The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.
Jeffrey Graton, a counselor affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was arrested Monday on sexual abuse allegations.
A second counselor in a bishopric in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was arrested Monday after reportedly sexually abusing a girl multiple times.
Jeffrey Graton, 40, of American Fork, was arrested on suspicion of three counts of forcible sexual abuse, a second-degree felony.
Police responded Sunday to a call at the 300th block of 620 South in American Fork Sunday night on a welfare check after an LDS bishop called to have police check on Graton, a second counselor in an LDS bishopric.
Graton reportedly had left his home with a gun and wasn’t answering his phone after it was reported he had inappropriately touched a girl several years ago, according to a police report. Graton was found and gave the rifle to an LDS leader.
The abuse reportedly happened 10 times.
Graton reportedly told police he had touched the girl’s chest and thighs, both under and over clothing, while giving her a massage in two occasions two and a half years ago. He also admitted to grabbing the girl’s hand and using it to touch his genitals.
This is the one hundred and forty-seventh installment in the Songs of Sacrilege series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a song that is irreverent towards religion, makes fun of religion, pokes fun at sincerely held religious beliefs, or challenges the firmly held religious beliefs of others, please send me an email.
This is the one hundred and forty-sixth installment in the Songs of Sacrilege series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a song that is irreverent towards religion, makes fun of religion, pokes fun at sincerely held religious beliefs, or challenges the firmly held religious beliefs of others, please send me an email.
[NABULUNGI, spoken] Well, then, would you like to baptize me?
[ELDER CUNNINGHAM, spoken] Pbbbt, sure, yea, that’d be great
[NABULUNGI, spoken] Okay, let’s do it
[ELDER CUNNINGHAM, spoken] What you mean…now?
[NABULUNGI, spoken] Why not?
[ELDER CUNNINGHAM, spoken] Well, to be honest, I’ve never done it before
[NABULUNGI, spoken] That’s okay, neither have I
[ELDER CUNNINGHAM, spoken] Yes, that’s true
[NABULUNGI, spoken] Do you know…how to baptize someone into the church?
[ELDER CUNNINGHAM, spoken] Sure, that’s something that we study over and over again at Mission Control Center
[NABULUNGI, spoken] Then please, Elder Cunningham, I want to be baptized. I swear to dedicate my life to the church
[ELDER CUNNINGHAM, spoken] Huh, okay, I just need a second to get ready
[NABULUNGI, spoken] Okay, I will get ready, too
[ELDER CUNNINGHAM] I’m about to do it for the first time And I’m gonna do it with a girl! A special girl Who makes my heart kind of flutter Makes my eyes kind of blur I can’t believe I’m about To baptize her
[NABULUNGI] He will baptize me He will hold me in his arms And he will baptize me Right in front of everyone And it will set me free When he looks into my eyes And he sees just how much I love being baptized
[ELDER CUNNINGHAM] I’m gonna baptize her
[NABULUNGI] Baptize me!
[ELDER CUNNINGHAM] Bathe her in God’s glory! And I will baptize her
[NABULUNGI] I’m ready
[ELDER CUNNINGHAM] With everything I got And I’ll make her beg for more
[ELDER CUNNINGHAM] As I wash her free of sin And it’ll be so good She’ll want me to
[ELDER CUNNINGHAM and NABULUNGI] Baptize her/me again
[ELDER CUNNINGHAM, spoken] Excuse me, I’m gonna need another minute!
[NABULUNGI] Never known a boy so gentle One like him is hard to find A special kind Who makes my heart kind of flutter Like a moth in a cocoon I hope he gets to baptizing me soon!
[ELDER CUNNINGHAM] I’m gonna baptize you I’m through with all my stalling
[NABULUNGI] You’re gonna baptize me I’m ready to let you do it
[BOTH] And it will set us free It’s time to be immersed And I’m so happy you’re About to be my first
[ELDER CUNNINGHAM, spoken] Okay, you ready?
[NABULUNGI, spoken] I am ready. So… how do we do it?
