Monday, September 07, 2009

President Obama's speech vs. 'The Burning Hell' - a lesson in proper encouragement

For those interested, here is the link to the speech President Obama will be giving to our nation's children.

Oh yeah, real evil stuff there with all that talk about reaching for the stars, never giving up even if you fail, and always keeping your focus on your goals.

Expect the anti-Obama spin to remain on the optional lesson plans (which I don't see the problem with suggesting that students write out ways to help THEIR president improve education) or the lie about how "Obama was forced to revise his speech."

I would have loved to hear such words of encouragement coming from the President or anyone. And I was lucky to get those words of encouragement from my mother, teachers, and friends.

Those words were a better experience of encouragement than the one I had when I was four-years-old.

At the time, I lived in Pennsylvania. My brother and I was invited with a group of inner city youth by a predominantly white church group to have lunch at a theatre and see movies.

The first movie was some oldie about the Harlem Globetrotters with Dorothy Dandridge.

The second movie was a lovely gem of the macabre (shown here in preview form) called The Burning Hell:

I have since seen this documentary at two other stages in my life.

As a 38-year-old looking at it on youtube, it amazes me how people thought that showing children this movie could do anything positive for their well-being.

As a nine-year-old seeing it at another church's revival meeting, I wondered what in the world was all the fuss about.

However, as a four-year-old (at the time I first saw the movie), it scared the hell out of me. Ugly memory that was. And totally exacerbated by the fact that many of us children were too scared to leave. I wonder what those lovely Christian people would have done if we tried.

And by the way, we did get lunch. A nasty peanut butter sandwich, an orange, and a carton of warm milk that they gave us when we boarded the bus for home. And that was after the prayer of "accepting Jesus and hoping that if we died that day, we didn't end up in hell."

Wasn't that lovely? It gave me something to think about between such childhood functions as reading comic books and watching Schoolhouse Rock.

The entire experience served me well, though. It put a kernel of doubt in my head about man's interpretation of God's word. This kernel blossomed and ended up being a saving grace when I had to deal with my gay sexual orientation.

Now I ask you all in light of how I was a victim of "proper encouragement" by members of the Christian community, is President Obama's speech to children really a bad thing?

Editor's note - By the way, you can see the entire "The Burning Hell" video here on youtube.

UPDATE - This is funny. At the conservative blog, Hot Air (how aptly named), they are of course either panning the speech or trying to push the "it's not the speech but the instructional materials" lie. But every now and then comes a moment of truth. One person said the following:

I can’t help wondering if the fact that he’s black and you’re all white doesn’t have a teeny-tiny bit to do with that deep deep reservoir of resentment.

(name withheld) on September 7, 2009 at 3:10 PM

The response:

How the hell do you know we’re all white, a$$wipe?

Screw you and the bloody donkey you rode in on, you scum sucking bastard.

(name withheld) on September 7, 2009 at 6:17 PM

To the conservatives complaining over the President's speech - if some of you feel like dummies because of your response to the speech, then guess what?

To the rest of the American people, you look even worse.

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