The medium is the message


I just watched an HBO documentary called “No One Dies in Lily Dale.” Lily Dale, NY is a town inhabited by spiritualists. For anyone who has done any reading on metaphysics, the name of one of the residents should stand out for you: Ray Buckland.He does have a small piece in the doc, referred in the sub-title as the author of “The Spirit Book.”

The film gave a fair representation of the mediums inhabiting the town. It didn’t take a stand on the validity of their professions, it simply showed them dealing with clients one on one and at several gatherings, or services as the residents called them.

While the film was interesting enough, there was one incident in it that struck me which had nothing to do with the mediums themselves. In the town there is a tree stump referred to as “Inspiration Stump.” It is surrounded by a short fence and, as is made obvious in the documentary, it is considered a sacred space by the residents. In fact, at one of the gatherings the clients are instructed not to try and touch the stump.

At the gathering in which this is mentioned one particular client is present. She describes herself as an evangelical born-again Christian. Later in the documentary, with no one present excepting the film crew, she climbs over the fence and stands on the stump proclaiming the she is claiming it in “the name of Jesus Christ.” Before she climbs over the fence to do this she says that it is “like an altar.”

I would hope that any person who is reading this would be shocked by this action. It is an entirely despicable act. It would be equivalent to me going to an active local church, climbing on the altar, and claiming it for the Lord and the Lady.

This is a prime example of the ignorance and arrogance of evangelicals in this country. I would like to re-iterate a point I’ve made before: this is not referring to the average Christian who lives by their faith and lets others live by theirs.

But those who cannot understand why this would be offensive are the same people who would claim that their hate speech is not, by definition, hateful. This is the hypocrisy evident in their actions and words.

To be fair, it is entirely possible that the film crew prompted her to do this for effect, but the even-handed way in which they handled the rest of the documentary leads me to believe that this is not the case.

In addition to the more “liberal” groups to which I belong, I am also an e-subscriber to the newsletters of organizations calling out for a separation of church and state. While I don’t agree with those in the organizations who proclaim the non-validity of any religion, we share the belief that we cannot and should not impose our beliefs on others. And getting the religious influence out of government is a step in the right direction toward achieving this.

I am now calling out to all peoples of faith, no matter what that faith is, to decry this type of display. If enough of us speak out, perhaps these people who believe that their faith allows them to perform sacrilege, in words or deeds. against the faiths of others, will realize their mistakes.

I do have my doubts about that but I am hoping that, in the interest of positivity, it is a realizable goal. Will you join me in it? If so, please re-post this.

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