, and from that I drew a lesson: what I now know as “Dominionism” is doomed to’s fundamentally un-American, and the majority of Americans recognize it and will resist it...Let’s assume the worst possible case: Rick Perry is a “stealth Dominionist,” and wants to win the presidency in order to implement it in America. He wins the nomination, then wins the election. ...He’d need a majority in the House and a supermajority in the Senate to get the laws [passed]."

- blogger "Jay Tea"

"Both Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry have conspicuously offered themselves as leaders to religio-political activists who, whatever their theological differences, largely share a belief that God’s Will on Earth requires the repeal of abortion rights and same-sex relationship rights, radical curtailment of government involvement in education or welfare, assertion of Christian nationhood in both domestic and international relations, and a host of other controversial initiatives. Does it ultimately matter, then, whether these activists consider themselves “dominionists” or “reconstructionists,” or subscribe to Bill Bright’s Seven Mountains theory of Christian influence over civic and cultural life? I don’t think so."

- Ed Kilgore, "Yes, Perry and Bachmann Are Religious Radicals", New Republic, 8/31/2011

" Indeed, looking across the American landscape, I’d say the Dark One has scant cause for lament amid  quavering pieces about the Dominionist threat which so delight  fundraisers for nonprofits touting the menace of Christian evangelism. "

- Alexander Cockburn, Counterpunch, 9/19/11

"In late 2009, I noted that the Seven Mountains teachings had adherents among those in Uganda who were strongly pushing the Anti-Homosexuality Bill there. If passed as is, the AHB will make homosexuality a capital offense.  "

- Warren Throckmorton, “What Would Dominionists Do With Gays?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Protocol: A Death Down by the River Part VII

(For Part I go here, Part II here, Part III here, Part IV here, Part V here, Part VI here)

Gremlin was a small, thin homeless man with a large shock of longish hair and beard that seemed to shoot out of his head like he'd been electrocuted. All of 114 pounds, he'd been homeless for about a dozen years and had spent most of those years living in the area on the other side of the levee from Basler Street, a lot of the time in a small ravine area called the Snakepit. He was well known in the community there, friendly, talkative and helpful to people. That morning he had been released from a few nights in jail, and his friend Paul was coming for a visit. Paul had been homeless for awhile, and the first night he found himself in the area, Gremlin had helped him with clothes and some protection from the elements. Paul never forgot that kindness and they became friends. Several years previous, Paul had gotten his act together and was now living with his girlfriend Lola in a modest house a few miles from the river. Paul would periodically return to the river, bringing food, clothes, beer and other things to Gremlin. That afternoon, Lola dropped Paul off at the river, where he asked about Gremlin. He was told that Gremlin had been released, but was gone at that moment. So Paul went to the store and bought a case of beer, which he brought back to the river.

He met up with Gremlin and a few other people about a quarter mile from the Snakepit. After a few hours, most of the beer was gone. Paul put one in his back pocket and Gremlin grabbed the last few. They said goodbye to the others they were with and set out walking to the Snakepit, where they hoped to say hello so some other friends.

Around 6:00 PM, as Paul and Gremlin were approaching the Snakepit, Randy returned to the street in front of Danny's house. He again began riding in circles in the street in front of the house, this time screaming at the house, "Why you wanna fight an old man, motherfuckers, if you wanna fight someone come on out and get some of this!" Danny, Mark, and Jay all looked out the kitchen window. Was this Tommy Duke? The guy looked like him, the guy was acting like him - but the guy wasn't making any sense with what he was saying. They couldn't be sure. Jay was livid - he thought it was Tommy and he was ready to make sure this stuff stopped once and for all. Mark decided to get a better look, and went out the front door. He told Randy to wait a minute, and came back in the house.

Randy thought the guys responsible for harassing Old Man Dan would just come out and fight him. What was this about? Randy wasn't quite sure what to make of it - was he getting a gun? If so, Randy would be a sitting duck out there. So he turned away and rode across the street to the levee, where he had to dismount and pull his bike up the hill, over the levee, across the bike trail, and a little bit beyond to a shady area by the Snakepit, where he met up with Bandana and Bugeye, who were sitting under a tree.

To Be Concluded

Thursday, September 8, 2011

End of the Road


By and large, Alleghany, like any small town, was in the grip of Boredom. Memory kindly obscures that fact, and tends to preserve the exceptions to the rule, the unusual episodes like these:

Dan D, the head of a chaotic household in a somewhat dilapidated house on the high road into town, agreed to install an antenna in a tall fir tree to serve Casey's and its customers, the payment being in beverage form, empty cans of which rained down during the ascent, installation, and descent.

