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The Danger of Listening to Religious Nuts

Friday, October 30th, 2009

Yesterday, Huffington Post linked to an article in their comedy section by the self-titled apostle Kimberly Daniels that had been posted on Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network.  The HuffPo article, Christian Broadcasting Network Warns Against 'Demonic' Halloween Candy, naturally grabbed my attention.  I clicked on over to the CBN and read Apostle Kim's article which, I'll be honest, was one of the best laughs I've had in quite some time.

Interestingly, today the article has been removed from the site.  Perhaps CBN realized it was written by a nutcase and no longer wanted to be associated with it.  Never fear, though, because I have found the article posted in another place for your reading pleasure over at a site called Charisma under their Prophetic Insight section (is that what you call it?).  Read it here.

It never fails that every year, around this time, I have to pull out my 2003 essay Exposing Christian Holidays.  Though never has it been quite so pertinent as now as a rebuttal to Apostle Kim's (as she calls herself on her website, the home of Kimberly Daniels Ministry International) The Danger of Celebrating Halloween.

Please, give it a quick read (clicking that link should open a small window so you don't have to leave here) before I start my piece – you won't be sorry and I promise it is full of lulz.  Lots and lots of lulz.

Back again?  Was it all the lulz I promised?  Yes and no, I know.  While it was undoubtedly hilarious, it was also rather infuriating.  To think that people actually believe this woman – that there are those out there believing Halloween is the devil's free-for-all and that witches pray over all candy that goes out to retail stores before it is delivered (do they meet up at the candy factories to do this or what?).

This woman sat here and wrote – with a straight face, I'm guessing (either that or a gleeful grin all the way to the bank) – about how she refuses to purchase any and all candy sold during the month of October.  You know, because the demons don't know the difference between candy from the store and candy dropped into your kid's bag during Halloween night (demons are apparently insidious yet stupid).  And, as has been ascertained, all of said candy has already been dedicated to Lucifer via the witches' pre-October prayer groups at all of the nation's candy factories. So, you know, those Whoppers you were snacking on at your desk the other day?  You totally imbibed evil, my friend.  Pure, concentrated evil.

Yet, let's step back and break down Apostle Kim's "warning" piece by piece, shall we?  That's always fun.

According to the self-proclaimed apostle, Halloween rivals Christmas in its nationwide celebrating.  I don't know where she gets her proof for such a claim, because all she says after this statement is "stores that sell only Halloween-related paraphernalia open up a few months before the day and close shortly after it ends".  So do Christmas-only stores, and let's not even talk about how early Christmas crap comes out in regular stores.  I have no idea if what she says is true or she just pulled that random fact out of her ass, but I'm guessing the latter.

Yet, our apostle posits, "Is Halloween a holiday that Christians should be observing?"

Why the hell not?  They celebrate Christmas and Easter, and there isn't much very Christian-oriented in any of their traditions (as I shall soon prove).

Apostle Kim states:

"The world "holiday" means "holy day".  But there is nothing holy about Halloween."

Honey, I hate to be the one to tell you this, but a brief look at the history of every major holiday celebrated in the United States will reveal that not a one of them is "holy".  Naturally that goes for the holidays such as Independence Day, St. Patrick's Day, and the like.  Yet what most Christians that rail against Halloween seem to forget – or be completely ignorant of – is that Christmas and Easter are just as "unholy" as Halloween if you look at their roots and the true meaning behind the majority of the customs we practice at these times of year.  Again, though, we'll get to more of that in a moment.

Our erudite apostle goes on:

"Halloween is a counterfeit holy day that is dedicated to celebrating the demonic trinity of:  the Luciferian Spirit (the false father); the Antichrist Spirit (the false holy spirit); and the Spirit of Belial (the false son)."

What?  I have no idea where she came up with this.  First of all, there is nothing in Halloween's history that calls it "a holy day" – meaning it's not a counterfeit anything – nor is there any mention in its lore that speaks of venerating an evil triumvirate.  In fact, who even knew one existed?  I didn't, and I was practicing witch for many years.

She goes on to explain that this time of year has been "dedicated" to "darkness and an accursed season", allowing "time-release curses" (do those work like time-release capsules?) that allow demons to snare unsuspecting souls foolish enough to participate in trick-or-treating.

"For example, most of the candy sold during this season has been dedicated and prayed over by witches."

I don't have to touch that one again.  It kind of stands on its own; it needs no help from me to be mocked.

