Ever since Bush II’s re-election (“How Can 56 Million People Be So Dumb?” blared a British newspaper the day after), I’ve been watching with increasing concern as W repays the religious right for its political support by catering to their positively un-American agenda such as making church/state separation an endangered species and imposing their extremist beliefs on the rest of us.
In furtherance of that latter goal, of course, is the RR’s pressure on the Justice Department to “crack down” on what they consider to be obscenity — consenting adults having sex on camera for the viewing pleasure of other consenting adults in the privacy of their own bedrooms or hotel rooms. Ostensibly toward that end, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has formed an Obscenity Task Force.
Now all of this of late keeps bringing to mind that for-the-ages expression of righteous indignation from the movie Network, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna take it anymore,” because the hypocrisy of the situation is infuriating. Truth is, I simply see religion as much more obscene than even the raunchiest of Adult fare (which I’m not conceding is obscene, by the way), let alone something as innocuous as say, Janet Jackson’s bared boob or more recently, Paris Hilton’s sizzling pre-nom worthy tease for Carl’s Jr. And that’s not as extreme a statement as many of you might think.
My trusty American Heritage dictionary defines obscene as “offensive to accepted standards of decency” and “offensive to the senses,” and on both counts, to my way of thinking, religion fits the bill. Obscene is also defined as “inciting lustful feelings,” and there too, religion is a match, maybe not in a sexually lustful way — although I’d be willing to bet that, for instance, Jesus, is the object of many a believer’s sexual fantasies — but certainly in its blood lust equivalent.
Just think of the multitudes of people slaughtered in the name of God over the centuries during, among other fun events, the Crusades, the witch burnings, the Inquisition, the genocide of the indigenous, various religious wars, etc., etc., up to and including 9-11, carried out by a bunch of Muslim fanatics convinced that killing thousands of innocent “infidels” was their instant meal ticket to Paradise? If that’s not obscene, I don’t know what is.
Other offensive religious practices include Christianity in particular, instilling fear of eternal damnation in millions of humans from its inception, and indoctrinating them to believe that without God, even as infants, they are wretched, graceless, “fallen” creatures cursed with original sin. Is it any coincidence that so many people have self-esteem issues?
“My own view on religion is that … I regard it as a disease born of fear and as a source of untold misery to the human race,” wrote esteemed rationalist philosopher Bertrand Russell way back in 1930. It still holds true today.
Religion has also frequently been the enemy of social progress with such stands as, to cite a few contemporary examples, the Roman Catholic Church’s ludicrous no birth control policy (especially catastrophic in impoverished, overpopulated Third World countries), and right here at home, the religious right’s campaigns to relegate gays to second class citizenship status and to oppose stem cell research that has the potential to cure debilitating diseases. And these people call themselves “pro-life”?
Then there’s the RR’s positively Stalinist campaign to rewrite the history of this country, putting forth the chilling fraud that America was founded as a Christian nation, so as to eviscerate church/state separation and establish a theocracy. Wrong. America was clearly founded as a secular nation, many of the Founding Fathers, Jefferson, Adams and Madison included, firmly on the record as being anti-Christian. Doubters merely need to count the number of references to God in the Constitution — zero. It’s a Godless document.
And as part of their agenda to turn the U.S. into something akin to the Western equivalent of Iran, the evangelicals are intent on conning public school students out of an important component of their real-world education by once again attempting to slander and assassinate the character of the solid science of evolution (which — big surprise — undermines their beliefs) and replace it with the religious propaganda/pseudo-science/obvious fairy tale of creationism or its more stealth name, Intelligent Design. Sort of the modern-day descendent of the sixteenth century persecution of Galileo by the Roman Catholic Church for daring to endorse the idea that the — gasp! — Earth revolved around the sun and was not, in fact, the center of the universe as put forth in the Bible.
The list goes on and on, but certainly one more offense that must be mentioned, given AVN’s demographic, is how religion has demonized sex —a stance Russell calls “the worst feature of the Christian religion … morbid and unnatural.”
All the more so since the notion of God and what he/she/it considers moral are strictly matters of faith, which cannot be empirically proven. Not a good idea to base policy, be it on sex, gays, science, wars, etc., on what could very well be a myth. Absurd, actually.
Given all this, isn’t it a no-brainer that religion much better fits the definition of obscenity than for example, a simple innocent facial, or hell, a bukkake for that matter? Of course it is. So how 'bout Gonzales form a Task Force on Religious Obscenity? Hey, we can always dream, er, mentally masturbate, can’t we?