Many of us fondly remember the old Saturday Night Live skit of “the Church Lady,” performed by Dana Carvey in drag. We laughed at the arrogance, smugness and zealotry of the fundamentalist church lady dispensing her judgmental criticism of those whose lifestyle, behaviors and speech she disagreed with and roundly condemned as the work of Satan. Those of us who have lived in small towns have known exactly that type of person--who wanted to assert their will and beliefs on everyone else in town, and anyone who deviated in any way would be viciously labeled, gossiped about, shamed and shunned, causing fear and misery to others while gloating in their power to control others. Shirley Jackson brought this psychological phenomenon to light in her chilling short story The Lottery. (After reading it, one cannot help being reminded of Christ’s admonition “thou who has not sinned, cast the first stone.”)... Read More