Originally Posted 01.03.12
It’s no secret that joking about religion can be a dicey prospect. While it may occasionally still be safe to joke about baby-buggering bishops outside the earshot of any nearby papists (which means refraining from comment in bars, bingo parlors or AA meetings), kicking the Catholics is increasingly frowned upon in polite society. The Jews, for centuries the go-to faith for angry scapegoaters, have in the last half-century begun to push back with vehemence against all insults real and imagined. Even Islam, long-acknowledged as the most easy-going among all the Great Faiths, has begun to take a firmer hand with those who besmirch its many anachronistically inflexible tenets. It seems like nobody wants to be poked fun at any more, and doing so can cost you your job–or worse.
That’s why we’re so lucky in America to have weirdo religions like the Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, snake-handlers and the like. When feeling down, who hasn’t picked himself up by joking that the Mormon guy at work “probably has like eight wives?” And almost everyone has personally experienced the joy of bonding with a stranger over a simple conversation about how fucking annoying it is to have somebody come to your door once or twice a year to tell you that God loves you.
But even these small comforts may soon be a memory. Kicking bizarre religions could become a quaint relic of yesteryear if these fundamentalist wackos get their way, and pretty soon we may have to start treating these fringe-dwellers like real faiths–with respect. Ridiculous! We would rather see our daughters forced into a life of prostitution than to compromise our principles by treating a snake handler as if he were the spiritual equal of a Methodist or a Muslim. Not only is snake handling illegal in most civilized states, but its disturbing tenets fall completely outside the boundaries of what Promethean Times deems acceptable for a ‘normal’ religion.
While we believe that, without exception, tolerance should be extended to every person on Earth regardless of his or her wacky beliefs, we can’t stand Mormons because of their extreme and hateful view of homosexuality–they strongly disapprove of it. Perhaps if we outlawed their ridiculous religion they’d understand how important it is to tolerate people with differing beliefs, even those considered offensive.
What can we say about the Jehovah’s Witnesses that we haven’t said before? The really irritating thing about the Jehovah’s Witnesses is that when they’re mocked and the faith they hold so dear is distorted by a bunch of sneering half-truths, they retaliate by taking the time to write a nice note with a polite point-by-point response to the issues upon which there is disagreement. Some call it ‘turning the other cheek,’ but we call it fighting dirty.
Although the American public still enjoys the right to publicly belittle these various zealots without fear of social opprobrium, the winds are changing. Soon, we may be forced to place these factions on par with those groups which have a legitimate history of persecution, like NAMBLA, the North American Man-Boy Love Association. Until then, we ask that other people of legitimate faiths to join us in fervently wishing that a few more of those freaks get bit by their own deadly serpents.