Saturday, November 22, 2008

PART 2: The potty monsters win

with a totally unrelated updated below. you are welcome.
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The Charismatic Catholic prayer meeting we attended was socially divided along a polite, faint, yet very real line. The organizers were on the main thoughtful and spiritual people, most having attended parochial school all the way through college. The lunatic fringe were mainly working class, high school drop-outs, and were tolerated at arms' length. Never the twain did meet... except to act like a bunch of Fruit Loops in a rented hall three times a week. Yes, we were all brothers and sisters in the Lord...and we were all very careful where we sat during Mass so that when called upon to deliver the sign of peace we wouldn't end up hugging anyone icky.

Bambi the high-functioning schizophrenic had been taken up as a cause by the groups' organisers. And I have to say that they did themselves proud. In short order they found her a clean, safe place to live, bought her a bus pass and put her in touch with a social worker and Catholic Community Services. It was pretty clear from the start that this womans' problem was more a matter of failing to take her medication regularly than any 'spiritual darkness'.

Bambi's parents were quietly contacted. I felt really bad for these people. The way the laws ran at the time, if a person was over 18 and not presenting a clear danger to themselves or others, they could go run around and be nutty until they fell off a bridge trying to fly.

Bambi's family recounted the problems they'd had in dealing with this woman over the years and how people in her condition regularly slip between the cracks of society, and thanked us for caring and for doing what we had.

This move was viewed with horror by the Lunatic Fringe. They saw it as a terrible violation of Bambi's trust. After all, her father was rich and powerful and she was in hiding because her family was trying to have her committed and had poisoned her and the Mafia was trying to find her because her ex-husband had blah blah blah etc etc etc...and to top it all off there were demons in her apartment!

Bambi, meanwhile, was feeding off the attention of the group in general and the Lunatic Fringe in particular. The Fringe bought into her delusions hook, line and sinker. Per their literal interpretation of Scripture, the things that were supposedly happening to Bambi were concrete proof and vindication of the 'Fundamental Christianity' that they practiced. With the backup of these people and their magical explanations for what was going on Bambi soon felt 'lead by the Lord' to 'refute her medications' and 'claim a healing'... and that's exactly what she did.

That is why Bambi never did succeed in chasing Satan out of her bathroom.

A number of exorcisms were performed -but she claimed that the demons kept returning stronger. Then they started speaking to her. Writing messages on her walls that only she could see. Finally she started bugging the owner, causing scenes, demanding that as a Christian it was his duty to remove the demon-infested, Island-themed tub surround so she could shower without worrying about Satanic Tiki idols tickling her crack.

The place had been completely and expensively remodeled before she'd moved in (and that aside from the fact that it was a ridiculous demand anyway) so naturally the owner refused. Then the lunatic fringe took up the banner and started pleading on her behalf and doing 'prayer battle' against him*. He still refused. Which was the beginning of the end.

This issue actually split the group. It boiled down to this: Either you believed that this woman was desperately in need of Thorazine, or you were on "Gods' side" and believed that the fucking bathroom wallpaper was possessed.

What was truly sad was that while Bambi was rapidly losing the last of her marbles, both sides were wasting time agonizing over this issue.

Here's why:

These were Fundamentalists. As Fundamentalists, then, a 'secular, scientific' explanation for any given phenomena was by it's very nature wrong-factually and morally. It was, in fact, even sinful to entertain such explanations. Born again, Fundamentalist Christians utterly refuted the 'false religion' of Science. They believed in the literal existence of demons, angels, possession, miracles, exorcism, speaking in tongues, healing and all the rest of it because it was in the Bible, and the Bible was the revealed word of God! Period! So the explanation that best tallied up with what was in the Bible was, had to be, and could not be other than the right one. Therefore, if you took the Bible literally in this case, a person was not schizophrenic. That's not in the Bible, consequently it is a lie. However a person could be possessed by demons. And how do they take care of persons possessed by demons in the Bible? You prayed over them, rebuked Satan, and the demons were cast out.

But if that didn't work?

...Yeah. They don't cover that one in the Bible.

It all ended in a pathetic mess. The lunatic fringe moved en masse to weirder (MUCH weirder) pastures, taking their checkbooks with them. The remaining members disbanded when they lost the use of the hall due to lack of funds. Funds provided in large part by my mother, turns out.

Bambi stopped paying rent. Finally she had to be evicted after she'd almost burnt the building down leaving lit cigarettes all over the floor. She eventually went back to living on the street.

I met up with her a couple of years later, though.

Guess where?

Church of Scientology.

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* what this amounted to was meeting in Bambi's apartment across the wall from the owner, or standing on his front stoop, or sitting in his driveway in their cars holding hands and praying 'at' him, loudly, that he would 'do the right thing and follow the path of righteousness', calling each other up and holding prayer meetings via conference call, bringing it up in a disruptive and confrontation manner during prayer meetings...yup. It was a classy AND adult situation.

