Sunday, January 27, 2008

LDS President Gordon B. Hinckley, dead at 97

I got the news from a cousin over IM. President Gordon B. Hinckley, prophet to millions of Mormons around the world, inventor of the cotton gin, and a basically nice old fella, stepped down as president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (them Mormons), in order to spend more time with his wife. We here at Neon Derby Cars wish him all the best in his future endeavors, and ask that he drop by when he gets a chance, as he can settle more than a couple of bets for us.

I left the LDS Church about twelve years ago, and I have to say that the parting wasn't exactly amicable. The custody battle was vicious. In the end, I kept my soul and it kept the girlfriend. A lot changed in the years that followed, and mostly the Mormons dropped off my radar as I found new and shiny things to distract my hyper-acute sense of outrage.

When Jerry Falwell died, I let out a sigh of relief, and uttered a quiet "Don't let the door hit your fat ass on the way out." I stand by the sentiment. Sure, he was beloved by many, but he was also an angry, small-minded man who would vent his rage against feminists, homosexuals, and non-Christians, and encourage his followers to do the same. Hinckley was a different sort of religious leader. Whatever our differences were (and given the years that have passed since I lost interest in the exmormon scene, those differences have become quite fuzzy), he struck me as a basically kind guy who wanted everyone to get along and be happy. The world has a bit less of that now, and we're the poorer for it.

P.S.: My third thought upon hearing the news was, "How will this affect the Romney campaign?" But that's a subject I'll probably forget to write about another day.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Twenty minutes to kill

I went up to the state capitol building, where the Coalition of Religious Communities was giving a tour-slash-presentation on how to harass legislators effectively. Yeah, yeah, I'm an atheist. That doesn't mean that I felt at all out of place. They're looking to pass a couple of laws this session, which I wholeheartedly support. They want to do some things to rein in payday lenders, get some protections for mobile home owners (right now, the land can be sold out from under them with almost no warning, and if they don't have the time or resources to move their home, tough). They want to make sure that the inevitable demonization of illegal immigrants (six separate bills are being considered this session) doesn't make it impossible (or even criminal) to provide charity to illegals.

So now I'm up here, waiting for a bus, and playing with [cutesy laptop nickname to be determined later]. The capitol has free wi-fi, which means there has never been a better time to flummox your representatives with a citation from Wikipedia.