religion

All posts tagged religion

Orphans.

Published February 18, 2016 by April Fox

We are all God’s children, black
white, brown
No, not black, not white
certainly not brown; those are the ones with the bombs
even though they are the ones
who most closely resemble
Jesus
Christ
on a cross; we are all
God’s children
wrapped in His loving arms
unless your loving arms are a woman’s arms, wrapped around
another, palm cupped against her
labia
for comfort while you sleep
We are all God’s children
sending you fags
to hell
We are all God’s children; suffer the little ones
unto Him
except the tired ones, the hungry ones, the ones
with holes in their socks and underwear worn thin as tissue, handed down
from older siblings
gunned down in the street
Those are nobody’s children, and they should have
their heads impaled
on the steps of the social service building
as reminders to their parents
who forgot to pursue the
Great
American
Dream
We are all God’s children, created in
His image,
plastic breasts and silicone lips and limbs torn from bodies
in the desert
dying for
[the sins of man for power for the almighty]
your country, protecting
your freedom
Blessed are the meek
for they shall inherit
the fear.

Bound

Published February 7, 2016 by April Fox

In their tiny cells

with the paper-thin walls

they ask their gods for favors

supplicant and pale, shivering in the heat,

painting pictures of the dollar signs

that fill their heroes’ heads

shackled to their plastic smiles

the ass chases the carrot.

In their tiny cells

with the paper-thin walls,

they write

poking holes in the barriers

with sharpened sticks and crayons

taping over them

praying to get out

They bite their tongues

and swallow them

they are washed in the blood of the christ.

In their tiny cells

with the paper-thin walls

they strip their clothes and wait

palms up face down,

tied up

in the corner

with candy floss and threads of spiderwebs

bound by the belief

that they cannot save themselves.

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On Beliefs, and Why They’re Irrelevant

Published December 10, 2015 by April Fox

Belief: n:

  1. a state or habit of mind in which trust or confidence is placed in some person or thing

  2. something believed; especially :  a tenet or body of tenets held by a group

  3. conviction of the truth of some statement or the reality of some being or phenomenon especially when based on examination of evidence¬† –Merriam Webster.

There seems to be some confusion lately about the importance of beliefs. We have people running around spouting all kinds of cruel, nasty, ugly, misinformed shit that makes no sense at all, and another group of people (often overlapping) running around spouting all kinds of shit about how it’s okay to spout the crazy shit because we have to respect everyone’s beliefs. It’s okay to want to marginalize and demonize and actually physically harm people because your beliefs say it’s okay, right?

Except the reality is, we don’t really have to respect anyone’s beliefs, unless by “respect” you mean “ignore,” because BELIEFS DON’T MATTER.

Beliefs are opinions. They’re feelings. They don’t make a darn bit of difference because they live inside your head and nobody else is in there but you. Now, beliefs can influence behavior, and that’s something you have to worry about.

For example, let’s say you believe you’re a rottweiler. You believe this because you like to try and chew on your feet, and you chased a cat once, and you have black hair and cute little brown eyebrows. Or just because someone told you when you were a kid that if you didn’t believe you were a rottweiler, you were going to burn up in a fiery pit for ever and ever and ever. It doesn’t matter why you believe it, you just do, and that’s cool. You can post pictures of your Kibbles n’ Bits dinner all over social media, people might think it’s kind of strange, but you’re not hurting anyone. If someone asks why you believe you’re a rottweiler, you can tell them, and share that belief with anyone you like. You can choose to wear a spiked collar because they look cool as shit on a rottweiler (and also on some people, although I haven’t worn mine in years). You can even bark when someone knocks on the door, if you want. You might scare away the pizza guy, but then again, he might just drop the box and run, and free pizza is awesome, even when you’re a dog.

Here’s where it gets tricky.

You believe that you’re a rottweiler, and you start trying to force restaurants to stop serving things like soysage souffle (soysage is a thing, I’m not even kidding) and serve Kibbles n’ Bits instead because Kibbles n’ Bits is the only good thing to eat. You want to close down the cathouses and terrariums and turn everything into a dog park because you’re a rottweiler and rottweilers are better than other animals. You start humping people’s legs and pissing on their tires and all of a sudden your beliefs are making you act batballs motherfucking crazy and it’s not about respecting your beliefs at all, it’s about get your red rocket off my leg, you fucking asshole.

