Thursday, August 14, 2008

Traffic, Religion, and Anti-Mormonism
all in Sin City
The Bridge That Wasn't Built

Yesterday I drove to Vegas by my lonesome. It was a long journey but I was looking forward to my reward of a weekend alone with Mr. Wonderful. When I was close to Vegas, there were signs posted for traffic updates on an AM radio station. I dutifully turned on the radio.

The station was currently airing a program of what sounded like a discourse on Catholicism. I like learning about different religions and decided to keep it on. The program had just stopped for commercial breaks, which were mainly touting a teen book of Catholicism Q&A. I hoped the program would continue on the subject. The radio host and guest came back on the air and launched into an anti-Mormon diatribe. This had nothing to do with the subject I was anticipating. Their conversation was hateful. It encouraged active confrontation. It reminded me of the evangelical preachers that show up on Conference weekend and shout while standing on their soapboxes. (Have you ever noticed that their faces do not show love? They radiate hate as if they can' stand to be there.)

I was hoping to build a bridge of my understanding of another religion. I love walking into churches and looking at the architecture and the art. I love learning about other's traditions. I especially love hearing the music. I love talking to my neighbors about their exciting moments in their religion. We share their happiness when a son becomes an altar boy, when kids go to Bible summer camp, and First Communion. My neighbors will be invited to my son's baptism this winter and the celebration that will follow. They will come, not because they believe in what we do, but to share the joy we feel.

Do I write the radio station and tell them of their perfect opportunity of a captive audience that was lost? I doubt they would care.



Sad to hear such hate. Glad you shared. Open minds and less judgment is what we need. I think that preacher could use some prayers.


Sad to hear such hate. Glad you shared. Open minds and less judgment is what we need. I think that preacher could use some prayers.

MrsVJW said...

Sadly, along with the bigger LDS population around Vegas, comes more bias from people who'd rather condemn with a wide brush rather than try to understand. The way a lot of Catholicism in America is practiced is to "scare" members from exploring any other religion. When my family was still Catholic, I actually had to confess in confession about going to a Buddhist church, a Baptist church, and a Lutheran church with friends, when the priest found out (my own parents thought it was nothing that needed to be addressed in the confessional!). After we changed to a Lutheran church (where members of any faith were welcomed - heck, the priest's wife was still Catholic!) I was shocked when I found out all Christians could participate in communion. At the Catholic church, it was a "catholics only" deal. So a Catholic at a Lutheran (or really, most other Christian) church can take communion, but a Lutheran taking communion at a Catholic church (at least around here) is considered a sin. It's whacky.

Soozcat said...

I think it's worth speaking up, even to those you are pretty sure won't respond favorably.

Once I wrote to one of the more vocal street preachers who come to "preach" to Mormons during General Conference. I told him his behavior didn't seem to reflect the Christian values with which I had been raised. I then mentioned that if he truly believed we were not Christian and were therefore bound for hell, he should be doing everything positive he could to bring us to the gospel of Christ, not to chase us away through deliberately abrasive rhetoric. I suggested that it might be understandable if people were to misunderstand his behavior, since it seemed he was trying to be deliberately rude and provocative in an attempt to push Mormons away from his faith, perhaps because he secretly *wanted* us to remain damned. If so, I told him, he might want to rethink his strategy of "spreading the gospel."

I haven't heard back from him. But at least he knows my mind on the subject.