Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Towers and Virgins

If you’re not from these parts, you may know that Berkeley and San Francisco are both in the Bay Area, both inspire scorn among the neocons and the religious right, and both are connected by one of America’s moderately successful public transit systems. But you may not know that, for all that, Berkeley and San Francisco, only 20 minutes apart by BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit), are not the same place.

To wit:

Item in the latest Berkeley Daily Planet (March 28, 2006)...

“In other action, the (Berkeley Zoning Adjustment) board also voted to deny approval to a bell tower added to the Jesuit School of Theology at 1725-35 Le Roy Ave. The tower had been constructed without a city permit, and board members and neighbors were critical of the design. The board voted to give the seminary until May 25 to come up with a better design.”

There you go, Mr. and Mrs. Jesuit. (There’s no Mrs. J.?) (I knew that.) We don’t like that tower you built on your church, so you’re going to have to tear it down and replace it with one we like. Something a little more Julia Morganesque. Maybeck, maybe.

Meanwhile, across the Bay, San Francisco’s supervisor Mark Leno, pops off the other day about a bunch of young evangelicals who held a rally at City Hall, “They’re loud, they’re obnoxious, they’re disgusting and they should get out of San Francisco.”

Whoa, there, big fellow. Loud, yes, these Christians are loud. Obnoxious, yes, but so are a lot of people in these parts. Disgusting??? Probably the first time ever so many teen-age virgins gathered in one place in this city. In Berkeley we think virgins are cute. Silly, maybe, but disgusting?

Free speech, Marco! Free speech!

These (loud obnoxious) evangelical kids are anti-gay, anti-women’s equality, anti-lots of good things like carbon dating, but “get out of San Francisco?”

To be fair to Mark Leno, we have to report that his enthusiasm for chasing the virgins out of Dodge by nightfall quickly waned and he quickly apologized. “...Not one of my prouder moments,” he later said.

That means you can come back, Bob and Betty. Scream for Jesus all you want. We were wrong about your right to be obnoxious.

You might want to check out the data on studies which show people who wait till marriage to have sex have more problems later in life, but that’s a story for another day. For now, come to San Francisco. Wear a flower in your hair, if you like.

Go visit Berkeley while you're here. Free Speech University is over there, along with all those other 60s folks.

Leave your heart here.

And your plans for any ugly towers.

March 29, 2006

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