Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West
How we cite our quotes:
If you could take the skewers of religion, those that riddle your frame, make you aware every time you move – if you could withdraw the scimitars of religion from your mental and moral systems – could you even stand? ... Is religion itself – the tired and ironic phrase – the necessary evil? (5.13.3)
The choice of words here is really evocative: "skewers" and "scimitars" suggest that religion is sharp, piercing, and more than a little uncomfortable. At first it seems like religion is "stabbing" people uncomfortably, but as the sentence progresses, a shift occurs. With the question "could you even stand," religion becomes a system of pillars. Religion may be a necessary evil for any type of morality to exist.
"Now isn't the time to argue. Do you want to distract me from holy work today? We're facing the presence of real evil in Rush Margins. I couldn't live with myself if I ignored it." He meant this, and for such intensity she had fallen in love with him; but she hated him for it too, of course. (1.1.35)
Frex's religious fervor manages to both attract and repel people, including his own wife. It's interesting that the same type of love/hate descriptions are used for Nessarose, particularly in Glinda's assessments of her.
Frex was up and lashing out at Nanny, swinging his fists. Nanny fell backward off her stool, and Melena bobbed about her, shrieking. "How dare you!" cried Frex. "In this household! Isn't this green girl insult enough? Sorcery is the refuge of the amoral; when it isn't out-and-out charlatanism, it is dangerously evil! Contracts with demons!" (1.4.102)
Frex's over-the-top reaction here is pretty unusual in this book; people don't usually flip out to this degree. It may be the subject matter that is causing this level of intensity, which isn't surprising. Just flip on any news channel today.