And so now imagine that scenario applied to people. That’s what’s happening all over America right now: people are letting their beliefs, to which they are one hundred percent entitled, turn them into raging leg-humping tire-pissing jackholes, and we’re all sitting around going “no no, it’s just my leg, it’ll wash off, because we have to respect everyone’s beliefs.

Respecting other people’s beliefs has not a single goddamn thing to do with letting people be mean to each other, letting them be racist or xenophobic or homophobic or any other fucking euphemism you want to use to sugarcoat the reality which is that some people are fucking mean-spirited jerks and you don’t get to use your beliefs to get away with that shit.

Mutual respect is always good. Being considerate of others is wonderful. We live in a huge, diverse community, and that’s a beautiful thing. It’s lovely to be supportive and understanding of things that are important to the people around us, including their systems of belief. But it is just as important to make sure people know that it is not okay to use your beliefs as launchpads for your prejudice and hate.

Now go fetch my slippers and quit humping my leg, you fucking nut.

 

 

Happy Holidays (Operative Word: Happy.)

Published November 30, 2015 by April Fox

I used to work with children at the local Jewish Community Center. When I first started there, a little guy who was especially, let’s say, spirited, was leaving at the end of a particularly challenging Friday. He was a smart, sweet little boy, intent on testing his boundaries with the new teacher, and had given me a pretty killer headache by the time his mom picked him up. He had just gone out the door, the last kid to leave, when he poked his head back in the room and said, “Shabbat Shalom, Miss April!” Twenty minutes earlier he had been calling me a poop and refusing to put the scissors away. And now here he was, wishing me well, even though I was undoubtedly a great big meanie scissors-controlling poop.

I’m not Jewish. I don’t celebrate the Jewish Sabbath, or any Sabbath. The words “Shabbat Shalom” by themselves mean little to me. They are words from a language I don’t understand. But when they were spoken by a little boy in the spirit of love and friendship, they were priceless. When my coworkers said those words at the end of the week, I returned them, because I meant them: Have a safe weekend. Have a happy Friday. Peace. Love. I wish you well.

All of this Happy Holidays/Merry Christmas nonsense is a matter of pride and semantics, nothing more. There is no war on Christmas. Nobody is trying to snatch the Christmas tree out of your front window, or waiting by the mailbox with a Sharpie, ready to steal your Christmas cards and replace your greeting with “Happy Holidays.” Santa’s not going to put coal in your stocking if you smile at someone and return their greeting, even if they didn’t phrase it just the way you would.

The world is a really big place, with a lot of really cool people in it. Some of them celebrate the same holidays you do. Some of them have the same skin tone you do. Some of them call their God by the same name you call yours. And some of them don’t. That doesn’t make their words of love, peace, and hope into something malicious and ugly.

When someone chooses to use their words to share a message of joy with you and you take offense to the words rather than appreciating the message, when you slap away a hand held out in friendship because of a minor linguistic difference, you are the offensive thing. You are the one spreading a message of ugliness and despair. As long as the words are given with love, it’s one message with dozens of beautiful translations.

So with that being said-Happy holidays to you, from your favorite great big meanie scissors-controlling poop. It’s been a beautiful year.

* If you’re looking for the snarky, rotten, profanity-laced version of this that I published a few years ago, it’s right here, you cranky heathen. Merry effin’ Xmas, yo.

The Latest Book

Published September 3, 2015 by April Fox

For those of you who are interested in such things, here’s the new book: a collection of some of my most controversial work, including “A Love Letter to Pat Robertson” and “Mother Whore and the Monsters on the Hill.”

As always, thank you for your constant support. I appreciate you all more than I can say.

Spine

A Love Letter to Pat Robertson

Published August 1, 2015 by April Fox

The lights are on in your great glass house
but there’s nothing there to see.

