What follows is a summary of an article that yesterday appeared in our local newspaper. It stands, I believe, as a caution to all of us who have girded our loins and waded into the hurly burly of religious controversy.
A doctrinal debate turned into tool-fueled mayhem yesterday, when Carl Jackson Turner, Jr., a ground’s maintenance worker at Texas A&M, “injured a co-worker with a pitchfork.” When police arrived on the scene, they found Turner and “a woman with a black eye and puncture wounds on her legs.” According to Turner, “he and a male co-worker got into a verbal argument about pitchforks,” and the woman then “stepped into the argument and was ‘posturing.’” I’m not sure what he means by “posturing,” but I do know that people can be very sensitive about pitchforks. Like discussions about religion and politics, discussions about pitchforks too often degenerate into bitter quarrels, and even fights. Yesterday, once again, difference of opinion about pitchforks caused tempers to flair, so Turner “punched the woman in the eye and knocked her down.” Then, when he saw her “reaching for a knife in her pocket,” he remembered the tool of choice and “grabbed a pitchfork.” With this effective (if controversial) instrument, he “hit the woman in her back, shoulders and buttocks,” and then finally “lobbed the pitchfork at her.” It was by this lob that the puncture wounds in her legs were caused. Writing as a pitchfork agnostic, who doubts the human mind can grasp the ultimate truth about pitchforks, I can only say that I wish these unhappy people had remembered that, in America, men and women are free to believe what they please about pitchforks.