Saturday, June 14, 2008

Religious News Wrapup: By Their Fruits

Well, of course the big news for me this week was processing my Esalen trip. It was a profound experience for me- many gaps in my general exegesis of life, the Universe and everything were filled in, and now I am working towards a much more potent understanding of how psychic phenomena and the UFO enigma play into seemingly unconnected fields such as Synchronicity and shamanism. I had mainly lost interest in the UFO material for the same reason a lot of you out there probably did- it's all so elusive and ephemeral you can't really do much with it all.

However, if you factor it all in a Synchromystic fashion- that is, dealing with the semiotic repercussions of the phenomena rather than trying to establish its physical veracity- you'll find that it can become a very potent weapon in your Synchromystic arsenal. I accept that there are all sorts of things we are as yet unable to quantify, so we need to follow a breadcrumb trail of synchronicity if we are to avoid taking off into the ether and believing everything regardless of documentation or evidence. I still have no idea what the UFO thing is about, I only know the phenomenon has left behind some incredibly potent semiotic fingerprints. And sifting through them is the most important legacy of my Esalen trip.

Speaking of synchronistic fingerprints, just down the road from Esalen, there's a nice little man from Venezuela named Rev. Geronimo Enrique Cuevas, who has a very low opinion of American morality. He said in 2001, "I think people in the American society have washed away their feeling of sinfulness. That nothing is sinful now. People in this country tend to minimize their sense of sinfulness. Nothing is a sin."

Believe me, this guy is an expert on sin...

Speaking of rank hypocrisy, up until very recently the news media was forever telling us how the Religious Right was constantly swelling their ranks- the subtext being we'd better surrender all of our freedoms to them now before its too late - but now we read that Southern Baptists Are Alarmed by Decline in Baptisms:
Baptisms in the Southern Baptist Convention have fallen to a 20-year low, a trend that is setting off alarm bells in America's largest evangelical denomination.

The number of people baptized in Southern Baptist churches and ceremonies, an important indicator of conversions and denominational growth, fell in 2007 for the third year in a row by 5 percent to 345,941.

This follows on the heels of the news that many Baptist churches are changing their names because of the backlash against their denomination's role as the Republican Party's most enthusiastic and most unquestioning cheerleaders.

But while some people at the local parish level are waking up to how dangerous mixing politics and religion is to religion itself, their leaders want to continue feeding at the trough. It turns out that the Southern Baptist leadership plan is to cure their growing woes with the hair of the dog that bit them.
U.S. religious organizations shy away from explicit partisan endorsements which could threaten their tax exempt status and the resolution adopted by the SBC on Wednesday was no exception.

But several Southern Baptists interviewed over the course of the conference left no doubt that they were in the Republican fold even if they viewed the party's presumptive nominee John McCain as the lesser of two liberals in the White House match-up with Democratic rival Barack Obama.

"We plead with all Christians to exercise vigorously their responsibilities to participate in the political process by registering to vote, educating themselves about the issues, and voting according to their biblical beliefs, convictions and values," read the resolution.

Voting by "biblical beliefs" is often code in such circles for supporting candidates who oppose abortion and gay rights and support moves to bring back school prayer.
Wow, some gutsy decoding action going on there- oh, it's a Reuters story. You'd never see any of that in the whipped-dog US news media. Seeing that the Southern Baptist Church was created to justify the enslavement of Africans, it's no surprise they're revving the engines up again with the looming possibility of the election of an African-American as President. I'm sure this is all being done in hopes that the GOP will throw these guys a few extra (taxpayer) bucks, but as far as I can see the glory days are over for all of these people.

I don't know how all of this will play out, and now that Hillary's out, I don't really care who wins the election. I'm way past the point of believing politicians are anything but shills for pre-written agendas and I don't see any candidate for any office talking about how royally screwed we all are. We're looking at 5 dollar a gallon gas this summer and who knows what kind of prices for heating oil in the winter. Whatever's behind it all is irrelevant, if anyone thinks this new energy crisis isn't going to eat away at the foundations of our economy- hell, the world economy- they're dreaming. But since the mid-80s, I've noticed that so much of American society is glued together by cognitive dissonance.

