Anyone who witnessed the Twitter trending topic #GodIsNotGreat in the hours after Christopher Hitchens passed onto whatever wild blue yonder there is or isn’t got themselves quite the treat. Interspersed with praise for God Is Not Great, the late Hitchens’s book about the dangers of religion, was an onslaught of threats and promises, made by Christians, to find whatever terrible person started this topic and get Biblical (Old Testament) on their ass. If there’s an afterlife, no doubt Hitchens had quite the chuckle looking upon this final irony. (For a moment at least, until he realized the even greater irony that he was wrong all this time, and then out strolled the tiny red devil, who whipped out his pitchfork and started pokin’ poor Chris in the ribs for the rest of eternity!)
Looking at the book in question, the title God is Not Great is pure Hitchens-esque shock tactics and evangelical bait. But his subtitle, “How Religion Poisons Everything,” while in much tinier font and not as trend-inducing, is the big takeaway message from his atheistic sermon: it totally does! Even if it’s positive on the surface—say, sending missionaries like (fucking) Tim Tebow overseas to help ravaged countries—you can take altruism out of the equation once you understand the true underlying motive of most of these folks: tricking low-income, low-educated souls into joining their club, pyramid scheme-style, and at least partially ruining their traditions or customs. And if it’s the negative side of the equation, like most religious-driven pursuits are, well then it means millions of people fucking die.
This column, thusly, will be a stroll through the worldwide results of what’s recently happened because people believe in God dogma. Any God dogma, we’re not playing favorites here. Sometimes this means emo-rocker inspiration Jesus will get the blame, other times it’ll be the non-drawable Muhammad, and every now and then it might just be the nebulous entity known as “God.” Hell, maybe we’ll even have a cameo by the likes of L. Ron Hubbard, Joe Pesci, or whoever-the-hell’s starting a cult because it gives them a chance to bang a whole bunch of young ladies. There’s no telling who’s gonna stop by here.
So, then. Let’s get started.
- The reverend at Claremont United Methodist Church in LA threw up a nativity scene showing three couples (one straight, one gay, one lesbian) holding hands, looking on while Jesus is born. This is good. Until (presumably) some Christian assholes saw the two homosexual versions of the triptych and tore them down. That’s not so good.
- During the pope’s Christmas message this year, he spent a chunk of time praying for those in Kenya and the Sudan. Really, that’s awesome and all. But something that might help the heavily-Christianized region get past that pesky HIV/AIDS epidemic a bit more than prayer would be telling them that using condoms won’t, in fact, put them on Hell’s waiting list.
- Christians in Nigeria went ahead and blew up a school full of Muslim kids. Which was in response to Islamist militants getting hopped up on Allah and bombing a Christmas mass, killing 16. Which, in turn, was itself in response to whatever, etc., ad nauseum, and so on, and so forth.
- Cardinal Francis George, Archbishop of Chicago, just went ahead and flat-out said the Chicago Gay Pride Parade is the same thing as a KKK rally. Obviously false since the gays would never be seen in white after Labor Day!
- Seeing as it’s Ground Zero for the various sects of Christianity, that Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem’s been the site for plenty of gangsta-like territorial disputes over the years. (Why they don’t just use the sitcom mainstay of roommates solving their feuds by separating the apartment in half with tape across the middle is beyond me.) This year’s incarnation of the Christmas season land argument came in the form of a quasi-hilarious fight between Greek Orthodox and Armenian priests.
- Bill Maher tweeted the most obvious joke that will follow a Denver Broncos loss until this whole Tebow thing dies down. Christians got upset and called on HBO to fire Maher. HBO responded by rightfully saying, “If you got upset by that, you clearly don’t subscribe to HBO anyway, so we’re just going to ignore you.”
- In rare positive news, Egyptians got rid of the so-called “virginity tests” of female inmates in military prisons, something the army performs because (1) it lets them demean imprisoned women even more; and (2) the Quran pretty much says it’s their right and duty to do so. In the not-so-positive part, the army’s response was that anyone who performed these tests were doing so on their own, meaning this ban doesn’t do a whole lot, officially-speaking.
- Michelle Bachmann’s beliefs have allowed this image to exist, which is the worst.
- Speaking politics, let’s talk Rick Santorum, who’s somehow in this whole GOP nomination after all. Seeing as he’s running as the religious candidate, it’s not a stretch to say anything that comes out of his mouth is directly informed by his religious beliefs. So, when he says that same sex marriages lead to bestiality, or abortions shouldn’t be legal in cases of rape, or let’s just up and bomb Iran, that’s due to his spiritual convictions. As is last week’s pure racist-baiting message that, no, the government shouldn’t be out to make black people’s lives better.
- Rick Perry said he hates abortion now. All right? Is that enough to get him back in contention, social conservatives? What the hell else does he have to do?
- And finally for this week, religion killed Russell Brand and Katy Perry’s marriage. See? It poisons all.
(Find any religious-based news items worth a gander? Make my life easier and send them along to rickpaulas at gmail dot com.)