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Sunday, May 06, 2012

WHEN RELIGION IS SHOVED DOWN MY GODDAMNED THROAT

All my life I've been firmly against organized religion, a stance set in place by my being unwillingly dragged every Sunday for years to church and being fed incredibly boring and fantastical tales while having to endure getting choked-out by incense while getting subjected to interminable songs of praise. During my childhood I was especially annoyed at how it was repeatedly driven home that superheroes and monsters and other such spawn of the human imagination were absolutely NOT real, yet I was expected to believe that exactly the same things as found in the Bible were as factual in their existence as the sky itself, a contradiction that even by the age of five I called "bullshit" upon. If some of that kind of stuff is not real, then in my book NONE of it is. Anyway, I finally put my foot down when I was fifteen and told my churched-up mom that I refused to waste another moment of my time with religion, basically because I just did not believe in it, so why should I bother attending? It may work for other people but it served me no purpose then and it serves me no purpose now.

For the past fifteen years, I have lived in Brooklyn's Park Slope, a neighborhood best defined as something of a haven for starter families and trust fund kids and a place that has changed drastically from its genuinely dangerous "Wild West" days of the late-1980's/early-1990's. Gentrification has rendered the neighborhood into a cozy place for those who can afford to live here — the only way I can afford my studio is because I moved in as long ago as I did and the apartment is rent controlled — and it's usually quite quiet and tranquil (excepting for the uncouth old school black and Hispanic stereotypes living in the building next door, but don't get me started ion them). That is, quiet and tranquil until it's a religious holiday for the local Mexi-Catholic contingent, and this morning happened to be one of those dreadful days.

As seen from my second floor apartment.

Whenever one of those accursed days rolls around, it's guaranteed that President Street, the block I live on, will be invaded by loud and annoying processions of the faithful, bearing full-scale replicas of the Blessed Virgin and ever-so-slowly meandering down the street as the voice of their female spiritual leader blares from the PA system speakers mounted to the roofs of the processional SUV's.

One of the unconscionably loud PA vehicles.

While she yammers away in Spanish, the procession's live musicians make with the trumpets and establish a mournful, dirge-like rhythm and tone that's sure to catch the attention of the area's residents, whether they want to take notice or not. I can only imagine being the poor bastard who's worked all night long on some thankless service or municipal shift and returns home with nothing in mind other than hitting their bed for a few hours of blissful, uninterrupted sleep before they are once more thrust into the hell of their daily routine, only to have that slumber rudely interrupted by a pack of refugees from a Jodorowsky movie suddenly showing up to proclaim their devotion right outside the innocent party's window.

It would be annoying and rude enough if the procession merely strolled by and woke folks up, but they have to give the knife an extra little twist and allow the marchers to walk for maybe five or ten feet at a time before stopping dead and letting the priestess or whatever she is drone on and on and on in Spanish in a voice and tone that could be interpreted as either sheer boredom or having recently come back from the grave as one of the more articulate harbingers of the undead apocalypse.

And I'm not certain, but I presume the start/stop cadence of the procession is to allow one of the full-scale Blessed Virgin inaction figures that they haul around to be parked in front of each building that they pass, in order for us heathens to gaze in what they hope will be reverence at an image of an ancient Judean woman whose iteration in this instance looks like one hell of a fabulous drag queen.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't this kind of showy gaudiness act in direct counterpoint to the humble beauty that the nativity was supposed to impart and therefore inspire the people with? Then again I suppose a realistic depiction of a sweaty, exhausted, vaginally-sundered woman who's just given virgin birth — don't get me started — in what was no doubt a redolent, possibly vermin-infested stable in the Middle East would not necessarily be the kind of image the Church would find appealing enough for a couple of millennia of P.R. Then again, they've done pretty well with assorted glammed-up depictions of a victim of horrible torture, the crucifixion, for just as long, so what the fuck do I know?


So the bottom line from me on this, despite my admitted ranting on my own personal distaste for religion, most especially that of the Christian/Catholic flavor, is this: If you want to practice your faith and if that helps you to be a better person and make the world a better place for everyone, I will not begrudge you that. In fact, I support your right to your beliefs/faith. Just don't inflict it on me. Especially not by parking a cacophonous parade of it right in front of my fucking building on a day when I just want some peace and quiet.

8 comments:

Weird WWII said...

Freedom of speech baby, you gotta love it! I personally hate when all the Commies/Anarchists smash up business in Seattle every May Day or The Gays/Lesbians in their gay rights parade scream at the top of the their lungs that their gay/lesbian or the Occupiers sit and block traffic or obstruct others from performing their own private biz or those fucking skinheads holding up their swastikas and Hitler banners and rave and rant about whitey's decline in America! I'm a Libertarian and I'm for maximum freedom with as little governance as possible but those loud mouths sure rub ya the wrong way sometimes don't they?

Keep on lovin' the 1st,
Brian

Tom Petrone (aka Jim Browski) said...

Speaking as an avowed Atheist,
you should have put your stereo speakers in the window and blared "Jesus Entering From the Rear" and maybe "South of Heaven" by Slayer.
Fight fire with Hell fire.

I am revealing my true identity in this post because I don't want it to be said that I'm making anti-religion comments while hiding behind a moniker.

timothy said...

i was in salem mass for halloween and the christians were yelling at us over bullhorns about going to hell......the pagans were wearing i'm with stupid -> t shirts and saying for get burning in hell the goddess loves you come with us. lolol

eggs mayonnaise said...

Maybe it's time to organize a really long, really loud Atheism Day parade? In situations like this, that's how you get to fight back in America.

jht said...

As an atheist, 1st amendment lover, and as a part-time politician (I'm a City Councillor in timothy's visited Salem MA), I can say the following:

- Weird is right.
- Tom nails it, too. Maybe some other Satanic Metal on top of it.
- And for timothy, we've got two different flocks of bullhorn types in October, plus the hellfire guy who leaflets. Then there's a really nice "alt-christian group" called The Gathering who tries to just be nice to people and give away hot chocolate.

Some of it's the kind of urban street theater that's sort of fun. But enough already!

-Josh

Anonymous said...

The processions and feast days of the saints have been a part of the church for over a thousand years. Its an important part of their faith. I'm certain if it were a display of another religion you would not be so hostile towards it. It always shocks me that such intolerance and bigotry has become exceptable as long as its directed at a formerly powerful majority.

Buncheman (pop culture ronin) said...

@"Anonymous," you are incorrect in your assessment. I would be just as vitriolic toward any religion that noisily parked itself in front of where I lived and forced me to unwillingly take notice of it. As I thought was made clear at the end of the post, I support anyone's right to their faith, but I do not at all appreciate having such forced upon me, be they Christians, Muslims, Jews, what have you.

Jim Browski said...

Hey "Anonymous",

Congratulations! You've provided a sterling example of why people whose lives are dictated by religious doctrine are dangerous. Dangerous to people whose lives aren't, that is. You call it "intolerance and bigotry" because Buncheman doesn't appreciate having a traveling revival show parked outside of his window?? Why can't they practice their faith w/o the bullhorn and the noise? You know what real intolerance and bigotry is? It's people like those clowns in North Carolina who vote to ban same sex marriage because THE BIBLE TELLS THEM IT'S WRONG!! That's bigotry in the first degree, buddy! Oh, and next time, use your real name, Anonymous. Perhaps you won't be dismissed as a mindless ideologue.

Tom Petrone (Jim Browski)

PS- I was raised Catholic, until I was old enough to make up my own mind.