Junk mail and religious propaganda: What happened to freedom from religion?
By Mel Seesholtz, Ph.D.
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Apr 20, 2006, 01:20

When I opened my mailbox the other day, along with the rest of the junk mail was a DVD. I figured it was from some company hawking its wares. It was . . .

Seeing the �The Story of Jesus for Children� sticker immediately brought to mind Richard Dawkins� article and BBC series about how biblical edicts and Christian dogma are essentially child abuse.

The DVD mailing was sponsored and funded by:

Local news reports said 50,000 copies of the DVD had been sent by local churches to residents of the area, without any regard for those residents� religious or spiritual beliefs of course.

The DVD depicted the usual �miracles� and had the usual ending, although the latter lacked the glorified gory sadomasochism -- a pathology Freud ascribed to sexual repression -- of Mel Gibson�s �The Passion of the Christ,� a film the Christian Right loved and lauded despite their constant yammering about violence and sex in the media. (The Traditional Values Coalition�s executive director Andrea Lafferty was particularly incensed about alleged sadomasochism in some Victoria�s Secret displays.)

Freud was right, in several ways.

�Sexual repression� does indeed define the Christian Right�s perspective and actions, especially when it comes to their advocacy of �ex-gay� therapies, which the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Counseling Association, the National Association of School Psychologists, and the National Association of Social Workers have all condemned as �unethical,� �ineffective,� �counterproductive,� and �dangerous.�

Acknowledging and accepting one�s homosexuality are major steps toward mental health and living an honest life of self-respect. Denying one�s sexual orientation leads to a disingenuous life of repression. Witness the executive director of Love in Action, a faith-based organization offering �ex-gay� therapies: �Rev. John Smid . . . is married to a woman and claims to have left behind �the homosexual lifestyle,� if not same-sex attractions� [italics added].

The umbrella organization for �ex-gay� therapies is NARTH, the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality. Their goal is to �teach� gay people to suppress their feelings and live a fraudulent life of repression. The managing editor of, Kevin Neff, said it well: �there is no such thing as �ex-gay.� There is �repress-my-innate-immutable-characteristics-and-deny-their-existence,� but no such condition as �ex-gay.��

Depictions of psychological trauma and scenes of physical pain and suffering, gory torture and mutilation are primary in Christian iconography, as well as a �divine� masochistic �blessing� in the flesh. Stigmata: the �spontaneous manifestation of bloody wounds on a person�s hands, feet, forehead and back -- similar to the wounds of the crucified Jesus. Those who describe stigmata categorize these experiences as divine or mystical. History tells us that many ecstatic bear on hands, feet, side, or brow the marks of the Passion of Christ with corresponding and intense sufferings. These are called visible stigmata. Others only have the sufferings, without any outward marks, and these phenomena are called invisible stigmata.�

Problem is, when Yeshua was crucified -- as all other people the Romans executed in this manner -- the spikes were not driven into the palms of his hands, but through a small block of wood placed about 2-3 inches below the wrists. Yet stigmatics bleed from the middle of their palms in accord with the false icons and imagery created by the same obsessed fanatics whose blood-soaked, pathological dogma perverted �Christianity� and led to the Inquisition and Dark Ages.

Richard Dawkins accurately noted that �St Paul�s nasty, sado-masochistic doctrine of atonement for original sin� is, essentially, psychological and emotional child abuse: �Innocent children are being saddled with demonstrable falsehoods. . . . It�s time to question the abuse of childhood innocence with superstitious ideas of hellfire and damnation.� Many also pay a physical price as the Right Reverend John Shelby Spong noted in relation to circumcision:

Mutilating the baby instead of teaching each child the arts of good hygiene is bad practice, bad ethics, bad theology and a bad idea. I do not understand how any religious system could ever endorse that. Female circumcision -- I prefer to call it �female genital mutilation� -- is still practiced in parts of Christian Africa. It too is said to have health benefits. I think not. Both of these practices represent control tactics and guilt laden castration rites born out of the superstition and ignorance of the past. I regard circumcision in both sexes as a barbaric act with no redeeming features. I find it almost laughable that the same religious voices that oppose the use of condoms would now support circumcision as a health practice. [link added]

