fishers of men

August 30, 2010

I should have taken a photograph.

I was out walking with my daughter and one of the dogs. Dallying just down the street, I noticed and stopped to stare at a church’s weekly sign-board.

Like so many others, it displayed a slogan… attracting attention to itself with an attempt to be witty or cute.

“Be fishers of men. You catch them, and I’ll clean them”.

This strikes me as at not just absurdly gruesome… but actually offensive. As a non-Christian, I do not want to be caught and eviscerated. . . thank you very much.

I did consider that I might be stewing over a darkly whimsical  reading of a silly sign. But could it really not have occurred to the jingle-writer he/she is echoing the Inquisition?

I did some reading… it turns out that the popular idea of heretics being disembowelled by their holy tormentors is widely questioned by historians.

(That torture was a central part
of the Inquisition’s work,
there is absolutely no doubt).

So perhaps no heretic was ever disembowelled in the frustrated pursuit of a confession… I’m not sure it matters here:

The image (torture by disembowelling) was in my head, and I’m sure that I’m not alone.  That mental-image becomes jingle’s context… context which turns that sign into something (at best) carelessly distasteful.

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