Leviathan, Abraham and an Educator walk into a bar….
Stop me if you've heard this one before.
I'm on tour working with a non-profit dedicated to reducing AIDS and
Poverty in Africa. Where last year's efforts had endlessly mounting
grit and friction, this is a very simple and peaceful lobbying effort
aimed at some simple trade law reform. Not surprisingly, I encounter
my daily share of dickheads who desire nothing more than to jab any
non-fascist cause, and inebriatedly espouse through their poor dental
hygiene "we've got POOR people down the block fucker, why don't you
"I do. The question is what do YOU do to help? Get drunk at a shitty concert and waste the time of people genuinely making an effort? Because to me that seems rather inefficient."
Whatever, this isn't about them; it's about the freakishly odd impetus I've had lately to build a bridge to the Christian Coalition. There are pieces of legislation I need changed or passed, and they've such a chokehold on the House of Representatives I need them on board.
Welcome to Political Pandering 101.
Now, even though I'm opposed to organized religion, I've been a devout
member of the Church of Satan for decades. It's an ideological Libertarian
belief system, not really a religion, although a few of the more hippy
types embrace some Pagan and slightly Druid elements within their
own private spirituality. The only animal sacrifices are normally
bathing in sauce and smoking on my Weber Grill out back, provided
by the local grocery store, and the only bloody virgins I've encountered
were some seriously menstrual 13 year olds at a Misfits show. Cranky
little shits, but the Antichrist failed to appear, much less force
Danzig to play 138 in the encore (all this is just in case you didn't
know, now that you do, I'm sure you'll sign up today).
Despite its brilliance, Chrissy Christian who signs her email w/"I
love Jesus" isn't going to take the time to understand and empathize
with this explanation. She's getting an exorcist and legislator and
cleansing or incarcerating my tainted soul early and often. So we
leave that out of it. I also don't skateboard anywhere close to the
rhetorical minefield/dead end street of many other moral issues those
whacky witch burners love to get sweaty over.
I'm downsizing baby, and getting it done. The conversation I'm putting in play these days is regarding the fundamentals of fundamentalism. I was raised Jesuit Catholic and have obviously been profoundly impacted by the humanitarian roots of Christianity. Helping, Caring, Teaching, feeling genuinely responsible to living and aesthetic things, they really do exist in the church. Those principals are, and always will be, major shareholders in the corporation of my moral compass.
After that, obviously, they can go fuck themselves. Dictatorial murdering hypocritical rapists aren't my idea of the ideal, but they've recently been proving to be a nifty little voting block so it's "shiny object" time to get them to put that vulgar mountain of clout to work. And it's really quite simple, USE GUILT. Turns out, the Church has been using it for centuries, and you can too!
I have taken every opportunity to try and cause the reflection in the repentant that the core of their value system is charity, not oppression. It needn't be the abortion or gay rights argument 24/7, it's counterproductive and limiting their valuable time to get Jesus brownie points before the Shepard retrieves his flock. Better get your resume beefed up before they start taking interviews for the resurrection, and stacking chairs after bingo and bombing a doctor's house won't get you more than the IBM 8 minute interview w/o a callback.
And it seems to be going well. Obviously, they don't get their Costco granny puritan panties in a bunch outside election years, but they HAVE been taking a break from looking down their pious noses at the rest of us to go see My Chemical Romance and Fall Out Boy. While they're skirting the whole "No Celebrating or Showing Ankles Publicly" loopholes they've signed up in droves, and been pretty supportive of the effort. And that's when I try to slide the hypodermic needle of my poisonous rationality serum in and engage in these truly wonderful dyads and triads about humanitarianism and its importance. They are literally endlessly replenished fish in a barrel.
To be honest it's been rather pleasant. Spiritual people genuinely making an effort to help someone they've never met instead of bitching about the lives and choices of someone they've never met is refreshing. I was approached in Grand Central Station in DC today by a gaggle of 'Salt of the Earth' girls. Obviously, green hair and that lovely stench of my thoroughly installed hangover probably invoked the aforementioned desire to be charitable to the slovenly and idolatrous, but they opened with a version of twenty questions.
"What do you think of homelessness?"
"Can one person move a mountain?"
"Can one person be a mountain?" (they were sweet, curious, and not very profound, go figure)
Instead of reciting Misfits lyrics in Latin, which is my normal response
to these zealots' progeny, I entertained their questions in the peaceful
manner I exhibit more than I care to admit. Passersby joined in and
we had a really gay but positive discussion where I calmly destroyed
their belief system and had them agreeing that we should all be socialists,
use golf courses for arable land and housing, and love 'all of god's
creation' (my favorite, especially when Chrissy brings home that fellow
Darnell from outreach camp and has something to discuss after dinner).
Their last question was the one that has my tongue bleeding profusely, and typing away on this BEAUTIFUL train ride along the Atlantic coastline…
"What religion are you?"
Hmmm, so many choices, so long of an eternity…
"That's often considered a rude question in polite society young lady. Embrace your own spirituality, but ALWAYS respect the right of another person to privately embrace theirs."
Maybe I kept her off your porch repeating the phrase 'good book' one day, and if so then you owe me a beer.
And her name really was Chrissy.
Friend to Christians, lepers and whores.