[ELDER CUNNINGHAM, spoken] Well, I hold you like this –
[NABULUNGI] – Yeah?
[ELDER CUNNINGHAM] And I lower you down –
[NABULUNGI] – Yeah?
[ELDER CUNNINGHAM:] And then I –
I just baptized her! She got doused by Heavenly Father! I just baptized her good!
[NABULUNGI] You baptized me!
[ELDER CUNNINGHAM] I performed like a champ!
[NABULUNGI] I’m wet with salvation!
[BOTH] We just went all the way! Praise be to God I’ll never forget this day
This is the one hundred and forty-fifth installment in the Songs of Sacrilege series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a song that is irreverent towards religion, makes fun of religion, pokes fun at sincerely held religious beliefs, or challenges the firmly held religious beliefs of others, please send me an email.
ELDER MCKINLEY: I got a feeling, That you could be feeling, A whole lot better then you feel today You say you got a problem, well thats no problem, It’s super easy not to feel that way!
When you start to get confused because of thoughts in your head, Don’t feel those feelings! Hold them in instead
Turn it off, like a light switch just go click! It’s a cool little Mormon trick! We do it all the time When your feeling certain feels that just don’t feel right Treat those pesky feelings like a reading light and turn em off, Like a light switch just go bap! Really whats so hard about that? Turn it off! (Turn it off!)
When I was young my dad, Would treat my mom real bad, every time the Utah Jazz would loose. He’d start a’ drinking, and I’d start a thinking, How am I gonna keep my mom from getting abused?
I’d see her all scared and my soul was dying, My dad would say to me, Now don’t you dare start crying.
Turn it off, (Like a light switch just go click!) (It\’s our nifty little Mormon trick!) Turn it off! (Turn. It. Off!)
My Sister was a dancer, but she got cancer, My doctor said she still had two months more I thought she had time, so I got in line for the new I-phone at the apple store.
She lay there dying with my father and mother Her very last words were “where is my brother?”
(Turn it off!) Yeah! (Bid those sad feelings a adieu!) The fear I might get cancer too,
When I was in fifth grade, I had a friend Steve Blade, He and I were close as two friend could be One thing led to another, and soon I would discover, I was having really strange feelings for Steve
I thought about us, on a deserted Island We’d swim naked in the sea, and then he’d try and…
WOAH! Turn if off, like a light switch, there its gone! (Good for you!) My hetero side just won! I’m all better now, Boys should be with girls thats heavenly fathers plan So if you ever feel you rather be with a man, Turn it off.
ELDER PRICE: Well Elder McKinley, I think its ok that your having gay thoughts, just so long as you never act on them.
ELDER MCKINLEY: No, because then your just keeping it down, Like a dimmer switch on low, (On low!) Thinking nobody needs to know! (Uh oh!)
ELDER PRICE: But that’s not true!
ELDER MCKINLEY: Being gay is bad, but lying is worse, So just realize you have a curable curse, And turn it off! (Turn it off, turn it off!)
Turn it off!
Now how do you feel!
ELDER PRICE: The same
ELDER MCKINLEY: Then you only got yourself to blame, You didn’t pretend hard enough, Imagine that your brain is made of tiny boxes, and find the box thats gay and CRUSH IT! Ok?
ELDER PRICE: No, no, -I’m- not having gay thoughts
ELDER CUNNINGHAM: Alright! It worked!
(Turn it off!)
(Turn it off, Turn it off!)
(Turn it off, turn it off like a light switch just go click click! What a cool little Mormon Trick! Trick trick! We do it all the time!)
ELDER MCKINLEY: When your feeling certain feelings that just dont seem right! Treat those pesky feelings like a reading light! Turn it off! (Like a light switch, shut it off!) (Now he isn’t gay anymore!)
This is the one hundred and forty-fourth installment in the Songs of Sacrilege series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a song that is irreverent towards religion, makes fun of religion, pokes fun at sincerely held religious beliefs, or challenges the firmly held religious beliefs of others, please send me an email.
