Monday, December 18, 2006
Just in Time for the Holidays
As a lad growing up on the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, I never Imagined that my hometown of Colorado Springs would feature so heavily in the worldwide crusade against science, progress, and fact. As I entered High-School, Ted Haggard and the New Life Church were just getting started and Focus on The Family had just begun construction on their complex. By the time I left High School, the grand evangelical Machine was in full swing, and the anti-gay and ultimately unconstitutional Amendment 2, had been passed, and groups like Young Life were infiltrating the schools. I was somewhat blind, really. I noticed more than my peers, and even then I had no idea of the deranged vastness of the Religious blindness that would eventually consume my beautiful town.
The warning signs were all there. The death of Carmine Tagliere at the hands of Vern Smalley should have been a huge warning sign. Carmine was a hotheaded 17 year old, and Vern Smalley was a gun packing retired Colonel - cum Vigilante. So when Carmine and Vern met on the side of the road during a traffic altercation, then Vern happily shot him in the chest. Carmine died, his sister was taken out of my French class in tears, and Vern Smalley was later acquitted by the courts. He later threatened a jogger, and is now making the rounds as a freakish conservative commentator on nearly every Blog that mentions his sorry name. It should come as no surpirse to those of you who have seen the transformation of Colorado Springs, that many elements in the community applauded the court's decision.
After that it was a quiet tumble downhill, and today Colorado Springs is a fortress of right-wing conservative ignorance. So far Right, and so blinded in its righteous rage that even mainstream creepy old Republicans like Joel Hefley are being marginalized and replaced by the "sleazy", far-right, nutjobs that have become all too commonplace in this day and age. If the people of Colorado Springs are too deaf to hear the pleas of their own former representatives, how far will they go?
I'm sure you are cracking a smile, and thinking "He's exaggerating."
I urge you to please take a look at ANY of the hundreds of documentaries that are attempting to expose the harm done by extreme religious groups, where Colorado Springs is featured prominently and constantly.
If you think that this has no effect on the quality of life of Colorado Springs, think again. The intolerance and group righteousness seep into the daily life of people in CS. Its amazing that I fear more for my personal safety in Colorado Springs than in my new home of Los Angeles, but the fact is that the town has become so uniform in its thinking, that the only reaction to progressive thought and individuals is reactionary. I leave you with an anecdote from my father, who was approached about a $2 rate hike by an angry man. My father responded, "I'm sorry but this place is still less expensive than most", the man frazzled, blurted out "But I'm a Republican!".
Funny, yes. My question is, why was the man bringing this to light? Does he have my dad pinned as a rate hiking liberal? Is my dad obviously dark skinned and therefore obviously not one of them? Creepy.
My next post will be a pair of Science documentaries that would make your average Springs resident Pass out. In one, by Richard Dawkins, Ted Haggard and Colorados Springs are featured prominently.