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Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Looking for the Tree of Knowledge in Homer


Originally published in

I’m spending a few typical August days with my parents in Homer. There’s lots of catching up to do with old classmates or the random co-worker from my teenage job at the Sourdough Bakery. Lots of fishing and addressing what we refer to as Pop’s “halibut insecurity” when the freezer levels dip below a certain amount.

I’m writing this column while mom, a retired primary teacher, is volunteering at the local elementary school to organize backpacks for children who don’t have what they need to start school next week. Pop and I have been discussing what lesson he will preach on Sunday. I’m writing you this postcard from the Peninsula.

Folks down here are still buzzing about a recent Kenai Assembly meeting where a woman from the Satanic Temple gave the invocation. With all the things going on in the world, this is sure taking up a lot of bandwidth. This is what makes people write letters to the editor? We’re back to all that mythology that America is a Christian nation and the end times are upon us.

To be clear, this is what Iris Fontana said in her opening “prayer” for the Assembly, “Let us embrace the Luciferian impulse to eat of the tree of knowledge and dissipate our blissful and comforting delusions of old. Let us stand firm against any and all arbitrary authority that threatens the personal sovereignty of all or one. That which will not bend must break, and that which can be destroyed by truth should never be spared its demise. It is done. Hail Satan. Thank you.”

I realize Fontana is going back quite a ways in the Bible to bring up the tree of knowledge, but can’t we just get over that. That horse is out of the barn. I don’t mean to be a spoiler here, but Eve kinda blew the whole “no knowledge” thing when she listened to a snake and ate the apple and got our entire human race kicked to the curb outside of Eden, scrambling for fig leaves. Thanks, lady.

Oh, and Fontana isn’t wrong – our impulse is to learn, which is why there were instructions not to. Since it’s impossible to break back into Eden and all that was before, we should just go for the knowledge thing. I mean, I doubt the Garden of Eden had mosquitoes, so that’s quite a price to pay to and not use the knowledge.

The mention of “personal sovereignty” is usually hailed by most Alaskans. We hate the idea of “any and all arbitrary authority” that would threaten our rights. Don Young talks about it all the time. Hell, we can’t get a road built because of the tyrannical federal government according to both he and Lisa Murkowski. Even people who hail Satan don’t like to have the boot of government on their throat.

Imagine that. We have something in common. Maybe she thinks puppies are cute and ice cream is yummy too.

One of my friends liked that Fontana said “thank you” at the end. “Just because you’re a member of the Satanic Temple, doesn’t mean you can’t have manners,” she noted. Thank God for that small measure.

Coffee came out my nose when I read a comment on the ADN story. “I heard that if you listen to it backwards you can balance the budget. True story, my cousin’s friend said so.” Brilliant, sir. Well played.

This brings me to my point. Why does anyone need to open a public, government meeting with a prayer to any god? I’ve heard a lot of great prayers in my life, and none of them were at a public meeting. Those are performance art pieces in the name of piety. The courts have already ruled if one religious group gets to use public meeting time for its minute-sermon, then you have to let them all.

I’m against having a Satanist or an atheist open the public square for business. I’m against a Christian or a Jew or a Muslim doing it either. God knows, the job our local, state and national governments are doing, they are giving us all pause to pray – so why don’t they get down to the business at hand and spare us the ignored intentions of the various faithful.



3 Responses to “Looking for the Tree of Knowledge in Homer”
  1. juneaudream says:

    Well shucks n shoot. I had..rather thought that in moi ..old age..I might start a local cult..and collect dues..up until I had enough to buy a ticket..back up to Juneau. Hit up a cousin or two..for boat trips..past Bear Island..and off to Thayer Lodge..and there..set myself to..composing a truly splendid wordy thing, then..mail in my application a few weeks. I..think this over. (religifusion/cultyigion/) let them..all do..their thing..and I snuggle down in stump..about 6 miles..up the trail from Angoon..and honor..our bears. Why? Because..if any of ‘we’..mess up..our bears..will ..clean up.

  2. Pancho says:

    False piety and false patriotism are deeply ingrained in our national psyche, spawned of the same shallowness or posturing.

    I am reminded of the last unsuccessful rigging of the presidential primaries.

    In 2008, George Stephanopolous, the weasel who had played the role of the Clinton’s lawn jockey for the previous couple of decades , was pretending to fairly moderate a call-in ABC “debate.”

    What sounded like an elderly woman asked (I’m sure these stupid callers were screened in), “why isn’t Obama wearing his flag pin?”

    Wiping the stain off his nose, Steph later claimed they were just paying attention to underexposed, but terribly vital questions.

    I’m glad I wasn’t there, live, and in person. Had I been I would almost certainly have jumped up on the stage and kicked him square in the ass and my bail would have almost certainly been a bit more than however much I had in my wallet at the time.

  3. Llana Nixon says:

    As always, well-said, Shannyn.

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