Wednesday, March 09, 2011

832 Culture Peace

832 Culture Peace

The Conference of New Religions has picked Madison Square Garden for its 2011 convocation and convention. The place will be packed. Twenty thousand or so of the New Faithful are expected. Great boost for the region and the nearby hotels, especially the New Yorker (think “Moonies”) and the Pennsylvania (Think PEnnsylvania 6- 5000.)

Here come the McDonaldites, the Wal-Martyrs, the eBayers, iPadders, iPhoners, iPodders, the Starbuckians and the Roadhoggers. Invitations have been extended to the Tea Partiers, the Footballers, the PoolSharks, and some others, but they haven’t responded yet.

To the uninitiated (most of us,) there aren’t major differences among these groups. But to the individual societies, tension and petty bickering abound. The conference will try to smooth them over to present a united front to the heathens (most of us.)

The Starbuckians, for example think that because this is their 40th anniversary year, they should be given special placement in the hall and that their way of life is both superior to and older than most of the others.

The Wal-Martyrs and McDonaldites point out that their churches are 42 and 70 years old, respectively.

Then, there’s the availability of the house of worship. Wal-Martyrs are convinced that they have hit upon a perfect formula, remaining open 24 hours every day. The McDonaldites apparently have agreed and are keeping their churches open around the clock, too.

The Roadhoggers had always did that, but concede that they’d rather have Johnny-Come-Lately copycats on this score than claim exclusivity.

This is a good thing. Exclusivity, barring the uninvited from worship has always been a mark of anti-ecumenical faiths. The Podders, Phoners and Padders readily jumped on board with this.

So it’s good to see all these sects coming together to present unity based on similarities rather than differences. Outsiders see them as one religion as it is. But the subtle variations of doctrine and ceremony have been keeping them apart.

There are renegades, of course. People who fear a loss of identity by getting too close to the others. The United Church of Neurotic Activians And Compulsivians, the NACs, are a case in point. They merged years ago when both the Church of the Hyperactive and the Church of the Obsessive Compulsivians fell on hard financial times. They believe they are the overall leaders of these newer groups and refuse to “take in the children,” as they put it.

So, two steps forward, one step back. Eventually they’ll realize that in unity there is strength and there’s safety in numbers.


Shrapnel:

--Quote of the 21st century’s first decade: “Holy crap. They knocked the whole fricking thing down.” This from a newly disclosed tape of an NYPD helicopter pilot or rescuer in the air near the World Trade Center on the morning of 9/11/01.

--There are those of us who don’t especially like Altoids but buy them anyway. The reason: the white wrappers and the various things printed on them. One says “In case of surrender, wave this,” Another says “Home for Troubled Mints.”

--This year’s Forbes 400 has just been published. All the usual suspects are there with four of the top ten named “Walton,” and two of the top ten named “Koch.” Full details probably Friday.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to wesrichards@gmail.com.
© WJR 2011

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