When the Snakes Do the Talking

They sure teach the kids to string their thoughts together at the University of Rhode Island. Consider Gabriel Lugo’s letter to the URI student paper, The Good 5¢ Cigar, apologizing for mistakenly “paint[ing] the author’s person with the same irrational beliefs” as some fundamentalist Christians whom that other student had, in a limited way, defended. Writes Lugo:

In a world presided upon by the monopoly of evidence, rational thought and logical honesty, it is our duty to challenge these messengers of hatred, misinformation and intolerance.
Let us not forget the power wielded by some of the fundamentalist religious groups in this nation. Belief in invisible alpha males, flying deities, talking snakes and magical apples of knowledge has a profound effect on political landscape of the United States of America. Forty-four percent of the electorate share the conviction that an omni-benevolent Superman will return to Earth in our lifetime and bring forth the Endtime. One need not be a prophet of doom to see the effects that this herd mentality will have on the only remaining Superpower.

Inadvertently, to be sure, Lugo has fleshed out in language the reason that many a rational and honest person is justified in fearing the palpable effects of disbelief in that venerable “omni-benevolent Superman” who presides over us all. He may not believe in “talking snakes and magical apples of knowledge,” but Lugo’s passive voice raises equally troubling questions: With what species of judgment and enforcement does his tripartite monopoly preside upon the world? How much tolerance is due those whom Mr. Lugo apparently hates?
I fear for Gabriel that he may, someday, depart from academia only to discover, among the variegated masses of his fellow citizens, that some exist who are respectable, even admirable, and intelligent, and yet who ascribe to the “herd mentality” that his pack has taught him to hunt. What will be his reaction when he finds that the easy prey abounding is not so simple a matter to devour and, worse, that the herd stubbornly insists that it has a right to shape its society and government?
The University of Rhode Island would offer such as Gabriel an incalculable service for his money by throwing in his path some selections from the vast library of Christian thought that are not so plainly dismissable. Whether a secular American university is still capable of challenging its students to such an unthinkable degree is another troubling question.

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