Soon: Wrapping Up
Looks like we have to ease away from Soon before we get to a movie palate-cleanser and then to the Adventured of Michael Murphy.
FIRST ORDER OF BUSINESS
I put up two polls to find the worst, nastiest, most horriblest statement of Paul Stepola to his long-suffering wife, Jae. For both the first and second half of the book, two statements clobbered the competition to emerge as victors. So now, I leave it to you, my loyal readers to determine THE VERY WORST THING PAUL SAYS TO HIS WIFE.
This should be interesting, because the statements occur at two very different points in Paul’s life. The first is shortly after Paul is blinded by the miraculous fire pillar of God. He’s laid up in the hospital, and poor Jae is just trying to help him put together a “disc player” so he can listen to the Bible (as part of his “research”). Paul’s an atheist at this point, and thus, by definition, a horrible human being who is incapable of love.
The second statement takes place after Jae reveals that she found the letter from Angela to Paul. It is unsurprising that she takes it as evidence that Paul is preparing to cheat on her, seeing as how he has been fooling around with a string of DOZENS of women for eight of the ten years he has been married. Of course, this is the one time when a letter from a woman is not quite what it appears, as Paul has just found the love of Jesus in his heart, and knows that the only moral thing to do in his life is stay in a desperately unhappy marriage where he and his wife can barely stand the sight of each other.
Here you go:
SECOND ORDER OF BUSINESS
Is being religious officially a capital offense, or for that matter even a crime? I can’t remember either being stated exactly, and it seems jarring how much effort Bia goes through to do her earlier executions in secret, and Bia, Ranold, the army and even Paul pre-conversion go through a lot of effort to link the zealots to terrorism and pretend they resisted arrest and had to be killed, or making Barton’s death look like an accident. If they could be legally executed for being a believer, why are they bothering with all this? I’d be equally stupid, but before adding it I’d like to know if all law enforcers decide on their own that they want to kill Christians even if they are too young to have ever met one, or if it is official government policy to kill Christians which makes their efforts to make the deaths look like accidents or self-defense superfluous.
Well…it’s difficult to say for sure. Largely because Jenkins doesn’t say for sure. I would have loved to see the actual statutes outlawing religion (I’m a nerd that way), but the best I can do is tell you what the characters say…
According to my boyfriend Larry Coker, the Bible is “contraband,” and excuse enough for SWAT to raid a house.
A Bible study group is “a crime.”
Being a Christian is an arrestable offense, but apparently not punishable by death, in and of itself, given Paul’s statements at the oil fires.
Proselytizing is “a crime.”
Specs messing with the movie billboards in L.A. is a “federal felony,” because the movie industry is run by the government.
The penalty for distributing tracts is prison. The penalty for creating them is death.
And…that’s it for hard facts on crime and punishment.
THIRD ORDER OF BUSINESS
I hope to start The Secret on Ararat the week after next, after Easter (Springmas in Atheistopia, perhaps?). For those of you who may be new or newish ’round these Atheistopian parts, my critique of Babylon Rising is here, and the TV Tropes page for the series is here.