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Monday, January 16, 2006

"I just made you up, to hurt myself..."

Or how Religion makes the world a worse place to be. - Part I.

The interesting thing about religion growing up is how innocuous it seems. I, unlike the other half of woman in comfy shoes, was not raised in a particularly religious manner. For better or worse it gives me a differerent angle to tackle the question of relgion.

I judge Christianity overall as a negative influence in our modern society. I agree with Bertrand Russell and his general analysis of what Christianity has brought to the table. Russell said in his essay ‘Why I am Not a Christian’, “[The church] … is in its major part an opponent still of progress and of improvement in all the ways that diminish suffering in the world…” I see this going on in our society, the constant fight against progress and for the maintenance of the status quo. I look at such organizations as the Promise Keepers or Vote Marriage. Briefly investigating these two organizations reaffirms to me the prescient nature of what Russell has to say about the immorality of relgion.

Taken from the helpful excerpts section on the Canadian Vote Marriage Web page:

"The deconstruction of conjugal marriage in Canada has not been driven by democratic demand. In fact, the ongoing legal “reform” of marriage has been imposed from the top down. There is a sociological divide on the marriage issue, with support for same-sex marriage coming disproportionately from elite sectors of society – the academy, the legal community, the upper echelons of business and government – and from the media."

What is seen here is the reversal of traditional roles in this statement. The religious right (a.k.a zealotry) have take the role of the oppressed minority arguing for “equality and freedom” when in fact they arguing the exact opposite. This is a very scary addition to the Canadian political scene as this brand of rhetoric can be devastating to the body politic. I wrote in my post about Kansas how polarizing and divisive this strategy is. We need to reclaim this argument from them and refute its paradoxical nature, because frighteningly enough, it works.

The Promise Keepers are a whole different brand of Mordor-esque evil scariness. They purport to follow and promote the pious ways of Christ etc. but really are have a radical reactionary agenda mostly against women and their rights. I found a thoughtful and useful anti-PK page *. Gleaned from the website was a quote from the book called The Masculine Journey written by Robert Hicks, and it was a recommended read at a PK rally in Colorado at Folsome Field. Hicks said:

“Possessing a penis places unique requirements upon men before God. . . . We are called to worship God as phallic kinds of guys, not as some sort of androgynous, neutered nonmales, or the feminized males so popular in many feminist enlightened churches. We are told by God to worship Him in accordance with what we are, phallic men.”

It is hard to find a starting place when faced with such overawing stupidity. The politics of gender are more Tricia’s forte but I’ll see what I can do to shed some light on our beloved Promise Keepers. We need to look at their CORE VALUES and then compare them to what they really do. It is illuminating to see such finely tuned propaganda in action. The amount of material here really warrants a separate post, perhaps with additional insight from T. But I’ll put the initial offering out here to wet our collective whistles as we sally onwards towards the dark belly of the beast.

*note: The anti-pk link is not a particularly reliable source. Check here and here for more information on the Masculine Journey. Both sources are also religious in nature but generally affirm that indeed, The Masculine Journey is balony(dangerous balony).


Anonymous michelle said...

I remember first hearing about "Promise Keepers" when I was still attending church years ago. Very little information was given, but something about the coded language (so familiar to an evangelical churchgoer) made me very uncomfortable. But I couldn't put a finger on why. It was sugar-coated as such a wonderful "bonding" experience for the men, and who can argue with that? I figured only men predisposed to domineering sexism would be attracted to it. How naive.

I had no idea how bad it really is. Religion truly does frightening things to people's minds.

6:46 p.m.

Anonymous michelle said...

A couple bizarre statements on the anti-PK page leapt out at me:

"...Masculine Journey is pagan psychological manipulation, akin to the New Age pornographic training that shaped the lesbian and Wiccan upsurges of the 1960s."

"Based on the archetypes of the Satanic occult psychiatrist Carl Jung..."


7:08 p.m.

Blogger Sardeth said...

That is a bizarre page. I browsed back to the homepage and found the author espousing the benefits of collodial silver, aliens and mind control from cellphone towers.

Let's take that link with a fairly large grain of salt and spank the author of the blog for not being as thorough as he should be.

7:30 p.m.

Blogger T. Comfyshoes said...

Ooh! A Spanking! A Spanking!

But on a serious note, try googling Dominionism and Promise Keepers - still plenty of scary shit.

7:33 p.m.

Anonymous michelle said...

No argument there!

8:29 p.m.

Blogger Richard said...

Let's not get too dramatic here. PK is certainly silly, but it's about as "scarey" as the local Elks Club with its childish secret hand shakes and passwords. I can think of a lot of other groups far more deserving of the adjective "scarey".

9:10 p.m.

Blogger T. Comfyshoes said...

Richard, since you're male, these guys aren't a threat to you and so you can afford to look on at them with detached curiousity and amusement.

I'll tell you how I see it: These people want to remake society in a way that affects me personally - whether it's my professional life (they don't want me to have one), or my personal life (in which case Sardeth is supposed to have godlike authority over me).

Further, these people have access to political power (though not so much in Canada).

So while I may not be quaking in my boots at my imminent dismissal from work for failure to posess a penis, I do find these kind of people scary, because people with access to political power and who want to fuck with other people's lives are scary. And while I aspire to empathy for all, I do find them scarier if the lives they want to fuck with include mine.

9:25 p.m.

Anonymous The Happy Feminist said...

Yeah. Scary.

10:12 a.m.


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