Dear ones,
I received the following by email. It probably violates the charter for me to forward it... but does anyone know the truth of this? I am incensed!

 Some Muslims wear sacred clothing. So do some Jews. The same for
 Native Americans and some Hindus and others. Bits of cloth or string
 that are physical reminders of God and his bond
 with man. Sacred things, really, prayer shawls or beads, head
 coverings or aprons, medicine bags. Things that are special to people,
 honorable and good things.

Things that should be respected.

 One would not, for example, rip the yarmulke from a Jewish man's head
 and mockingly fling it like a Frisbee. Nor would you wear a yarmulke as
 a spoof or joke. Certainly not as an attack on Judaism. Not as a
 mockery of Jews and their faith.

 Yet something like that happened this weekend. In front of thousands
 of people in one of America's great cities. An act of religious
 desecration, bigotry and discrimination. And the perpetrators boast of
 it to the press. It was in Salt Lake City. And it was against Mormons.
 And somehow that makes it acceptable.

 Here's what happened. Over the weekend, Mormons gathered for what they
 call "general conference." It is a twice-a-year meeting that draws tens
 of thousands to Salt Lake City and is broadcast around the world to an
 audience in the low millions. It is a worship service. It is sacred and
 special to them. And each year it is protested.

 So-called Christian evangelists stand on the sidewalk outside the
 Mormon meetings and shout rude condemnations of the religion to the
 thousands who pass in and out. It is an odd spectacle, unmatched in
 American society. To think that crude protesters would stand outside a
 mosque or synagogue, or a cathedral or church, and harass worshipers and
 denounce a religion is just beyond the pale.

 It is an act of indefensible religious bigotry. And yet it happens,
 and is often applauded and boasted of.

 This column started with a mention of sacred clothing. Well, Mormons
 have sacred clothing, too. Like a variety of religious garments, it is
 worn against the skin. It is a type of underclothing. They don't talk
 about it. They don't show it to people. They keep it sacred. Like
 virtually all-religious clothing, it is a specific reminder of  promises
 made to God. Like virtually all religious clothing, it is precious and
 significant to the people who wear it.

 Well, Sunday the evangelists had some. Maybe six guys, Baptist
 ministers, mocking the Mormons as they came out of a meeting. Shouting
 rude things to people coming out of church. And they had these sacred
 garments. And one supposed minister of the gospel was wiping his
 backside with them, laughingly treating them like toilet paper as
 thousands who held them sacred walked by.

 Can you see that being done to a prayer shawl in front of a Synagogue,
 or a prayer rug in front of a mosque? Wouldn't all decent people
 publicly denounce that sacrilege?

 He also draped them around his neck, and pretended over and over to
 sneeze into them. And loudly blow his nose into them. While families and
 children walked past.

Stop for a moment.

Lay aside what you do or don't think about Mormons. But was that right?

 More to the point, was that Christian? Is that what Jesus would do? Is
 that what any decent person of any faith would do? Absolutely not. It
 is wrong, bigoted and un-American. No matter who it's against.

 It was an affront. It smelled like the bigotry of the Klan and the
 Third Reich. And yet the ministers boasted of it to reporters and  posed
 for pictures and no one in the Utah or American religious, media or
 civil rights communities has condemned it.

 And, oddly, two worshipers were taken away in handcuffs. One man,
 dressed in his church clothes, walked past in the crowd, saw the insults
 and desecrations, and grabbed the piece of clothing. To protect it. He
 was charged with robbery and taken to jail. Half an hour later another
 worshiper similarly grabbed a molested garment and attempted to take it
 away. He was unsuccessful and waiting police stepped in to take him into

 And that's the world we live in. You are harangued for your beliefs and
 arrested for defending them. And the bigotry of our society is
 illustrated by how selectively we practice tolerance.

- by Bob Lonsberry C 2003

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