Friday, November 05, 2004

76 YEARS AGO TODAY

Eve of Armageddon by H.L. Mencken

This campaign has amply demonstrated the fact that no such thing as religious tolerance really exists. It has brought bigotry out into the open, and has revealed its true proportions. It has shown that millions of Americans, far from being free and tolerant men, are the slaves of an ignorant, impudent and unconscionable clergy. It has dredged up theological ideas so preposterous that they would make an intelligent Zulu laugh, and has brought the proof that they are cherished by nearly half the population, and by at least four-fifths outside the cities. It has made it plain that this theology is not merely a harmless aberration of the misinformed, like spiritualism, chiropractic or Christian Science, but the foundation of a peculiar way of life, bellicose, domineering, brutal and malignant—in brief, the complete antithesis of any recognizable form of Christianity. And it has shown, finally, that this compound of superstition and hatred has enough steam behind it to make one of the candidates for the Presidency knuckle to it and turn it upon his opponent—basely to be sure, but probably wisely.

The Baltimore Evening Sun, November 5, 1928