It’s that time of year again when the conspiratorial juggernaut of misinformed, or dare I say just plain ignorant e-mails, passes through my inbox. In an election year they get increasingly more moronic, like trying to explain to a two-year old why the sky is actually blue. I usually ignore those trifles of stupidity on either candidate, mostly because they come pre-packaged in an air of bias, and I have enough of that in my life without prowling through cyberspace. But occasionally there comes along some ridiculous piece of information that you can’t help but rebut.
When I was sixteen years old, we would gather Thursday nights at a home of one of the members of my father’s church for prayer meeting. Chairs were informally set up, either in a living room or dining room, and members would share their prayer requests around the room for “the body” as a whole to pray about. Millions of these meetings still exist on Wednesday and Thursday nights around the country to this day. This one particular evening, a woman brought in a printed sheet that apparently contained some highly sensitive material. It was treated with the utmost seriousness, and many who read the paper did so with hints of horror and disdain upon their faces. The letter was concerning the company Proctor and Gamble. You may know them as the progenitors of many household products that you probably have in your home at this very moment. In the 80’s, P and G, used to put their official company logo on the back of each of their products. It is a crescent man in the moon being surrounded by thirteen stars. In the wisp of the man’s beard you can make out what appears to be the inverted number 666 in the curls. The heading of the letter contained this verse:
Revelation 12:1, which states: “And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars.”
(Note that in this scripture, it’s a woman clothed in the sun, not the man in the moon, and it is a crown of twelve stars, not thirteen stars in the heaven. Go figure, scripture can be twisted to say anything.)
Because of the 13 stars in the P and G logo, some believed (as this paper did) that the company had made a direct allusion to the verse perverting it with thirteen stars and apparently, under theological guidelines, qualified the symbol as Satanic. It then asked the reader to boycott the products that were listed. My mother was horrified. She developed that panicked look as she mentally raided her household products cabinet to do an inventory of this demon company’s products in her house. She had let Beelzebub into her home, and he had come in the form of Ivory soap. “Ninety-nine and forty-four one hundredths percent pure, my ass”, my mother’s eyes read.
Turns out, in the 1800’s, Proctor and Gamble was a successful candle company. They had held a contest to determine what the company icon would entail. The final design was rendered as a reminder that Proctor and Gamble candles light up the night as bright as the moon and stars hence, (and I say this with an immense amount of notable sarcasm) the man in the moon with…you guessed it, stars. But what about the 666 in the beard? Chalk it up to 19th Century art stylization. And the thirteen stars, twinkling in their orbs like little demons poking fun at all the believers? Representative of the thirteen original colonies that Proctor and Gamble so serviced with their fine candles. Hide it under a bushel?…No! And let’s not get into the campaign that was run against the company by the army of the ignorant. They even went so far as to say that President of P and G at the time appeared on The Phil Donahue show on a Saturday morning and claimed that he and the company we’re the loyal servants of Satan. Rest easy…no interview ever took place and the Donahue show never even ran on Saturday’s. But it was enough to make the company take the logo off its products, though it still exists on stock sheets issued by the company, and still remains on the side of some the corporate buildings.
The Nineties saw no less of a letdown in propaganda el stupido. This time the target was the up and coming Beverage Company called Snapple. On their tea bottles an image exists of what appears to be African-American slaves tending to a ship with a logo of a “K” surrounded by a circle. American’s (targeted again to well-meaning Christians) were led to believe that through this visual depiction, Snapple had openly supported slavery and racism by the sheer look of the graphic and the circle “K”, most certainly had ties to the Klu Klux Klan. Down with Snapple were the cries of angry conservatives, as a shit storm raged against the company.
The graphic…is the official painting of the Boston Tea Party. The slaves…were the objectors to the British taxing of tea dressed as Indians. Maybe not the best costumes in hindsight for the protestors, but you can understand why Snapple might put that on the “tea” bottles. As for the circle “K”, Jews snickered in their little corner of irony at the fact that we got so bent out of shape for their symbol that the product was “kosher”.
This brings me to the most recent awareness issue from the Council of the Stupid, the new American Dollar gold coins. Instead of me spelling it out…let me just give you the email.
This simple action will make a strong statement.
Please help do this.. Refuse to accept these when they are handed to you.
You guessed it
‘IN GOD WE TRUST’ IS GONE!!!
If ever there was a reason to boycott something, THIS IS IT!!!!
DO NOT ACCEPT THE NEW DOLLAR COINS AS CHANGE
Together we can force them out of circulation.
Now the email enough should be evidence, but let’s break it down.
1. If you are going to send something this banal, at least show us both sides of the coin as evidence.
2. These coins were not commissioned and manufactured as an evangelistic tool, they were commissioned to commemorate the U.S. Presidents.
3. Have you ever tried to take a penny out of circulation? The most useless piece of currency we have still makes you look down on the pavement to pick it up.
That entire aside of course, let’s trump the mind-numbing intellectual evidence of the e-mail. Well for one, “In God We Trust” is actually on the coin. It appears on the edge of the thickness of the coin, as well as the words “E Pluribus Unum”, the year of minting, and the location of where it was minted (P for Philadelphia, D for Denver). To be fair, some early mintings of the coin the edge wording (all of it) was absent. It’s nice to think that some little atheist or agnostic stuck their grimy little hands into the cogs of the Department of the Treasury, but the fact of the matter is that it was a manufacturing error as the coins are stamped on the obverse side (front) and the reverse side (back) in the same process, while the edge minting is done with an entirely separate process. Good thing too, cause there is a lot of coin collectors happy, because mistakes in the minting process (just like stamps) mean more value. It was a mistake…not an anti-Christian statement.
But many were not happy to have “In God We Trust” relegated to the outer rims of our currency. Never mind that they paid no attention whatsoever “who” was on the coin. Let’s just sample our first four President’s theological leanings.
1. George Washington: Deist. Did not believe that Christ was divine, or that God was involved in the everyday activities of his creation. Also, he owned slaves, and grew hemp.
2. John Adams: Unitarian Humanist. Pretty much the same flavor as a Deist, but less involvement from God.
3. Thomas Jefferson: Humanist. Also owned slaves and grew hemp. As well as being a wine connoisseur.
4. John Quincy Adams: Unitarian. See John Adams.
(Author’s Note: I do not have problem with any of these men’s theology or lifestyles per se. Washington and Jefferson both released their slaves upon passing from this world. I’m just making the point that maybe one ought to do a little “homework” before parading their ignorance and hypocrisy around the internet.)
On December 26, 2007, the House of Representatives passed House Resolution 2764, stating that all future impressions of the “Golden dollar” were to have “In God We Trust” imprinted on the obverse or reverse sides. Front and back seems ok for the Divine, just don’t go pushing him to the edges.
I frankly don’t care whether it is on there or not. My spirituality and how it becomes fleshed out in my life is not tied to its representation on my currency. Plus, it obviously has been missed by plenty of people in banks and all over the country considering the present financial crisis we find ourselves in today. My objection is to the ignorance. If you’re going to send some fly-by-night shit to my email box…at least have the decency to check if it’s really true. Because in the end we have enough stereotypes to overcome, being a bloated and ignorant nation isn’t one of them.
By the way…
Plants make oxygen, but trees don’t. Let’s see how far that one goes.