When Deloria compares the Biblical God to Saddam Hussein (150), and then wonders if Hussein really deserves such a bad rap, I knew this book wasn’t for the classroom. Deloria’s comments about organized religion – particularly Christianity, though Judaism is in his sights as well – range from seeming like questions to an outright assault. These comments are provocative and made me long for an essay by essay response. It’s less one particular essay, though, than the momentum of all of them. Deloria distinguishes between space and time-based thinking and explains how it impacts history, religion, and our connection with the land. By the time I finished slogging my way through this apparently classic collection (all the more shame on Fulcrum Press for publishing a re-issue with so many glaring typos), I found myself at least able to understand his argument and hard-pressed to counter it.
Some favorite passages:
When the fundamentalists seized on abortion as an issue, they found the key to political power. Thus was created the irony of American life. The fundamentalists could care less about human life after birth (55-56).
The world. . . is not a global village so much as a series of non-homogeneous pockets of identity that must eventually come into conflict because they represent different historical arrangements of emotional energy (64).
A major task remains for Western man. He must quickly come to grips with the breadth of human experiences and understand these experiences from a world viewpoint, not simply a Western one (107).