John Lennon by Apple
John Lennon wrote, "God is a concept by which we measure our pain." George Carlin said, "Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that." Let us try to balance these two postulates into equilibrium. The United States has a long and checkered history of religious insanity, and let me temper that assertion by adding, I have known some honorable and deeply religious individuals and as a general rule that have been despised for their tendencies.
I had a friend who was a Baptist minister in Dallas County Alabama; the Deacons committee had proposed sending thousands of dollars from this small church to help missionaries in Africa. My friend answered, "If you're just interested in helping black folks, we have hundreds in need, right here, within ten miles of our doorstep." His suggestion was greeted with cricket sounds as it oh, so much more glorious to help strangers halfway around the world than to help the despised so close to home.
We are taught in this country this myth of religious freedom and yet, in fact, most of the early founders were religious bigots. The Massachusetts Bay Colony was established by Puritans, Maryland by Catholics and Virginia by Anglicans and their beliefs were state beliefs, believe it or get out. Pennsylvania was founded by Quakers who were one of the few sects who believed in tolerance and intellectualism. In early Massachusetts, you could be fined for observing Christmas or being intoxicated in your own home and you could be put to death for adultery. These Puritans had been forced to immigrate to America on the grounds of religious persecution from the two most tolerant nations in Europe.
The Puritans passed strict temperance laws and then tried to impose them on surrounding colonies. The religious tolerance we enjoy today was enacted by the framers to prevent Christian holy wars.
"Concentration of power in a political machine is bad; and an Established Church is only a political machine; it was invented for that; it is nursed, cradled, preserved for that; it is an enemy to human liberty, and does no good which it could not better do in a split-up and scattered condition." -- Mark Twain
The actual founder of this religion went into the temple and condemned the hypocrites, the pew sitters and the fanatics. He then went into a rage throwing out those who would mix money with theocracy. Then he went to the woman at the well who was a Samarian, Jews didn't speak to Samarians, but Jesus did. Rabbis were not supposed to speak with unescorted women, but Jesus did, and most of all, it was considered unclean to consort with a woman of ill repute. Jesus broke all of those covenants and told this woman, I know who you are, and then he passed no judgement upon her.
Never in all the history of all the theologies of the world, have the teachings of a founder become so bent and mutilated, until the Prince of Peace is looked upon as the reason for war and a man of eternal compassion and understanding has become the standard bearer for intolerance.
"Let me make the superstitions of a nation and I care not who makes its laws or its songs either." -- Mark Twain
Wrapped deeply inside of this American Puritanism is the belief that sex is wrong. That is a sin against God for two consenting adults to have sex. Even married couples are not supposed to have sex unless it is to procreate. All other functions of the body are considered normal and even holy; thank goodness the Christians never felt the same way about breathing.
In the late 19th century Anthony Comstock raided businesses dispensing what was called pornography through the mail. This pornography was in the form of information for women on how to use birth control. 2,500 Americans were jailed in this land of freedom, including Margaret Sanger who was jailed eight times for promoting birth control. This long and twilight struggle continues on even today as the Puritan question of who owns their own body lies unresolved among the faithful.
"The so-called Christian nations are the most enlightened and progressive ... but in spite of their religion, not because of it. The Church has opposed every innovation and discovery from the day of Galileo down to our own time, when the use of anesthetic in childbirth was regarded as a sin because it avoided the biblical curse pronounced against Eve. And every step in astronomy and geology ever taken has been opposed by bigotry and superstition. The Greeks surpassed us in artistic culture and in architecture five hundred years before Christian religion was born." -- Mark Twain
Our American theocracy cannot stand on just one leg and it has long been said that America was founded on God and guns. It is a near perfect symmetry, where God is used to collect money, and guns are purchased to protect both the money and God.
The sickness of a society which is based on money and the Puritan belief that sex is somehow wrong cannot be understated here. A society based on money says, that everything in that society has a price and is for sale. It also says that if you have enough money you can be forgiven for your sins. Then nothing is sacred, nothing is off the table, Adam's desire for the forbidden fruit becomes only a question of haggling over a price.
Our media, in its desire to sell you something, anything for money uses the lowest common denominator. You sell chewing gum with women in bathing suits, you sell mini vans with women in bathing suits and then you sell women's magazines, by asking, why don't you want to look like the women in the advertisements? How to have a flat belly or a tight backside, glamour tips to make you look more sexually appealing.
This glamorized hyper sexualized image leads millions to desire something which does not really exist and to forsake that which is readily available. Sex is the shared intimacy between adults who care for each other while our Christian Puritanism sells sex as dirty and raunchy, and the dirtier and raunchier the better. A weird warped duality, where sex is bad but bad sex is good. The lust for the forbidden fruit, and the Puritan belief that somehow, someone else out there is having better sex than I am.
A twisted reality where the God side preaches, sex is bad while the money side is preaching, everyone is doing it. The power of big money and position brings us to the likes of Bill Clinton, Clarence Thomas and Herman Cain. Emotional cripples who use sex as means of repairing or soothing a damaged ego and who use power as a tool to obtain sex. Because we are trained to believe sex is bad we force people who believe such things to hide themselves and to become sexual predators. Rather than looking for partners they look for those who are powerless and who can be easily silenced. It is a horrifying spectacle to look at such a perverted society which sexualizes children and then adds, isn't that cute?
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