Your eyes are glued to the man next door,
face pressed against his window in a gruesome caricature,
bulging against the panes, lashes wet with lust and your palms
nailed tight
to the cross
you wear like a brace
to straighten out
your prejudice

and the holes bleed out, slick sweat and muddy feet and the ones below
are drinking
from the filthy wounds
like turning vomit
into wine.

You are the keeper of everything;
you are the arbiter of every
sinful thrust

and your disciples gather close and wait
for the baptism to start.

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On Being Open-Minded, and the Freedom of Belief

Published July 17, 2015 by April Fox

If you’ve been here before, you probably know that I have some pretty strong feelings about equal rights, and people attempting to hide their hate behind their religion, and people using their beliefs as some kind of free pass to treat people as horribly as they want to without repercussion. Any time I try to make a valid, logical point about those things, I get hit with the intolerance spiel: “I thought you were supposed to be open-minded. What happened to not judging other people? You need to respect everyone’s beliefs.”

We are tangled up in here: confusing the idea of being open-minded with the act of being complacent, which sounds a bit like an oxymoron in itself.

Fact: action and belief are two very different things, and being open-minded doesn’t preclude you from finding fault in things that are harmful.

Your right to believe in something does not negate others’ right to exist with the same rights and standard of living that you have. If you act in a negative manner based on your beliefs, there is nothing closed-minded about those who tell you to stop it.

It doesn’t matter what you believe; if you are doing something that hurts someone, you need to be told to stop.

When a person who identifies as Christian is molesting children, and people say that it’s wrong, when we are horrified and angry at his actions, we are not attacking his beliefs. We are not persecuting him for being Christian. We are not even vilifying him for believing that his victims look more like sex toys than human beings. We are observing his actions and we are judging him for them. That’s okay. That’s how society works, in theory. We protect those among us who can’t protect themselves. We don’t protect those who are doing the hurting because of the internal dialogue that drives their motivation, whether that be the voice of God or Jesus or the son of Sam. We judge: we make the determination about whether what someone is doing is right or wrong.

When your beliefs tell you that someone is less than you are because of their color or race or sexuality, their gender or their eye color or their socioeconomic status or anything else that they cannot control, you are allowed to hold that belief. Belief is an internal thing. You can believe anything you want. You can believe that the world is flat, or that the moon is made of dank goat cheese, or that the ghost of Bea Arthur* wants you to paint your cat’s toenails chartreuse every other Thursday after giving him a bubble bath in the sink. But see, if you put your cat in the bath and then try to get anywhere near him with that nail polish, chances are–unless you have a really strange cat, which is totally cool–that you are going to come out of that situation with quite a bit less blood inside your body than you had before you started, and your cat will be quite traumatized. That’s a consequence of your action. If you just believe that your cat would look fine in chartreuse but realize that your taste is probably not the same as his, and that he likely doesn’t share your affinity for bubble baths no matter how fresh and clean he might smell afterwards, and you realize that washing and painting your cat would be a total dick move, you are likely to stay intact and your cat will continue to do his cat things happily and at peace.

That is what tolerance is about. That is what defines the difference between action and belief. Being open-minded isn’t going “Hell yes, let’s bathe the cat and paint his toes!” just because someone else believes it’s a good idea. Being open-minded is going, “Hey, let’s see how this belief might play out… yeah, you keep on believing that, but let’s not actually act on that, okay?” Being open-minded is accepting that other people believe that cats should be bathed and polished. It’s not going along with feline spa day just because it corresponds with someone’s belief.

And when you have two conflicting beliefs that have led to two conflicting paths of action, it is up to us as civilized human beings to look at those two paths with open minds, and to judge each one based on a very simple criterion: Is this action harmful to someone else? And if the answer to that is yes, then that is the wrong path. Not based on belief, or religion, but on compassion for our fellow human beings, and what should be a collective desire to do less harm than good. When you are causing damage to someone’s person, their ability to feel happiness, their ability to enjoy life, or their ability to embrace the same civil privileges you have, and you are doing so based on your personal belief, you are harming them, and that is wrong.

*Bea Arthur would never really do that, I don’t think.

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