I listen to a lot of audiobooks, read a lot of library books and e-books, still somehow never have enough room on my bookshelves.
There's a long section where one of the characters has been invited to join a group of church elders for dinner, all men he doesn't know well. It's a huge honour, but he's uneasy at the dinner, and then one of them tells a rape joke about one of the serving women, who was gang raped as a girl (and everyone knows it).
Everyone at the table roared, but Gabriel felt his blood turn cold that God’s ministers should be guilty of such abominable levity, and that that woman sent by God to comfort him, and without whose support he might already have fallen by the wayside, should be held in such dishonour. They felt, he knew, that among themselves a little rude laughter could do no harm; they were too deeply rooted in the faith to be made to fall by such an insignificant tap from Satan’s hammer. But he stared at their boisterous, laughing faces, and felt that they would have much to answer for on the day of judgment, for they were stumbling-stones in the path of the true believer.
Now the sandy-haired man, struck by Gabriel’s bitter, astounded face, bit his laughter off, and said: ‘What’s the matter, son? I hope I ain’t said nothing to offend you?’
‘She read the Bible for you the night you preached, didn’t she?’ asked another of the elders, in a conciliatory tone.
‘That woman,’ said Gabriel, feeling a roaring in his head, ‘is my sister in the Lord.’
‘Well, Elder Peters here, he just didn’t know that,’ said someone else. ‘He sure didn’t mean no harm.’
‘Now, you ain’t going to get mad?’ asked Elder Peters, kindly—yet there remained, to Gabriel’s fixed attention, something mocking in his face and voice. ‘You ain’t going to spoil our little dinner?’
‘I don’t think it’s right,’ said Gabriel, ‘to talk evil about nobody. The Word tell me it ain’t right to hold nobody up to scorn.’
‘Now you just remember,’ Elder Peters said, as kindly as before, ‘you’s talking to your elders.’
‘Then it seem to me,’ he said, astonished at his boldness, ‘that if I got to look to you for a example, you ought to be a example.’
‘Now, you know,’ said someone else, jovially, ‘you ain’t fixing to make that woman your wife or nothing like that—so ain’t no need to get all worked up and spoil our little gathering. Elder Peters didn’t mean no harm. If you don’t never say nothing worse than that, you can count yourself already up there in the Kingdom with the chosen.’
And at this a small flurry of laughter swept over the table; they went back to their eating and drinking, as though the matter were finished.
Depressing how little the culture has changed.