Archive for October 2009

Halloween Aversion

October 30, 2009

Halloween is undoubtedly my favorite holiday. It just has an attitude about it that other holidays could only hope to have. For many Fundamentalist Christians, however, Halloween is seen as an unholy celebration of all that is evil. This fear of Halloween is known as Samhainophobia, and it isn’t just a trivial matter to them; it is deeply rooted in the core belief of their faith.

Halloween is a Christian holiday. Or, more precisely, a Christian adoption of an ancient pagan holiday, very much like Christmas. It is the evening before All Saints Day and there is even an “Eve of All Saints Prayer” in the Book of Occasional Services. It began at least 2,500 years ago as the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, a celebration of summer’s end and a remembrance of the dead. When the Roman Empire conquered Western Europe, a Roman-Celtic syncretism occurred that mixed language and culture. Samhain proved to be popular and, in 835 CE, Pope Gregory IV moved the Catholic holiday of “All Hallow’s Eve”, which served much the same purpose as Samhain, to November 1st to coincide with it.

As mundane as any of that sounds, fundamentalist Christian sects often see Halloween as a dangerous holiday that could literally damage their souls. Examples of Christian commentary on Halloween can be found on many places on the Internet: On isawthelightministries.com, a Halloween page says that parents should, “refuse to allow your kid to take part in this evil holiday of satan.” Demonbuster.com warns the faithful: “Don’t even open your doors to pass out “tracts.” If you do, then you are celebrating this unholy day.” Sabbatarian.com also has a page dedicated to the fear of Halloween, but it was so incoherent that I found it difficult to find a quote.

Why do some fundamentalists consider Halloween “Evil”? The aversion to Halloween seems to be an extension of an extreme xenophobic fear of other religions. Strict fundamentalist thought holds that all things outside of Christianity, outside of their Christianity, are the work of devils and demons and are designed for the sole purpose of tricking the unwary into eternal damnation. If they take part in Halloween, in any way, they will be inadvertently celebrating a pagan holiday and thereby worshiping Satan. One minute they’ll be walking down the street in a Batman mask, the next, BAM, they’re possessed. Nothing they can do about it.

In their world, devils and demons actually exist. They are not symbols, signs, or personifications of more abstract threats. They are real supernatural beings looking for any chance they can get to cast magic spells on the unsuspecting. And any non-pious act can invite them in.

Unfortunately, more liberal churches that do not hold such superstitious beliefs, often give credence to the fears of the fundamentalists by shunning the holiday and holding church sponsored harvest or fall festivals on October 31st as an alternative for Halloween. This makes it appear that Halloween is a holiday to be avoided.

On Halloween night, as the faithful are cowering inside, painting crosses on their doors to keep the specter of death out, I’m going to be hauling out the buckets of (fake) blood for my homemade skull fountain and scaring the few children that will be allowed to take candy from strangers. Halloween is one of the few holidays that actually encourages people to go outside and stop by their neighbor’s house, if even for a piece of candy. I’m going to enjoy it.

“I think we ought to close Halloween down. Do you want your children to dress up as witches? The Druids used to dress up like this when they were doing human sacrifice…[The children] are acting out Satanic rituals and participating in it, and don’t even realize it.”–Pat Robertson

 

Bible Teacher Seduces Teenage Girls

October 28, 2009

Robert Louis Rosseau, a Bible teacher at Christian Academy in San Antonio has used the ol’, “Come Join My Secret Society That Helps Mankind, But First You Need To Sleep With Me So I Know I Can Trust You” routine on a couple of teenage girls. Oldest trick in the (Good) Book. Where do you think they Bible came from? Nerds needed to get girls somehow before guitars were invented.

A 37-year-old teacher accused of creating a “secret society” to lure teenage girls into having sex with him was arrested Monday evening after a girl he allegedly wanted to recruit into the group complained to police, authorities said.

Robert Louis Rosseau taught Bible classes — among other subjects — to eighth-graders at Christian Academy of San Antonio.

The affidavit states Rosseau would read Bible passages to the two girls “to legitimize his believed ability” to have sex with them.

Personally, I think he was going to way too much trouble. These girls sound pretty gullible, I think they would have slept with him for a hand full of gummy bears.

That teen told authorities that the two girls who were members of the society, which they referred to as an “order,” attempted to recruit her into the group on two weekends in September. To become a member, the two girls told the teen, she had to be “intimate” with Rosseau to establish trust, according to an arrest affidavit.

That teen told authorities she was persuaded into joining the order after being told it was “geared to help mankind,” the affidavit states.

I going to be a bit skeptical on this one and say that I don’t think he ever really intended to help mankind. Not one bit.

Top Scientologist Refuses to Answer Xenu Question

October 28, 2009

A short video outlining the bizarre Xenu story attributed to the Church of Scientology.

