By Peter Fredson

Fundamentalist imposition of the 10 Commandments on the state of Alabama has led to much acrimonious controversy, including an apology by a native Alabamian who felt embarrassed for the entire state.  I want to state my personal views on this matter.

First, Alabama IS a beautiful state. Its landscape, woods, rivers, skies, and shores should not enter into any religious criticism or reflect undue environmental determinism on the people of Alabama.  Second, there is nothing wrong with the people.  Taken as a genetic pool they have individual characteristics reflecting the many different waves of influx: Indian, Spanish, French, English, African, Mexican, etc.  As with any large population it has geniuses and morons with the vast majority reflecting enormous human potential. Third, the cultural influences of economy, politics, education, and religion have made a mixture of mores, patterns, beliefs, systems and emotions as unique as in any other part of the world.

The old cultural habits of slavery, social relationships, taboos, mythology, mores, the agricultural system, and many other factors of discrimination, corruption, and intolerance die hard. The Civil War, for instance, still rankles divisive emotions in the state.

If one can speak of the hodge-podge of their educational devices as an “educational system” one can partially understand the heterogeneous and deleterious effects on people of Alabama.  Any type of education for Indians and blacks met with determined opposition thru the centuries, with enormous foot-dragging and discrimination. Some people were deliberately kept uneducated and in poverty for political-economic reasons. They were roughly defined as “barely human.” Raising plantation crops only required cheap labor, accompanied by pitiful housing, food, medical services and clothing barely sufficient to keep workers alive. This mentality dies hard despite many humanitarian efforts. Attempts at “separate but equal” schooling often resulted in much more separation than equality.

Religious influence on education has been the most deleterious in conserving the medieval aspects of obscurantism, mysticism, superstition, intolerance, bigotry, and racism. People of Alabama served as sheep to be sheared by church professionals. They were taught church dogma from childhood and were incessantly “sermonized” by Baptist, Methodist, and Presbyterian evangelicals, teaching hell-fire, being reborn, getting sprinkled, sin, Satan, Baby Jesus, forgiveness, cruci-fiction, Apocalypse, inferiority of women, blasphemy, prayer, in a dizzying whirl of revival. foot-stomping yahoo hoopla, with no latitude for unbelief.  The Ku Klux Klan found fertile ground in Alabama for their white Christian supremacist rhetoric. Black evangelicals have proven to be as dogmatically conservative as the most vociferous whites.

In the last 25 years Christian pressure groups, coalitions, conferences, and conventions have stormed into political life, insisting that their beliefs be translated into law. They forged legal myths regarding beliefs, prayer, icons, symbols, commandments and other evidences of the superiority of their religion. It is almost impossible to escape the insidious influence of Christianity on Alabama law and education as it is deliberately all-pervasive.

Missionizing and proselytizing in the state have been aggressively pursued, especially during early education. It is no accident that even a State Supreme Court Judge would declare that the commandments of his religion had to be publicly and universally acknowledged. His pronouncements were not original.  It was planned that way by the top constructors of religious activity. They instigated True Believers, including school children, to demonstrate their affection for Christianity by public display of Christian artifacts and pronouncements of fidelity to Christian dogma. They intend to institute a theocracy, with True Believer Presidents, Governors and Senators leading the way with a cross in one hand and their Bible in the other.

Let me reiterate.  It was planned that way. It is not accidental. Christian leaders have conspired for years since Ronald Reagan, and worked hard to bring the present results of dominance. Just ask Ralph, and Jerry and Paul and Pat and Jimmy and George and any of the other top leaders of Christian religio-political strategy.

There is nothing wrong with the people of Alabama.  It is the pervasive aggressive religiosity in which they were indoctrinated for the past 300 years that has warped their judgment, ruined their potential, substituted myth for logic, bliss in heaven for a decent life on earth, and has augmented intolerance, racism and hatred toward non-believers.  Pity!



7 thoughts on “BACK IN ALABAMA

  1. The only smart person to come out of Alabama (that I know of anyway) was Jimbo Wales, the founder of Wikipedia. Man, what would we do without him?

    Given that it might not be the people, I still won’t be visiting Alabama anytime soon…

  2. A beautiful setting doesn’t make a state but the people who inhabit it do. They may not all be redneck idiots but enough of them are to make the general image valid.

    In Alabama’s case, the cream isn’t rising to the top and the milk’s sell by date is many years past expired.

    Or are you just playing Jesus’ advocate and saying “forgive them Lord for they know not what they do”?

    Sorry, I’m not buying it.

  3. I’m from Alabama, Bo$$. Hopefully y’all can count me among the those of many much smarts.

  4. Whenever that region is pissing me off I just put on Porky’s. That movie just always manages to restore my faith in Southerners.

  5. But seriously, I’d be lying if I tried to stick up for the state as a whole. It IS very beautiful. And there are the pockets of metro/industrial/engineering areas to be found. Basically, Birmingham and Huntsville. Nasa, Army Aviation, Redstone Arsenal…Huntsville is extremely hi-tech, with some of the highest per capita income and education in the country. You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a PhD in this particular area…But you get much outside those metro areas and WHOOO-WEEE are you in for a treat. I’m sad to say, most of the stereotypes DO apply. If you can just accept that, it’s quite humorous.

    As long as I can pull over and buy boiled peanuts and a sack of tomatos from Cooter Brown as I scurry between metro areas, I’m OK with it. I even speak redneck, if I must. And yes, I do know where to aquire a jug of shine. And I eat pork brains in my eggs. And I know people that have NEVER EVER left the area code they were born in. Never. Maybe even zip code.

    Our legislative endeavors that leak into the national news are a constant source of embarassment for me. Did you know I can’t even join the Netflix version of adult DVDs b/c they WON’T SHIP TO ALABAMA!? Bastards. A girl just wants to get her groove on…

  6. First of all…. Brandi, I’m a sucker for Bettie Page. You could have me writing bad checks in no time.

    Maybe Alabama will serve as an inoculation against extreme religiousity. The state performed much the same in regards to the klan and racism. The images that came out of Birmingham in the 60’s helped pave the way to civil rights.

    So I say give Roy Moore plenty of face time. Let him display his psychosis. He may inspire the far right fundies, but they’re a lost cause to begin with. It’s the moderates and others who are still in control of their cognitive processes that will be pushed our way…. Besides, grown men and women crying over a ROCK has entertainment value.

  7. Besides, grown men and women crying over a ROCK has entertainment value.


    I have a photo of a trailer between here (home) and our marina (hour away). It’s a nice new double wide…with a sign out front that says “Country Bed and Breakfast”.

    I wish I was making that up.

    But hey, that’s good stuff. And the Mullet Hunting is extremely target rich. I’ve always got a camera on me. Double points if they’re wearing a Skynrd shirt.

    And hey, there’s always Mississippi.

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