She continues by explaining that even the colors of Halloween, "orange, brown, and dark red", are so "dedicated".  Wouldn't that mean that these colors are always evil?  Wouldn't that imply that wearing these colors or using them in your household means you are inviting demons into your life?  She doesn't say, but she does go on to tell us more about this "evil" time of year:

"These colors are connected to the fall equinox, which is around the 20th or 21st of September each year and is sometimes called "Mabon".  During this season witches are celebrating the changing of seasons from summer to fall.  They give praise to the gods for the demonic harvest.  They pray to the gods of the elements (air, fire, water and earth)."

Indeed, for many centuries, people who lived by and with the land venerated the changing of the seasons.  They had many rituals to ensure a bountiful harvest.  These people were not "witches".  They were everyday folk just like us, except that the food they ate they grew on their own.  Without it, they would perish.  Without a bountiful harvest, they would not last the harsh winter to come.  Such harvest celebrations have been around for millennia.  In ancient Greece, for example, a festival called Oschophoria was held to celebrate the harvesting of grapes for wine.  Oooh, evil.

During the fall (and spring or "vernal") equinox, the length of the day is exactly the same; the only time of year that this occurs.  This follows naturally with the Winter and Summer Solstices – the longest and shortest days of the year, respectively.  The equinoxes and solstices are naturally occurring events that correlate with the tilt of the Earth on its axis; first recognized by the ancient Greeks once they realized that the Earth was spherical; part of their great body of work we know as "celestial navigation".

Celebrations of our ancestors were held around these times of year, when the seasons changed, as they lived by the land.  Without using the heavens and Earth itself, they could not ensure enough crops and harvest to get them through the year.  In these times, this could be a matter of life or death.  Rituals, celebrations, and offerings to deities for positive outcomes were common; indeed, there was nothing "evil" about them.

In later centuries, when Christianity came on the scene and began trying to convert the "pagans" (which meant, only, "heathens"), they simply inserted Christian-based holidays over the pre-existing pagan ones.  It was easier to convert the people, they found, if they kept some semblance of the ways they had always practiced; therefore, holidays were venerated on the same days as before and even with some of the same rituals, only now with new meanings per the Church.

Apostle Kim goes on to note that

"Mother earth is highly celebrated during the fall demonic harvest."

Certainly, our forebears celebrated the Earth as they – much unlike how we live today – relied on her for their very survival.  A healthy respect for the planet and a learned knowledge, passed down through generations, of the land, the seasons, and crops and livestock were how our ancient brethren survived.  Respect for this planet that sustains is something we would all do well to work back into our own lives, but I digress.

According to the above statement, then, Apostle Kim seems to indicate that any and all harvest taken in during the fall is "demonic".  If that be the case, then it would seem we are all doomed.  Every bit of non-processed food you eat (admittedly, it may not be that much these days) is oozing with pure evil.  McDonald's may be our salvation yet.

Apostle Kim says that "I am amazed at how ignorantly we participate in pagan, occult rituals."

Indeed!  On this, Apostle Kim and I can agree.  Let me, please and at this time, re-produce my Exposing Christian Holidays essay (click to read, a small window should appear that will let you stay on the blog and still peruse the article).

Nearly everything today has some "pagan" origins – and nothing more than the things we practice during seemingly "Christian" holidays.  Does this make all holidays evil?  No.  But we should be aware of why we do what we do, and where the original rituals come from.  In this light, Halloween is no more "evil" than any holiday acknowledged by the Christian church.

Apostle Kim goes on to state that the simple act of using Halloween decorations lines you up for a date with demons.  "All these activities," she says, "are demonic and have occult roots."

Yet, as I have said – and my essay proves – so do all holidays, and especially those Christian ones.  So her point is at best moot, and more than a shade ignorant.  Trust me, you are not going to burn in hell for letting your kids go trick-or-treating, nor are you inviting demons into your home if you carve a jack-o-lantern.

Ms. Daniels goes on to inform us – again I have no clue where she is getting this information, but I truly do suspect she dreamed it all up in her head – that the worst part of Halloween are the occult ("secret") things that go on "behind the scenes".  Things such as:

  • Sex with demons
  • Orgies between animals and humans
  • Animal and human sacrifices
  • Sacrificing babies to shed innocent blood
  • Rape and molestation of adults, children and babies
  • Revel nights
  • Conjuring of demons and casting of spells
  • Release of "time-released" curses against the innocent and the ignorant

A very good rebuttal of such claims, and similar ones, can be found at the Religious Tolerance website, under Halloween:  More Misinformation from Evangelical Christian Groups.

