I live in Saranac Lake, New York (pop. 5,700), where we’re fortunate enough to have a daily newspaper, The Adirondack Daily Enterprise. It is a slight newspaper, but then, not all that much happens here unless there’s a water main break on a minus 10 degree day. Stuff like that.
Today, however, I read through the paper, briefly smiled at the full-page “Religious Directory” and then stopped at the Food page, which was a full page of “Lent Recipes.”
Pardon me for being pissed off about that, but I am.
This is not a particularly religious community. This is the Northeast, remember: that den of filthy Jews, Muslims, and assorted other atheists. Surely, there are a good number of church buildings; however, they exist because of large endowments from millionaires of days past, when the Adirondack region was the playground of the rich. The Presbyterian Church, which gives Church Street its name, has no more than 20 people present at its one Sunday mass; the Lutheran Church, only about 10; the Methodists, about 20. Only the Catholics and Seventh Day Adventists create a parking problem. Both of those, of course, preach a subtle message of eternal damnation for missing one mass, so they have a better shot at good attendance. However, even in these cases, there are no more than 200 people on Christmas or Easter. All of which means about 90% of the town stays home as a rule on Sundays. So why are there two pages (out of six) devoted to religion?
I’m a teacher of 7 and 8 year old children, Grade 2. There are 20 in my class, and of those, only 2 have ever heard of Adam and Eve. A few think Jesus freed the slaves. My point is, religion is fading away here (though perhaps not in Texas.) We need our media to recognize this change and stop catering to a world that no longer exists. But what do we put in its place?
Imagine this: rather than a “Religious Directory”, we have a page devoted to places in the area where people can volunteer their time and make a positive difference in the community. Imagine that: spending an hour or two every week, perhaps even Sunday, making this a better town. Well, it won’t happen, not with religion standing in the way. With it, we are divided. Without it, we are neighbors.