16 September, 2010

Entitlement, Faith, And Bullshit Persecution

Entitlement, Faith, And Bullshit Persecution


The views and opinions expressed in this article are those only of the author and may only coincidentally reflect those of Mystic Metals, its employees, or associates. All responses should be posted as comments here, or mailed directly to the author, A. Robert Basile, at ihatebasile@gmail.com. Mail sent directly to Mystic Metals will not be read.

There are certain things happening in my reality that are threatening my ability to hate. That ought to be a good thing, but after thirty years of hating, it’s grown comfortable. Like that ratty, old Iron Maiden sweatshirt, or the vagina of the girl you’re dating but don’t really like. That kind of comfortable. You know it’s a bad idea to continue, but you do because it’s familiar regardless of how nice a new sweatshirt would be or how disease free a new vagina might be. My hate is comfortable, and I’m good at it, but recently, I’ve experienced a certain happiness. Weird, isn’t it? Well, one good thing that this paradigm change has allowed is my use of the word ‘vagina’ three times in this paragraph. So there’s that.

Let’s get back to the hate. People astound me sometimes with the types of demands they make under the banner of privilege or entitlement. There is an odd American sense (and tell me if this is true throughout the world) that whatever it is that we want, or whatever it is that we need to help us feel comfortable, that thing ought to be protected by law and never ever ever never ever possibly infringed upon. Ever. The notion of that is nice, I suppose, but it doesn’t work in reality because it creates a Venn diagram that proves its illogical application. A quick example is that fucktard down in Florida (I think) that wanted to burn the Koran on September eleventh. From certain point of view, he ought to be allowed to do that, but he’s not entitled to do that. Also, if he’s allowed to do that, then the rights and comfort of those who support the Koran are infringed. See the Venn diagram action there? It creates an illogical conundrum. So we have rules that govern what we can do and what we can’t do, that way we can do the most stuff within our comfort without spending most of our time in discomfort. Then there are people who take it too far.

Recently, in some place (Clayton) somewhere (North Carolina), some broad (Ariana) got suspended from high school for having a nostril piercing. The school said it was against the rules, and the teen girl and her mother said it was part of her religion to wear it. When asked what religion, they answered “the Church of Body Modification.” Stop me if you’ve heard this joke.

But it’s no joke, there is a group of people called the Church of Body Modification. They have a website and everything. But they don’t have a Wikipedia page, so there’s that. And their webpage is a .com, so that tells me that they’re not getting any of the sociopolitical benefits from being a religion. Aside from that, their mission is to promote a sense of spirit and body oneness through the art of modification. That sounds swell, and stupid.

Hey, A. Robert, isn’t it true that you believe in modification as a lifestyle and culture? Absolutely, voice in my head. Also, stop telling me to wear women’s clothes; it’s not going to happen. What I also think is that calling something a religion in order to gain the protected rights that we provide to religions in this country is irresponsible and demeaning to those who participate in faiths that have seen years of persecution and dissonance. Some of my disagreement with this organization is semantic. For example, the word ‘church’ is so very often used to represent a congregation of like-minded spiritual people, whereas it actually refers specifically to Christian faiths. As a Christian, I could be moderately insulted at the idea of the lexicography being applied to something that has so very little to do with my faith. That may be picking fly shit out of pepper, though. Still, would it be as little of an issue in terms of vocabulary if it were called the ‘Mosque of Body Modification,’ or the ‘Synagogue of Body Modification?’ I suspect someone would have a problem with those.

My main concern is that when people want something, they find a way to make their arguments tighter than a dolphin’s ass. The easiest way to do that is to make the other person the enemy. How? Dig this:

“I’d like a job at your place, please.”

“We don’t allow two inch lobes, sir.”

“It’s part of my faith.”

“I’m sorry, I can’t bend the rules.”

“You are intolerant! You’ll hear from my lawyer!”

And then the Constitution gets tossed around like a wadded up wet piece of toilet paper. Am I saying that these people don’t have a legitimate sense of faith? No, not at all. They can believe anything that they want; that’s part of what makes out country great. But to compare themselves to world religions and expect the benefits of the government therein seems childish and misguided to me. Let’s ask Ann Frank what it means to be persecuted for her religion. Let’s ask the apostles after the death of Jesus. Let’s ask all of the victims of the senseless violence that occurred following the terrorist attack in New York (and don’t forget the Pentagon and Pennsylvania). Living in an attic while SS soldiers are looking to murder you carries a little more gravity to me than a fourteen year old being sent home from school because she won’t take her nostril out.

You kids know that I am the oil to the water of censorship. You kids also know that reason dictates most of my thought and behavior. We aren’t entitled to be modified, and by slapping a sense of spirituality onto it in order to allow situations such as some kid, who in my opinion is too young to be modified anyway, to wear a piece of jewelry to junior high home economics class is insulting and childish. Yes, modification is a practice that some faiths use to exemplify their devotion and culture, but those modifications are a part of the bigger picture of the culture of those faiths, not the center of it. We like to stretch and suspend and tattoo so we’re going to start a religion around it so people can’t fire us for having our eyebrows pocketed. That wreaks of stupid to me. There are tons of people who do things that lie on the periphery of social acceptance, but they don’t cry God or spirituality when they can’t get what they want. The first thing that comes to mind is nudists. Part of their cultural belief system is to be naked all the time. If they want to get a job at the mall, they’re going to have to cover up their baby making parts. It’s just the way it is, but you don’t see them co-opting a word from one of the largest sects of faithful people on the planet in order to make waves where there is no water.

And that’s part of the issue as well. People love to make waves where there is no water, and that sense of protection behind the signatures of forefathers is a parody of the intent of their well crafted words. Just because you like to modify, just because I like to modify, doesn’t mean you’re entitled to do it. If the school says no mods, then there’s no mods. Don’t like it? There are other school options. A job says no mods, then there’s no mods. Don’t like it? Find another job. Don’t sit here and tell me that your spirituality is governed through the practice of a fucking navel piercing or a tribal butterfly above your asscrack. I’m just not buying it. Is that intolerant of me? If it appears that way, then the sense of faith that the church of whatever bullshit is working.

You want the state to pay for the education of your stupid fourteen year old? OK. Take out the nostril. Just that simple. Separation of church and state is a fine premiss so long as the participants understand the application. As I’ve said before, there are no laws against good judgement, and I believe this is a good example. Just shut up and go to school and stop hiding behind some bullshit figment that parades around as a church. People like to shit on my faith, and that’s fair. There are flaws in everything governed by man, but those men to whom I look up and call priests are those who have earned their titles, not some university theology students who slather the word ‘reverend’ onto themselves and expect reverence. We in this country are so enamored with shit we can’t do rather than the multitude of rights we do have that aren’t even close to being in the everyday consciousness of those in some other countries. Aren’t you impressed that I didn’t use the word ‘cult’ once in this whole thing? Who has the green Kool-Aide? I’m thirsty! Stay beautiful, kids.

Talk to A. Robert Basile on AIM at Basilephone
Yahoo Messenger at andrewbasile@rocketmail.com

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad I read. I'd like to add that I don't like it when people use Jesus as an excuse to be a bigot either. I swear some people could make a career out of making the Bible work for them. Ugh. AMEN.