Ever since I was a child, I tried to be the best So what happened? My family and friends all said I was blessed So what happened?
It was supposed to be all so exciting To be teaching of Christ ‘cross the sea But I allowed my faith to be shaken Oh, what’s the matter with me?
I’ve always longed to help the needy To do the things I never dared This was the time for me to step up So then why was I so scared?
A warlord who shoots people in the face What’s so scary about that? I must trust that my Lord is mightier And always has my back Now I must be completely devout I can’t have even one shred of doubt
I believe that the Lord God created the universe I believe that he sent his only son to die for my sins And I believe that ancient Jews built boats And sailed to America I am a Mormon and a Mormon just believes
You cannot just believe part-way You have to believe in it all My problem was doubting the Lord’s will Instead of standing tall
I can’t allow myself to have any doubt It’s time to set my worries free Time to show the world what Elder Price is about And share the power inside of me
I believe that God has a plan for all of us I believe that plan involves me getting my own planet And I believe that the current President of the Church Thomas Monson, speaks directly to God I am a Mormon And, dang it, a Mormon just believes (A Mormon just believes)
I know that I must go and do the things my God commands (Things my God commands) I realize now why he sent me here If you ask the Lord in faith, he will always answer you Just believe in him and have no fear (General, we have an intruder, He just walked right into camp)
I believe that Satan has a hold of you I believe that the Lord God has sent me here And I believe that in 1978 God changed his mind about black people
(Black people) You can be a Mormon A Mormon who just believes (The fuck is this?)
And now I can feel the excitement This is the moment I was born to do And I feel so incredible to be sharing my faith with you The scriptures say that if you ask in faith
If you ask God himself, you’ll know But you must ask him without any doubt And let your spirit grow (Let your spirit grow)
I believe that God lives on a planet called Kolob I believe that Jesus has his own planet as well And I believe that the Garden of Eden Was in Jackson County, Missouri
If you believe, the Lord will reveal it And you’ll know it’s all true, you’ll just feel it You’ll be a Mormon And, by gosh, a Mormon just believes (A Mormon just believes)
(Just believe, a Mormon just believes) Oh, I believe (Just believe, a Mormon just) I believe (Believes)
I spent fifty years in the Christian church. Twenty-five of those years were spent pastoring Evangelical churches in Ohio, Michigan, and Texas. I attended an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist Bible College in the 1970s. Most my Christian life was spent either attending or pastoring Baptist churches. As young aspiring pastor, I was taught that there was a strict separation between church and state; that freedom of religion was absolutely crucial to the life of the American Republic and to the status of religion. Church and state were equal planes, each having their sphere of influence. Churches and preachers didn’t meddle in matters of state, and the government was expected to keep its nose out of church business. In the late 1970s, things began to change with the establishment of the Moral Majority by Paul Weyrich, Ed McAteer, and Jerry Falwell. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, scores of parachurch groups were started for the express purpose of reclaiming America for God. These promoters of American nationalism and exceptionalism flexed their muscles during the recent 2016 presidential election, delivering to Americans their next president, Donald Trump.
The last thirty years have brought a radical change in Evangelical thinking concerning the freedom of religion and separation of church and state. The impenetrable barrier between church and state that President John F. Kennedy spoke of in the 1960s is now considered a fabrication of liberals meant to destroy Evangelical, conservative Catholic, and Mormon Christianity. One presidential candidate, Rick Santorum, even went so far as to say that the separation of church and state is a myth; that the founding fathers never meant to exclude Christians and their religion from influencing and controlling government. These deniers of separation of church and state believe, to the man, that the United States has been uniquely chosen by God — a special nation above all others. Believing that the United States is a Christian nation, these theocrats spend their waking hours attempting to take over government at every level. Having trampled over the wall of separation of church and state, these warriors for God intend on returning America to what they consider its Christian roots. Now that Donald Trump has been elected president and God-fearing, flag-waving Republicans control Congress, we can expect to see a full-bore frontal assault on laws and policies meant to keep church and state separate.
