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John Anderson: Halloween and religion in America

John Anderson: Halloween and religion in America

From the UPDATED COLLECTION: The Altman file, full coverage, reaction since public condemnation of Democrats series
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Well one week from today is Halloween. You know tricks, treats and gangway. Or the poem from your years as a kid “Tonight is the night ,When dead leaves fly, Like witches on switches, Across the sky, When elf and sprite, Flit through the night, On a moony sheen." (Harry Behn 1898-1973). That is for next week though.

I sat down to read the Herald a couple of weeks back. I was just getting started when I was told I was going to Hades. Yes indeed, Hades, you know the place where the Devil is, smoke, flames, a smell of Sulphur in the air just like most structure fires I have been on over the years. I was contemplating that thought. The person telling me of my fate seemed especially earnest in the matter.

The person, one Father Altman, a Priest at La Crosse’s St. James the Lesser, a Catholic parish on the North Side of La Crosse. He informed anyone who watched or listened to his video that any Catholic who was or voted for a Democrat would be sent to their eternal rest in Hades. Hmmmm Lions and Tigers and Bears Oh my. As I contemplated my fate the sun broke through the clouds. The sun illuminated the room and I remembered I was a Protestant, or a Druid, or a Wiccan or whatever. I was not Catholic. My entire being sighed with relief.

I don’t know Father Altman, I like La Crosse and I remember a Bishop or Cardinal Burke who was also from La Crosse. He went to St. Louis I think and then on to Rome. I believe the current Pope has Cardinal Burke cross referencing the Latin Bible with the Greek bible somewhere in the Vatican basement right now. One does not cross the Pope.

I grew up in a Catholic neighborhood in a German Catholic-Lutheran Community. As a Presbyterian I was a mystery to most folks. Yet what the good Father Altman is speaking about existed when and where I was growing up. Then a mixed marriage was not between people of different races it was when a Catholic and a Lutheran got married. There was no greater shame to have people whisper behind your back that one of the partners in the mixed marriage “Got Catholic” or “Got Lutheran”.

I do not know what effect the good Father Altman will have on Catholic Democrats. I know I have Catholic friends who have used birth control their entire married life. I know Catholics of my age that still, to this day, eat fish on Friday. Friday night fish fry ring a bell for anyone? I am sure that there will be discussions on the good Father Altman for quite a while. What I do know is that there will be guidance from above (earthy or heavenly) and matters will be set straight.

This also pertains to those folks who are concerned about the number of Catholics on the Supreme Court. I must say that causes me little concern. Just as I suspect that the first Wiccan, Pagan, Islamic, Satanic Temple member or no faith person that will be appointed to the Supreme Court will cause you no concern.

I await the day that a person running for public life may stand and proclaim that he/she has no religious affiliation. When asked the question “what role does your faith play in your life?” the newly appointed or running for office person will be able to say “ it really has no role in my life, for your see, I have no religious beliefs.”

Will the earth stop spinning, will the sun rise in the morning? The answers are no and yes. If the answers were yes and no I think many people would re-evaluate a whole lot of things.

I give you the words of  the late Billy Graham in the March 2011 edition of Americans United , “I also would have steered clear of politics. I’m grateful for the opportunities …… but looking back I know I sometimes crossed the line, and I wouldn’t do that now.”

It all comes down to the separation of church and state; I think we can all agree on that.


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