Tag Archives: Diatribe

Rant: The Glamour

In fantasy books, an often used trope for witches or wizards is the glamour.

The glamour is a spell that makes the witch look appealing, attractive, beautiful to our heroes so they trust her. They go into her house. They eat her food. They think about staying the night. She’s so beautiful and kind that she couldn’t possibly be an evil witch that wants to murder us and eat our livers. It’s a point of tension because the reader knows that something is too good about the disguised witch while the characters blindly believe in her innate goodness.

But then, inevitably, something happens, maybe the witch cuts her finger while chopping vegetables or someone says something that makes her angry like, “I’m so glad you’re a beautiful woman and not some ugly crone of a witch” and the mask slips, the glamour drops for a second, and one of the heroes witnesses it. He sees that behind the ornate and beautiful mask, the reality that the witch is hideous in appearance and character. That moment, when the illusion is removed, when the mask slips, that is the truth. The outward appearance was the lie.

Which brings me to religion.

For a long time in this country, religion (and Evangelical Christianity in particular) has held a lofty place among us as the moral arbiters, the line judges of social mores. They would sit atop their ivory thrones and gaze upon the cultural landscape and lament that the rest of us weren’t living up to their “godly” standards of chastity and virtue and people would take them seriously.

And sometimes the mask slips. Like with Trump.

You may ask how people so uptight and moral about sex that they created an entire genre that hawked various purity items could embrace a serial adulterer and twice divorced man who speaks about sexually assaulting women.

Well, because that’s just the glamour.

All that talk about purity and keeping yourself pure? It’s not about sexual purity, it’s about control. Controlling women. Controlling men. Making them feel defective because of their humanity. Making them feel guilty about their sexuality and then selling them the cure, whether it’s purity rings or tickets to a new brotherhood crusade where they can cry and confess that they enjoy the sight of a woman’s breasts.

You might wonder how a people who say they believe that the bible is the very words of God arrive at a conclusion that immigrants and refugees should stay the fuck out of America. That America shouldn’t accept and help the needy and the poor or those fleeing violence. Often violence that we caused.

But that’s also just the mask.

Because in as much as many churches carryout ‘outreaches’ to help the suffering, it’s always over there. Over in their place. Not in our place. Goodness, no. Their place is over there. Our place is here. So we send the youth group to Mexico to stay at an orphanage overnight and pretend to dig a well. The people who run the orphanage practice better hospitality and probably spend more feeding them than they would have spent if they just hired laborers.

But we don’t invite them to come here.

You will find, in fact, that churches are some of the most segregated places in America. That’s because their place is over there with their talk of liberation and social justice. Our place is over here where we can smile and shake hands and not think about injustice or oppression.

We go to our nice, white, shiny, white, happy, white churches and enjoy fellowship with other nice, white, shiny, white, happy, white people.

And that’s the core of it, isn’t it?

That 81% of Evangelicals that supported Trump supported him because he promised to keep America a nice, white, shiny, white, happy, white place for those nice, white, shiny, white, happy, white people like them.

So, as we approach an election in which those 81% of nice white Evangelical voters go to the polls again to support racism, injustice, and white supremacy, don’t listen to their excuses. Don’t tolerate their false piety and hypocrisy.

Remember that beneath the happy, shiny, nice mask is the old ugly witch of white supremacy ready to kill you and eat your liver.

(And because I know some people might find my analogy offensive, I do sincerely apologize to any witches that read this. I’m just drawing on the old tropes and cultural images and do not mean to imply anything negative about your personal appearance or religion.)

Diatribe 1


God, I’m tired.

I’m also angry, but most of you know that.

And I’m profoundly sad.

See, I was raised as an evangelical. I was taught to love God and love Jesus and love the bible, and I did love God, love Jesus, and love the bible. I wanted to devote my entire life to God, Jesus, and the bible. I wanted to teach others about them. I believed the bible.

And even when I started to drift away from evangelicalism, I still loved God, Jesus, and the bible. I just read the latter a little bit differently.

If you look at the red letter stuff, there is some really good things in there: Don’t hoard possessions. Don’t resist evil with evil. Love your enemies. Do what is right. Seek God’s Kingdom and his justice and your needs will be provided. Never be afraid to give up your life for what is right. The last will be first. The poor will inherit the Kingdom while it would be easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into heaven. My kingdom is not of this world. Men seek power to dominate one another, but with you it will not be so.

But it is so. Just a few hundred years after its inception, Christianity had popes and emperors lording power over the laity. Matters of justice were forgotten.

And while we’ve had a reformation and schisms and religious wars, I’ve always held out hope that maybe those words in red letters would win out and produce a church that was humble, serving, dedicated to justice for the oppressed and forgotten.

But instead we have men like Franklin Graham, Jerry Falwell, Jr., and Pat Robertson there. Men who protect the powerful who are oppressing the people. Men who have traded morals and ethics for power. And 81% of the Evangelical church agrees with them.

They wallow in Trump’s cruelty. They laugh at his degradation of women and minorities. They excuse his moral violations. They overlook the injustices. They chant “Lock ‘em up!” And most of them dismiss taking children from their parents and putting them in cages. And they somehow claim that this is the will of God as if no one else has ever read the bible and can recognize that all of this shit is 180 degrees from the red letters.

Now here is Pat Robertson telling us that money is more important than doing what’s right.

So I have a question for you, Evangelical Christians:

How the fuck do you expect us to believe your religion, when you don’t even believe it yourself?

I know, the usual spiel is to look at Christ, not the Christians, but you have to know that’s bullshit, right? If 81% of your members look at the profane, misogynistic, xenophobic, immoral Trump and say, “That’s my guy! Build the wall! Lock them up!” That tells me a lot about your Christ. Or at least your view of Christ.

And if 81% of you can get your religion so wrong, what the hell good is it?

You know, if you were atheists, it would be one thing. You’d still be bad people, but at least you wouldn’t be blatant hypocrites.

But story after story in the Christian media fawns over this man, this opposite of Christ (you might say anti-Christ) and you expect me to take your religion seriously when you’re doing and supporting the exact opposite?

No, sorry. Doesn’t work that way.

So I am left with the conclusion that you really don’t believe in your religion. You can’t possibly believe in a God who continually tells you to treat the aliens and strangers with kindness and support a man who takes kids from their parents and puts them in cages or puts a two year-old child through immigration court.

You can’t possibly believe in a God who says “if you’ve done it to the least of these, you’ve done it to me” and then continually send a pack of rabid jackals to make the lives of the poor worse.

You can’t possibly believe that a God who will judge the living and the dead, a God who was wrongfully put to death by the State according to the bible, will listen to you say, “Yeah, but what about the money we were making selling arms?” and not condemn your inaction in the face of another man wrongfully murdered by the State,.

So if you can’t even believe your own shit, why should the rest of us?

To the 19% of you out there that maybe actually do believe your religion, good on you. Well done. Maybe you can convince the rest of your tribe to stop being unbelievers.