Saturday, November 14, 2015

Religion & "the Sordid Topic of Coin"

Yes, if you saw the movie Death Becomes Her you will recognize my use of that phrase. A little observation on this whole link that if you're not prepared for, you may want to sit down for.

We may be familiar with religions in the Northeast having their beliefs and participation in faith contingent on your socioeconomic status. You have to pay for tickets to go to major religious services like Catholic Mass, you apparently can't be a nun if you don't have a perfect credit rating (per a story I read about this a few years back & shocked me) and I know there's more harassment toward people who don't have money to spend as it relates to religious stuff but I'm not an authority there so I can't speak on it.

What I can speak on is the money grabbing going on in Christianity, at least in the Southeastern US where I grew up. My adorable & smart nephew recently expressed an interest in going to a private Christian school; despite his family, like mine as a child, having no means they apparently don't quality for any financial aid despite him and his family passing a rigorous "are you holy enough?" test required to attend.

I still have reservations about my nephew going to a Christian school considering I went to a religious private school myself in my younger years along with my sister. For one thing, I've found those environments to be incredibly judgy & draconian. They also like to either ignore the principles of sex ed or make kids think you can get a girl pregnant by kissing. I think I actually made my sister promise to have meaningful sex ed talks with my nephew since I refuse to have him go to college thinking sex is shameful or that even thinking about kissing a girl will get her pregnant. That ilk loves to demonize sex & if I still followed that teaching, they'd have me shipped off to Hell despite my ex-husband choosing to throw me out and being emotionally abusive toward me. I really don't want to have to go to that arena or deal with that aspect of the Christian faith; the school I went to was also headed by a racist who is a far distant cousin of my mother's (he long since left but he outright said once he didn't want black students in "his school"--this was decades after the civil rights movement).

Ironically, my sister & I were borne of a legacy that permitted us to easily get into the religious private school we went to (our mother & grandmother attended the church associated with that school). I also learned one of the teachers from this school is teaching at the school my nephew is supposed to be going to; last I heard from my childhood best friend years back, his daughter (another classmate of ours) was teaching at the school we attended ages ago. I can tell you that chick definitely did not express Christian love or tolerance toward me considering she actually told me one day when we were 7 to "Go away! I don't like you." When you're 7, you just want to have friends & be liked. That bitch didn't help my social issues with the little worthless morons I had to attend school with in NC, whether it was a public or a private school. If I saw her today, I'd probably call her out on it if she had the nerve to try being nice to me.

But aside from this mass hypocrisy, which my nephew apparently hasn't experienced from these kids (and he's apparently a lot like me in personality & is being tested for Asperger's so if he has it, I very well might as well) is the idea of religion in general infusing the sleazy topic of coin. When my sister told me about this financial aid thing with the school (the reason we ended up not continuing in our private school--my mother couldn't afford tuition & these fucks didn't give a damn about my academic record or our being good kids or anything like that nor tried to do ANYTHING to help keep us there), I blew up & said that is a reason people get turned off to religion.

It's this idea that "We love you but only if you can afford to be here," like God's love is conditional on how much money you give to this school or religion & to Hell with whether you'll be able to pay for food or rent or electric this month. Never mind if you actually deserve it based on your grades or your intelligence--I expect that shit from some godless university but I don't expect it from some place that's supposed to be based on teaching God's word. Doesn't God's word tell us about using our gifts & helping the less fortunate and all that? Where the fuck are the scholarship programs for smart kids? Where is the true financial aid looking at people's actual income & expenses?

One thing positive I can say about my religious private school experience is that it was academically good. I didn't feel bored in my classes b/c of the work being too easy or slow for me. You couldn't be some moron & succeed there; the teachers there DID teach vs. babysitting thugs & tolerating disruption. I remember going to public school later on & my school was ahead of where they were in 4th grade.

They also had a policy of allowing the principal to smack misbehaving kids. I found out from my sister that this school my nephew will be going to also has this. I have no issue there since most principals don't spend enough time with individual students to develop preferences or hatred for them. Teachers certainly do & I think giving them corporal punishment privileges is a terrible idea since they'd end up beating a kid they hated & going easy on one they liked; we have enough problems with bullying teachers without them getting to do this. Yeah, I know I have a BA in Psych but some kids get zero discipline at home & if some parent wants to bitch about a school authority figure imposing some on the kid they refuse to set limits with I think that parent ought to be smacked (not in a sexual way). There's a big difference b/t reasonable & unreasonable authority and if some parent refuses to stand up for reasonable authority, they are raising a savage and condoning savagery.

How do we normally deal with savages in modern society? Okay, how did we deal with them before the PC Police whined & cried about mercy for animal torturers, pedophiles, rapists, terrorists, etc.? I'm talking being anti-death penalty, not directly saying "let's show mercy" to these people but you get the general idea. I feel if you act inhuman, then you don't get to have the cover of human rights. Just saying & I do like Donald Trump's idea on handling terrorism (among other BS going on in society).

I also know what my nephew experienced in public school & I like the idea of a place where adults don't tolerate that type of fuckery from little redneck brats who'll never rise to the heights my nephew could get to since they are from bigger rednecks with zero respect for things outside their little bubble. Yeah, it's totally classist but I'm probably right. Most of the kids I went to school with in NC aren't Ivy League graduates or Nobel Prize winners or presidential candidates. Many stayed in the same town & merely had kids (who I hope they aren't trying to force to do things they never got to do since that's wrong)-- not the path that would have suited me or made me a fulfilled person.

I think some of those same people would have gotten pissed at me if I'd stayed in my hometown & done that, probably going into a speech like the one Ben Affleck gave to Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting where Will wants to ignore his mathematical genius & stay in South Boston with his friend and the people he knows. His best friend tells him if he doesn't leave, he will personally kick his ass b/c he'd be throwing away an opportunity the rest of them will never get.

We already see this notion of "a dumbfuck with money can be a doctor or lawyer while a smart kid with no money has to stick it out in the trailer park" in colleges & other corners of society. Why the HELL are we seeing it in the one place that proclaims "blessed are the poor?" Religion is one of those things Obama claimed uneducated, poor people cling to b/c they have nothing else going for them in life.

I take a lot of issue with that & it's probably a major reason I don't follow a faith even though I believe God exists and there's punishment for wronging innocent people. Maybe I view it as a betrayal? It's just one of the many hypocrisies I've seen in the Christian faith & sorry, I don't care to belong to some club whose value of me as a human being is conditional to how much money I have to hand over. Lots of people in my college bitched about sororities b/c they viewed joining one as "buying friends." How is the money grab in religions NOT "buying God's favor" or "buying religious fellowship?" Care to explain that one to me?

And if we're going to talk about helping the church/entity be financially solvent, what about all those tax breaks they're supposed to be getting & non-profit perks? And what about me having the time to decide for myself if that church/entity is one that I care about enough to determine if I want to give them anything? There are some corrupt bastards out there, including plenty of Christian churches were pastors were raping children, raping women, stealing from the church and doing other scuzzy things the average Atheist, Pagan, Satanist, other religious faith fundie Christians deem "scary" would be against.

Sometimes I think I'm just too intelligent for a lot of things. Maybe I can't do organized religion b/c of being too smart to buy the contrary nature of it. I saw the hypocrisy of certain teachings back when I was a little kid. The generalized money grab is a big thing for me & it really bothers me in the academic context. Want to be a church I respect or regard? Try doing actual outreach for the poor & putting your money where your mouth is. Go do things locally to make people's lives better. Give non-judgmental guidance and advice. Then I'd be okay with giving you offering or "donations." Heck, maybe the performers & subway beggars could take lessons from this whole construct.