Our friend’s brother suddenly passed away. Sad. I didn’t know him well, although I knew of him. We met a few times. Seemed to be an okay guy. Played guitar a little. My wife did a favor for his daughter a while back involving formal dresses.
But he died. A memorial service was held Sunday and a post service get together was held at the sister-in-law’s house.
During the portions of the service where members of the congregation felt compelled to address the audience and unburden their feelings, the daughter and the daughter’s boyfriend decided to become additional members of this subset and, by so assuming, did impose themselves upon the attending flock.
During their rambling disconnected delivery of their collection of anecdotes, certain decidedly derogatory remarks were directed towards Jews. Rather than gasps or silence, the congregation collectively responded with appreciative giggles and grins.
Of course after these heart felt eulogies, the cheap-suited minister was obligated to deliver the usual circular arguments expounding upon the insistence of afterlife, Jesus’ just rewards and the general single avenue one must take in order to successfully transport one’s otherwise worthless sin laden carcass to them pearly gates.
As a brief departure, I could not help but take note regarding the attire of the faithful parishioners. And I grant you I do not regularly attend such events.
Perhaps because of this this my viewpoints may appear to be a bit jaundiced. But I am accustomed to a certain degree of decorum when it comes to the attire adorned at such events. It seems to me somehow shorts, sneakers, biker colors and t shirts fall decidedly outside these expectations. This should have prepared me for the unfolding offerings contained within.
After the service, although composed, I found I could not leave the premises quickly enough. I could actually feel myself hyperventilating with ill-disguised rage.
My buddy Alan followed a safe distance behind. I suggested I was somewhat less than appreciative of that service. Alan is more philosophical and tougher than me so he was able to shrug off the obvious. “The world is anti-semitic. You’re surprised?”
The drive to sister-in law was silent for me and my wife was respectful of my wordlessness, recognizing that anything coming out of my face would not be subject to any thoughtful filtering.
The last straw was, at the house, where daughter’s boyfriend cavalierly tossed off a line about too many Jewish students attending a local University.
I had a phone conversation that evening with Alan and his wife the purpose of which was to determine whether I was being overly sensitive.
They both attempted to assuage me by saying that although my observations were accurate and my feelings were justified, I should let it go because of the caliber and collective intellect of the crowd.
On the one hand, they are decidedly correct.
However I remain steadfast in my resolve that what we had witnessed was simply a small port hole into the rather unseemly world of the general consciousness.
Through news, commentary, and the general timbre of communications there appears to be a rising tide of anti-semitism.
I fear with the widening wealth gap and the general state of lemming mentality, a scapegoat state, as we have witnessed in a number of cultures throughout the ages is slowly but steadily emerging.
My hope is the veneer of civility will be maintained. My fear is that ignorance and mob rule will become the order of the day.