But we get evidence that Vicki isn't completely pure as snow when she prays this to Zod:
"Lord, if it's okay with you, I pray that Judd and I would become more than just friends."
You just know Irene Steele would get the vapors if she heard such ungodly talk. But this is a fairly normal prayer for a teenage girl--praying that some boy would like her--so I'll let it slide.
Anyway they celebrate Thanksgiving now renamed Fall Festival Day by the eeevil NWO and discuss distributing their paper via the mail. They do this and there's a big jump to Christmas Eve. I have to say, this is somewhat shocking that they would actually fast-forward a good chunk of time given Ellanjay's fetish for making sure that you know exactly what a character is doing and when. I would applaud them for just fast-forwarding through all the phone calls and other minutia they're obsessed with but my bad writing sense is tingling, telling me something is waiting for me.
Anyway, Vicki gets a cross necklace for Christmas and Ryan is pissed when she assumes Judd gave it to her and storms off upstairs, only to catch Janie smoking something in her room. But she denies everything when the YTF question her.
Next chapter is a big jump to four months later and we get yet another ridiculous name, Judd's religion teacher, Mr. Syncrete. Now, I guess Syncrete is supposed to be a play on Syncretism which dictionary.com defines as:
the attempted reconciliation or union of different or opposing principles, practices, or parties, as in philosophy or religion.
So naturally I'm guessing this is Ellanjay's way of attacking Syncretism, though syncretism is a natural part of human nature. When two cultures meet, both sides will draw ideas from the other. No culture exists in a vaccuum; even America, is blending together of a wide variety of cultures and beliefs, yet they manage to coexist mostly because of syncretism. Though we may have pillaged and plundered Indian cultures and saw them as inferior, we also drew a lot of our native dishes and place names from them; nearly every state in the union has an Indian name.
In fact a lot of Christian practices are syncretism. The characters celebrated Christmas which is basically a pagan solstice festival dusted off and given a Christian feel (don't tell me Ellanjay really believes Jesus was born on December 25), as is Easter. I could go on and on about examples of syncretism but my main point is this: Syncretism exists as a natural flowing from the interactions of various cultures.
But naturally, Ellanjay see anything less than purity as evil (though when you think about it, purity doesn't really exist) so Mr. Syncrete is an eeevil employee of the NWO teaching system what with his insistence on tolerance for everyone even if they aren't Judeo-Christian.
For some reason though, the NWO requires religious education for graduation. Why, I don't know. You'd think the anti-Christ would oppose that sort of thing, learning about other faiths than the one he's trying to promote but maybe I should give up trying to apply logic where it doesn't belong.
So apparently Judd and Mr. Syncrete get into debates. Unfortunately, it's not much of a debate: it lasts two sentences long. You can't help but feel ripped off that Ellanjay can't even set up a decent strawman for their protagonist to knock down. Here's the stunning debate:
"You have no basis for saying that," Mr. Syncrete said once. "Give me one shred of evidence that the so-called Ressurection isn't the work of fishermen turned fiction writers."
"I'll give you the evidence," Judd said, "if you'll admit that the Ressurrection of Jesus, if it happened, changes everything your teaching."
First of all, Judd, no way a sixteen-year-old boy can do what centuries of Christian apologists couldn't: prove that Jesus rose from the dead. It's one of the things we accept on faith and many of us feel that the teachings of Christ's life are way more important than whether or not he rose from the dead. Unless you can pull out time-lapse photos taken from the tomb, you can't really prove anything. And don't point to apologetics: all that proves is that a lot of people believe something and that doesn't necessarily make it true.
But anyway Judd is offended by the test he has to take for Mr. Syncrete and is even more offended when he finds out that by walking out on the essay part of the test that he has failed the class. Entitled much, Judd? You're a constant pain in the ass to the teacher, and you still expect to get an A even though you didn't do the work. The test was to show how much you've learned, Judd, not what you believe. You couldn't just bullshit your way through the class?! I am totally on Mr. Syncrete's side and not just because I like his name.
Anyway to end the chapter, Janie is busted for drugs and Bruce decides to send her back to the Detention center. Oh and even though he failed one of his classes and acted like a total turd to his teacher guess what? Judd gets to be salutatorian for his graduating class. :starts massaging temples: I wonder what pearls of wisdom we have to look forward to in the next few chapters. I might need to start drinking something stronger than water to get through this.