The author's bio at the bottom of the piece states:

Kimberly Daniels is a sought-after conference speaker and preacher.  She is the founder of Kimberly Daniels Ministries International (kimberlydaniels.com), Spoken Word Ministries – the church she pastors in Jacksonville, Florida, with her husband, Ardell – A Child of the King Learning Center and Word Bible College.  Kim is a recognized prophetic voice as well as the author of several books, including her most recent, Prayers that Bring Change (Charisma House).

I took some time to browse through Apostle Kim's website, and found myself more and more disturbed.  She is very much obsessed with demons, and believes she has the power to cast them out of people.  She tells witches they serve "sissy, punk gods" and is described as having a "no-nonsense confrontation with the powers of darkness" borne of her own "checkered past" (read more about that here).  She tours the country in a 30' Winnebago that is called "The Demon Buster".  A modern-day, ghostbuster, though in this case she is a "demonbuster", she also has available on her website ($10 if you're interested, folks) a music CD called Demon Bustin' on which she performs "Christian rap music".  Her church has over 15,000 members dubbed "Commanders of the Morning".

On her blog, she talks about a conference she held in March called "Iron Sharpens Iron" and the power she held over the room, through the power of Jesus Christ:

"The usual church status quo is for people to get pumped up when the man or woman of God comes on the scene. I am so glad to testify that the Lord was moving when I walked into the door. It was also a blessing to know that a few ladies made a statement to my staff, “We did not come for deliverance but we came to see what Kim Daniels was really about.” I praise God that these ladies were the first ones in the line in the deliverance room. Our team prayed for 90 people in two hours and people were set free. They did not get counseling. They did not get stroked but they got the devil cast out of their lives. It is time out for medicating and counseling demons. Jesus came to set the captives free. In the economy we live in it is not conducive to be bound."

So what is Kimberly Daniels about?  We know she lived a rough past life, found Jesus and then founded a church.  We know she has a nation-wide, if not global-wide, following.  We know that while Jesus may have improved her life, her ministry has undoubtedly improved her pocketbook.

I have a great deal of trouble seeing rich evangelicals preaching the word of a man who chose to live a simple, poverty-riddled life.  Jesus wanted people to go forth and multiply, yes, but he wasn't referring to their bank accounts.

By using the everyone-is-riddled-with-demons analogy, she has created a faith based on fear.  The fear of being overrun by demons and that Satan is controlling one's life.  The only answer – in fact, the only salvation – is to come to Jesus Christ…through her.  She is the middle-man.  She is the one with the answers, the hope, and the direct line to God who can ring you straight through and get your sorry ass saved.  Without her, her guidance and words, her prophetic message, and her personal connection to The Almighty, you are, in essence, a lost sheep.

Nothing could be further from the truth.  This woman doesn't tend lost sheep; she slaughters innocent lambs – people that are scared and searching for answers, that don't know how to find God on their own and need someone to show them the way.  Using this fear, and installing herself as the intermediary for God's divine providence, she has become very powerful and very rich.  She writes and sells books, makes music CDs and DVDs, and offers conferences where you can be touched by her powers directly – for $100 a person.

Pastor Kim tours the world, proselytizing and bringing Jesus into peoples' lives.  She founded the Word Bible College in 1995 to teach students about Jesus and God's word, where they can graduate with doctorates in Christianity – perhaps to start their evangelical ministry.

This is not to say that Pastor Kim has not done good works, and that she has not helped a lot of people.  Yet when someone is living a rich, privileged lifestyle and uses fear and scare tactics as their method of "reaching out" to people, I have a problem with that.

Daniels's The Danger of Celebrating Halloween is one, big, misinformed scarefest.  She has no proof to back up any of her claims, and doesn't feel the need – it would appear – to offer any.  People accept her word as gospel; it's just what she is used to.  This is a woman who honestly claimed that witches pray over all candy that is shipped out pre-Halloween.  All. Candy.  Think about that for a moment.  Does this sound like a sane, rational person?  Does this sound like someone that should be leading thousands?

No, but she does.  Therein lies the problem.  Evangelists want you to believe they care about you and that they are preaching God's word, but it is all selfish works.  Everything they do is to elevate themselves in the eyes of others; it's an ego trip – and a very lucrative one.  There is not a single ounce of truth in her article, yet it is posted all over the Internet and there are thousands that are reading it and, worse yet, believing it.

I would rather be one of the "blood drinking, moon howling witches" that she prays for than believe that God chooses people like this woman to spread his Word.  Jesus was the exact opposite of a rich egotist living a life of luxury, and how anyone can live such a life yet claim a direct, personal relationship with him is beyond me.