My most reliable corrupter, JimmieB, took over his father's workshop in midsummer, in their house next to Alleghany Supply in the name of manufacturing a soap box racer, with a microscopic share of my help. When, predictably, the contraption shortly exhausted our scant interest in its pathetically limited mobility, we fell back on the entertainment of using the magnifying glass he produced from his pocket on the roadside weeds, and prevented a forest fire only by dint of concerted beating of both our shirts. Amazingly, no one happened by during the minutes of frenzy.

Maudie, an elderly Casey's patron, left the premises on a particularly active Saturday night in midwinter, beginning, as she thought, the climb up the hill to her house. The hill turned out to be a snowbank across the street which had ramped itself up to the storage shed roof, off which she fell into the snowbank on the other side. Another patron noticed legs sprouting from the snowbank, and she was extricated without serious harm.

An Italian-American schoolmate (I'll name him Panelli for lack of the memory to produce his name accurately) managed against all likelihood to get his aged 50 cc Honda running, and I got the mouthwatering invitation to accompany him to the covered bridge and swimming hole at the Oregon Creek campground some twenty miles distant. About three miles out of town at the ranger station on the ridge road, the bike died, we both got off, and he, suspecting immediately that the problem was electrical, pulled out the fuse - and it was indeed gray and opaque with carbon. Once he finished tossing the fuse and cursing loudly for several minutes, he cut off a bit of wire from elsewhere and used it to bridge the fuse contacts - by this time I was already a believer in magic - and we were soon tooling down the road with nary a care, then in the water, then eating the candy bars I cadged from my father.

My grandmother, a blueblood New Englander with a Christian Scientist twist, saw the poster that the proprietor of Alleghany Supply, the playful Joe Sbaffi, put in the meat department - a life-sized photograph of a nude adult African selected specifically for genital impressiveness. That, for us, was an event.

These isolated events, and no doubt quite a few forgotten ones, tie the day-to-day endurance into a picture, a picture of a place inimitable, and though still inhabited, mostly gone.

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Protocol: A Death Down by the River Part VI

(raccoon painting by Teo Alfonso;

(For Part I go here, Part II here, Part III here, Part IV here, Part V here)

Loaves and Fishes was about a half mile away. It was a non-profit dedicated to helping the homeless. Old Man Dan still made it to Loaves and Fishes around 7:00. It was at this time that he and a couple hundred others would get morning coffee and, if they wanted, lunch tickets. Dan got his coffee and ticket and went to his usual gazebo with his usual coffee klatch mates, which included Bugeye, Double D and Randy Terrell, a 30-ish, well built man with a bad anger and booze problem. He lived under some trees not far from Dan behind the car dealership fence, and he considered Dan a friend. He grimaced as Dan's story unfolded and Randy's goatee and shaved head accentuated the anger that was building in his face. Dan told them that he had been threatened, shoved and kicked. But he didn't want anything done about it - Dan wasn't the vengeful type. Randy was fuming. Yeah, he had his problems, but there were two kinds of people he would always defend: the handicapped and the elderly. And he didn't like it one bit that two men had harassed his friend.

It was Randy's habit, depending on how much he had made that day from "canning" (i.e., collecting recycles for money), to buy several 40 oz bottles of Hurricane Beer, the fortified kind, the kind that was over 8% alcohol. Randy had a pretty deep drinking problem. And it didn't help that he occasionally added drugs to the mix. After leaving Dan and the others, he got on his bike and made the usual rounds looking for cans. This happened to be a very good day, and after a few hours, he'd made a decent day's wages. He bought his first Hurricane, went back to his camp, and continued stewing about what had happened to his friend. His tooth was killing him; he would have to get that dealt with, but for the time being he took a coupla vicodans for the pain. Around noon, he decided to check out the house where Dan had been attacked. He rode his bike over to the end of Basler Street and began riding in circles in front of Danny's house, mumbling curses and profanity.

Danny was in the kitchen and when he looked out the window and saw the young man circling in front of his house, his first response was one of terror - was that Tommy Duke again? It sure looked like him! He called out to Mark, who came into the kitchen just as Randy rode away. Mark just caught a glimpse of him, but also thought it was probably Tommy. This was not good. This was getting to a point where something would have to be done. When Jay returned, they would tell him that they thought Tommy was back and looking for more trouble.

A few hours later, Randy bought his second Hurricane and again finished it at his camp. This time, he pulled out his glass pipe and added a little meth to the mix. There was no way those two guys were going to get away with hurting his friend. Who did they think they were? His anger was reaching a boiling point and he decided to do something about the two men who had attacked his friend. Around 5:30, another homeless man named Bandana came by with a few Natty Lights, and Randy talked about what he was going to do. It just wasn't right what happened to Dan, and Randy was going to let his fists take care of the matter.

To Be Continued