Religious Pilgrims vs. The Airport

I’m down at the airport this morning, having had a very good time spending time off-planet with friends who are also pilots plus friends and spouses of pilots. We’re all feeling quite mellow and full from the buffet breakfast at one of our stops. OK, it’s getting on towards 11 am and we say our good-byes and head out to our ground transportation to get on with our day.

That’s when we realize there is some sort of parade going on down Main Street (yes, that’s really the street the airport is on). Not just a couple of folks, but a massive wad of humanity filling the two lanes from side to side and then some, all densely packed. Reports from the air (this is an airport, after all, no problem getting an arial traffic report) indicate the mob extends over at least a mile of road.

Ya know, if these assholes had been WALKING at least it wouldn’t have been so bad, but they are STOPPING. For minutes at a time, before creeping forward again. At each stop there’s this call-and-response thing going on, and singing in some foreign language. Some of these people are carrying banners.

Turns out it’s a “religious pilgrammage” OK. I never thought Indiana was of any particular relgious significance to anyone other than, perhaps, native tribes which these people most certainly aren’t - I’m guessing Polish, maybe, or something else slavic judging by the writing on some of the banners.

OK… so a bunch of us go up and say “hey, is this going to be awhile? Can we maybe get through here?” Some dude in an orange safety vest says yeah, we can let you through.

So, all dozen plus of us get into cars and line up.

These “pilgrims” just look at us and keep walking. So help me, a couple of goofs walk up next to the hood of my car and tell me to back up. Well, after a minute or two a bunch of them start to get the idea that the two cars, the pickup truck, and the three SUV’s would like to get through here, please.

Well, the crowd parts slightly - except now, instead of just stopping, they’re starting to ooze sideways. Women start shouting YOU CAN’T DO THIS! WE’RE ON A RELIGIOUS PILGRAMAGE YOU ASSHOLES! GO TO HELL! YOU’LL BURN IN HELL FOR THIS! YOU’RE A WITCH! YOU’RE EVIL! YOU CAN’T DO THIS!

There’s a couple police officers trying to tell these paragons of Christianity - these people with banners of Jesus swearing and cursing at people - that yes, you really DO have to let the heathens through and no, they can NOT form a blockade across the road.

One woman gloms onto the side of my car, screaming into my open window about how dare I interrupt her religious experience. I said “Lady, we’ve been waiting 40 minutes to get out and your pilgrammage moved all of 25 feet! We ain’t all pilgrims here and it would have been nice if you had given us some warning so we could have left BEFORE you showed up!”

“You witch. You evil witch. We do this every year. You’re doing this delibrately!”

"What? You can’t call the airport and say “By the way, we’re going to stop traffic for 4 hours today?”

“We don’t need to ask your goddamned permission.” indignant sniff “If you were a CHRISTIAN you’d be with us you goddamned witch.”

WTF? “Lady, that there place behind me is an AIRPORT. A fucking AIRPORT. What makes you think ANYONE there is from around here? We’ve got 3 fucking planes from Canada sitting out there and one from Mexico and I tell you those folks are pissed as hell to come all this way and find YOUR sorry ass in the way - how the FUCK are they supposed to know about this?”



Which is about when the cop stepped up and had to physically pry her off the car. While more screaming and hollering were going on. I realized the guy in the car behind me had his gun out when the part of the mob banging on his car and swearing at him started to fall back.

Anyhow, FINALLY got out onto the side of the road they weren’t supposed to be on. I’m seeing cars ahead of me getting banged on, spat on, cops prying people off them…

WHAT THE FUCK??? Is this a “religious pilgrammage” or a goddamn riot in progress? Who the fuck ARE these people who feel they can, without warning, shut down the main road through town whenever the hell they feel like it? I’m guessing they’re some brand of Catholic but I’ve NEVER heard of any “religous pilgrammage” that occurs on August 12 in fucking Indiana, United States that requires shutting down traffic and/or threatening bystanders.

Yes, the police were routing traffic around this little boondoogle - but did anyone think to fucking WARN those of us who would be effectively TRAPPED while this little fucking dog-and-pony show ambled it’s way along? They took FOUR FUCKING HOURS to go ONE FUCKING MILE!!! And they weren’t going to move faster for jack shit. I asked about what if some emergency happens and police/fire/EMS needs to get through. One fuckwad said “God won’t let it happen, and if it did, they’ll just have to wait because we’re having a pilgrammage”. Yeah, the cops dealing with these shitheads were REAL happy to hear that!

And if they WEREN’T going to let us through why the FUCK did they say they would? These assholes WANTED trouble. OK, boys and girls, let’s get the tire irons, baseball bats, and weaponry and have us a party with the little fuckhead pseudoChristians who think it’s OK to swear and condemn to hell those who just happen to have gotten caught in their little fucking parade!

Fuckwads like these give REAL Christians a bad name.

It’s times like this that remind me of Kevin Smith’s Dogma (and I’m paraphrasing here) where one of the characters claim no religion is the “right” one and beliefs are dangerous. These people believe they’re right, so everyone else should bend to their superior knowledge.

I’m also reminded of Monty Python’s Life of Brian.

The point of both films are that people should think for themselves. Apparently some people are content to be sheep.

“All of you, just fuck off!”
Confused expressions all around.
“How shall we fuck off, O Master?”

Now I’m envisioning the hypothestical finish to this conversation…

“I don’t know! Go on a pilgrimage!”

“A pilgrimage! Yes! Sent on a holy task by our Lord! A pilgramage to where, O Master?”

