Thursday, February 02, 2006

"God is the lover of the zoo."

Over New Year's while talking to me, my mother was relating that my cousin who is a Baptist minister had met Bobby Welch, the president of the southern baptist convention. Mom went on to relate that my uncle had coached him, I believe in college (in what sport, I don't know) and that he always been really nice and friendly to my mom and cousin (who were about 4 at the time) and they had their first childhood crushes on him. He always talked to them when he came by the house and (I think) was a lifeguard and would sometimes take the to the pool. Kind of a sweet story, and he sounds like he is and was a really nice guy.

This is part of what makes so much of the politics of the last couple of years so painful: I know that individually the people pushing the worst policies are also really nice people individually. Not all of them are the awful people you would expect when you look just at what they support. The freepers are the vocal few, trapped alone in their miserable lives whining on the internet, but most of the folks who voted for torturing people, war for revenge and profit, cutting social programs for the poor, harming the environment, demonizing gay people, and adjusting the tax code to benifit the the wealthiest among us are suprisingly decent people when you actually meet them one on one (and make no mistake that any vote for bush this last go round can only be viewed as a vote for such; four years into it you can no longer feign ignorance). I have no doubt that were I to meet Mr. Welch, we would probably get along so long as we didn't discuss politics or religion.

But I'm probably not going to meet him individually, despite some sort of family connections. I am going to meet his effects on the direction of the baptist church. The extreme politicization of the southern baptist convention is how I have to judge him and those he represents.

Anyway, I haven't really dug too deeply into learning more about him specifically and don't care too right now. He was nice to my mom as a child and I'll stick with that for the moment (though I am not departing with my belief that the modern southern baptist convention represents the worst of modern America).

I finally googled his name though and got this link:

Go Bobby Welch!

It is an amazingly obnoxious (and long) piece of writing to read, but the final paragraph begins with this line which begged to be shared:

"God is the lover of the zoo."

If you want context, go for it, the link is there, but it really ruins it. I do recommend the whole last paragraph, but just the line itself borders so beautifully on the absurd and is likable all by itself. Without that awful article of condescending vapid ra-ra-go-team fight-fight-fight-win-win-win crap, you can give it its own context, find a way to let it make sense. Associated with the greater horror that it is part of, you can't like it so much.

Like Bobby Welch.

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