Pan-Amazon Pandemonium. by William Kilpatrick

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By William Kilpatrick, Crisis Magazine, July 23, 2019

William KilpatrickThere’s a funny scene in Oklahoma in which Curly sings a slyly mocking song about Jud Fry, the menacing hired hand. Curly assures Jud that though people dislike him now, they’ll miss him when he’s gone. To make the point, he imagines Jud’s funeral and how people will lament his passing. And so the audience is treated to the hilarious “Poor Jud is Dead.”

In the spoken part of the song, Curly conjures up the preacher’s recollection of Jud’s big-heartedness:

He loved the birds of the forest
And the beasts of the fields
He loved the mice and the vermin in the barn
And he treated the rats like equals

I was put in mind of the scene by something I had just read in—of all places—the working document for the Amazon Synod. Here’s the relevant passage:

[They respect] the sisters birds, the brothers fish,
and even the smallest sisters like ants,
larvae, fungi, or insects. (20)

Call me insensitive, but I couldn’t help but making the connection to poor Jud’s love of the vermin.  The passage lacks the punch of Oscar Hammerstein’s lyrics, but the sentiments are the same.

The only difference is that Curly is making fun of Jud’s slovenly habits and brutish behavior, whereas the document’s authors are completely serious. In a sense, treating “the rats like equals” and the ants like sisters is what the Amazon Synod is all about. Excuse me, make that the “Pan-Amazon Synod.” That’s “pan” as in pantheistic. Some critics say the document authors are trying to sneak in pantheistic and neo-pagan ideas under the guise of concern for the environment. But there’s nothing terribly sneaky about it. There are so many clues that even Inspector Clouseau couldn’t miss them. …..