Enjoy Halloween, people.  If you can enjoy Christmas and Easter with no worries or guilt, then I can assure you that no ill will befall you or yours for celebrating this innocuous holiday.

The Religion of Shanna

Friday, December 17th, 2004

So I'm hold for Dell Tech Support, and the hold music, which is usually generic elevator or John Denver-ish light rock, begins to play. I mute my own music and listen to this loud and obnoxious noise coming from my speakerphone. It was N'Sync or Backstreet Boys or one of those boy bands I-don't-know-because-they-all-sound-the-same-to-me. If it was new or old, I also don't know, because I've been boycotting local radio for a number of years now. Who or whatever it was, it was still very strange hold music as the lyrics went something along the lines of:

"...if you really like it hot, I can hit the spot...if you want it good, girl, get yourself a bad boy..."

I'd expect them to be playing some awful renditions of Christmas carols or a Phil Collins love song, but not something you'd hear blaring out of an 11 year-old's bedroom. And it was so loud - I had to take it off of speaker for the fear that someone would open my office door and everyone in the vicinity would think I listened to music tripe like that.

And speaking of inappropriateness, every day on my drive to work I pass a large assisted living facility. It's very nice, and I'm sure is something only the wealthy elderly or their rich children could afford. Whatever the case, the past few weeks I have been very disturbed to see this advertisement printed on a large red sign in front of the building (and right next to the road):

"Give a gift to yourself and your loved ones this year: Make Name-of-Facility Assisted Living your family member's home".

Couldn't this have been worded a bit differently? Let's look at what this ad is really saying:

- Make Christmas special by getting rid of the burden that is Grandma.

- Experience the holidays without Uncle Charlie's repetitive 'Nam stories & noxious farts.

- Remind Dad how much his aging is a pain in the ass for you by sticking him in a home for Christmas.

- Tired of changing Mom's diapers? Give yourself the gift of someone else doing the dirty work.

Give yourself a gift? By putting your elderly family member in a home? Someone in the marketing department should be going without a Christmas bonus, methinks.

And to end this second-Friday-post, I nabbed Rose's Religion Creator post. Really, who doesn't want to create their own religion? Try it. This is mine:

From the most serendipitous regions of the spiritual plane, I have channeled the disembodied spirit of Edgar Allen Poe, bringing to you the wisdom and pithiness of the lost city of New Orleans. To usher in the New Age of rapscallions you must heed my words and importune zealously. The time is soon when the space Miatas of our galactic cousins will return and our collective gregariousness will reach critical mass. The highest frequencies of the universe will spiral through the left pinky toe chakras of the worthy, and our 3rd belly button shall be opened. But first we must look deep inside and accept our inner flock. We must feel the inner flock, become the inner flock, cognize it as though it was a beer can. We must accept our karmic past, and, as our yogi master, Shanna, always says 'The true form of a wrath is actually a sublime grape , but enlightenment is like a uncouth genius on the wind'. For there is no right or wrong, no loyalty or anti-loyalty, only one great and omnipresent cigarette.

If you remember anything from Shanna's religion, it should be this:

...cognize it as though it was a beer can and ...(there is) only one great and omnipresent cigarette. I hath spoken.

Is That You God?

Sunday, October 3rd, 2004

Yet another asinine and absolutely aggravating email from someone at work. There are those that forward stupid things, and those, like this guy, that take the time to type up and send religious lectures. I thought I'd have a little fun with this one; my comments in pink - the original email in bold.

Have you ever been just sitting there and all of a sudden you feel like doing something nice for someone you care for. . THAT'S GOD.
No, that's your CONSCIOUS reminding you that you have to do something nice to make up for driving people insane with all the pointless drivel you send them.

Have you ever been down and out and nobody seems to be around for you to talk to.... THAT'S GOD .. . . He wants you to talk to Him.
No, that's because you're a SOCIAL PARIAH whom everyone hates because you keep junking up their Inbox with dumb jokes, pointless forwards and sickeningly pious devotions.

Have you ever known someone who would do anything to help you through difficult times.... THAT'S GOD .. . . He wants you to not have to face situations alone.
No, those are called FRIENDS. You keep them by not sending stupid things to them via email.

Have you ever been thinking about somebody that you haven't seen in a long time and then next thing you know you see them or receive a phone call from them. . . THAT'S GOD ... there is no such thing as coincidence.
No, those are OLD FRIENDS calling to ask that you remove them from your email's address book because they can't take it anymore.

