On 26 de Julio I wrote about the Muslim clerics in Malaysia who, though not real happy that Malaysian fans of the UK soccer team Manchester United had adopted clothing sporting cartoon representations of the devil, concluded that such apparel should not be banned.
“We just advise people not to wear this,” advised Harussani Zakaria. “Satan is, for us, our enemy. It’s the wrong value. Satan is always bad.”
Turns out these folks are more tolerant than some Americans—specifically, than Pastor Donald Crosby of God’s Kingdom Builders Church of Jesus Christ in Warner Robins, Georgia, and 30-some of his followers, who Monday disrupted the beginning of classes at Warner Robins High, demanding that the school cease forthwith employing “demons” as a mascot.
The principal Warner Robins demonic being is a red devil with horns, wielding a pitchfork. During football games, a large representation of this Agent of Evil is wheeled out to tower over the end zone. When Warner Robins scores, sparks shoot from The Beast’s pitchfork.
“A demon never has a good connotation. Never,” Crosby ululated to a Macon TV station. “If you look it up in Webster’s Dictionary, there’s nothing good about a demon.”
And so Crosby and his people descended upon Warner Robins High School on Monday, determined to drive out the demons. Instead, they were ordered first by school officials, and then by the police, to disperse. But they persisted in their picketing, Crosby declining an offer from Officer Harry Dennard to accompany him back to his office so he could help Crosby prepare a request form for a permit. “You’re just going to have to lock me up,” Crosby said.
So they did. Crosby was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and picketing without a permit, both misdemeanors. “Let them lock all of you up!” Crosby reportedly instructed his people. None of these, however, elected to follow him into the pokey.
Of course, none of Jesus’ disciples were real eager to follow him, when he was led away, either.
Crosby developed his demon fixation when he discovered that a boy who lives with him, over whom he exercises guardianship and whom he considers a son, might be expected to shout out “Go Demons!” when rooting for Warner Robins’ sports teams.
Sports are big at Warner Robins; the football Demons have won four state championships over the years.
“It’s the equivalent of us gathering into a church on Sunday morning and shouting ‘Go Jesus’ or ‘Hallelujah Jesus,'” Donald Crosby, a Warner Robins resident for about a year, told Macon television station WMAZ.
People who have lived in this central Georgia town longer than Crosby say they have seen this sort of thing before.
“Again?” was the reaction from Jenni Russ, class of ’81 and mother of two Demons.
“This is not something new,” Russ told the AJC on Wednesday. “This is typical when you have somebody new to the community. We’ve had people complain about this. I just don’t even connect that with Satan. It’s just a mascot.”
Fifteen-year-old Brianna Russ proudly informed the paper:
“I’ve been part of Demon football since I was a baby!”
Her father was president of the football booster club from 2004-07.
“It has nothing to do with worshiping the Devil. I’m a Christian myself. I love God to death. But the demon mascot has never changed my thoughts about worshiping the Devil.”
Crosby is trying to move his boy to a school with a mascot more to his liking. Meanwhile, he has started a petition drive to oust the demons; feeling this was not enough, he organized the assault Monday on the opening of Warner Robins classes for the 2010-2011 school year.
Demons represent evil and the mascot “gives evil a good face,” Crosby complained. “Prayer had to leave but the demons can stay?”
Warner Robins people have been known as “demons” since the school opened its doors in 1946. The moniker derives from the 7th Fighter Squadron of the US Air Force, which flew in the South Pacific during WWII, and which was known as “the Screamin’ Demons.”
And it says here that in 1944 the men of the 7th adopted a new mascot—the bunyip, an Australian aboriginal creature that hangs out near water holes and gets real grumpy when disturbed.
Presumably, Crosby & Co. would be equally exercised if Warner Robins students were known as “bunyips,” as this would Wrongly reference a pagan beastie. And anyway, “bunyip” is said to roughly translate as “devil,” or “evil spirit,” so it is all part of the same Badness.
Though here the bunyip, as is true of many old spirits, may be the victim of a slur. For some say the bunyip was originally Bunjil, a “mythic ‘Great Man’ who made the mountains and rivers and man and all the animals.”
A European conception of the bunyip in angry action can be seen in the illustration above.
After a period of dormancy, the 7th was recently “reactivated,” and now flies F-22 Raptors out of New Mexico. Apparently these people still refer to themselves alternately as both “demons,” and “bunyips.”
Now, it probably should be noted that the police spokesperson on this story is named Tabitha Pugh.
It is well known that Tabitha was the name of the witch child who sprang from the joined loins of witch extraordinaire Samantha and hapless hubby Darrin Stephens.
Too, Tabitha is the name of the wife of writer Stephen King, who for more than three decades has been immersed in evil, from his ass to his elbows.
So there may be more going on here than it might first appear.
An enterprising writer for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution performed an online search and uncovered a number of other shockingly Wrong mascot-names infesting our nation—Daredevils, Dirt Devils, Horned Toads, Winged Beavers, Honkers, Cavemen, Fighting Sandcrabs, and (my favorite) The Criminals.
“Isn’t Demons,” she asks evilly, “better than Chipmunks?”
Pastor Crosby, dude, I know you’re only trying to do right by your Guy. But you look silly. This isn’t the sort of thing that is really effective in bringing people over.
This, however, is: