Tuesday 22 January 2013

Buzz words

Buzz Aldrin's first words as the second man to make a giant step for mankind were: "Beautiful view. Magnificent desolation." The first half is weak and the second rings false, and has (as they say) a stink of the lamp. It's a Douglas Sirk movie title. What he could have said, and I think should have said, is this:

"I claim this moon on behalf of Webster Presbytarian church"

I expect you're wondering why. Well, Aldrin was a devout Presbytarian and became, although this was not publicised at the time, the first person to conduct a religious ceremony on the moon, giving himself holy communion using a 'do-it-yourself' kit supplied by pastor Dean Woodruff of the Presbyterian Church in Webster, a Houston suburb near the Johnson Space Center, where Buzz was (and for all I know remains) a communicant.

This three-inch-tall silver chalice he used on the moon is now in the possession of the church, and is used annually on the Sunday closest to July 20th, the day of the moon landing in 1969. You can find a picture of it, and some other unsettling stuff linking evangelical christianity with the space programme, here:


Lunar communion. Lunar communion. Lunar communion. Helicopter. (This will make sense only if you've read my blog of 21st January.)

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