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KEY WEST, Florida - Although horticulturists insist that the black legend of kudzu, an ornamental Asian plant popularly known as the “vine that ate the south,” is largely undeserved, it’s nonetheless infamous below the Mason-Dixon line. Introduced in the late 19th century to prevent soil erosion, it became known for its uncontrollable expansion - no matter how hard you tried to kill it, it just kept coming back.
The past week reminded me that religion is a bit like kudzu, in that it keeps popping back up even in places you’d least expect it.
Lesson - Home - Vacation - Key - West
The lesson was brought home during a vacation in Key West, the southernmost point in the continental United States and the last of the Florida Keys, nestled at the intersection of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico just 90 nautical miles from Havana. It was my fourth time there, and God help me, I do love it so.
Once a pirate enclave, Key West a little over a century ago was home to thriving salvage, shrimping, turtle-hunting and cigar-rolling enterprises. It was the most populous city in Florida and the wealthiest city in America per capita. By then, it had become an exotic cultural mélange of the deep south, descendants of Spanish conquistadors, Cuban fishermen and cigar-makers, Haitians, Bahamians and Cayman Islanders, plus adventurers and artists of every stripe.
Religion - Part - Mix - Key - West
Religion was very much part of the mix. Key West was “founded” in 1822, when an American businessman bought it from a Cuban official who’d been granted the deed to the island as a reward for services to the Spanish crown.
There had been aboriginal inhabitants long before, but they’d abandoned the place, perhaps due to a lack of fresh water. Because of the impenetrable coral soil, they’d left their dead above ground, leading to the original Spanish name -...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Crux
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