Saturday, March 5, 2011

Sad Street Theatre

Every time the Souther Decadence Festival comes to town, New Orleanians and tourists are treated to the protests of Rev. Grant Storms and his band of "Christian patriots," or so they deemed themselves. They walk through the French Quarter with broom, cleaning the area of filth, or so they said. Rev. Storms had a church--which he lost--and a radio show on which he railed against those he pronounced sinners, non-Christians, or any other Christian denomination not to his liking. Catholics were satanic and demonic, so I guess I'm going to hell in a hand basket.

Last week, Rev. Storms found himself embroiled in a scandal of his own. Two women allegedly saw him masturbating in his vehicle, which was parked in a local park near children. They were collecting their children and flagged down a park employee. The employee detained Storms until police responded. Storms is a bit of a puzzle. He vehemently denies masturbating or being a danger to children. He says he had stopped for lunch in the park, felt the urge, and was relieving himself in a can. In almost the same breath, he readily admits to a penchant for liking pornography but denies the allegations against him, insisting the truth will come out in court. Now, Rev. Storms has a right not to approve of certain lifestyles. That's his business, but his willingness to condemn others violates the very Christian tenets he supposedly espouses. Curious, isn't it, that some people who sing the loudest in the choir may have the ugliest sins? Notice that I said he was allegedly seen doing something inappropriate. I wouldn't want to judge him in the same way he's judged others. Lately, he's been on the news, admitting to his liking of porn and asking for forgiveness. He admits to being "prideful" and has even asked for forgiveness from the gay community. Surprisingly, the owner of one establishment he has vilified has expressed compassion for the man and pity for his family. I wonder how it feels to have someone you once hated and saw as inferior come to your defense. As I said, Rev. Storms will have his day in court. So far, these are only allegations, but the man's lambasting of others is simply wrong. Storms professes to be a Christian, but I guess he missed the lesson in which Jesus advised people with sins not to throw stones. None of us is without sin, not this preacher, his family, or any other human being.

People who promote hate are quick to judge and often intolerant. Storms and his followers crusading through the Quarter reminded me of the members of that Kansas church who protest at military funerals. They say awful things to grieving families and brand anyone who doesn't practice their flavor of Christianity as hell bound. They, like Storms, have the right to their opinions, but they say they are Christians. How is harassing people at a funeral Christian behavior? I've seen these people. They stood outside my church in New Orleans, holding signs and screaming awful things at us because we're not a denomination of which they approve. They were in town that week because a Jewish group held a conference downtown. They approve of no one and feel free to vent their fury on others. Perhaps one day, they, like Storms, will have to look to the very people they vilify for succor.

1 comment:

  1. AS long as there have been people there have been religions for us to use to allay our fear of dying. What gets twisted is when some try to use them to tell us how to live also. And as you point out, the ones yelling about sin the loudest, are usually the ones doing things the rest of us would go "ew" over! Too bad they hurt others with their condemnations.