Jesus: Its what’s for dinner

December 17, 2007 at 6:17 pm (opinions, religion)

Oh, I love the sacrilege, and I have to thank my honey for this brilliant title.  It came to us as we were driving across this great country of ours, specifically, across northern Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas, and we kept seeing either Jesus-lovin’ billboards or Beef-lovin’ billboards.  No, not professional advertisements, but the kind that are written on plywood with black paint by some god-fearing, beef-selling farmer.  Here are our favorites:

  • “Jesus is lord” – a real classic
  • Created in his image” – a Kansas specialty, and yes, Created was emphasized on the sign with bold fancy script.
  • “Righteousness makes a great nation, sin is a cancer to people” – well, in my opinion being righteous is one of the nastiest sins out there.
  • “Accept Jesus Christ and you shall be saved.  Or regret it forever.”

Just when I thought that I had found jesus, but wait, I was still pro-choice, this gem came up:

  • “Adoption=Life,  Abortion:Death,  Millions are waiting to adopt” – yes, that is the punctuation directly from the billboard.

Between those inspirational signs and the two gigantor crosses, one of which is officially the “largest cross in the western hemisphere”, I felt the power of jesus coursing through my veins.  I mean, in all honesty, people can practice whatever religion they want to, but what really chaps my hide is how Christians think these superficial and trite advertisements for their religion will sway even one person.  Frankly, I wouldn’t want anyone as weak-minded and easily persuaded to identify with my personal belief system.

I find it hard to imagine seeing cheesy advertisements like these in Saudi Arabia or Israel touting the benefits of believing in Islam or Judaism.  Maybe this is not a uniquely Christian thing, maybe its a uniquely American thing.  That would be par for the course in a country where our Congress would take the time to acknowledge the importance of celebrating a solely Christian holiday, as if we could ever forget with the spirit of Christmas and every other Christian belief being jammed down our throats by every media outlet within sight.

So if you’re ever feeling your faith waning, wipe your mind clear of deep thoughts, scientific knowledge and personal opinions and take a drive through rural America.  Its truly an inspiration!

Advertisements

Permalink Leave a Comment

Swimming Upstream

August 11, 2007 at 8:49 pm (feminism, opinions, religion)

On my way into work this afternoon I was listening to a story on NPR about the ordination of female priests in the Roman Catholic church. Of course I always listen to stories about the Catholic church with a cynical and very critical ear, so my bias is obvious. I tried to find a link to the story on NPR.org but couldn’t, but it has been well established that only men can be officially ordained as Roman Catholic priests because of some rule about preserving the unbroken lineage from priests to bishops back to the original 12 apostles, blah blah blah. But the woman they were interviewing is a member of a group that advocates the rights of women to be ordained into the priesthood. Now I am of course all for equality and it seems absolutely absurd to me that an orginization as widespread and powerful as the Catholic church still gets away with this discrimination. My real question is, why would women want to become ordained priests if they are told that it is illegal within the church, and that they will be essentially kicked out of the church if they choose to become ordained?

It completely boggles my mind that women would be supportive of an orginization which is so fundamentally patriarchical and anti-female. And not only be supportive of it, but they would also want to dedicate their lives to preaching its ways and spreading its message to the world. I’m sure it would take days to discuss all of the ways in which the Catholic church spits in the face of everything feminine. That’s not really what I wanted to get into here, and we all know those things anyway. These women have pretty much had to say to themselves – “hmm, I know the church views me as a second class citizen. I accept that women historically in my religion are viewed as temptresses and sinners. I shouldn’t be allowed to say when and by what means I can plan my pregnancies. I shouldn’t be able to reach the highest level of power within this orginization. But darn it, this is what I want to dedicate my life to!”

I have the same line of questioning when it comes to the so called “log cabin republicans“. Now these people are self-loathing to the point of being politically in favor of everything that will keep down. I can’t think of a single republican stand on an issue that is pro-gay rights. Marriage? Adoption? Military Service? Not so much. I can understand being fiscally conservative, which is probably the driving force behind their motivations (I would hope anyway). But wouldn’t the fact that republicans are patently against your life style, rights, and very exsitance override your stance on economic issues? Apparently the answer is no.

Its not only an uphill battle, its like going uphill with people throwing boulders at you. You are not wanted at the top. You are not meant to be there. And there must be some seriously delusional thinking going on to keep you fighting that losing battle.

Permalink 5 Comments

Abstain from Lies

August 2, 2007 at 8:03 pm (feminism, opinions, politics, rants, religion)

Humans are sexual beings. Perhaps above all else, we are driven by that fact since it is what has kept our species alive and prospering (all too well) for thousands and thousands of years. So why do our (religious-right) leaders try to continually deny this fact? I was just reminded of this while I was reading an entry on a great website written and maintained by intelligent women of my generation. It sounds like maybe some sensible people are trying to make some inroads into the ridiculous policy of abstinence only education. Why is it such a difficult, dirty thing to admit that teenagers have sex? Why are children lied to and mislead about sex? It unfortunately comes down to religion and the conservative mind-set in most cases. No one vilifies the beautiful and natural act of sex more than Christians.