Have you ever received something wonderful that you didn't even ask for, like money in the mail, a debt that had mysteriously been cleared, or a coupon to a department store where you had just seen something you wanted, but couldn't afford...... THAT'S GOD. .. He knows the desires of your heart.
No, that was just GAS.

Have you ever been in a situation and you had no clue how it is going to get better, but you didn’t give up . . . THAT'S GOD. . ........ He passes us through tribulation to see a brighter day.
No, that's BLIND HOPE causing you to forward that email promising a $200 gift certificate for every forward to everyone you've ever known. Because it could happen, right?

Do you think it's an accident that even some of this means something to you? NOPE!
Well, yeah, like I said, it was the gas.

I was thinking of You! In all that we do, let's totally give HIM thanks and our blessings will continue to multiply. This message was sent to me by a close friend so please pass it on to all of your good friends.
So they can hate you, too. Isn't it GOD GAS great?!

Boo! Jesus Will Get You!

Friday, October 1st, 2004

I designed a cute banner for the front page of our agency's website that read "Agency-I-Work-For wishes you a Happy & Safe Halloween". It had two little jack o' lanterns on it - very simple. Of course, I have to get everything approved before putting it up there, so I asked my supervisor what he thought.

"Well," he said, looking thoughtful, "don't have a problem with it, but you need to check with the head-of-the-agency because some people might. Personally I think it's a good idea, but you know there are some that might be offended by that. Some people consider it a "Pagan" holiday and all."

The sad thing is he's absolutely right.

I cannot get my mind around those people, usually conservative Christians, that reject Halloween based upon its Pagan origins. The reason being that Christmas and Easter have those same, maybe more, Pagan foundations!

Please take a moment to read an essay I wrote on this very subject about a year ago:

Exposing Christian Holidays
A small city known as Plaquemine, Louisiana has a little newspaper that is distributed to towns and villages in Iberville parish. There is a small section for the local folk to post their opinions and thoughts called "Hotline". I'm writing this is in response to a post that appeared in the November 10, 2003 edition of the "Westbank Shopper".

The piece was titled "Time To Take A Stand" and read as follows:
It's that time of year again when evil tries to rear its ugly head and duly influence our children by trying to take their souls. That's right, I'm talking about Halloween, the one night of the year we give free reign to the Devil. Even good Christians give free reign to this holiday and dress their children in ghoulish costumes. What is wrong with you people? Unless we take a stand against Halloween, the day will come when Lucifer himself will rule this country. That day is almost here – look at the evil all around you people.

The "Westbank Shopper" claims to reach "17,000 Postal Patrons". 17,000+ people are reading this and possibly fearing that they are putting their soul, and their children's, in jeopardy by celebrating Halloween. Ignorance spawns fear – which creates hate, prejudice and intolerance. Yet ignorance can be abolished with knowledge.

While Halloween obviously has its origins in Pagan and occult history, the truth is that all of the so-called Christian holidays do. These "holy" Christians that balk at Halloween but celebrate Christmas with reverent faith do not even realize that Christmas and Easter are as Pagan in origin – or more – than Halloween itself!
Let's look at Christmas first. Named as "Christ-Mass", the celebrations surrounding it were considered "blasphemous" by the religious leaders of the day. Historians, and even most Christians, concede that Jesus Christ could not have been born on December 25. There is ample evidence to support this theory; even from the Bible itself:

"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night." - LUKE 2:8

Shepherds did not tend their flocks in the dead of winter; this is known. The sheep were kept under shelter after mid-October to protect them from the harsh elements. Furthermore, astronomers have stated that the North Star would not have been visible on a December night.

The Bible never officially states that Jesus was born on the date of December 25. So why is this particular date celebrated as his birthday by millions of Christians? In 350, Pope Julius I pronounced that Jesus' birth would be celebrated on December 25. The reason is that in the early centuries, the Christian religion was working on converting Pagans and bringing them to Christ. To make the transition easier, many Pagan holidays were "turned around" to represent Christian milestones. The reasons for celebrating changed, but the dates remained the same.

December 25 is around the Winter Solstice; a time celebrated by Neo-Pagans as Yule or Yuletide. The history of celebrating at this time of year goes back, originally, to celebrations honoring the God Osiris and Goddess Isis. Many other occult religions have celebrated the birth or rebirth of their particular deities at this time of year. In ancient Rome, before the birth of Christ, it was celebrated as Saturnalia, to honor the God Saturn, for example. Ancient Greece celebrated the time of year known as the Winter Solstice with a holiday known as Lenaea, the Festival of the Wild Women. Druids of yore celebrated the changing of the seasons at this time of year with a festival known as Alban Arthuan, and the ancient Incans celebrated this date as "the Festival of the Sun where the god of the Sun, Wiracocha, is honored."

