September 17, 2012

The "God is Dead" guy is dead

I came across an obituary this morning:
Theologian William Hamilton, a member of the Death of God movement of the 1960s that reached its peak with a Time Magazine cover story, has died in Portland, Ore. He was 87.
I remember that Time Magazine cover. The issue came out when I was a senior at the odious Archbishop Molloy High School in brain-dead Queens. That very morning, the Marist Brothers who taught us rushed into our classrooms, holding the issue up and pointing at it as if it was a picture of the devil himself.

They had a stern message for the students: "Tell your parent to cancel their subscriptions to Time magazine immediately!" It was an ultimatum, not an option. We were compelled by the lord jeebus to do this.

I was 15 or 16 at the time and I remember thinking, "What dimwits! Like people can't say things in magazines unless they comport with your illusions." I was already an outspoken atheist (including in religion class, much to the Brothers' consternation). I guess this was the first wingnut thing I observed up close: the inability of these clerics to read something without blowing up. Apparently the whole world had to cowtow to Roman Catholics. Sounds like today's Muslims, doesn't it? I mean, okay, they didn't incite us to riot. But there was no room for non-Catholic opinions in the world. This was made clear to us.

It was a seminal moment for me. I always thought the school was run by nitwits, but now I had confirmation. Thanks, Marist Brothers, for helping me to see Catholicism as the authoritarian, narrow-minded cult that it really is.

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