“I think these bills are horrible,” said Dusty Dionne, High Priest and High Summoner of the Aquarian Tabernacle Church of Washington State. “But if they are going to open up this can of worms, we are going to shove it right in their face.”
Reverend Dionne, reached at his church in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains, took time out from planning for his church’s Spring Mysteries Festival—a re-creation of an initiation ceremony for the cult of Demeter in which ancient Greeks “learned to no longer fear death”—to speak to The Daily Beast. He explained what bills like the one that Indiana passed and that other states are considering would mean for Wiccans and Pagans.
For one, it would mean Wiccans would be free to at last marry whomever, or whatever, they wanted.
“Many of us believe that love is the law. Though it is not a quote-unquote Wiccan tenet to have polyamorous marriages, it is under Wiccan law that love is the law,” he said. “Whatever we want to do with marriage we can do. Carte Blanche. If I want to marry a horse, I can marry a horse.”
Dionne also pointed out that Wiccans have been “herbalists forever,” which would mean not just the freedom to use marijuana, but a host of psychotropic drugs banned by state government.
I was listening to my local NPR station the other day and came across an interesting story. Artists created a mural in Philadelphia and surprise, surprise, Christians were offended and destroyed the mural because that’s what people do when they are offended.
The mural says, “This goddam phenomenal world” and is apparently a quote from a J.D. Salinger book. But since the mural was mere blocks away from churches, religious believers got offended by the word “goddam.” For the record, every place is mere blocks away from churches in America. Churches are like weeds. There is pretty much a church on every other street corner.
Within hours of the mural’s completion, someone (almost certainly a Christian someone) painted over the offending word. Could you imagine if someone went around and painted over some religious art or vandalized a religious billboard or sign? Fox News would be talking about evil atheists and the war on Christians in America. But when Christians do it, no one even bats on eye. Even the NPR news story attempts to justify the vandalism and only used this story as part of a larger story not even about vandalism.
They pointed out that the woman who was responsible for creating the mural didn’t go around and ask the churches for permission first. Because every time religious people put up religious murals, signs, and billboards, they always ask atheist leaders for our permission, right? Keep in mind that the mural was legal. They didn’t just paint over some random wall without the owner’s permission or without a government permit. No, the problem was that a small handful of religious people were offended.
(keep reading at skepticinc.com)
I was around twelve years old and for lack of a better term, I was a violent little shit. Years of anger and frustration culminated in explosive rage pretty much anytime someone set me off. I set fires, beat up other kids and was generally a bad kid. In pretty much any other family this would have resulted in my parents drinking more and maybe a short bid in juvenile hall. Unluckily for me, my parents are pentecostal. Instead of being sent off or getting the beating of my life, I was dragged to church.
It was Sunday night. At my mom’s church, Sunday night services were reserved for faith healings and the occasional exorcism. As the pastor stood tall over the crowd shouting about God at the top of his lungs, it became apparent that I hadn’t been dragged along for a faith healing. I had seen it happen once or twice but I had never been subject to such a thing. Pentecostal exorcisms can get violent. You have big men holding you down and a preacher shouting about the name of Jesus at the top of his lungs.
Around the time that Pastor Chuck started in about spiritual warfare and Satan’s hold on youth it became clear that I wasn’t safe in that room. I slipped past my parents and towards the back of the auditorium when I heard Pastor Chuck shout, “Just where do you think you’re going Devil!?!”
I froze dead in my tracks and turned around to see the entire congregation staring at me. Fight or flight kicked in and I had no intention of fighting a room of around a hundred adults. I broke into a dead sprint for the door only to find it locked. As I beat against the hard wooden door I could feel the tears coming from my eyes as I felt this massive hand grab me by the arm.
First one hand, and then two. Brother Jim and Brother Dave were built like linebackers and they had grabbed me up by the arms. As I fought and kicked they dragged me to the front of the church where Pastor Chuck stood with a bible in one hand and a prayer cloth in the other. Jim and Dave pinned my shoulders to the floor and two more men pinned my legs. As I lay there prone and unable to move Pastor Chuck pour oil onto my forehead. Some of it got into my eyes and it burned like mace. I struggled and tried to kick loose and Pastor Chuck shouted to the congregate,* “This demon doesn’t seem to like God’s anointed oil!”* I screamed gibberish as I tried to compose words through the pain.
Pastor Chuck spoke up again, “Listen to the demon struggling under the power of our Lord!”