It is not only the date of Christmas that has its origins from other than Christianity itself. The "traditions" that are followed to celebrate Christmas come from a myriad of ancient and occult practices.

What we today know as carolers originated from the Roman festival of Saturnalia. Then known as Mummers, these were a group of people dressed in bright clothes who went from house to house entertaining neighbors during the holiday. Yule logs come directly from the tradition of ancient Pagans burning them in honor of the sun and the sun God Mithras. The kissing under mistletoe comes from these same traditions, and was originally done as part of a fertility ritual. These people also believed that hollyberries were food for the gods.

Not even the Christmas tree is original to this Christian holiday. Early-day Europeans brought evergreen trees into their homes during the cold and harsh winters to remind them that their crops would grow again come Spring. Evergreen was a symbol of fertility and good fortune, and was used in totems and rituals.

And what about Easter? Surely the day celebrated as the death and resurrection of Christ – an act Christians believe gives them their salvation – is sacred and has no "evil" origins?

In actuality, the time known as the Spring Equinox has long been celebrated as a time of rebirth. Being purified by death and an experience in an "evil world" is not a new concept at this time of year. Religoustolerance.com says there are three main themes that have always been celebrated at this time of year:

  • Conception and pregnancy leading to birth on the winter solstice.
  • Victory of a god of light (or life, rebirth, resurrection) over the powers of darkness (death).
  • The descent of the goddess or god into the underworld for a period of three days. This is such a popular theme among religions that mythologists refer to it as "the harrowing of Hell."

Easter is not restricted to, nor does it originate from, the Christian religion. Pagan religions throughout history have centered around a dying and rebirthing god.
The Norse Goddess Ostara, honored at the Spring Equinox, was symbolized by the hare and the egg – both representing, as did she, fertility. We have adopted the rabbit and egg as part of our own Easter celebrations. Dyeing Easter eggs comes from the rituals of Babylonians, and ancient Egyptians hung eggs in temples as a symbol of regenerative life.

It is well known that the "Easter lily" has been revered in ancient Pagan traditions as symbolically representing the reproductive organs. Most of the Spring Equinox holidays focused on fertility.

Sunrise service, as is practiced in many Christian churches, heralds directly from the practice of "welcoming the god" during the vernal equinox. The lighting of Easter candles in the church is believed to have derived from the custom of lighting bonfires during the ceremonies that took place this time of year.

Yes, Halloween may seem evil. Yet it is what it is. It does not hide behind presumably "good" Christian holidays that are truly masks of the traditions they originally were formed from. Before you rally against Halloween as an "evil" holiday, take a look at that which you consider "safe" and "holy". Nearly everything in the Christian religion has its foundation in occult practices.

<---END--->

This is why it angers me so to hear people knocking Halloween because of where it was derived. Halloween is no different or more evil than any other holiday celebrated by the majority today. If people would take the time to actually research the history of the religious practices they hold so sacred this kind of ignorance might be abolished.

Greedy Pastor

Monday, April 19th, 2004

So I get this email at work last week entitled "Innovative Pastor":

There is the story of a pastor who got up one Sunday and announced to his congregation, "I have good news and bad news. The good news is, we have enough money to pay for our new building program................ The bad news is, it's still out there in your pockets."

The sender had appended this under the short sentence:

Commenting on the obvious may sometimes be appropriate!

Is that supposed to be cute? This is a glowing example of the reason I have such a distaste for organized religion. I see churches that are massive - huge edifices, a great deal of them boasting their own gymnasium and a parking lot that is matched in size only by ones at malls. I see schools in various states of disrepair, I see homeless people sleeping on benches across the street from these huge churches, I see children graduating from school who cannot read and write. But the churches are raising money to build bigger churches??

Christianity is supposedly based on the teachings of the man known as Jesus Christ, correct me if I'm wrong, a man who purportedly stated that doing for others was the only way to live.

The Bible states it pretty clearly:

Then will the King say to those on his right, Come, you who have the blessing of my Father, into the kingdom made ready for you before the world was:  For I was in need of food, and you gave it to me:  I was in need of drink, and you gave it to me: I was wandering, and you took me in; I had no clothing, and you gave it to me: when I was ill, or in prison, you came to me. Then will the upright make answer to him, saying, Lord, when did we see you in need of food, and give it to you? or in need of drink, and give it to you? And when did we see you wandering, and take you in? or without clothing, and give it to you? And when did we see you ill, or in prison, and come to you? And the King will make answer and say to them, Truly I say to you, Because you did it to the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.

