Add This To The List Of Reasons Why I am An Atheist
I have written previously that in my experience, religion has a special appeal to the worst of humanity and brings out the worst in its followers. No one is more obsessed with sex, more perverse in their sexual thinking than the self-righteous nitwits who cry about the “hook-up culture” and the “homosexual agenda”. (I know a bunch of you are reading this post, and the only thing you are going to take away from it is “nipples to the right of the first paragraph!! somebody call the police, civilization is about to crumble under the onslaught of slutty nakedness!!”) No one is more cruel, more vicious than those who go on and on about God’s infinite mercy. No one swindles so blatantly, so copiously, so cynically as those who do it in the name of their god.
This past weekend, I got into an unexpected argument with a certain couple (who identify as Russian Orthodox), concerning the fate of Pussy Riot, an all-girl Russian punk band that briefly took over the Cathedral of Christ the Savior to deliver a humorous song highlighting the unholy (for lack of a better word) alliance between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Putin regime.
At the time Pussy Riot performed this admittedly provocative stunt, the Cathedral was actually being used for religious services of all things, in a break from its usual function as convention space for shows of luxury products, with Russia’s nouveau riches milling about in the company of their scantily clad mistresses. (Okay, I exaggerated a little, but only as to the frequency of the Cathedral’s use for the transaction of commerce, including the commerce of sin, relative to the frequency of its use as an actual church.) Three of the band’s five members were arrested, held in preliminary detention for six months, convicted of “inciting religious hatred” in an absurd show trial and sentenced to two years’ imprisonment. The remaining two members are in hiding.
But back to the argument. The couple in question thought the sentence was outrageous — as in, outrageously light.
“If it were up to me, I wouldn’t put them in prison, I’d just strip them naked and give them to a bunch of soldiers to use for a while,” said the man, a father of two daughters.
His wife was more inclined to being humane. While she was against the idea of formally orchestrating gang rapes, she was in favor of keeping the women in jail for at least a decade, during which time rape would occur “naturally”. When I expressed disagreement with these somewhat extreme views, she said: “You only say this because you have no God in your life. If you were a person of faith, you’d understand.”
These two consider themselves people of faith. They identify loosely as Russian Orthodox for what I can most honestly describe as cultural reasons. This is not to say they are observant. They do not go to confession. They do not observe fast days. The man has not been to church in fifteen years, and the woman only goes once a year, shortly before Easter, in order to have the priest bless an oversized muffin. She has but the most tenuous grasp of the liturgy. The only real expression of their faith, the only sign of adherence to their religion, is wishing that people be punished with gang rape for offending their personal feelings.
Does Jesus want people to be tormented and gang-raped in his name? Alternatively, does he want people gang-raped for injuring the tender sensibilities of his followers? Apparently, just asking those questions further offends religious people’s feelings and should be illegal.
It is my experience that the overwhelming majority of religious people are exactly like this couple. This couple merely happened to be, on this particular occasion, more blatantly outspoken than most. For them, religion merely provides a justification for their cruelty, their savagery, their whole-hearted desire to hurt people guilt-free. And that pretty much defines the religious mind.
Is it any wonder Pussy Riot got convicted, in a country that does not have any equivalent of the First Amendment? Hell, it’s a damned miracle those women haven’t been burned at the stake. Yet.