Last night, “the inimitable Hector Marquez” [as the Gideon host once loftily described him] was the featured sermonizer, and he came, in that way that he always comes, loaded for bear. Hector [everyone in the pews seems to call him by his first name] always works himself up in the coarse of his preaching, and he certainly did that last night. He yells and screams and pounds the altar, albeit in a non-threatening way, except when he spikes it to make a particularly prominent point.
His topic was one of there being a great disobedience out there in the secular world and in many church communities. The kids today are particularly bad. Several have murdered their parents. The world is going to hell in a hand basket -- that kind of thing. I’m not critical of that sort of talk; Marquez makes his point. I disagree with much of what is said, but it’s arguable. Marquez has Scriptural support for what he says and there is valid reason for him to get into these issues. He puts anecdotal evidence out there and throws in some stats -- like the high divorce rate, these days. People disobey God; children disobey their parents. The Ten Commandments are broken right and left.
But, then, Marquez’ attention turned to Egypt. Marquez’ complaint was the chaos there, which he blamed on the disobedience of the crowd to their president. I sat in my seat, stunned. Had I heard what I thought I’d heard? Hector was defending Hosni Mubarak, and calling that cruel dictator “the president!?” Hector was often off-his-facts, but this was a misapprehension of the world that I didn’t think was quite possible.
Mubarak was a capable and real president of Egypt when he was first in office, following the assassination of Anwar Sadat in 1981, but by the early Nineties, he’d become a fully cruel, murderous strongman. For the duration of his now 31-year reign, the country has been under martial law with the constitution suspended and dissent throttled by venal police that operate like a criminal mob. Mubarak is the elected president, but elections in Egypt have been a sham. There was just a 22% turnout of voters, in 2005, with the dictator getting 88% of the vote.
ABC News and the Guardian (a prominent UK newspaper) have each reported recently that Mubarak has siphoned off 70 billion dollars of Egypt’s wealth in corrupt activities. That is a colossal degree of corruption in a country where the gross national income per family is just $2,070/yr. The people are poor and their suffering has been exacerbated because of corruption “at the top,” and the country being run as if by a Mafia don.
The people of Egypt want out from under the evil dictatorship and have taken to the streets to demand the return of their democracy. Lately, they’ve been met by Mubarak’s goon squad and 150 peaceful demonstrators have been killed.
When we were lined up to move from the chapel to the chow hall, Marquez was there to shake the hands of us guys in the congregation. I asked the preacher, “Did I really hear you defending Mubarak!?” Marquez said he was opposed to the chaos and that the Egyptian people are very poor. He didn’t say yes, explicitly, but yes is what he meant.
Other articles in sacHO re Hector Marquez:
• "The inimitable Hector Marquez" Aug 3, 2009
• "More Hector Marquez weirdness and other stuff from last night" Oct 5, 2009
• "Spate of earthquakes doesn't mean world is coming to an end" Mar 8, 2010