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The inimitable Hector Marquez

It was the first Sunday of the month, last night, and unless Hector Marquez is converting people in Peru or on the continent of Europe, the Gideons, who host that night of the month at the Union Gospel Mission, have Mr. Marquez preach to the mission's constantly shifting congregants.

Hector was in America yesterday and came to the mission, hunting for bear.

Almost immediately he focused on the persecution of Christians and, especially, once his sermon got rolling, on the threat to true, saved Christians, like himself, who are soon to be targeted by Satan and the devil's followers in these, the End Times.

Mr. Marquez's passage from the Bible for the night came from the third chapter of Daniel where the Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar, full of fury, commanded strong men in his court to put three innocent Jews – Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego – into a fiery furnace. The king did not know that the three were under the watchful protection of God.

Marquez said that the story depicts what will be happening soon when "extreme right-wingers" [as his enemies choose to tag him, he said] are treated like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego by the devil-led persecutors as our current tough times soon become much more ominous.

Disasters aplenty beset the earth, Marquez told us. The international press is withholding from us the fact that Christians are being murdered everywhere in the world in great number. In China, Christians are gunned down like dogs. In Iran, a woman recently was grabbed by the authorities for passing out Bibles and was summarily killed in public. Why was she killed on the street? Because the authorities there are determined to evoke fear to prevent the spread of Christ's message.

Once the appropriately-named Hector works up some steam hectoring the crowd, he begins screaming and banging on the lectern and fulminates at high volume. His bald head begins to sweat heavily and he pats at it with a napkin. [Sometimes when he preaches, but not last night, he leans on the alter and actually starts kicking up his legs behind him.]

Audibly, and somewhat visually, hefty Hector is curiously the same as the Ralph Kramden character that Jackie Gleason played in The Honeymooners sitcom when Kramden was abusive toward his wife, Alice -- "One of these days... One of these days... POW! Right in the kisser!... to the moon, Alice" -- or was berating his neighbor Ed Norton.

Hector told us that we are beginning to lose our freedoms, here in America. Citizens are terrified that they will soon be losing their health benefits. Soon, we won't be able to feed ourselves due to problems with the crops. Trust me, End Times are here, Hector told us, and an Anti-Christ, much like Nebuchadnezzar, will be loose on the planet full of hate for devout Christians, who are right wingers, like himself. [At this point, I think many in the chapel began wondering, as I was, if Hector was fingering Obama as that Anti-Christ. The President is now pushing for passage of univeral health-care legislation.]

Hector told us that, like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, he would be put in a fiery furnace but he would come dancing out of there. Again, like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, his clothes woudn't be harmed and there would not be so much as a whiff of smoke about him.


Too often the wingnuts or those merely wholly loony come to preach at the mission. But Hector tops 'em all, in a Twilight Zone of vanity and paranoia.


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