At the desk, 6:22 am
I'm not sure quite why, but recently the Republican Candidates have started to remind me of Harold Hill.
"River City ain't in any trouble."
"We must create some," says Harold Hill.
Harold Hill, the Music Man who falls in love with Marion the librarian.
"We've got trouble right here in River City." (I can't embed the video)
The way that some people grew up with movies, I grew up with musicals. We saw three or four a summer as long as it didn't interfere with seeing three or four Shakespeare plays. My father had been a semi-professional singer before he and my mother married. He loved theater and so every summer off we went to see the plays.
So it's not too strange that I would be reminded of the Music Man.
However, what I often forget is that all of this conflict and derision is simply conflict for the sake of conning people into believing something.
The question is what?
For all the talk about God and religion, most pews remain empty on Saturdays and Sundays. Every major religion in the United States and Europe has lost people's interest and hearts.
"The American Religious Identification Survey gave non-religious groups the largest gain in terms of absolute numbers - 14,300,000 (8.4% of the population) to 29,400,000 (14.1% of the population) for the period 1990 to 2001 in the USA. Reuters describes how a study profiling the "No religion" demographic found that the so-called "Nones", at least in the U.S., are the fastest growing religious affiliation category. The "Nones" comprise 33% agnostics, 33% theists, and 10% atheists.
A similar pattern has been found in other countries such as Australia, Canada and Mexico. According to statistics in Canada, the number of "Nones" more than doubled (an increase of about 60%) between 1985 and 2004. In Australia, census data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics give "no religion" the largest gains in absolute numbers over the 15 years from 1991 to 2006, from 2,948,888 (18.2% of the population that answered the question) to 3,706,555 (21.0% of the population that answered the question). According to INEGI, in Mexico, the number of atheists grows annually by 5.2%, while the number of Catholics grows by 1.7%"
But let's back up a bit. What does the research show as the fastest growing religions in the world? (These are in alphabetical order.)
- Christianity in the form of Later Day Saints & Pentecostalism
- Falun Gong (China mostly)
- Non-religious - the winner as quoted above.
Sure, Christianity has grown a bit, but it's not the only one. In fact, a friend of mine who is close to Rome told me over lunch that the Catholic Church has effectively "lost Europe." Many people believe Wicca and Islam are growing so fast in the US that their practices will out take Christianity in no time.
So what's all this noise about?
"You've got trouble with a capital 'T' which rhymes with 'P' and that stands for pool," says Harold Hill.
I know it sounds like I'm joking, but I'm dead serious. I just wish I knew what the con was about. Clearly, they aren't selling shoddy uniforms and musical equipment to con a naive River City out of its dough.
And what are the rest of us to do?
What changed Harold Hill?
Now, I'm not saying we should love these jerks into a better way of life. That's clearly not going to work. I do, however, think we should keep our eyes on what we love - what's most important to us, what we value - and remember that the rest of this is a long con.
...with a capital 'T' which rhymes with 'P' and that stands for pool!
What do you love? What will you shift your focus to?