I have to relate a story that G told me about his Catholic school sex education. When G was 16 or 17 years old, he was being “taught” about sex and contraceptives. Now we all know how Catholics feel about contraceptives, so it may surprise you that they were actually covering the topic of condoms. But before you get excited, this is what G was told. He was told, through an ingenious visual demonstration, that condoms are porous, and that if a condom pore were proportionately as large as a doorway, a single AIDS virus is the size of a tennis ball. Now throw that tennis ball threw the doorway. WOW! Condoms are completely useless! That’s a GREAT lesson to teach a bunch of horny 17 year olds! Now to address the validity of that demonstration: even if the AIDS virus is smaller than a condom pore (and that’s a big if), the AIDS virus doesn’t just float around by itself. It is either attached to or inside white blood cells, which are MUCH bigger than a condom pore. Not to mention all of the scientific and empirical evidence that shows that condoms do indeed prevent the transfer of AIDS. Again (related to my last post), kids are being taught lessons based on ignorance and fear.

Besides the blatant lies kids are told about sex and contraception, there is the whole topic of what kids are NOT told. In an abstinence only program, there are no lessons taught about safe and respectful sexual practices, not to even remotely mention sexual desire, homosexuality, sexual dysfunction, etc. When we aren’t taught about these things in a safe and proper environment, we pick it up where and when we can. When kids are taught that abstinence is the only way to go, they will find “creative” ways to remain virgins. I knew a couple a number of years ago (in college) that would only have anal sex because they wanted to remain virgins until marriage. HUH?

Are we really supposed to swallow the heap of dung being fed to us by our right-wing leaders and not think that they ever had sex before marriage? We are being led by a generation of men (yes I said men) that were coming of age in the era that pregnant teenage girls were still sent away to hide their “condition” from the public. We need to demystify sex and present it as a fact of life, not a sin. Sex can lead to babies and disease, but it is also an integral part of a healthy, mature, intimate relationship. It is something to be done in a responsible and respectful manner.

Permalink 3 Comments

Minds of Children

August 2, 2007 at 1:01 am (movies, opinions, rants, religion)

G and I watched a scary movie last night.  I am admittedly a total wimp when it comes to scary movies, but this one really made me shake in my boots.  It had brainwashing, and religious armies and … Pentecostals!!!  Yes, we watched that thriller “Jesus Camp” – and we’re ready to make our move to Sweden at any moment.

There are just too many subjects to cover with this movie, and I’d really recommend for people to actually watch it, rather than read some lame play by play of it.  And speaking of watching it, G and I both noted that we think either side (anti-religious, like us, or scary-religious, like them) could watch this movie and feel that it was giving them what they came for.  I think the film-makers did an excellent job of presenting the subject matter fairly.  It would have been very easy to vilify the Pentecostals, and to G and me, that’s kind of what it was doing.  But to those who firmly believe in the Evangelical way of life, they would see this as an inspiring call to action.

I would, however, like to comment on the aspects of the movie that struck me the most.  As the title suggests, the movie focuses on children, and the brainwashing (indoctrination, whatever you want to call it) that they undergo at the hands of their parents and youth leaders.  These children are never taught to think for themselves.  They chant and sing and repeat bible verses like little automatons.  At their church services and revivals they cry and break down and speak in tongues, not because they are truly possessed by the holy spirit, but because they receive positive reinforcement from their Pentecostal leaders and parents for doing so.  Like any children, they seek the approval from their superiors.  These children are led to believe that they know all that they need to know, because they have found the lord.  Many of them are home-schooled by similarly under-educated parents who teach them a falsified version of the world, thereby perpetuating their own ignorance and biases.  One of the girls (aged 10) featured in this movie frequently approaches strangers 10, 20, even 50 years her senior, to tell them that Jesus told her to speak to them.  Or she will ask them (with all the condescension a 10-year old can muster) if they really think they are going to heaven.  She is not only allowed to do this by her parents, but is actually encouraged to do so.  She is praised for belittling total strangers and acting as if she, at 10 years old, somehow has more knowledge and life experience than a 60 year old man.

These childrens’ faith is not taught to them by methods of reason and logic, methods preferred by which people who think for themselves.  Instead, they are taught lessons in a manner biased by emotion and fear.  In the movie, they are taught that abortion is murder by a pro-life leader who has visual aids including tiny full sized babies that get bigger and bigger, starting from the size of a large walnut.  Of course these are not accurate, since at 5 weeks post-conception we no more resemble a tiny human than does a chicken.  But do sub-ten year old children know this?  Of course not.  Do most of their parents know this?   Probably not.  These young children are taught about abortion and childbirth in a false and emotionally charged way.  Children who do not even know how conception occurs are taught to criminalize and vilify women whose circumstances they know nothing about.  Children as young as 5 vow to end legalized abortion.

Although I appreciated this movie for what it was, I really didn’t learn a whole lot of new information from it.  One of my biggest gripes with religion has always been its discouragement of free thinking and criticism.  I would also not expect for this commentary to sway any evangelical’s way of thinking.  They would view it as the same old godless liberal rhetoric.  So be it, I am pretty liberal and godless.  But fortunately, I can think for myself.

Permalink 5 Comments