Friday, July 21, 2006

Reaching Up To God?

It's kind of amazing really just how much church/state relations have changed over the last forty years or so. At city council meetings, after the pledge to the flag, one of the local clergy would say a prayer. It might be a rabbi, priest or minister, but the most controversial thing would be just how many times he (there were no women clergy back then in North Miami) would say the name Jesus. Islam and various eastern religions were ignored completely.

I used to do all of the city's public relations photography back then, and the city used to publish its annual budget in a book that could put to shame the annual report from many a major corporation. It was nearly an inch thick and about 8.5 x 17 inches, with a glossy cover featuring a color photograph. One year I got a call that the photo would be of the new cross in front of this church, with the sunday school kids standing around its base. I'd recently gotten one of the first 19mm Canon lenses, which fit on my Leicas and was eager to use it. The photograph actually was cropped a bit on both sides so the roof of the building extended almost to the edges of the cover.

Now nobody would even consider running a "religious" picture like this on a city's budget book, but this is now and that was then. I tried to remember which church it was. I showed the picture around and nobody seems to have any idea. I'm wondering if over the years lightning or perhaps hurricane winds destroyed the tall cross. Was the church rebuilt and enlarged with something different? Nobody seems to know. The Ektachrome slide has kept its color pretty well.


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