Today is my name day. Even though I’m a somnolent member of the Greek Orthodox Church, I still recognize that January 7 is the day on which the Orthodox Church celebrates St. John the Baptist, my Christian namesake. So, like many other Johns—along with Joanne, Jean, Ivan, Hans, Jan, Juan, Giovanni, Jakko and Juanita—I am spending today saying thanks to those who remembered.
Not only is it my name day, but for many fellow Orthodox Christians—like Andre Kirelenko and Vlade Divac—it’s Christmas. You likely didn’t know that. And you also likely didn’t know that yesterday, lots of young men dove into cold waters all over the Orthodox world to retrieve a cross that had just been tossed into the water by the local priest. It was the Day of the Epiphany, Christ’s baptismal day, and the world’s best known cross retrieval happens in the Dodecanese Greek community of Tarpon Springs, Florida. I think they made a movie of it.
If you missed the movie, there’s the remote possibility you tuned into KSL Channel 5 last Sunday at 4 p.m. to watch the show, “Epiphany: The Festival of Lights.” KSL originally decided not to broadcast the program. What a surprise. However, a number of people—presumably those who sanctify Christianity, not Santa Claus—called or emailed, prompting KSL to air it after all. With around 5 million Eastern Orthodox in the United States and another 200 million worldwide, perhaps someone over at KSL had an epiphany that it wouldn’t be prudent to piss all over that fertile missionary ground.
Like I said, I’m not the greatest member of the Greek Orthodox faith, not even within my own family. So, what I’ve written is not intended as my way of proselytizing you into the mysterious ways of that 2,000-year-old church. Rather, I’m wondering why it is that so many members of the local dominant faith haven’t figured out why some people get angry with them. And it always comes down to little things like the KSL snub. Bottom line? Lip service but no respect.
Some say the Main Street controversy between First Amendment and property rights advocates is really a smoke screen for the war between Mormons and non-Mormons. However, non-Mormons who were sympathetic to the LDS Church position were quickly marginalized and shown the door. For that you can thank people like Lee Benson and his cornermen at the Deseret News who want it that way. Early on, Benson and his fellow propagandists named non-Mormons—make that “Mormon haters”—as the problem. Yup, no respect.
Enough of that— for Benson, perhaps an epiphany is due. The next big Christian days are approaching. So, Lee, do your homework now (Googleing for Easter Bunny is cheating) and write something lacking institutional arrogance for a change. And do that for other denominations or ethnicities out there, too. Give them more respect than your column recently gave the Shoshone, and maybe, just maybe you’ll pay it forward enough to understand it isn’t about being anti-Mormon at all—it’s about not throwing up around people like you.
Meanwhile, happy name day.