By; Speaker Gerald A. Polley

Of course with our religious beliefs we've had our share of problems with religious fanatics. The worst, however, was when we lived in Bangor, Maine. We had a dear little neighbor who attended the local Spiritualist Church with us. We were walking home one day when she met us on the street in tears. "Why Helen," I asked, "what's the matter?
"These terrible people," she explained, "they're going around the neighborhood telling everyone you're sacrificing and eating babies!"
I stood there for a moment in shock. "WHAT people?" I asked. "Some religious people, some fundamentalists," she answered. "They're visiting everybody in the neighborhood leaving leaflets and telling them you're doing these awful things." Still somewhat stunned I told my wife to talk with our friend for a while and I would go take care of this, which frightened her considerably because she knew my temper, but instead of finding the individuals myself, I went to the police station. The Sergeant on duty was working on some papers. "Excuse me," I began, "I have to register a complaint. There's some people running around my neighborhood telling everyone my wife and I are sacrificing and eating babies! I want it stopped!"
All conversation in the room came to a complete stop. The Sergeant put down his pen and stared at me. "They're telling people WHAT?" he finally managed. I repeated what I had said. "I see!" the Sergeant finally managed. "Wait here." He disappeared and a couple of minutes later appeared with the police chief. The chief and I were not the best of friends, but this time he ushered me into his office and insisted I sit down and repeat to him what had happened. I explained, and he sat there wide-eyed, staring at me.
"My God!" he gasped when I had concluded. He picked up the phone and asked the Sergeant if they had had any luck yet, then hung it back up. "They've found them!" he remarked. "They'll be in in a while. Cup of coffee?" I declined and the chief poured himself some. "This is unbelievable!" he kept muttering." 'This is unbelievable!"
A few minutes later two uniformed officers escorted two men and two women into the office and took up oposition by the door. "This is Reverend Polley," the Chief began, "a respected member of our community. I understand that you are telling people in his neighborhood that he is committing unthinkable atrocities. Is this true?"
"To what do you refer?" one of the men asked.
The Chief grimaced. "You're telling people he's sacrificing and eating babies!" he continued.
"That is so!" the man answered. "Any who follow the religious practices that he does commits such acts. It's written in the Bible?"
"Do you have proof of this," the Chief asked, "witnesses, evidence?"
"We have all the proof we need," the man answered. "it's written in the Bible."
The Chief got up. "That's not proof!" he snapped. "You make no accusation like that about anyone unless you have absolute and positive proof and you don't make such accusations door to door. You take them to the proper authorities. This is the kind of thing that causes lynchings and I will not have it in my community! Officers take these people to their motel. See that they gather their things and move on. I want them out of town !"
"We are spreading the truth of God!" one of the men remarked. "You can't force us to leave!"
"Very well," the Chief answered, "Book 'em! A few months in the county jail will do them good. I'm sure Rev. Polley would love the publicity of you people going to trial. Might even make the national news!"
The second man touched the other's arm and shook his head. "Very well!" the first man agreed. "But you are interfering with the Will Of God."
"I hardly think so," the Chief answered.
The people were ushered out and the Chief stood there. "I know we don't always get along, Gerald," he finally managed, "but I know you well enough that I'd NEVER believe ANYTHING like that!"
I simply nodded and made my good-byes. As I say, I've run into some fanatics! Fortunately not too many like those!


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