5.31.2010

Where All the Great Ones end up

It's kind of embarrassing to admit that I didn't know this until now, but given the my recent post on LOST ending in a Unitarian Church, I thought this worth posting. It's from the journal Leviathan, and was written by Gail Coffler in 2006:
Herman was brought up in the strict Calvinism of his mother's Dutch Reformed Protestantism, with its stern emphasis on sin and damnation and the belief that one could be saved only by faith in Jesus Christ, and probably not even then. On the other hand, his father had been a Unitarian. Herman's wife Elizabeth was also a Unitarian, like her father Judge Lemuel Shaw, who had been Herman's father's close friend. When in New York, Lizzie and Herman attended All Soul's Unitarian Church; in Pittsfield, the family attended St. Stephen's Episcopal Church. Back in New York, after Pittsfield, according to Rev. Walter Kring, who was a minster of that church not too long ago--and a former president of the Melville society--evidence shows that Herman became an official member of All Soul's Unitarian Church toward the end of his life. As Dr. Kring explains in his book, Herman Melville's Religious Journey (1997), the Unitarian church would not have required Melville to subscribe to any creed or belief in order to become a member.
This almost makes it seem like I'm taking my religion second-hand, doesn't it? Anyway, I know you'll eventually be tempted if you love Freedom and Truth and Justice (and if you're still reading my blog, you do), so make sure to "favorite" the link above, and listen to the podcasts when you get time. Or just--here's a link to the podcast page.

Now: when is somebody going to smarten up and ask me: "Okay, Casey, if you like Unitarianism so much--which requires no adherence to any creed--why can't you like a poly-cultural America with no foundations or "national" mores?"

Because I'd really struggle with that question. It does seem to me that an institution needs to require something of its members in order to maintain its identity as an institution (so I don't object to being excluded from the Catholic rites, for example), but it also seems to me that an institution that requires adherence to any creed will eventually turn to coercing confessions and so forth, and that seems worse than exclusion to me.

So: by that logic, we should require "illegals" to show their papers, and to jump through some hoops if they want to become "legals." Because the alternative is... wait, I feel like I broke this parallel somewhere?

8 comments:

奎峰 said...

我們不是因為快樂而歌唱,而是唱歌使我們快樂..............................

fenhopper said...

speak english you damn foreigner!

Casey said...

He is speaking English: those are just Chinese characters for English.

fenhopper said...

could you explain what you mean by that?

fenhopper said...

(yes, even if it's a joke)

Casey said...

It was a joke. I was just calling "language" "English," I think... Like maybe a derelict mountain dweller would say, "No that's not gibberish, Larry; it's English. It's just in Chinese."

fenhopper said...

ok, well i was thinking you might be showing more awareness than i had expected. (so much so, that i assumed if you meant it seriously, you might have consulted someone who knows chinese logograms.)

since chinese logograms are mostly syllabic, those symbols actually could be "sounding out" english and making no sense in chinese. but i'm pretty sure they are actually representing chinese.

Casey said...

Oh, yeah. No, I didn't consult anyone. :)