Monday, December 06, 2004

CRAP Alert 

I've spent quite a bit of my time lately in a hospital waiting room. It's really amazing the lengths one will go to for entertainment in these things. While you sit in the clinical, brightly lit chamber listening to children screaming and Fox news anchors droning, you start looking for a better pan to fry your brain in. Magazines are deemed unworthy early on, unless you want to read Good Housekeeping or Newsweek. So you just have to sit staring into your lap, sometimes for hours on end. I was in such a situation at about 3:30 AM, when the only other lost souls of the waiting room were asleep and my corner of the room was the only lit one. That's when I discovered the pamphlets.

Every waiting room I've ever been in has had these: Small, colorful pamphlets donated from some local church, in a white box behind the desk lamp marked "Free Spiritual Tracts", or some crap like that. I had always noticed them, but had never picked one up before. But this bleak morning I did just that, and my spirits were immediately lifted by the most marvelous load of horse shit I've ever had the pleasure of stumbling across. I immediately started stuffing them into the inside pocket of my jacket.

I didn't just pick up anything...those with titles like "The Path to Salvation" were overlooked. After all, I make fun of "normal" religion all the time. No, I wanted the outrageous stuff. And I found about four winners, which I've decided to review here.

How To Get Out Of Prison: Is "of" normally capitalized in titles? I'm not really sure, but it is here. Anyway, this is the first title that caught my eye. This yellow pamphlet has below the title a picture of an illuminated cross bursting through a brick wall, and the bible quote "'If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.' - John 8:36". Prison-breaking with Jesus? Faking a relationship with Jesus to prove you're reformed in front of the parole board? Whatever this was, I had to grab it.

Unfortunately it's nothing so spectacular: it turns out "prison" is metaphorical. They're referring to the state of "spiritual bondage" when one has sinned and not accepted Hey-Soose. Still, it has its moments.

Best Moment: "Bondage to sin is universal and everyone is born in sin. The Bible tells us, 'For al have sinned, and come short of the glory of God,' and "Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey, whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?' (Romans 3:23, 6:16)"

Everyone is born in sin? Doesn't that contradict 1 John 2:1, which says "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous"?

The Television Set - The World in Your Home: This one was too good to pass up. Fundies ranting about TV? Darn that diversity! This little green piece of paper is pretty plain looking...the text starts on the front, and apart from the outline of a television surrounding the title, it's totally devoid of decoration. But the material contained is priceless. It turns out television is a "dark force" invading our homes and corrupting children. Why do they think children are so corruptible, anyway? When I was five, if someone tried to corrupt me, I would have told him to go fuck himself. But I digress.

The concept is censoring children from life is stupid enough, but even if they insist on it, where are the parents? If they don't want their kids to see "filth", why don't they get the mop, or if you can't stand my needless metaphor, reach for the remote? Oh, wait, I forgot: Fundamentalists don't just want to control their lives, they want to control yours too.

Best Moment: "Regular TV fare includes bloody scenes of holdups, fights, murder, drinking, smoking, dancing, and scantily clad men and women."

I'm sorry, did they just say dancing? What the hell? And the way it's phrased, it seems like they're saying bloody scenes of drinking, smoking and dancing. And how about those bloody scenes of scantily clad men and women? Yeah!

Alcohol - Have You Counted the Cost?: I love when these morons start ranting about alcohol. Not only is their hatred of it not backed by a single verse of the bible, but almost all of these people drink. So naturally I had to throw this one in with the others. A sparse yellow pamphlet with brown text makes it stand out from the others a bit...it's by the far the ugliest, if only in appearance. The thing basically says turn to Jesus and not to alcohol, because drinking alcohol will automatically turn a man into a drunkard. Funny, I drink nearly every day, but I've never been drunk in my life, nor do I ever plan to be. And I have overcome the "horrors of alcohol" without any help from Jesus. Praise Me!

Best Moment: "Many respectable people have become degraded through the use of alcohol. It has brought about the abusing of their families, stealing, murdering, and unfaithfulness to marriage vows."

Brilliant. Don't take responsibility for your own shit, blame it on drink. And if you do any of the things listed above (we'll except the last one in the case of swingers), drunk or sober, you are not a respectable person.

The Christian's Manner of Dress: The last one I grabbed was just too good to let go. Before even reading it, I could picture in my head rants about "Satan's evil invention of dungarees". The fact that it's by far the plainest looking of the four pamphlets - dark pink text over white, with no decoration - only reinforced this idea. Now that I've read it, it's not really that crazy. Just stupid. It basically says not to wear tight or revealing clothing, because it could make someone cheat on his/her spouse with you. You loose tramp.

Best moment: "The words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 lay a scriptural foundation for humility in dress. 'What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.' Notice the apostle does not say that a Christian may glorify his body. Rather, he is to glorify God in his body and in his spirit."

Okay, whoa. If God created our bodies, wouldn't walking around naked be glorifying God? After all, we're showing off his creation (fuck you, I don't capitalize "his" unless it's the beginning of a sentence). What is it with these uptight assholes thinking that nudity is unnatural?

Well, enough of this contretemps. I think I'm going to walk over to the corner of my spiritual prison in my casual clothing, turn on the TV, and watch some sex and violence while enjoying some vodka. Enjoy your day. I know I will mine.

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