Friday, April 11, 2008

How to Speak to an Evangelist, by Paul Theroux, another

On a train in Africa Paul Theroux finds a “white woman … She greeted me in so friendly a way that I paused and chitchatted until the swaying of the train on the curves swung me and had me grasping seat backs to keep my balance. That sudden motion was helpful, for it seemed natural for me to avoid it by sitting down across the aisle from this sweet-looking woman.”

Susanna is a missionary, from Ohio, here to bring the sinners to God. After some more chitchat Theroux is warmed up:

“’What about homosexuals? Do you have any views on them?’

“’Homosexuality is an abomination. It says so in Leviticus.’”

What else to do, bored on the Limpopo Line in Mozambique? Theroux asks himself and carries on.

“’The Mosaic law is full of weird prejudices. Chapter fifteen is all about a woman being an unclean abomination when she’s menstruating and how she has to sleep alone then. I wonder how many Christians obey that one? Chapter eleven says fish without fins and scales, like shark and eel, are an abomination.’”

As with the typical idiot Christian Susanna abandons her first support, evidently unwilling to stand up for abominating eel or insisting that rabbits really really do chew their cud, cuz the Bible tells her so, and runs over to Paul. He says it’s a sin!

“’The Bible says that women are forbidden to wear men’s clothes.’

“’Sometimes you have to interpret scripture,’ Susanna said.”

This means she gets to wear trousers and not endanger her soul thereby. “’I don’t hate homosexuals, but they’re committing a sin.’”

“’And if you eat shrimp and wear men’s clothes, you are committing a sin, too, aren’t you?’

“’I know I’m a sinner,’ she said cheerfully. ‘We’re all sinners saved by grace.’”

When unable to marshal its resources for an effective defense the missionary blithely uses the Bible as a doorstop – that is blocking anyone from opening it. “’I believe in the Bible,’” Joanna contradicts herself. “’It’s in the Bible.’”

When they get to her stop Susanna says, “’I’m going to pray for you. For your happiness and health, your family, and your safe travels.’

“’I’m going to pray you stop using the word “abomination” for gay people,’ I said.” Then he adds, of Africans, “’I’m going to pray … that you stop calling these poor people sinners. As if they haven’t got enough to worry about.’”

source: Dark Star Safari, by Paul Theroux

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