Points By Drew Pritt

Copernicus, Madonna, Harry Potter, Will Rogers and MARK ELROD
July 8, 2008, 8:03 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized


How much of a surprise it came to me to find out that Arkansas has it’s own Mutaween. Harding College is pressuring a fellow blogger, a fellow progressive, and a fellow Brother in Christ about his own personal blog. Mark Elrod’s rationale for making his blog go private is as such :  “I made this decision on my own as the result of the general frustration I have with members of our fellowship who want to make a spiritual judgment about me based on my political views. One of those views is my public support for Barack Obama for president. In the last few days, much of that angst has been directed toward my employer and, as a result, toward me as well.”

Now what is the Mutaween?  It means “volunteer” in Arabic and is commonly used as a casual term for the government-authorized or -recognized religious police (or clerical police) of Saudi Arabia. Religious police were very active and powerful in Afghanistan during the 1996-2001 reign of the Taliban, which also established a Committee for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice.

But don’t dispair Mark, because you are in good company, when it comes to religious intolerance. Nicolaus Copernicus who argued for a Heliocentric orbit of the earth in De revolutionibus orbium coelestium was pressured, attacked, and threatened with excommunication by the Holy Roman Catholic Church of the time. In more recent times, Madonna was banned by the Pope for a period of time. Didn’t seem to hurt her career much. More recently, films such as Brokeback Mountain and The Golden Compass have been banned by some faiths. Reason being that they discussed “taboo” subjects.

Harry Potter raised the cackles of many for the subjects of “homosexuality” and “witchcraft” were discussed. Those were the two subjects taboo for the other two films.

Speaking of films, ever heard of Peter N. Alexander? Few have seen his feature-movie The Profit and worldwide distribution of the film was prohibited by an American court order, the result of a lawsuit by the Church of Scientology although the filmmaker claims that the film is not about Scientology.

The simple fact is Mark wrote a wonderful blog with a keen insight. Blogs, like diaries, are personal but they are great sources of facts. Too often the corporate media is focused on what sells. Blogs are like the radio commentators of old and Mark Elrod and his blog was like Will Rogers. In fact Rogers made a quote appropriate for the news today of your stress.

“There are three kinds of men. The ones who learn from reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves!”

I prefer how my faith answers such issues.


If you ask me, Mark, being in the likes of the company of Copernicus, Madonna, Harry Potter, Will Rogers, the Anglican Faith, and poor old forgotten Pete Alexander ain’t half bad of a crew to be identified with.


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