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Prove It

Claims for spiritual site significance demand verification......

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, August 17, 2005.

I hate religion. I don’t believe in God or in an afterlife or any of that. I think it dumb and born of cowardice and fear of death. Worse, I sort of do find amusement, like Hannibal Lecter, reading about churches collapsing on congregations, or bus tours of the faithful straightening a Alpine curve at high velocity into the abyss, or the public revelation that a religious entity or twelve has operated as little more than a well financed ring of pedophiles and rapists and all of Aunt Gorgon’s hysteria about church as important for the moral growth of your children turns out to have been nothing more than a promenade of likely victims for the lisping clergy of predators, for which the dear Aunt was herself rewarded with a cleansing roll in the pew with a willing priest or two. So uplifting and an appeal to our higher natures.

And I think demented men who want to have relations with the underage children of their neighbors and co-religionists are not excused – much lest blessed - in the accomplishment by being members of a Mormon sect or flamboyant Caribbean cult or inner city pimping operation that opens each day with a prayer. You’re polygamous rapists of the underage, is all, and enveloping yourselves with the gossamer of God incarnate is a sin against all that is decent. Like a safe childhood.

Jesus?And I take an annoying amount of pleasure laughing at poor peasants in some far corner of Los Angeles or Brentwood who find a taco shell that resembles Leonardo’s Pieta or, better, a bathroom stain that is an image of the blessed Virgin. Even those who found solace in water stains that recalled Christ to them in drainage pipes of an underpass do not escape my scorn. You’re absolute idiots. Each and every one of you.

This is your God? That is your God on drugs.

It’s important for me to say all that solely so I won’t get accused of bigotry against a particular religious group. I hate them all.

Here in Boulder the Damned not far from where I live, Native Americans of various tribes are claiming that the Valmont Butte area is of spiritual significance. Their protests did much if not all to force the City Council not to build a biosolid sewage plant there, or to allow the county’s fire departments to practice their craft. It was a fair vote, long fought, and the City lost when the Council caved and refused to proceed with the projects.

At Valmont Butte last December 31, local law enforcement got burned when they closed down a Sweat Lodge thermoanalgesia spiritual leader Robert Cross had the right to use the land for the sweat lodge, but the Sheriff didn’t know that, and they closed it down supposedly fearing a drunken series of incidents, being New Year’s Eve. The Lakota were not the tribe that ruled this area, and New Year’s Eve has no significance to Native American religious traditions, but Cross had done this before with no problems.

Still, I would have enjoyed being there to confront the religious at City Council last night. I would have liked, at the time they presented their claim of religious significance, to ask them to prove it. Supposed tribal authorities appeared from far away to lend prestige to the claim.

It may even be true, but so what? It’s safe to say that a religious ceremony or hundred has been held on every square foot of this Hemisphere’s land, and you cannot take a breath without inhaling the bone dust of ancient Native Americans.

There is a movement in Montana along the Rosebud to get the site of a large Sundance made sacred. It was here that Sitting Bull had the cathartic visions that promised his people victory over the soldiers in 1876.That has historic claim, and it did happen, and we know pretty much where. But until that historic importance appeared, no Indians found the site crucial to their spiritual well being or anyone else’s.

Valmont Butte, which is nearly a Superfund site already for the stuff done around it, will likely now be sold off to a private developer, and no respect will be shown the contentions of Native Americans and less sensitivity to the neighbors in full NIMBY mode than the city showed, so to call it a Pyrrhic victory is to inflate it. It was, in fact, a stupid battle to wage.

But Boulder doesn’t want even the appearance of being unsympathetic to Native American views, actual or supposed. Another and even less likely prayer circle in south Boulder was treated as if its placed stones enclosed the skeletons of Glastonbury or was the rediscovered and autographed Ark of the Covenant. Not only is it unlikely that the spot was particularly sacred, we don’t even know if Indians made it, or an early Scout troop, a sorority initiation ceremony, or what is denoted by these stones.

There’s much to fear in a land where significant numbers want us to be a theocracy, and the Left greatly erred in surrendering all religious argument to the right. It never hurts, in science or creation science, to say “prove it” before caving. I wish Boulder had.