Mayor R. Rex Parris of Lancaster, California: “A true Christian community is one that will welcome anyone of faith.”

After Lancaster mayor R. Rex Parris claimed that he was “growing a Christian community,” he then seemingly backtracked. But on March 1, 2010 the mayor was once again quoted in the local paper, the Antelope Valley Press, alluding to Lancaster as a Christian community and pointedly treating as invisible atheists and agnostics. Here’s what he said (A5):

A true Christian community is one that will welcome anyone of faith.

The meaning of the mayor’s sentence is unmistakable: Christians in Lancaster are set in the privileged and patronizing position of welcoming people of other faiths to live as minorities within an otherwise Christian city. And atheists and agnostics, not being people of faith, but of doubt, are not given the same welcome.

But as an agnostic living in the Antelope Valley, I expect the city government that I support with my tax dollars to treat people of doubt with the same humanity, dignity, and respect as people of faith. Part of the expression of human diversity in the world is that some people find greater value in doubt than faith, and the “doubting tradition” has played an enormous role in our collective human story, including in the United States. Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, Thomas Paine, Henry David Thoreau, Abraham Lincoln, Emily Dickinson, Mark Twain, and Stephen J. Gould are just a few examples of Americans who have regarded doubt as a greater virtue than faith. 

I’m one of them. I affiliate with a rich cultural and intellectual tradition: I am a person of doubt.  And I live in Lancaster, California.

I’m here too.

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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5 Responses to Mayor R. Rex Parris of Lancaster, California: “A true Christian community is one that will welcome anyone of faith.”

  1. Christ Ronk says:

    I am with you buddy, but I wouldn’t take his statement too hard. I doubt that R. Rex Parris is really even a Christian. His ego is too big.

    I wonder how many of our elected officials are really Christian, or just say they are so they can get elected?

    Great video by the way.

  2. santitafarella says:


    That is a great video, isn’t it?

    As to Parris’s coherence as a “Christian,” I don’t know. If selling all you have and giving the proceeds to the poor is a chief sign that you are a Christian, then there aren’t many Christians in the Western world, are there?


  3. Pingback: Anne Rice Abandons R. Rex Parris-style Christianity « Prometheus Unbound

  4. Pingback: Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris: Is This What a Rising Christian Political Star Looks Like? « Prometheus Unbound

  5. Mike says:

    I have literally been inside the political circles of those that call themselves Christians in Lancaster. I know these men and woman personally. I was told what how to fill out questioniers that would be read by Christians. When I didn’t the information that the public saw was changed but not by me. In other words I was being groomed at that time to appear politically corrrect as a Christian. What concerns me about the citizens of the City of Lancaster is they truly are like Sheep. In my experience and conversations with many publicly in all walks of life, with the exception of a few, they believe in appearances…what they are fed by those they think in power actually practice their Christian walk. Few take the time to actually do any research or look into who is running their community. When I talked with many Christians on how they would vote I was told to look at the listings of Christian Candidates…not to look at the Christian canidates and do research. In other words, if anyone claims to be a Christian that is the only credential many Christians seem to believe is adeuate. Now Hitler always said, “The bigger the lie, the more the people will believe it”. Many have seen over the years the bad press about real-estate in the area, voter fraud, redevelopment being misused…yet…they claim those individuals to be disgruntled. If you learn from history…since Kennedy’s day…and are paying attention, character assasinations are a safe way not to make a mortyr. Think people, use your eyes, use your experience, use your common sense and look into matters. The same issues don’t come up over and over again because they are invalide. Only the face representing those issues change. But you will find with a little research those faces are connected over time their in History from those individuals youth.

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