Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Second (Gang) Life of the Rosary

Excerpt from the very interesting developments reported by Daniel Burke in "Rosaries a popular gang tool, not often for prayer".  See the full feature story at Religion News Service.

“With the introduction of strict dress codes and the use of uniforms in the school systems, these type of indicators seem to be favored by the gangsters,” the San Antonio (Texas) Police Department says in a handbook about gang awareness.

Gangsters not only wear certain colors—reds for Bloods, blues for Crips, for example—they also arrange the beads to signal their rank in the gang, and teach young members to plead religious freedom if they’re hauled into the principal’s office, said Jared Lewis, a former police officer in California who worked in public schools.

[...] “These things just evolve.”

[...] "Now cherished by many Christians, rosaries fell out of favor among Protestants because the Roman Catholic Church used them to promote indulgences—papal dispensation from time in purgatory. After the Reformation, the beads became a defiant emblem for Catholic monks and nuns to wear outside their habits and a tactile tool for missionaries to pass on the faith—particularly in Latin America."

*"Sock Monkey Chaplet"  pictured above (apparently without gang significance) available HERE.

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