**I am not being flippant and I am not making this up... this is honestly what they believed and how they believed.

You can take that line of thinking as far afield as you like, too, and it still applies. Modern medicine is evil, electricity is a lie, Buddhists worship Satan, fossils aren't real; they were created by Satan to deceive the faithful.
YES.
Now, that's far, far to the right...and also far, far from being as extreme as I've been exposed to. Think of it as 'middle of the road' far right.
That is Christian fundamentalism.
Welcome to America.
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PROMISED TOTALLY UNRELATED UPDATE:

Everyone here needs to go here and listen to this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5o-IOP7EYM

Have you seen the new trailer for the XBOX game 'Call to Arms: World at War' and wondered what the fuck that awesome goddamn song was? Its this guy-Blues Saraceno. I am a fan for LIFE.

17 comments:

  1. Oh dear

    I'm inclined to become a Jain and curate gnats.

    It's a tough old life unless you weaken.

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  2. Fact: Oscar Wilde's wallpaper was possessed.

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  3. Oscar Wilde's last words from his deathbed were..
    Either this wallpaper goes or I do!

    When I worked with our Provincial Cult Awareness Organization back in the 80s, 90% of the cases under investigation involved Catholic Parents who had lost a teenager to the Church of Scientology pfft Church!

    Since most of the Investigators were holy ghoster pentechostiles we usually spent as much time chastising the Catholic parents for not being Pentechostiles...

    cause that would never happen to us because WE had the one true church on Earth ya silly goose.

    Needless to say most of those poor people ended up hiring one of those kidnapping deprogrammer bounty hunters who flew to Toronto and yoinked them off the street and drove them home.
    True Story.

    But hey who am I to judge? Seems to be working out for Cruise, Travolta and Dharma. I heard that the CoS finally bagged Will Smith?
    Is that true?

    ReplyDelete
  4. You know I would buy any book you wrote....I'm yer biggest fan.

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  5. No wait maybe it was the Lutherans?
    I get confused.
    My favorite Cult Leader was Reverend Ike whose catchphrase was

    "The lack of money is the root of all evil"
    Hard to argue with that theology?

    ReplyDelete
  6. that was a great follow up...i have learned to identify some things in life...the most important is, if i am working harder to solve the problems of someone else, i need to look in the DSM IV for the diagnosis...

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  7. garfy: you would be my favorite gnat curator, too. X!

    mj: it explains so much. probably one of those busy William Morris prints.

    Tater: yup. they bagged will smith, and they're probably the ones funding all his shitty cgi lately. i smell it on nicholas cage too. its a floor wax-no, it's a dessert topping! its a cult, AND a lovely tax shelter!

    gale: thank you!

    tater: those lutherans are DEVIOUS!!!! *peers out from behind curtains*

    daisy: for you, or them? ;)

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  8. Cars aren't in the Bible either, but I bet they all drove them.

    Fucking idiots.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Gosh! You are still here and still utterly brilliant...

    ReplyDelete
  10. Well look at that
    An excorcism
    and out pops HARDHOUSE
    ****brandishes cross and holy water****

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  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  12. Most amusing and sad and Joseph, Mary and Jayzus save us!

    I have had a basically Judeo-Christian upbringing, nothing extreme. We were not exhorted to go to the front of the church to volunteer for baptism unless we felt the need. So I never felt the need, besides there was a big ol' cross lit with blue light bulbs hanging over the large baptismal and I felt there was a slight chance that the cross could possibly plunge into the baptismal along with the brand new saved First Christian Church member and punch their ticket to heaven, so to speak.

    As a result I have a very simple philosophy" God invented everything" That just about covers it all then.

    Retro.

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  13. We had some friends in a group called 'The Bible Speaks' down in California. Same thing. But they also had a twist - they were all Christian to each other, but it was OK to lie and cheat outsiders because they weren't 'Born Again' exactly the same as they were, so God did not care what you did to them. Made us feel real good about them whenever we were together.

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  14. HAPPY THANKSGIVING
    Where ever you are :-)

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  15. I used to go to church, then one night something happened which meant I had to leave.

    Someone made a joke and I laughed at it. Next thing I knew, I was surrounded by chanting teenagers trying to cast out demons - it seems my laugh was a bit gutteral so sounded like I was possessed by demons.

    After a bemused ten minutes I did the decent thing and collapsed twitching on the floor. Having got what they wanted, they went back to whatever it was they were doing before.

    No, that wasn't the thing that made me leave.

    That night, one of them took me home to watch a desperately boring three hours religious video - to straighten out my soul.

    After which I wanked him off. It was his idea. Yes, it surprised me too.

    The next week, he was wracked with guilt and shame, hissing at me that I'd defiled him.

    So I thought "This is stupid", and walked out, permanently.

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  16. Imaginary gods do terrible things to people and all gods are imaginary.

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  17. i'm from the south. pretty much everyone down this way is a southern baptist. except for me - i'm a southern presbyterian. that means i can wear pants to church and not get frowned upon.

    ReplyDelete