- Matthew 25:34-40

The preachings of Jesus, and the supposed basis of Christianity, is to "do unto others" not "glorify thyself with riches". Jesus nor God seem to give a toss that you worship them in the biggest, prettiest church on the block but, rather, that you help those less fortunate in their name. I'm no Christian, but I can read. And from what I've read, that seems to be the message. Again, correct me if I'm wrong...

I could not possibly have any faith in a religion or a church that is interested, mainly, in lining its own pockets. What need does deity have for dollar signs? How can you proudly waltz into an immense and exquisitely decorated church every Sunday and then turn around and feel good about dropping your kid off at their dilapidated school Monday morning? How can you so easily drop your money into the collection plate every Sunday to further an organization that doesn't need it, yet hold tight your purse strings when you see a homeless person sitting on the side of the street who does need it? Do you believe that giving to the church, in God's eyes, is the same as giving to the poor? You are wrong. Is it that you think the church is going to take your funds and put them to the appropriately weak and down-trodden? Wrong again. Someone has to pay for the new gym or the three 20' tall crosses going up along the side of the Interstate.

Why does everyone think it is okay for Christians to be so hypocritical? What would Jesus say if he came down to Earth today and saw all of the glorious, colossal churches dotting the countryside? I believe he'd shake his head in dismay.

"This is what you use your money for?" he'd probably ask.

If you honestly think he'd be doing cartwheels in excitement and awe while exclaiming, "You worship me in that? I RULE!" then perhaps you'd better put a little more effort into learning about the man you supposedly worship.

Greed is a terrible thing.

God Has a Positive Answer, but Shanna Has a Better One

Tuesday, April 13th, 2004

Two posts in one day? What's the occasion? Well, Shanna found something new to bitch about naturally. Duh.

So I get this email with phrases that people say and (supposedly) God's answer to them. I found God's answers a little...lame. I mean, he offered lots of nice sentiments but gave no good direction or advice and, as far as I know, still hasn't backed up any of his claims. "I love you" sounds nice, but is it a good answer to an honest "What should I do?" question. That's kind of a cop out.

Imagine going to your mother and saying, "Mom, I'm having trouble deciding on a college major" or "Mom, I was raped by a gang of aliens and am not sure if I should abort the hideous creature growing inside of me or not" and her answer is, "Well, I love you." Big help, Mom, thanks.

So I have taken the liberty of answering these oh-so burning questions that (apparently and according to this email) most of us ask. God may love you, but Shanna is going to give it to you straight and give you some damn direction.

The email was entitled "God Has a Positive Answer". I would like to amend that to:

God Has a Positive Answer, but Shanna Has a Better One


You Say:
"It's impossible."

God Says:
All things are possible (Luke 18:27)

Shanna Says:
All things are possible if you get off your ass and work hard enough for them.

You Say:
"I'm too tired."

God Says:
I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28-30)

Shanna Says:
As long as you are alive you won't get enough rest, get up and get over it.

You Say:
"Nobody really loves me."

God Says:
I love you (John 3:16 & John 3:34)

Shanna Says:
This is true.

You Say:
"I can't go on."

God Says:
My grace is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9 & Psalm 91:15)

Shanna Says:
Go ahead and off yourself, then. The world is over-populated with greedy, whiny, lazy fucks anyway.

You Say:
"I can't figure things out."

God Says:
I will direct your steps (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Shanna Says:
This is not surprising. Have you ever really tried to figure anything out with begging someone else to give you all of the answers? I didn't think so.

You Say:
"I can't do it."

God Says:
You can do all things (Philippians 4:13)

Shanna Says:
You're probably right. Please see #4.

You Say:
"I'm not able."

God Says:
I am able (2 Corinthians 9:8)

Shanna Says:
"I'm not able"? Who talks like that? You disgust me - grow a backbone and quit whining you damn loser.

You Say:
"It's not worth it."

God Says:
It will be worth it (Roman 8:28)

Shanna Says:
Nothing in this life is really worth anything. Live for the moment and do what makes you happy and proud - that's all you have to do. Remember, no matter *what* you do, you're going to die. Make sure you have fun at whatever it is you choose to do.

You Say:
"I can't forgive myself."

