**** (4 stars out of 5)
O'Brien is learning about local sweet treats from his Bajoran assistant Neela. Vitamin C-enriched jumja sticks, for example. Keiko teases her baffled husband, "Be careful who you share your jumja with."
Keiko teaches her class about the stable wormhole and the entities within. Orthodox Bajoran spiritual leader Vedek Winn wants equal time given to the Celestial Temple and the Prophets within. In fact, forget equal time! Winn can't permit blasphemy. It would upset the scale model of the Sydney Opera House she wears as a hat.
Keiko brings this dilemma to Sisko, arguing that she's not teaching philosophy. Kira disagrees.
"Some might say pure science, taught without a spiritual context, IS a philosophy, Mrs. O'Brien."
Sisko wants there to be room on the station for all philosophies. Or at least less clawing each other's eyes out.
Winn takes the ear of the Emissary. literally. She tells him her Orb visions have guided her to threaten Mrs. O'Brien. Charming. Next she'll be abusing mental patients!
The jumja stick guy won't sell to the O'Briens anymore. Cursed science! Wretched alien foreigners who want to buy my clearly machine-milled popsicles in my kiosk on a whirling wheel in the heavens!
Winn asks Keiko to just not to teach wormhole science at all, with possible later omission of evolution, and universal creation. Also, she doesn't believe in Q or floating Space Lincoln. Or the life cycle of filthy Earth turnips. Keiko is unwilling to hide knowledge from kids.
After Keiko's rather pointed lesson about Galileo's heliocentrism trial, Jake tells his dad he thinks the Bajoran beliefs are dumb. Sisko is still for tolerance. "It may not be what you believe, but that doesn't make it wrong." Good call. What with the Prophets and their Orbs being pretty solidly real things! If you could land a runabout on Heaven it'd be harder to dismiss.
Sisko meets with Winn's ideological "competitor" Vedek Bareil. He's a kindly, progressive, saffron-robed gardener who wants to do away with the archaic games of ear-grab in the rectories. He's a good guy, but politically savvy enough not to be seen supporting Sisko's godless Federation. (Even though, like Winn, he is respectful of the Emissary himself.)
Quark notes the gathering crowds of surly fundamentalists and plans to hire more floozies. "These spiritual types love those dabo girls!"
"We are neither the enemy nor the devil," Sisko soothes the anxious crowd.
Bareil, apparently moved by Sisko's speech, takes his side and visits DS9. While Bareil urges non-violence and trying to trust aliens again, Winn's fall guy Neela takes her shot. Sisko saves Bariel, and Kira sees through the lack of evidence to deduce Winn's scheming murder plot. Which will be the next Kai? Find out next year!
"In The Hands of The Prophets" is peachy keen. If I've been lackluster in my support of Deep Space Nine's first season, well, that's all about to change. Join me for next year this week! Same Blasphemy Time, Same Blasphemy Channel!