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Elmer Gantry , 1927

(pagination from the Bison Book paperback edition)

"He was born to be a senator. He never said anything important, and he always said it sonorously." I-1, p. 9.

"He had, in fact, got everything from the church and Sunday School, except, perhaps, any longing whatever for decency and kindness and reason." II-1, p. 34.

"Though Frank Shallard might have come to admire pictures, great music, civilized furniture, he had been trained to regard them as worldly, and to content himself with art which 'presented a message,' to regard 'Les Miserables' as superior because the bishop was a kind man, and 'The Scarlet Letter' as a poor book because the heroine was sinful and the author didn't mind." VI-1, p. 86.

"Frank ... made Solomon's temple not merely a depressing object composed of a substance called 'cubits' but an actual shrine in which dwelt an active and terrifying god." VII-2, p. 101.

"[The teachers were] reading fifteenth-hand opinions, taking pleasant naps, and drooling out to yawning students the anemic and worldly bookishness which they called learning." VIII-1, p. 118.

"His reasoning had been introverted, turned from an examination of menas mammals and devoted to a sorrow that sinful and aching souls should not more readily seek the security of a mystic process known as Conviction, Repentance, and Salvation, which he was assured by the noblest and most literate men he had ever known, was guaranteed to cure all woe. His own experience did not absolutely confirm this." VIII-2, p. 120.

"'Even if some details of dogma aren't true - or even all of 'em think what a consolation religion and the church are to weak humanity! Are they? I wonder! Don't cheerful agnostics, who know they are going to die dead, worry much less than good Baptists, who worry lest their sons and cousins and sweethearts fail to get into the Baptist heaven or what is even worse, who wonder if they may not have guessed wrong if God may not be a Catholic, maybe, or a Mormon or Seventh-day Adventist instead of a Baptist, and then they'll go to hell themselves. Consolation? No!'" VIII-2, p. 123.

"It was not her eloquence but her healing of the sick which raised Sharon to such eminence that she promised to become the most renowned evangelist in America. People were tired of eloquence; and the whole evangelist business was limited, since even the most ardent were not likely to be saved more than three of four times. But they could be healed constantly, and of the same disease." XV-1, p. 208.

"To one who had never made more than five thousand a year himself, it was inspiring to explain before dozens of popeyed and admiring morons how they could make ten thousand fifty thousand a million a year, and all this by the Wonder Power of Suggestion, by Aggressive Personality, by the Divine Rhythm, in fact by merely releasing the Inner Self-shine. ... In some ways he preferred New Thought to standard Protestantism. It was safer to play with. He had never been sure but that there might be something to the doctrines he had preached as an evangelist. Perhaps God really had dictated every word of the Bible. Perhaps there really was a hell of burning sulphur. Perhaps the Holy Ghost really was hovering around watching him and reporting. But he knew with serenity that all of his New Thoughts, his theosophical utterances, were pure and uncontaminated bunk. No one could deny his theories because none of his theories meant anything... How agreeable on bright winter afternoons in the gilt and velvet elegance of the lecture hall, to look at smart women and moan, 'And, oh my beloved, can you not see, do you no perceive, have not your earth-bound eyes ingathered, the supremacy of raja's quality which each of us, by that inner contemplation which is the all however cloaked by the seeming, can consummate and build loftily to higher aspiring spheres?'" XVI-2, p. 224.

"Elmer had enough money to take him to Eureka. All the way there he warmed up the affection with which a borrower recalls an old acquaintance who is generous and a bit soft." XVI-3, p. 228.

"What had he learned? ... The theory that India and Africa have woes because they are not Christianized, but that Christianized Bangor and Des Moines have woes because the devil, a being obviously more potent than omnipotent God, sneaks around counteracting the work of Baptist preachers. ... And he had learned that poverty is blessed, but that bankers make the best deacons." XVII-1, p. 230.

"The Maker of the universe with stars a hundred thousand light-years apart was interested, furious, and very personal about it if a small boy played baseball on Sunday afternoon." XVII-1, p. 231.

"He was still not at all certain that he was doing any good, aside from providing the drug of religious hope to timorous folk frightened of hell-fire and afraid to walk alone." XXIV-2, p. 319.

"I was brought up to believe that the Christian God wasn't a scared and compromising public servant, but the creator of the whole merciless truth, and I reckon that training spoiled me I actually took my teachers seriously!" XXVIII-1, p. 357.

"A proper school should teach nothing but bookkeeping, agriculture, geometry, dead languages madedeader by leaving out all the amusing literature, and the Hebrew Bible as interpreted by men superbly trained to ignore contradictions, men technically called 'Fundamentalists.'" XXIX-9, p. 375.