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In Praise of Hellfire & Brimstone

“Another night as the holy Father entered the church he saw the evil one seated, as it were, with a paper in his hand which he appeared to be reading by the light of the lamp, and his hand was hideous to behold and furnished with iron claws. The saint approached him, and asked him what he was reading. “I am reading the sins of thy brethren,” was the reply. Then the blessed Dominic laid hold of the paper, and commanded him in the name of God to give it up, which he was forced to do. And the saint found written therein several things wherein the brethren had transgressed, for which he duly corrected them.”

— From Augusta Theodosia Drane, The History of St. Dominic, Founder of the Friars Preachers (1891)

Given the rabid religious rhetoric of the American Right, it’s easy to hate those who speak the devil into existence. There is something absurd about seeing some sweating, mad-eyed preacher ranting about the evils of sin and blasphemy when you know damn well that the preacher isn’t even half as holy as a hustler on the corner squeezing pennies from passing executives. This becomes even more prevalent as we approach the elections, and those crippled political clowns dance around with plastic faces seeking to abuse our favor.  Look in the eyes of these folks and all you see is blatant insanity.

Despite the fact that it’s all too often mentioned by these hatefully perverse pretenders, there is still something sweet about hellfire.  It’s that diabolical fire that burns out the impurities of our spirit and fuels the flames of passion that push us, through our own weaknesses, into ecstatic union with the sublimity of existence.
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