Factions in the Church: Antibacterial Hand soap*

Every good CS church has committees, the more committees, the more committed the congregation is, right? A friend of mine, S, was on the church cleaning committee, a group of volunteers who got together to clean the church on a weekly basis. There were/are four or five people rotating through the month so no one person would be doing all the work.

One of the the jobs of the cleaning committee was/is restocking hand soap, feminine hygiene products, and paper products (toilet paper, hand towels, tissues) in the women’s bathroom. S had been tasked with getting new hand soap.

As S tells the story she went to the grocery store and picked a mild hand soap (with a relatively inoffensive odor), put it in the bathroom, got reimbursed and thought nothing more of the incident until she was approached by fellow member of the congregation E.

Apparently S had purchased antibacterial hand soap. Apparently it said on the label, no less, that it killed 99.999% of germs and bacteria. Did she know how UNSCIENTIFIC** that was?

S politely informed E that it was hand soap. When was the last time she’d looked for it at the store? Pretty much everything is anti-bacterial, and her decision had nothing to do with “science” and everything to do with practicality (apparently they were about to run out).

E was not placated and proceeded to give S a crash course in the “unreality” of matter (bacteria included).

At this point in the retelling of the encounter S was rather annoyed having been “in science” far longer than E, and “unreal or not” you “wash your hands with soap after you use the toilet!”

I am not entirely sure what transpired next, but apparently E took the issue of the anti-bacterial soap to the church Board. Now the women’s bathroom now has a decorative soap dispenser filled with an undisclosed brand of soap.

*This story was relayed to me by the purchaser of the hand soap in question (S). I have no reason to doubt it’s authenticity, and while it may have been embellished a bit, it was collaborated (unknowingly) by a third party.
**”Unscientific” in this context has nothing to do with “science” in the traditional definition and everything to do with how UN-CS something is.

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