Heaven and the D.A.R.
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From my team site, Appalachian Greens http://appalachiangreens.blogspot.com
comes news that some White state legislator in Tennessee tried to join his legislative body's Black Caucus and was promptly refused membership. He said this is a clear case of discrimination. The work of bigots.
This moron would be denied membership in the D.A.R. as well.
For my legions of foreign readers, D.A.R. stands for Daughters of the American Revolution. In order to join the D.A.R., you have to do the following:
1. Be a female.
2. Prove beyond all reasonable doubt that you are a direct blood descendant of a soldier, medic, officer, or all-around helper to the American cause known as the War for Independence.
(Notice this says nothing about race. Decades of bad publicity notwithstanding, the D.A.R. warmly welcomes women of African descent who qualify for membership. Heck, Princess Diana qualified for membership. I don't think she joined.)
But here's the catch.
The D.A.R. has very strict rules about proving the legitimacy of your claim. You can't just show up at a meeting and say, "My great-grandma told me that her great-great-grandpa was George Washington's personal bodyguard."
Boy, wouldn't that be a great job? Generals never get shot, and when George wasn't looking, you could sneak into his bag of ganj (used strictly for tooth pain).
Sorry. Where was I? Oh yeah. The D.A.R. requires that you furnish written proof of all the descendants you have, back to and including the Rev War soldier. You have to prove birth, death, legitimate marriage, and connection to the next generation. Documents, folks.
This is 2006. You've got to go back to 1776. And for your soldier, you have to have company, regiment, and commander, and length of service, and honorable discharge. Because, you know, a lot of those Minute Men ran like rabbits when the lead started flying.
Anne was lucky. On her mama's side she had relatives who already belonged. She got to use the "short form" and breezed in.
Then, after listening to a lot of corpulent old relics discuss their difficulties in getting into D.A.R., Anne decided she ought to have that experience. So she researched her dad's lineage.
Another breeze. Dad's people hiked deep into the Allegany Mountains in about 1700 and didn't budge until ... well, until the G.I. Bill gave them college cash in 1945. Same county, same township, same graveyard. In the county's Register of Wills, Anne's ancestor is Will #1, Book #1.
Some D.A.R.s have to gallavant through 15 states to find their ancestors. And they run up against names like John Smith, who married Jane Jones, whose sister Janie Jones married brother Jonathan Smith. It does get complicated.
So when you've gone to all that trouble, Xeroxed those crumbling old wills and rubbed those weathered old gravestones, and chased down those church records and census records and death certificates, you feel a real sense of accomplishment.
And I've never seen the D.A.R. refuse anyone membership after they jumped through those hoops. You could be Mrs. Josef Stalin, and if you said, "I'm willing to do Public Relations and be Chapter Historian," they'd welcome you with a hearty handshake and a red carnation corsage.
To get to my point (finally), the Christian church is like D.A.R.
1. You can get to heaven, but first you have to prove that you're a hopeless loser of a sinner whose shameful deeds caused a really great dude to be tortured to death. (Documents not required. Guilt is sufficient.)
2. Then you have to believe that your National Society is the only legitimate way into heaven. Just like you never hear of the D.A.R. inviting the Daughters of Attila the Hun to join up.
3. You have to recite pledges and creeds and prayers until they're coming out your ears, and then you have to sing.
4. You have to do tedious jobs to help the outfit advance as a whole. (Charity is great, don't misunderstand me, but someone has to bake that casserole.)
5. And, you can be justifiably proud to have been accepted into such an exclusive club. Hey, you worked hard for that membership. And you'll live up to it too, by making those casseroles.
Well, Anne kept up D.A.R. and a mainstream Christian church simultaneously for 17 years, and then she noticed these similarities and decided that she was duplicating effort.
The rest, if you'll pardon the excruciating double entendre, is history.
Oooooops! I mean ...
MRS. JOHN J. JOHNSON