Saturday, December 22, 2007

Bible bashing dying out in Kansas


There is an American expression for something that is utterly obvious but not, for some reason, noticed.

"Hiding in plain sight", the Americans call it, and the expression came to my mind as I sat in Kansas City airport waiting for an ice storm to pass.

Hiding in plain sight in this state is a revolution in American Christendom, a change of heart that could see American Protestant churches looking increasingly like their European equivalents.
The state of Kansas gets a bad press. It is huge and empty and mostly flat.

In the summer it is uncomfortably hot and prone to tornadoes. In the winter it can be bitterly cold.

Its big cities are not very big and rather grey. It is not in the culinary avant garde.

In the airport cafe they have introduced nutritional advice next to their meals: the fresh strawberries are described as containing no trans-fats - which is a relief, I suppose - but only in Kansas could it be a surprise.

Kansas has also long been home to religious revivals and eccentric preachers, a few of them deeply wacky, to put it mildly.

Creationists, for instance, keep up a constant low-level guerrilla war in this state and, if that is insufficiently odd for you, try going to Topeka to see the Reverend Fred Phelps and his flock at the Westboro Baptist Church......

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