I just read a couple blog posts that touched on censoring our children's music, which transported me back to I think the fall of 1980. I went to a revival type meeting with a van-load of other folks. There was a traveling pair of pastor brothers, who gave these presentations full of parsed lyrics and reviled album covers and, ultimately, urged kids and young adults all over the Midwest to burn records and pray for our classmates who were surely worshipping the devil when they listened to the Eagles' "Hotel California", Simon & Garfunkel's love letter to heroin, "Bridge Over Troubled Water", or those really devilish bands like AC/DC, etc. It was wild how crazed everyone got at the venue, and then on the way home how everyone was ranting about what they had to throw away when they got home and how sad they were that all our friends were going to hell...I was carried right along for much of it - a credit to the frenzied fear-mongering power of these traveling brothers, as well as my own narrow "believe folks who speak from a position of knowledge and authority" upbringing. But somewhere toward the end of the rant, they got to my favorite band at the time - Styx. They added Styx to the list of "must burns" for the sole reason that their name was the name of the river to hell...I consider this a huge credit to my naive, 14 or 15 year old self, that I stepped back with a "What?" It stopped me in my tracks. "That's all the best you can do? Fault them for taking a mythological name for a river?"
From there, I started to see the panic in the face and voices around me, and I wondered about the brainwashing that seemed to be occurring through that revved up panic mode. And as everyone in the van on the way home talked about getting rid of albums, I was thinking "but then you'll just go re-buy it next week when you get over your panic..." which led to the novel logical realization that these revival brothers were probably putting more money in the pockets of the bands they revived against because of all the re-purchasing likely to happen, or the free advertising they were offering those bands...I wonder now if I was right about that.
I now attend an ELCA Lutheran church, as I have since my childhood. My husband is a "recovering Catholic". Last week, our pastor gave a sermon about faith and his opening statement was about how some people accept faith "hook line and sinker" and others question it and want proof. He actually made it black and white like that - as if the questioners (often the scientific or analytical types, he said) have it wrong. And he commented how two children, raised from birth in the same home by the same parents in the same way can be on either side of this line. My brother and I being a perfect example of this - only 2 years apart and I am now virtually agnostic since my "questioning" makes me believe that no one religion can possibly have it all right, and my brother is a complete right wing Christian conservative. But in our youth, I was the "hook line & sinker" and he was the religion rejector. I'd like to ask my pastor to explain that evolution to me under his black & white theory. But I digress.
It makes me sad to know I am one of those people that my brother doesn't trust since my beliefs, as he must believe them to be (even though he doesn't ask about them nor do I offer them up since I avoid political or religious discussion when we are together), are "choices" he doesn't agree with. And you all might have some sense for the regard in which I hold my nieces and nephews, to be kept at arms length from half of them torments me on a regular basis. I hate that there is "us" and "them" within my very small family, but I have to acknowledge that it's there.