Archive - Jul 19, 2005

Quoting George Michael Will Not Help

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A less careful reader of this space might come to the conclusion that I have it in, as it were, for religion. This is not precisely true.

I don't really care what people do at home, or in their church. Burn incense, eat crackers, cut open a goat, whatever. Your hobbies are not my concern, unless they're kind of funny, or you can't keep it out of public policy. Do that and, for the most part, we're fine.

For the most part. See, there are a couple of personal issues I have with religion. A couple of concepts within religion, to be precise. One I don't agree with, and one I can't grasp. Worship and faith, respectively. Normally I keep it to myself, but sometimes a particularly public example of this crops up, and I feel the need to comment.

Worship bugs me because I have a huge ego, but that's not important right now.

Faith, on the other hand... faith just confuses me. I mean, I understand it conceptually, but it drives me nuts in practice. Case in point. The church I walk past every day between the bus stop and work has an underground lawn sprinkler system. This strikes me as utterly inconsistent with a place where "faith" is supposed to hold sway. If God created the grass, and God created the climate, then maybe God wanted your grass to be all brown and scraggly. We atheists can water our lawns, 'cause we don't care how the grass is supposed to be. We like it damp and green, even though we live in Arizona. But a church watering their lawn strikes me as profoundly disrespectful.

But even more perplexing to me is the kind of faith espoused by Pastor Jim Putman, in Post Falls, Idaho. Pastor Putman was officiating at the memorial service for Dylan Groene. Dylan, Dylan's mother Brenda, and Brenda's boyfriend Mark McKenzie were all allegedly killed by a convicted sex offender, who then allegedly took Dylan's sister Shasta and allegedly molested her for six weeks before she was found and rescued.

Here's what Pastor Jim said at the service. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"I thank God for the miracle he gave us bringing Shasta back. God has plans for that little girl."

That's faith. I can tell it's faith, because faith transcends reason, and reason makes sense, and what Putman said makes NO FUCKING SENSE. God has plans for Shasta? How does that work, exactly? Did He, in all his wisdom, realize there was a little girl being molested in Idaho, and as recompense for what he allowed to happen, worked up some plans for her beyond "decades of therapy" and "life as a traumatized orphan"? Some kind of "sorry about your innocence, my bad, here's a cookie and a book deal when you turn 25" kind of thing?

Because the other possibility Pastor Putman's words imply is that God's plans for Shasta INCLUDED having her family killed and her life ruined. And I really hope he didn't mean that, because that goes way beyond "having faith" into "fuck right off" territory. But that's what this brand of faith is for, I guess. When confronted with something so senseless, the only way to make sense out of it is to assume someone bigger than you knows what the fuck he's doing.

You hear that kind of crap all the time from the big-eyed cherub-statue set. A young boy is found alive in the wreckage of a car crash that killed the rest of his family, and it's always "The angels must have been looking out for this miracle baby." I'd kick those angels' asses. Fuck them if that's the best they can do.

And fuck Pastor Putman, who also said "God takes care of evil and I can trust him to do it. When he punishes he does it far better than I could ever do."

Well, thanks, dipshit. While you're waiting for Beardy to do a better job with the murdering paedophile than your potato-loving ass would, we'll be taking advantage of our legal system until God gets a crack at him, thanks.

I just don't get it. When someone says, of a dead child on the occasion of his tenth birthday, that "God is throwing a better party for him than you could ever possibly imagine," how, pray tell, is that NOT the most patronizing and slappable fucking thing you've ever heard? That's the kind of thing you tell a kid so they don't wake up screaming, but grown adults? It'd have to be a better party than I could imagine, because I can't imagine the party not being complete shit.

"Sorry about your horrific murder, kid, but we got pony rides and cake and clowns... wait, what are the clowns doing here? You know we don't have clowns at the 'killed by a kiddie fiddler' parties. We're supposed to have go-karts. Gabriel, where are the go-karts? Don't tell me we sent the go-karts to the car crash kid's party! Medammit!"