I recently blew out a lobe laughing a cold, ulcerated laugh. It happened yesterday, when my sibling Tidy told me a sad tale of Christian insanity, which tale I now relate to you, right after I bore you with some background details.
For reasons that, to my surprise, turned out to be none of my goddam business, Tidy has started sending my niece Rotel to one of those honky upper-middle-class god-affiliated schools where the kids wear uniforms and attend mandatory “chapel” sessions. For the past few months I have been nervously eyeballing the child, ever alert for signs that the faithy godbag indoctrination has begun to take, so that I might countermand that moron crap with an auntly intervention of Question Authority-ism. So far it’s been all clear, which is why it was quite a jolt when, during a recent babysitting gig, young Rotel broke into song, and the song she broke into was not “Fried Ham, Fried Ham, Cheese and Baloney,” but a horrifying ditty about dewdrops of mercy and Jesus and how he is the “light of the world.” The goopy dewdroppy Jesosity blew my mind. There was only one possible response.
“Holy shit!” I said.
Both of the nieces busted out laughing. They know I am prohibited by Tidy from saying “holy shit” in their presence. They don’t know it’s because Tidy is afraid they might repeat it in front of nice people, nice people who will form the opinion that Tidy is a self-absorbed loose-moraled alcoholic for permitting her daughters’ exposure to anyone low-class enough to say “holy shit” in front of little kids. The nice people will have no choice but to call CFS. The nieces will be thrown into foster care, Tidy will be sentenced to lousy-mother prison, and I, corrupter of youth, will face a firing squad.
I’ll get a cigarette out of the deal, though, so it won’t be a total loss.
But I digress. The sad tale of Christian insanity I mentioned at the beginning of this post starts here:
The other day Tidy hears that a public school on the poor side of town has raised over $4000 for Haitian relief. She thinks this is awesome, so she calls up Rotel’s affluent god-based school to suggest that they get a sort of break-the-piggy-bank-for-Haiti initiative going. So the kids might broaden their philanthropical horizons or whatever. To Tidy’s surprise, the god school wasn’t down, not in the slightest.
Not that they are totally ignoring Haiti! Au contraire! They’re “keeping Haiti in front of the students” with “prayer.”
That’s when the laugh erupted and lobe blew out.
It was already pulsating a bit from the smelliness of the idea of repurposing the earthquake as a sort of social studies unit to teach young WASPs, not about human suffering and its root causes, but about compulsory altruism and the duty to allocate a small percentage of one’s white privilege loot to indigent brown foreigners. Totally screwed Haitians = golden opportunity to introduce noblesse oblige to Richie Rich.
Gross, yeah, and a poor substitute for the new world order that would really put things right, but at least it generates a little cash for immediate relief efforts. If you haven’t eaten in 4 days, and you manage to scrounge one of those fabled energy biscuits, do you really give a crap about the motives of the sanctimonious chump who texted 10 bucks to the Red Cross?
This prayer gambit on the other hand. It is difficult to imagine an emptier, worthlesser, time-wastinger, efficaciouslesser gesture. In fact, organized prayer has been proven to be 137 times worse than doing nothing at all. This is because compulsory group participation in phony appeals to a fake benevolent American deity is a political behavior that not only fosters intolerable levels of community sanctimony, but reinforces a culture of oppression through repetition of patriarchal doctrine. So not only do marginalized groups get the immediate shaft in the form of material non-support during a crisis; not only are little kids duped into thinking that muttering a few words in chapel is good for earthquake victims; but organized prayer replicates the deleterious effects of godbagism by storing them in the common consciousness to ensure ignorance and obfuscation of truth for future generations.
The starving, sick, homeless Haitians should really be luxuriating in all that prayer right about now. Who needs food, water, and antibiotics when little rich kids in Texas are, on your behalf, being forced by deluded authority figures to mutter nonsensical crap to an impotent made-up figment?