This story is very popular on the internet and has been featured on South Park. Is this true? Is the Xenu story a tenet of Scientology? I, for one, would love to know. Wouldn’t it be great if we could just ask a Scientologist? Unfortunately, this Scientologist (Tommy Davis, head of the Celebrity Centre) refuses to answer the question and he leaves the interview in a huff (saying yes or no apparently not being an option). (at the 3:40 mark)

My guess is that he is legally unable to answer the question. After all, if they genuinely found the Xenu meme to be that insulting, then it wouldn’t be one of their beliefs and he would just deny it, would he? I know good and well that Evangelical Christians don’t find evolution feasible, but I accept it and I don’t shy away from saying that I do.

Personally, I think they should play up the Xenu aspect. People love shit like that. The “oh yeah, you can’t prove it’s not true” method of argumentation seems to work pretty well for most religions, I don’t see why Scientologists would feel the need for secrecy. While they’re at it, they should throw Bigfoot in the mix, too. People love Bigfoot.

Pro-Lifers To Burn Effigies on Halloween

October 27, 2009

In yet another return to the middle ages show of pure unbridled emotion, an anti-abortion activist is burning images of House and Senate leaders on Halloween.

Anti-abortion activist Randall Terry is calling on people to burn effigies of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid this Halloween, as part of a “Burn in Hell” video contest to protest the health care legislation in Congress.

There’s nothing like a good old fashioned effigy burning to make your protest seem rational and sane.  And, after the protest, they all plan on chasing out the cities demons with flaming torches and vials of holy water.

The Infamous Banned Mormon Cartoon

October 27, 2009

Rather, it’s a cartoon not liked by the CoJCoLDS. I’ve heard many claims that it’s an inaccurate representation of their beliefs, but I’ve never seen any specific corrections. And, from what I understand, it was written by an ex-Mormon. It could just be that the tone is not quite right? That is a complaint of a lot of religious beliefs: if said humbly yet incorrect, it’s ok, but if said mockingly and correct, it’s not ok.

One way or another, I don’t think this cartoon has caused anyone to leave the LDS church. It makes it look far more interesting than I remember it being. I read the Book of Mormon when I was in high school … what a snoozer.

If you know any specific errors, post a comment.

Paul Haggis Leaves Church of Scientology

October 26, 2009

According to this article, Paul Haggis, director Crash and writer of Million Dollar Baby and Casino Royale, quite Scientology after 35 years once his wife was told by the “church” to “disconnect” from her parents.

Speaking about Tommy Davis, spokesman for the CoS, who denies the allegation, Harris said:

“That’s not ancient history, Tommy. It was a year ago. And you could laugh at the question as if it was a joke? You could publicly state that it doesn’t exist? To see you lie so easily, I am afraid I had to ask myself: what else are you lying about?”

Paul also commented on the CoS’s stance on the Prop 8 vote:

“You had allowed our name to be allied with the worst elements of the Christian Right…Despite all the church’s words about promoting freedom and human rights, its name is now in the public record alongside those who promote bigotry and intolerance, homophobia and fear.”

I support Haggis in his denouncement of the Cos, not because they are the spooky “Scientologists” (their beliefs aren’t any stranger than Christianity, IMO), but because all members of all organizations that support institutionalized bigotry should speak out, Mormon’s, Catholics, whatever. If they do not, it only adds to the illusion that entire blocks of people support such nonsense. Each individual can believe what they want, they cannot enforce those beliefs on others.

He also provides an excellent example on how to speak out against religious institutions: he sticks firmly to the issues that he has problems with and doesn’t resort to ad hominem attacks or hearsay.

The CoS is known for playing hard ball against those that talk about them in the press, so it will be interesting to see the fallout from this. The Cos is pretty deeply connected in Hollywood, as well, so many business connections my have been severed.

God of the Week: Eros

October 26, 2009

God of the Week 10/26/09: Eros

ErosEros was the ancient Greek god of love and beauty. He was the son of the goddess Aphrodite. In the Greek creation myth Eros is said to have sprung out of the primordial chaos itself. Though he does inspire love with his arrows, he was often viewed as being mischievous and undiscriminating with his targets.

From Mythology: Greek and Roman by Friedrich Nösselt

Cupid is represented as a lovely winged boy, now merry and laughing, now sad and crying; again gentle and winning, or pouting and cross. At his birth Zeus, foreseeing that the boy would bring only grief and misfortune into the world, advised Aphrodite to strangle him. But the compassionate mother hid him in a wood, where wild animals nursed him.

As soon as he was strong enough he made himself an aspen bow and arrows of cypress, and practised shooting animals. Not until quite sure of his skill did he attempt the hearts of men ; and seldom did the wounds caused by his arrows heal. Another poet says that Hephaestus forged his arrows, and Aphrodite dipped their points in honey ; but Eros had steeped them in gall, for he was heartless, proud, envious, suspicious, and cruel, always trying to do harm, and to circumvent man by his cunning. He often joined with Dionysus in fooling men, concealing himself in their goblets full of wine, the more easily to wound them as they drank.