There�s something intrinsically, inherently wrong with a religion that views the human body as sinful and condones its mutilation. There�s something intrinsically, inherently wrong with a religion that turns the expression of human love through most forms of real-world sexuality into sins. There�s something intrinsically, inherently wrong with a religion whose fundamental images are of torture, gore, and murder. The images of Christianity are as graphic and violent as anything Wes Craven or Clive Barker conjured. The visceral reaction and abject horror portrayed by Joe Morton in the 1984 film Brother From Another Planet made that clear when he saw for the first time the crucifix: a tortured, bloody, dead man hanging from an instrument of execution.

From Mel Gibson's "Passion of the Christ."

There�s something intrinsically, inherently wrong with a religion whose �God� demands the bloody, grisly, murder of �His Son.� But then again, that same �God� did command Abraham to sacrificially murder his own son, for �Him,� but settled for the foreskin of Isaac�s penis. A rather kinky S&M, homosexual trade-off, don�t you think?

But that�s not the point.

It�s bad enough being bombarded daily with the irrationality of religious fundamentalism: Young Earth Creationism stands as testimony to that �thinking.� It�s bad enough the media reports every bizarre, anti-gay, anti-science, anti-humanism statement made by Pope Benedict XVI as he pontificates on �values and morals,� despite decades of illegal cover-ups and corruption and almost daily new reports of charges of sexual abuse by priests. In 2005, there were 783 new credible claims and the �holy� Church paid out $467 million in damages. Even today, the Catholic Church continues to break other laws, with impunity.

It�s bad enough being subjected to the fanatical, hate-filled ravings of Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Lou Sheldon, James Dobson, the rest of the leaders of the Christian Right and their threatening, violent sycophants (pronounced �psycho-fans�?):

Montana Prof Threatened After Speaking Out Against Homophobia

(Butte, Montana) A professor at Montana Tech says his life has been threatened after speaking out against homophobia on the campus of the school, part of the University of Montana in Butte.

John Ray said the threat was made in an email that he has turned over to police.

The threat was made after Ray sent a campus wide email criticizing another professor who had emailed students and faculty denouncing a decision to show the movie �Brokeback Mountain� at the school.

Ray responded by sending several emails promoting tolerance toward gays.

�Shut the fuck up,� the threatening email to Ray said. �Please stop sending these stupid emails. Get a shrink if you need someone to communicate with. We don't care!!!!!!!!!! I swear to God I will find where you live and beat you if you keep sending these dumb emails out to everyone.�

Ray said that after receiving the threat he has been receiving email �pop ups� on his email advertising gay and child pornography Web sites and believes someone got his campus email �user code� and registered his address to the Web sites.

Evangelicals and fundamentalists consider it their �biblical duty� to shove their paranoia -- �Homosexual Hobbits?� -- and their violent, gory, intolerant, S&M religion down everyone�s throat and try to embed its pathologies and bigotries into civil law. But please, don�t share your delusions, paranoia, bloodlust, mythologies, or your �beliefs.� All of them are responsible for more human suffering, torture and death than any other single cause in history.

As for the �Jesus Video Project�s� DVD, it joined the rest of the junk mail in the gehenna garbage can:

The Valley of Hinnom in Jerusalem (see �God�s Name on the City of Peace�: C-2, P-I) is referred to by the word �gehenna.� In this valley, fires were kept burning perpetually to destroy refuse, waste materials, and dead animals. Smoke from the burning debris rose upward continually, day and night. It came to be known as an appropriate earthly illustration or counterpart of eternal hell and punishment.

The Christian Right and the Catholic Church are always arguing their right to be intolerant and citing the fact that the U.S. Constitution protects �religious freedom,� as indeed it does. But it also guarantees the freedom from religion. So please, keep your junk mail DVD to yourself and respect others' constitutional right to be free from your �religion.�

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