June 27, 2007

Do you do voodoo?

Confirming that the 1989 comedy "Major League," with Dennis Haysbert as Pedro Cerrano, the slugger who keeps a Santeria shrine in his locker, was ahead of its time, the LA Times reports:

Religion under wraps
Santeria finds a following among baseball's Latin American players, who'd rather not discuss it for fear of misperceptions.
By Kevin Baxter Times Staff Writer

CHICAGO — On a shelf in the office of Chicago White Sox Manager Ozzie Guillen, mixed in among the family photos, the Roberto Clemente bobblehead and the Napoleon Dynamite figurine, are four small but intimidating religious icons.

"If you see my saints, you'll be like 'Golly, they're ugly,' " Guillen had said before inviting a visitor to come in. "They've got blood. They've got feathers. You go to the Catholic church, the [saints] have got real nice clothes.

"My religion, you see a lot of different things you never see."

Guillen's religion is Santeria, a largely misunderstood Afro-Cuba spiritual tradition that incorporates the worship of orisha — multidimensional beings who represent the forces of nature — with beliefs of the Yoruba and Bantu people of Africa and elements of Roman Catholicism. And Guillen, born in Venezuela, is one of a growing number of Latin American players, managers and coaches who are followers of the faith.

How many major leaguers have converted to Santeria is impossible to say because most, aware of the stigma the religion has in the United States, refuse to talk about their faith.

"It's like the forbidden fruit," said one player. "It's something personal. It's something you don't talk about."

But among those who have acknowledged their devotion are Angels pitcher Francisco Rodriguez and Florida Marlins third baseman Miguel Cabrera — both Venezuelan — and the White Sox's Cuban-born pitcher Jose Contreras, all of whom have been All-Stars and won World Series rings. Others, such as Cincinnati Reds shortstop Alex Gonzalez and Chicago Cubs infielder Ronny Cedeno, have experimented with it.

With all that spiritual power on his side, you'd think Ozzie Guillen could have gotten a few more walks during his playing career. (Guillen's name has become a by-word for a player who will not take a base-on-balls no matter how much the team needs it.)

Anyway, it's all just part of the vibrant future we Americans have to look forward to.


My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Steve aren't you Christian?

It's always fun to hear believers of one kind of magic making fun of believers of a a different kind.

Anonymous said...

Ozzie Guillen led the White Sox to the World Series, what have you done?

Jedster said...

I'm glad you've stopped linking to your inaccurate "Freeswinging Latins" theory.

daveg said...

Hey, you don't "walk" off the lsland, my friend. You hit your way off.

Gary said...

Whatever you may think of belief in God in general or Christianity in particular, can anyone really argue that practicing Santeria isn't superstitious, irrational behavior?

Myself, I'd be interested to know what the average IQ is of the players who practice Santeria. My money says it's well below 90.

Andershot said...

I'm a Revilo Oliver Atheist, but I think there's no question there's a huge difference in the level of a religion like Christianity and a chicken killing cult like Santeria. It's a lower form of mentality.

Anonymous said...

As to whether Christianity or Santeria or for that matter any religion is valid or not, your guess is as good as mine.

Stick to what you are good at and quit digressing.

essex said...

I'm a Revilo Oliver Atheist, but I think there's no question there's a huge difference in the level of a religion like Christianity and a chicken killing cult like Santeria. It's a lower form of mentality.

That's because Christianity has had 2,000 years of cultural domination to build a body of theology and philosophy. When it started out, it was a cult, pure and simple. Once it became the dominant - indeed, for most of the last two milennia, the mandatory - religion of the West, intellectual life flourished within the Church and continued to do so post-Reformation almost to the present day. That gives Christianity an air of respectability that younger religions don't have. The underlying story, however, is still purely faith-based supernatural stuff.

If Santeria grew into the established religion of a huge culture system and then endured for a couple of thousand years, you'd see plenty of deep-thinking and no chicken-killing.

Snuffleuffagus said...

I'm a Revilo Oliver Atheist, but I think there's no question there's a huge difference in the level of a religion like Christianity and a chicken killing cult like Santeria. It's a lower form of mentality.

That's because Christianity has had 2,000 years of cultural domination to build a body of theology and philosophy. When it started out, it was a cult, pure and simple. Once it became the dominant - indeed, for most of the last two milennia, the mandatory - religion of the West, intellectual life flourished within the Church and continued to do so post-Reformation almost to the present day. That gives Christianity an air of respectability that younger religions don't have. The underlying story, however, is still purely faith-based supernatural stuff.


About some religions of modernity, I'd buy that. Santeria isn't new: it's the old paganism, of the crudest variety. It is a low order of religious practice. Christianity is precisely a highly evolved cult, because, it was adopted and adapted by a highly advanced race, relatively speaking.

It didn't continuously evolve over those 2000 years. It made three or four or five, depending on your views, major steps, and it could be argued it did so because its adherents themselves evolved and adapted it to meet their current needs.

As that group evolved, its "alternate religions" evolved as well. Compare the Satanism of medieval times with that of, say, Anton LaVey. The change mirrors that in Christianity. Consider also medieval Gnosticism, as compared to, perhaps, Mormonism, or Christian Science. (CS is nearly extinct, but just fifty years ago was, next to Episcopalianism, the toniest religion for Air Force officers. Many celebs either practiced it actively or were largely influenced by a childhood exposure to it.)