A person’s car is a haven of sorts. Very expensive, dangerous and yet necessary, they have made life a fair bit easier than caring for horses when you need to trot down to the Apple store to pick up a charger for your iPhone. When we leave our cars we don’t have to strap on the feedbag, but in many parts of the world, we do have to lock them up. From a young age I was taught not to touch somebody else’s parked car. People are very possessive of them and some folks get upset at even a smudged finish. I always find it strange, then, when a flyer ends up tucked under the windshield wipers. Not that it happens often, but around the holiday season some promoters will go in for the cheap advertising trick of that paper that first makes your heart skip since it looks like a ticket, and then annoys you when you find out it’s just more junk mail. The other day my wife came home with a new type of flyer under the blades. It was from Tony Alamo Christian Ministries.
To be honest, I’d never heard of Tony Alamo before. I seemed to remember the last part of his name, though. In any case, the earnest-looking evangelist warned loudly in the headline “Never Take the Mark of the Beast or You Will Be Eternally Sorry.” This was a cheerful way to greet the holiday season, but I decided to give him a hearing, or at least a brief reading. By the second short column I’d discovered his “Bible only” technique included interpolating [in brackets] his own reading of the Scriptures, but still enclosing them in the quotation marks. This is, categorically, not so different from preaching—the practice of making your followers believe that you have an inside line on what God meant to say in the Bible, but obviously didn’t spell out very clearly. This is the problem with all Bible literalists movements: they claim solely Bible [but only when interpreted their way]. Those who’ve found their windshields thus violated have grounds to be suspicious [if I understand this technique correctly].
It turns out that Tony Alamo is currently in prison [one suspects the parallel to Paul of Tarsus, or at least Silas, has passed his mind] for ten counts of transporting children across state borders for illicit purposes. I’m not sure which Gospel condones child molestation [perhaps “suffer the little children to come unto me”], but from the Illinois State Pen he still reaches out to put his grubby flyers beneath the nation’s windshield wipers. He also seems to be terribly worried about the end of times. With a 175 year prison sentence, anybody would be [unless, of course, they’ve be persecuted for righteousness sake, in which case they are blessed—and that’s actually in the Bible]. So beware the paper that get wadded up beneath your wipers. Sometimes the Alamo is best forgotten.