God Says:
I Forgive you (I John 1:9 & Romans 8:1)

Shanna Says:
It's the past and you really should let it go - did you hear what I said about dying? Yes, it happens to everyone, so live for *now* and fuck the rest of it.

You Say:
"I can't manage."

God Says:
I will supply all your needs (Philippians 4:19)

Shanna Says:
Stop whining, stop trying and *do* - it's really as simple as that.

You Say:
"I'm afraid."

God Says:
I have not given you a spirit of fear (2 Timothy 1:7)

Shanna Says:
Use your fear as a stepping stone to tackle new challenges. That, or get a big gun and a mean dog.

You Say:
"I'm always worried and frustrated."

God Says:
Cast all your cares on ME (I Peter 5:7)

Shanna Says:
There's medication for that. I suggest you get on some...quick.

You Say:
"I don't have enough faith."

God Says:
I've given everyone a measure of faith (Romans 12:3)

Shanna Says:
Faith is for the weak. The only thing you need to have faith in is YOU. Then again, judging from all this whining, maybe not.

You Say:
"I'm not smart enough."

God Says:
I give you wisdom (I Corinthians 1:30)

Shanna Says:
I don't doubt that. If you feel you lack in some areas, do something about it. There are things called libraries, and schools and encyclopedias. Use them.

You Say:
"I feel all alone."

God Says:
I will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5)

Shanna Says:
You are and you always will be - you need to get over that too. I suggest investing in a good imaginary friend. Or a vibrator.

A Rather Unorthodox Easter

Monday, April 12th, 2004

Hope everyone had a nice Easter. Mine gave me time to reflect on the fact that I'm so very lucky to come from such an open-minded (and certifiably crazy) family. Topics of conversation around the dinner table included jokes about The Passion of Christ and the entire resurrection in general (and we were halfway through all of that before we even realized we were making such jokes on Easter), sex and sexual astrology, gay marriages and the thought that Jesus was most likely a pot-smoking hippie. Glory, glory hallelujah.

But truly, what if I, being the gregariously open-minded and taboo-loving person that I am, came from a more conservative lot? What if "my people" were church-going, Bible-beating, gay-hating, pray-for-all-sinners-souls type of individuals? Would I still be in contact with them? More likely than not, I'd come around just to argue my point of views with them, but I daresay they'd like me very much. I am very lucky to come from such cool folks. I think of my gay friends who cannot tell their parents who they really are, and live with the fear of losing family ties because of prejudices. I've read of Pagans being shunned from Christian families because of fear and ignorance. My family may be crazy, but at least their love for me - no matter how quirky, over-the-top, or bitchy I may be - is truly unconditional. And for that, I know I am blessed.

Speaking of ignorance and prejudices, I had an interesting conversation with a co-worker a few weeks back. He's one of those who I don't normally engage in conversation with for the simpe fact that it would be pointless. When he talks about sending gay people to some deserted island because they are "freaks", for example, I just keep my mouth shut. Sure, I could stand up for my beliefs, and my friends, but what good would it do? He isn't going to listen to anything I say, and I sure as hell am not going to be swayed to his viewpoint. Usually, if gets to be too much, I will say to these types of people, "Well, you know, most of my best friends are gay." This usually shuts them up and I don't have to get into an argument that's about as productive as speaking to a brick wall. But recently I heard him complaining about music - in particular I head him say:

"Have you heard that new song out on the radio? Where they're singing about 'poo-poo'? Oh my god, that's disgusting. I can't believe what they play on the radio these days."

He rambled on for quite some time about it and then asked me, who was standing nearby, if I'd heard the song. Normally, I would just say no or yes and end it. But I said, "Oh yes, I have the album." I'm a big Outkast fan, and not ashamed of that...jeez.

He looked really shocked. "Shanna," he said. "You listen to that kind of stuff?" ("That kind of stuff" meaning "black music" - this is the South, you know)

I nodded. "Yep. I have all of their albums. They're an amazing band."

He snorted derisively, obviously thinking me nuts, and went on with, what I thought, was the most interesting statement he'd made yet. "I mean, my daughter listens to this crap. I don't want my daughter hearing stuff like that on the radio!"

And I just started laughing. Of all the things on the radio (and TV) today that I might not want my child hearing, the word 'poo-poo' is NOT high on the list. Poo-poo. The curse word before all curse words - the most vile and wicked word that one can utter. Poo-poo. Let them shit and damn and ramble on about explicit sex acts. Let them croon about thongs and big butts and skeet, chant about magic sticks and getting drunk and being a slut. It's all alright, as long as they don't sing 'poo-poo'.