August 14th, 2012


Rendering Unto Caesar: Sucked into the Jesus Cult‏

Back when I was knee high to a grasshopper, my mother gave me some advice that has served me well in life. She warned me about the Church with the admonition to pay no attention to what they say. The reason behind this deliberate ignorance of Church teachings was that the Church knows nothing about divinity. Although I never completely ignored the Church I tended to be skeptical of their pronouncements. I took their position as something to consider, but not without additional information.

With such a family background I was surprised when one of my sisters was sucked into the Jesus cult. She was away from home and the friends of her childhood when she joined a fundamentalist congregation. She fit the profile of the typical victim of cult recruitment: young, isolated, vulnerable. I had prior exposure to Christian fundamentalism in the form of a family in our neighborhood, but I was not prepared for the intensity of my sister's new-found faith.

I did my best to make peace with her belief system We agreed to disagree on politics. After all, her support for Reagan and his policies in Latin America came with her cult membership. One Christmas I gave her a calendar of spiritual places around the world. As she flipped through it she came to a Chinese shrine. "The Chinese worship their ancestors. That's Devil worship." I was appalled that she would consider the ancestors of the Chinese to be evil. It was not until later in life that I discovered the source of her culty concept in official Roman dogma from centuries past.

At another point in our lives she told me that I would burn in Hell if I did not accept Jesus into my heart as my lord and savior. I pointed out that I could not possibly burn in Hell because I am not a Christian. Only Christians burn in Hell. This caused her considerable distress. She could not coerce me with her own fear of Satan. The Roman Hell has no power over those who do not fear it.

She eventually left that particular congregation. I do not know whether her departure was voluntary or not. She may have been forced out when she was no longer an obedient servant of their "lord." When I asked her about her departure she used some mumble words that gave me the impression that they disapproved of her decision to shack up with her boyfriend.

I had my own experience with an attempt at cult recruitment later in life. A couple befriended me as I studied at a neighborhood drinking hole. They invited me out to visit museums and to chat. When they invited me to meet their cult leader, he asked me what I was searching for. I confessed that I was not really looking for anything in particular. This infuriated him and the meeting was abruptly terminated. Since there wasn't anything I wanted, they had no way to control me. There is nothing more anathema to a cult than an independent spirit.

Since that time I have developed a keen sense for the varieties of cult experience. In the US we have the socially acceptable cults such as those of Jesus and Washington. There are more degrading cults such as those of the dollar and of pharmacopia.

Do you have experience with someone you know being seduced by a cult? Was there a connection between their cult membership and their political perspective?

Links: The cult of Jesus. The cult of Washington. The cult of the dollar. The cult of pharmacopia.
  • paft

Well, It's Been Two Years Now...

Whether this escalates or continues along with the "mere" harassment of Muslims, (maybe a murder or two -- no biggie, right?) or a few more bombings, my point about the exploitation of Islamophobia by the Republicans remains. It's at its current pitch because the bigots are getting validation from people in high places, who consider whipping up this kind of hatred politically expedient.

Hey guys, remember this?

I posted it a couple of years ago in the course of a discussion of the harassment of Muslims in Murfreesbro Tennessee.

Well, it’s been a couple of years, and today Salon has a very interesting piece up. Some of you may have noticed that attacks on places of worship have been in the news lately, what with that guy busting into a Sikh temple and killing several people, the fellow who fired his pellet gun at a Chicago area mosque, narrowly missing a security guard, and shortly after that, not to far away the person who flung a homemade bomb at an Islamic school during prayers. Then there are the ladies who threw pig parts into a Mosque driveway during a service. And of course, there’s the Mosque in Joplin Missouri that was recently burned down entirely:

From Salon: According to FBI data, hate crimes against Muslims might be rising. The rate of anti-Muslim crimes fell from nearly 500 in 2001 to 107 in 2009. But in 2010 (the latest year for which the FBI has data) the total number of hate crimes jumped 50 percent to 160.

A few of you, I recall wanted statistics back in 2010. I predicted that when they were finally compiled, they would show a rather dramatic uptick in anti-Muslim incidents. Apparently, believing one’s own eyes and ears isn’t as unreliable as some would like to believe.

But wait, there’s more! The Salon piece points out the increasingly incendiary use of anti-Islamic rhetoric by authority figures, in particular Illinois’ own Joe Walsh.

“It’s a real threat,” Walsh said at a town hall meeting in Elk Grove Village, Ill. “And it’s a threat that is much more at home now than it was right after 9/11.”

“It’s here,” he continued, referring to “radical Islam” in the suburbs of Chicago. “It’s in Elk Grove, it’s in Addison, it’s in Elgin. It’s here.”

Does anybody here still think that there’s not been a rise in anti-Muslim hate crimes? That rhetoric from people like Joe Walsh, Michelle Bachmann, etc, are not feeding the flames?


Ok, so WTF. Romney announced Ryan, wupeddee-do-da.

Curious, I am, as to how many of you heard Romney announce him as next President?
OK, harmless little flub.

Oddly enough, Obama made the same mistake with Biden in 2008.
That's a really REALLY odd mistake to make, IMO. You should be VERY aware of where you are, what you're saying and what you're doing when you are announcing your VP. But WHATEVER.

It's a silly small flub. What bothers the FUCK out of me is the following:

CBS has the video footage of Romney announcing VP. It has, as was, him saying "the next President, Paul Ryan!" and it says that he quickly corrected himself. Now that's fine. What is NOT fine is ABC. Fuck you ABC.

They went right ahead and edited the video so Romney is heard saying "the next vice-president, Paul Ryan!"

This sorta shit makes me lose faith in media.
That ABC clip looks and sounds pretty damn good. Now how the fuck do I know the next time I'm watching ABC they didn't alter the clip....
It's a lack of faith. And faith in the media is a must. But tis gone. And society shall crumble as a result.

Fuck you ABC.

I'm curious, when you first heard, did you hear about Romney's slip?
Why do you think he made it? Obama, my buddies tell me, may have made a Fruedian slip--subconsciously he assumed he'd get assassinated as first black president, and Biden would take over.
Doesn't make as much sense for Romney, so what gives?
Albert thinks ur funny.
  • mahnmut

Prez Carville: stop the Earthling invasion!

It's a nice mid-afternoon on Mars, and everything is quiet...

Mars Rover Opportunity: HERE. (courtesy: telemann)

...Or is it?

Olympus Mons, Mars. The Martians are fuming! They've filed a complaint at the Supreme Intergalactic Court at K'pax (S.I.C.K.), citing "invasion of private property" by the NASA/Google Mars mission (see link above). President James Carville (see pic below) admitted he had written the complaint himself, after the latest of a long string of Earthling incursions on his dusty piece of rock. He called the dropping of the Curiosity Chrome "unwarranted disposal of useless junk", and said this was not the first time Earth had dumped its trash on his beautiful planet for the last 50 years.

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