Monday, August 13, 2007

Jews go home

How am I just now hearing about this? From the St. Louis Post Dispatch:

In this town of 3,000 residents, there are at least 15 churches. Maybe 20. They're featured prominently on business street corners. They're also tucked away — hidden almost — on residential blocks.

So you don't need to travel far to find the good Lord, as they say. In fact, visitors can't drive into town without a holy hello.

"Welcome to The Village of Alorton," say two green-and-white billboards with lights shining on them. "Where Jesus is Lord. Randy McCallum Mayor."

By all accounts, the longtime, city-owned signs have never seemed to stir anyone. As it turns out, though, they could be a problem.

The city erected and maintains the signs, Mayor Randy McCallum said...

Former Mayor Callie Mobley, who took office in the early 1980s, said she immediately pushed for the signs. The City Council approved them, and the city paid maybe $250, $350 tops for each, Mobley said. The reason for the signs was simple.

"I believe in one God, one Baptism, and one Lord," she said.

And never once did she hear any objections to the signs.

It actually surprised me to find out that Illinois was actually a hotbed of sundown towns in the not-so-distant past, having a higher percentage than many other states. So I guess it shouldn't shock me to find out that such intolerance in downstate (surprise!) Illinois is still going on. Geez, have these people even heard of the Constitution? I don't give a rusty crucifixion nail whether or not the mayor believes in one baptism or two-point-six dunkings in sanctified Jell-O.

The mayor makes it sound so innocent, saying that there were no objections. Well, duh. Do you think that maybe no one in a small town wants to speak up for fear of retaliation? Do you think that maybe having a sign that says "Jesus is Lord in our town" might make other people feel just a teensy bit unwelcome in your town?

Of course, the Christian rightwingers over at Focus on the Family have already jumped on this and are claiming it's just another example of the "War on Christianity" being raged in our country. Yeah, right.


Ryan said...

Oh, I'm sure the Baptists in my hometown would love to do the same things. They certainly have influenced the school curriculum. And lest we give downstate too much of a bad rap, remember that Chicago is the most segregated city in the nation. We here in the North, it seems, think that racism and bigotry is something from the South. Of course, that doesn't seem to stop the harassment of Jewish community members in a town near mine. Sigh.

David said...

At the risk of sounding like a devil's advocate (which I am not), until more people protest and express outrage at the Christianization of America ("land of the free," remember?), this is what we can expect. And if you're just hearing about this, then the outrage isn't very loud or widespread. Not loud or widespread enough.

People can't segregate unless they're allowed to segregate. And the only way to stop them is to... well, stop them.

wayward said...

FWIW, Alorton probably would not exactly be considered a "sundown town" - according to, it's a little over 97% black with a 22.5% unemployment rate. There are also apparently some environmental issues, since there used to be a large plant there that dumped some unpleasant chemicals.
So I'd be inclined to guess that the city signs might be the least of Alorton's problems right now.

Narc said...

I didn't mean to suggest that Alorton was a sundown town, just that Illinois's past history with them means that it is familiar with the concept of alienating and excluding People Not Like Us.