Monday, February 28, 2011

Follow Up Report and Video of Dead Man Walking Dialogue

Hobby Center for the Performing Arts

In a RECENT ENTRY, I gave advance notice on a rather singular event taking place in Houston on the subject of the death penalty. I was somewhat skeptical of this "religious dialogue" for many reasons, not the least of which is the fact that the city of Houston has condemned and executed more men than any other state in the entire country. Add to that my doubts about the power of religion to solve any issue of relevance to modern life, and you get some rather caustic comments from the peanut gallery. I did phrase these comments in the form of a challenge, though, in the hopes of being proven wrong. (Not that I am ever wrong. Cough.) I think I said something about an anemic attendance counts and the eating of crow, if I remember correctly. Sigh. Ok, here goes: Ahem:

Ok, ok, I was wrong. Wrong, I say! The religious community came out for this event and filled up the Hobby Center's Zilkha Hall to a tune of approximately 500 participants. I still assert that a secular ethical system is superior to any form of absolutist morality, but you guys did good and made me proud. Well done. I shall eat my humble pie with good cheer.

Hobby Center's Zilkha Hall

MB6 was well represented by three able and only slightly harassed reporters, namely my Pops, my stepmom, and my friend Dorothy. (Thanks guys!) With their help, my hope is that I can somewhat reproduce the event for those of you living out of state/country, so as to exponentially increase the attendance count.

First of all, HERE is a copy of the program from the event. And HERE is a news report on the evening written by the Houston Chronicle, which recently reversed itself on this issue and is now firmly in the corner of those calling for a moratorium on executions. (The comments are very informative, by the way.)

The crowd was mostly older. Getting an approximate mean age was difficult, but Dorothy guessed this figure would be somewhere in the mid-50's. There were small groups of younger people, though, including some teenagers. Socioeconomically, the crowd was mostly middle class. Most races were present, but the crowd was overwhelmingly Caucasian, probably due to the heavy tilting of the panel participants as members/leaders of mostly white congregations.

Everyone seemed to have a good time at the event. The Hobby Center has multiple Halls for events, and it just so happened that a major theatrical production was taking place at the same time as the DMW event. Both ended at roughly the same time, so there was much mixing by the crowds, and some interesting conversations took place while everyone waited for the valets to bring the cars around. Networking, old school style!

Rather than attempt to reproduce the event with wordplay, I will do one better: I will show it to you! ENJOY!

© Copyright 2011 by Thomas Bartlett Whitaker. All rights reserved

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