Warning GOD HATERS
There were a lot of these people at SDCC this year, many of them holding signs that were the exact same font, color and verbiage as the signs I’ve seen at E3, countless hockey games, and other events around Los Angeles. If they weren’t the same signs, someone is doing fairly well in the judgemental sign business.
These people just shout at everyone, or drone on endlessly regurgitating a script (I saw one of them reading it off an iPhone) that uses the word “love” in a way that is entirely at odds with their presentation. I ignore them, some people engage them, lots of people troll them, and though I find their entire presence mildly annoying, I respect their fundamental right to express themselves in public.
But here’s the thing that I noticed for the first time just yesterday: many of the sign holders are children between the ages of (I’d guess) 8 and 16. Some of the older kids read the script into their megaphone, while the younger ones try to shove tracts and leaflets into the hands of people who — if they take them at all — immediately throw them on the ground.
These children looked miserable. They looked sad. They looked like they’d rather be anywhere else than shouting at thousands of joyful people who are celebrating things they love. I wondered if these kids liked any of the movies or characters or popular culture that was being celebrated all around them, and if they did, how it made them feel to be put into a situation by their parents where they had to be angry at those happy people who weren’t bothering anyone, and seemed to be having a pretty good time.
I feel like these kids are in a cult, and their parents are robbing them of their childhood. I feel like these people show up where large groups of us are being happy, so they can tell us that we should feel bad. I’m not entirely sure what they hope to accomplish — I’ve never once seen a person engage them in a thoughtful way, much less convert to their particular flavour of religion, and they don’t seem to be interested in soliciting money — but whatever it is, it isn’t happening.
Unless their goal is to make people mock them, ignore them, or in my case, feel sad for their children. Maybe if they’re so concerned for the future of humanity, they could take the time, money, and energy the put into yelling at people and invest it in feeding and clothing people who are struggling to do that for themselves.
…but I can’t shake the feeling that, for these people, helping people isn’t the point.
The last couple paragraphs perfectly sums up how I feel about people who do this.
The Oatmeal is awesome, again.
Thrice has been one of my favorite bands ever since I bought The Artist In the Ambulance off the Target new releases shelf years ago. Of course I was bummed about them breaking up, as I would be with any band that I loved. It was acceptable though, because they cited the need for Dustin and Teppei to settle down and focus on their families. Fine. I made it to three of the shows on their last tour and they were amazing as usual. It was bittersweet.
And then Dustin announced that he would be moving to Seattle to take up a worship leader position with a Mars Hill Church location. Well… that was convenient timing. And because of this, I started reading up on the Mega Church. I had heard the name Mars Hill before but wasn’t very familiar with it, and I knew all about Pastor Mark Driscoll’s ridiculous authoritarian beliefs, but never made the connection between the two. Wow.
After browsing an Absoulutepunk.net thread discussing everything, my interest was piqued. Here are a couple of the articles I read, which were linked to.
I really couldn’t believe someone like Dustin, who I admittedly do not know but feel like I understood him a bit from years of listening to his lyrics, could even associate with an organization like that. Everyone has always known Dustin was a Christian. Not outspoken, but strong enough in his beliefs to communicate them effectively. From how I’ve heard him talk about his faith in interviews, I can’t even see how he aligns with a church that is so power hungry and committed to what basically amounts to a caste system.
Up to this point, I was looking forward to the day that Thrice would announce they were getting back together to do another album. Because it seemed like that’s what they really enjoyed doing, it was the extensive touring that got to be too much to handle. Now I’m not so sure. I’m not sure I want to hear the lyrical output of someone immersed in a culture like Mars Hill for years. Yes, he has been part of a satellite branch for a while, but it’s one thing to drink the Koolaid, and a whole other thing to be the one pouring it. And yes, this is probably overreacting, but a favorite band means so much more than just the music that comes out of some speakers. It’s hard not to have such a visceral response when something you love is gone, and then gets tarnished even more after the fact.
I’m sure we’ll all get over it soon enough, but for now, this:
UPDATE 12/6/2013: Driscoll hasn’t stopped being a giant douche, and Jezebel have compiled a nice “Greatest Hits" for him. Definitely worth a read.
Types of extremists.
You Bet Your Soul of the Day: The Game Show Network announced today that it has tapped Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? host and redneck taxonomist Jeff Foxworthy to present a bible-themed quiz show called The American Bible Challenge.
According to GSN’s press release, the show is “designed to acknowledge and celebrate the Bible’s continuing importance in contemporary life and culture,” and will feature teams of contestants representing “worthy faith-based organizations.”
Chiming in, Foxworthy said The American Bible Challenge offers an “opportunity to present the Bible in a fun and entertaining way.”
The show is being produced for GSN by RelativityREAL, a company best known for producing the arguably illegal Showtime reality series Gigolos.
The extreme irony of this is that I bet representatives from almost any Athiest group would blow away contestants from “worthy faith-based organizations,” haha.