“I don’t care! Go to the great holyland of… Indiana! Just fuck off and leave me alone!”

“Yes, O Lord! To Indiana! We must make a pilgrimage to Indiana!”

“And take your time! Don’t be in any hurry to get back here you know.”

“Yes, thank you, O Lord!”

Crunchy, you’re making it very hard for me to stay pissed off. That’s just weird enough to have happened.

I live very near Gary, Indiana, hometown of the Jackson 5, their sister Janet, etc. etc. I tell people that, although Michael Jackson is arguably the weirdest thing to have escapted Gary, Indiana he is NOT the weirdest thing to have ever BEEN in Gary, Indiana. In fact, compared to many people and things around here he’s pretty close to normal.

I hope next time the Master tells his follows to fuck off he directs them to Iowa or Utah or something.

No option of calling in an airstrike? Packed in like that, prime targetting. I’m envisioning gunships blaring out music a la Apocalypse Now, but instead of “Ride of the Valkyries” it would be that terrific opening number of the Carmina Burana. That’d shake up any pilgrimmage.

Hey! We have enough weirdos in Iowa, thankyouverymuch!


That air raid sounds like fun. I can see them scatter now, like frightened rabbits. Who knows, maybe they were going to march to the sea and drown themselves. I wouldn’t be surprised, especially because the extreme religious nuts are becoming more and more psychotic each day.


What airport was this? and tell me more about the pilgrimage- I have to see this, and mock it, in person. Perhaps, like people lining up to watch a parade we can all come mock the morons. You could start a charter service and fly people in. Think of the revenue! “Come and see the rude so-called Christians!” Not to mention the hours logged.

BTW, Utah has more than it’s share of wierdos already, as well.

b. <–lifelong NW indiana non-escapee.

Man, those people are lucky I wasn’t there. If they did that shit to me, I would have probably just hit the gas, cops or no cops. I like to think I’m a pretty nice guy, but I must admit, I can have a hell of a temper, especially lately.

Oh, and I wholeheartedly agree that they give all REAL Christians a bad name. I don’t even go to church, but I do believe in God, and I feel like they give everyone a bad name. I hate hippocrits like that. :mad:

What makes you think they’re Catholic?

Jeezus. I’ve been to demonstrations with anarchists who weren’t aggravating and disruptive like that.

As a former Catholic, the date seems about right for the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

What I don’t understand, are the "witch"comments ?

A little known fact is that one of the ancient holy paths to Jerusalem is through Indiana.

Canterbury Tales would have been so much more interesting to read if it had less Middle English, and more riot police.

Billy, I didn’t know you were a neighbor either!

Griffith-Merrillville airport, on Main between Colfax and Chase. More about the pilgrimmage? Told you all I know. Wish you could have been there, but I understand this happens only once a year. But you’re right - with some warning we could have advertised, flown people in for the show, and set up the airport BBQ

Actually, my first guess was Greek Orthodox, but the writing on the banners was a Latinate alphabet. The Protestants don’t go in for that sort of mass processional, at least around here. Also, the nuns in full habit/regalia sprinkled throughout the crowd were a bit of a giveaway, too. Mind you, this is not an anti-Catholic rant, it’s an anti-rude-fucking-idiot rant with a dash of anti-mob rant thrown in.

Um… you know, I can’t ever recall the Catholic half of my family mentioning this sort of mob-action/harassment as being a yearly event in their lives. Is it safe to assume that this is not quite the normal way to celebrate this happy occassion?

Well, there are two things that could possibly be going on here. 1) They are supersitous bumpkins for whom this was just another way to swear at people or 2) They have Amazing Psychic Powers ™ and clued in to the fact that I do belong to a minority religion whose practitioners are sometimes referred to a “witches”. Since I’d never seen any of these people before and have encountered very very few folks who could even possibly qualify as a real psychic (lots psychos… not to many psychics…), I’m inclined towards #1

The Feast of the Assumption occurs every year on August 15. It celebrates the belief that Mary did not die, but was taken bodily into Heaven.

It is one of ten Holy Days of Obligation (in the United States, only six are celebrated, and sometimes not that many).

I am unaware of any tradition for a parade or procession associated with this event, although I don’t rule it out as a possibility.

It constantly amazes me that during events which celebrate holy Christian saints or martyrs, people can lose sight of the very principles they are supposedly celebrating. Assuming this was a Catholic crowd, celebrating an early Assumption, could this woman ever picture Mary herself screaming, “You witch!” at another? The very idea is absurd - yet she herself does it during the very event that honors Mary.

Anyway, the last paragraph is not fodder for GQ.

  • Rick

Sounds like my kind of guy - good for him. People in a mob situation crazed with contrived self-righteous religious fervor are far more dangerous than they are funny or pitiful.

According to the Hammond Times, the pilgrims were four thousand Polish Catholics on a thirty-mile hike to some shrine in Merriville. Apparently this is an annual thing, so be wary next year.

Broom, PLEASE write to the Times ( and tell them about the bullshit you went through. It’d make a nice change from all those “praise Jesus/ban homos” letters that appear every other damn day.


It’s the old “if you’re not with us, you’re against us” syndrome. You have placed yourself in the enemy camp and, if you recall, most people equate “witches” with “Satanists.” So there ya go.

For the life of me, I can’t tell the difference between Christians and Satanists. Judging by the behavior of the pilgrims, these people worship power devoid of a morsal code. The pilgrims, and a great many Christians, seem to worship God because they are afraid of going to hell after death, not because they want to be examples of charity, forgiveness, and mercy.