Which brings us to our last story. Part of the Religious Right agenda has been to create religiously correct analogs of pop culture fads for their kids. It doesn't matter whether what they are imitating is remotely compatible with Christian practice. So we have Christian Rap, Christian Punk, Christian Death Metal and Christian boy bands. Never mind that the very architecture of these artforms is inherently inimical to a Christian lifestyle- that everything thing about these styles- not just the lyrics- is about rebellion and individualism. The point is to make money first and to pacify their kids second.

The latest bandwagon jump- and possibly the most offensive- is the "Christian" assprint. We're talking about using the screenprinted equivalent of the tramp stamp- to spread a chastity message at pre-pubescent girls. I'm sorry, did I wake up in a science fiction movie or something?
The nation's chastity advocates can now splash their message across a new kind of billboard - the preteen posterior.

Sweatpants with "True Love Waits," the name of a Christian abstinence group, are now being sold in junior clothing sections of Kmart stores nationwide.

The bubble-lettered slogan is screen-printed on the front and across the backside, telling oglers that it's okay to look - but not to touch.

Where do you start? It defies parody. But Eagle Eye Knowles spots another design in the same line- a pant proclaiming "Life is Sweet" along with an enigmatic 93. I assume most of my regular readers will know that "93" is Aleister Crowley's code for "Do What Thou Wilt Shall be the Whole of the Law."

Oh, my. How fascinating.

Jesus said "By their fruits shall you know them." Yet, millions of people- and certainly our spineless media- still judge the leadership of the Religious Right by their words and not by their radically un-Christian actions. I still remember when all of this started up in the 70s- there was a very sincere and vibrant Christian counterculture that was absolutely swamped by all of the hick hucksters who hijacked the trappings of the movement just as the Nazis hijacked the trappings of the countercultural neopagan movement in Germany. Coincidence?

I don't believe in coincidences, you surely know that by now.


  1. theres no such thing as sin

  2. lol sherriff deputy : "I had to work undercover at a nude beach today, and a priest groped my balls."

    That's really hopeful though that some of the religious community are finally realizing what the neo-cons are doing.


  3. The correct term is "Theocon," Droidy. Neocons are an entirely different type of miscreant.

    Now excuse while I go Dedroidify myself....

  4. Why is it that the the ones who protest too much are always the ones caught doing it? Reminds me of my fraternity daze. Anyway, a fine critique of what has become the sad state of Christendom - can't even see the Trojan Horse as it wheels into view.

    When I grew up, there was a bit of that authentic Christian spirit around, I think maybe I was drawn to it. But it's mostly all gone. Makes me wonder... what sort of changes the church has gone through in the past 2000 years...

  5. hehe theocon, I like it.
    Yes, go forth & dedroidify! Always a good thang ;)

    Michael, shadow projection? ;p

  6. ?! - anon, how can't there be sin? Of course there is 'wrong' and then there are sub-divisions of 'wrong', ie - whether you knew you shouldn't have done it or not, or you were possessed (your body was controlled against your freewill), or you genuinely didn't know it was wrong..

    It's pretty simple all that kinda stuff; the enemy of a good planet to live / exist upon are these notions that there is no wrong. It's dishonest and intentionally misleading; or - some people genuinely are just repeating concepts they read and heard and really didn't know the damage done should anyone actually take those ideas on board.

    About the UFO topic: still to this day, the likes of the Streiber books The Secret School and The Communion Letters I still find some of the best reads on any paranormal topics ever. I don't think anything comes close to personal accounts about the visitors, none of it has been dealt with much by the mass media, though I have seen a few films that touch upon some of the running themes in many of the accounts (eg - The Forgotten has a horror-scifi take on some of the recurring themes, and the series Taken dealt with some key themes).

    A lot of it would seem to be about remembering. Certainly one of the key things wrong with today times is that there is a very obvious repeat-loop going on and most people circle its drain speaking its same old lines, unawares of even what they themselves have been doing.