Sharon McCoy wrote:
 >> But is the novel relevant, and relevant to a mixed race/class
classroom? Id answer with a resounding yes, on many levels, not just
race. Here are a few that I see:
Clemens and Huck saw more violence and death in their young lives than
many of us in our suburban insulation will see in our lifetime..... <<

Based upon the above statement, I say we teach "Letters from Earth" in
the schools. It's time we get the lowdown on God and religion at a young
age. And, as far as I'm concerned, the monotheists need their wings
clipped. It's the monotheists that are at the bottom of the world's
problems these days, and we need to see it for what it is. Twain does a
wonderful job of inciting us to these kinds of questions in "Letters
from Earth". Why not strike at the heart of the problem.
Twain's "Letters from Earth", were so radical, even to Twain, that he
said he couldn't mail it without soiling the mail, and that it shouldn't
be published until 2000 something (I don't remember precisely this date
either); and his daughter Clara didn't want to publish it, and so held
it until 1962 to published. Seems it's time for this critical piece,
that exposes this false caricaturing of God, to come to the forefront,
if it's not to late already. I can't think of no better person then ol'
Sam to bring all of this to light.
Race is a problem, I grant you that. Not quite as big of a problem as in
Twains' day, -- but still, a problem; still a significant social
tension. But the problem of religion, particularly the monotheist
religions, hold a great potential to ignite World War III.
Here's how it works, or the major contributing attribute, of today's
brewing problems with the monotheist religions:

For a long time the world believed that the Semites, -- thru Abraham, --
introduced to the world the idea of there being only one true God, and
the accompanying notion that all others gods were false gods, at best,
or evil Satanic gods, at worst. Recently we found this not to be true,
as we now know that it was Egypt that introduced this monotheist notion
of One God, -- and it was hateful and intolerant from its inception. But
that doesn't change the mass and momentum, on the pages of history, and
on the present, of this myth of the one and only true "Warrior/King/God".
This One True God is caricaturized (sic) in the Bible of the Semites, as
a Warrior/King/God, who is, by the way, (Huck kicks in here as well) a
racist God who selects a "race" of people as his one and only Chosen
Ones. He makes a covenant with Abraham, the father of this race, that if
he and his descendants remain faithful, then "He", God, will "multiply
thy [Abrahams] seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is
upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;
And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because
thou hast obeyed my voice."
But Abraham can't remain faithful, because he doubts that God can even
give him descendants, considering his wife, Sarah, is past the birthing
age. So he slips off from his wife/half-sister, Sarah, and slips it to
his/her handmaiden, Hagar; who bears him a man-child, -- Ishmael.
(Abraham couldn't possibly have seen, known, or realized, that the
"missile" he failed to keep in his Tunic back then, would later produce
the missiles that flew into the World Trade Center some 3200 years
thence. He could have left the damn thing in his Tunic, but, "NO! they
never do, never have, and never will", to quote from my inner mind.....)
Then later, at 90, or so, (the exact memory of her age slips me at the
moment), Abrahams wife Sarah, bears him a man-child. And this
Warrior/King/God, blesses the second man-child, Isaac, of Sarah, and not
the first man-child, Ishmael, of Hagar, like he should have & promised;
and moreover, puts enmity between the two descendants of the different
mothers from then on.
As time goes on, these monotheist Semites fail to be faithful to their
covenant with this Warrior/King/God, and God takes drastic action and
introduces "His only begotten Son" to raise up a new "Chosen Ones"; and
then, after about 600 years the Semites from Hagar, the "Ishmaelists",
let's say, raise up their great Prophet, Mohammed, and the world stage
is set.
So today, because of this caricaturization (sic) of God, we have the
greatest nation in the world, a monotheist Christian nation, favoring
the "Original Monotheist Semites", Israel, the ones this
Warrior/King/God falsely designated to be his Chosen Ones, -- The State
of Israel, whether they are right or wrong, -- against these "foreign"
monotheist Semites from Abraham's illicit affair with his handmaiden, --
the Arabs, -- these illicit children of Abraham from Hagar, the ones not
chosen by this Warrior/King/God, the one and only true God; to the point
that the illicit Semites are in such a state of rage & anger that they
want to kill both the original monotheist, the Jews, and the grafted in
followers of the One and only begotten Son of this Warrior/King/ God,
the Christians, -- all monotheists, and all following this one and only
Warrior/King/God.. (Today, it's the monotheist against the monotheists.)
And Twain speaks well to this caricaturing of this Warrior/King/God in
his "Letters from Earth." But who has the guts to confront this problem
in our classrooms? We could actually be distracted by this smaller issue
of race and Huck Finn, and fail to ever get at the root of the problem,
the big problem, with World War III potential; which is based upon a
false caricature of God; that brings all the woe to the world stage
today. So let's get to the real and serious problem, -- monotheism, --
and later, when this is solved, if it's even possible to solve it, let's
come back to these smaller issues of racism, that can wait.
Or, let's stick our heads in the sand, and just ignore it; it will
surely just go away on its own, like a bad dream. Or, if it won't go
away, then let's get really ambiguous, and promote this caricature of a
Monotheist/Warrior/King/God, -- let's get it over with, -- and get
behind our President, -- President Bush, -- to help him along to promote
it. Hell, the earth might celebrate the lose of 3 billion of the human
species. It certainly would solve the crowding and traffic problems; and
the energy crises, as well. And Bush, -- Texas gunslinging, quick on the
draw, but not of mind, -- is just the man to do the job. Yea Bush!
Armageddon here we come!