Does America feel like a complete submissive BITCH yet?? This Congress is the most disgusting collection of Zionist cock suckers on the face of the Earth. These people DO NOT represent America. They have their own agenda and their loyalties that do not coincide with the wishes of their constituents or the best interests of America. They are actually giving the keys to US Foreign policy to that psychotic Israeli piece of shit.
Why is it…that congress acts like thirteen year old girls at a Justin Bieber concert whenever Netanyahu comes to town? They fall apart and present their true loyalties in front of the world. Where is that passion for the country and the people that they are supposed to be working for?
Congress is owned. It’s obvious. The whole disgusting lot of them need to go before they turn the US into Israel.
I drove across Sinai from Cairo, which is crumbling. Sheep on the streets, buildings falling down, giant slums, poor education, nice food only for the very rich, streets covered in garbage, majority of the country is poor.
Went to Israel. Saw a city much like any city in Europe. Clean streets. Beautiful big store fronts. Sidewalks. Nice signs telling you where to go. Little stands and shops everywhere. Great food from around the world. Pastries, pizza. It was Europe, basically. I loved it. It was very clean! It was great.
You have to drive some distance out of Jerusalem to get to the wall. It is a nice drive past pastures and rolling hills with bushes and trees on them.
The wall is very tall. It is made of concrete. At the top there are guard posts with glass. There is barbed wire, even though the wall is far too high to get over. There are men with guns.
When you go through it, you are asked many questions about who you are and where you come from. If you have anything Arab about you this questioning is very long it can take several hours. You are brought through many layers of security, the inside of the wall is like a fort. You go back and force through a maze of metal bars, with many security cameras watching you. The bars look like the bars used to hold cattle at a rodeo.
You exit and on the other side is a tall wire fence covered with barbed wire. There is graffiti all over the wall. The buildings are crumbling. Noo nice food, streets made of dirt, everyone is poor.
There are men waiting to be taxi drivers, I went with one. He showed me an ID card with a picture of a baby on it. He told me a story.
“This is my son. You know how I got this card?”
“My son was born with a problem in his arm, and they said that if his arm wasn’t operated on he would lose the arm. We don’t have that kind of hospital here, so I have to go across into Jerusalem to see the doctor. So I go to the Fence.”
“The man at the fence won’t let me through. He says that I can’t bring through any person without a card. He is referring to my son, who is a new born. He didn’t have a card.”
“So I say to him, where do I get the card? He says you must get the card in Jerusalem.”
“I say let me through then I will get the card and leave my son with my wife. He says that won’t work, a person must be present to have fingerprints and a photo and so on in order to get the card.”
“I say how will my son get the card if he cannot travel through the fence to get the card?”
“He told me I was holding up the line, and my son never got the surgery, he lost his arm.”
He passed me the card, he said it was fake, and he didn’t have the courage to try it out, because you could be put in prison for such a thing. He had to choose between making his son grow up without an arm or without a father. The card was so poorly done. It was obviously fake.
We got up to the top of this hill, and he pointed out at these buildings coming over the hills, he said they were settlements, and they took over 3 more hills in the last few months. These were very nice buildings. Developments.
I went back to Israel that night, and I went to a waffle store. They had every kind of waffle. Chocolate waffle, ice cream waffle, Nutella. Anything. Any kind of fruit and so on. The taxis are really nice there they have meters, they don’t clunk when they start. The monuments are lit up at night. There are little plaques at every monument that tell you the history in English and Hebrew and Russian and Italian.
When I took the bus back, I sat next to a young girl who had a phone with rhinestones glued to it in a heart shape, and a beanie baby on a key chain. She had a ponytail, she was texting and wearing an army uniform. She had a grenade launcher in the seat next to her. The bus stopped several times and the Palestinians were made to get off and be searched. Their bags were taken off the bus and dumped out, and the soldiers kicked through their belongings at the side of the road and we sat inside the bus and watched and they passed out snacks.
It was absolutely banal, but the whole thing chilled me, and I realized that this was the country at the center of American foreign policy, and this was the beacon of democracy, and I realized that these were the supposed “good guys,” and I just thought that it wasn’t fucking right, and that Christians should be embarrassed because Jesus wouldn’t have stood for any of this.
Sorry I wrote a novel. It really changed me.
TL:DR; I think every American history teacher should be forced to walk around in Jerusalem, then go through the wall to Bethlehem and walk around in Palestine before teaching students that colonialism is something that “used to” happen.