While Evangelicals have discarded the notion of the separation between church and state, considering it myth, they continue to say that they support the First Amendment and the idea of freedom of religion. However, their idea of freedom of religion is far different from what has generally been understood in the past. The freedom of religion and separation of church and state go hand-in-hand. Can we have the freedom to worship or not worship as we please if the government gives preference to Christianity? As history clearly shows, any time religion and state are one, freedoms and liberty are lost and people die. Who is it that is clamoring for the national registration of Muslims and the banning of immigrants from non-Christian countries? Who is it that is demanding that prayer and Bible study be permitted in public schools? Who is it that wants creationism taught as science and the 10 Commandments posted on public school classroom walls? Who is it that is tirelessly working to overturn societal progress on same-sex marriage, homosexuality, and abortion? Who is it that is clamoring for the government to adopt a nationwide voucher program that will pay for students to attend private Christian schools? Evangelicals and their conservative compatriots in other sects, that’s who.
So when Evangelicals talk about the freedom of religion, remember what they really mean is freedom for THEIR religion, and their religion alone. While they with their lips say that they support the freedom of all religions, what they really mean is that they support your right to worship your God freely as long as it doesn’t interfere with or influence the American religion — Christianity — and its control of government. Muslims, Buddhists, and other non-Christian religions will be tolerated only so far as they stay out of the way. According to theocratic Evangelicals, their God alone is the one true ruler over all, and the Bible is the standard by which we should not only govern our lives but our nation. And those atheists who have tirelessly worked to make sure the wall of separation of church and state is absolute? They will be expected to stop harassing fine Christian school officials and government leaders who only want to follow the dictates of God and the Bible. People who spent their lives working to change the legal system and its brutal punishment of the poor and people of color will likely see a return to the days of an eye for an eye and a tooth for tooth. Again, appeals will be made to the Bible and its code of justice. It should not surprise anyone when Evangelicals call for re-criminalizing homosexuality, adultery, fornication, and marijuana use.
Remember these things the next time your Evangelical friends, family members, or coworkers say they support the freedom of religion. You might want to ask them what they mean by “freedom of religion.” Do they mean freedom equally for all religions? Do they mean freedom to not believe in any gods at all? Do they support the separation of church and state? If not, do they believe America is a Christian nation? Would they be okay with a Muslim president or the building of a mosque next door to their Baptist Church? If Christian prayers and Bible readings are permitted in public schools, would they be okay with Muslim prayers and Buddhist teachings being given the same level of support? As you ask these types of questions, you will likely find out that what your Evangelical acquaintances really mean when they say freedom of religion is “freedom for the Christian religion.” Believing that secularism equals socialism and communism, these worshipers of the Christian God want a culture that is dominated and controlled by Christian beliefs and philosophies.
Now that God’s Only Party (GOP) controls the federal government and most state governments, we can expect to see attempts to derail and destroy the social progress of the last fifty years. I suspect that savvy Evangelical parachurch groups will use state and federal courts to bulldoze the wall of separation of church and state, leaving its rubble as a monument to the days when social progressives thought they could challenge the authority of the Christian God. And it is for this reason that those of us who value religious freedom must not idly stand by while Evangelicals attempt to remake America into a new version of the 1950s. Don’t think for a moment that such monumental societal change cannot happen. It can and it will if we stand by and do nothing. It is time for us to quit whining about Bernie and Hillary losing. Donald Trump will be the next President of the United States and he has a Republican majority behind him who is anxious to re-create America in the image of the capitalistic Christian God. If Trump succeeds in putting several Antonin Scalia-like justices on the Supreme Court, we can expect to see a rapid undoing of decades of social progress. Sensing that they might have a short window in which get their way, Evangelicals will be working overtime to make sure that Trump and Congress put God back on the throne of the United States of Christian America. Those of us who value and understand freedom of religion and the separation of church and state must do everything in our power to make sure that this does not happen.
If you do not support the following groups, I encourage you to do so.
This is the one hundred and twentieth installment in The Sounds of Fundamentalism series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a video clip that shows the crazy, cantankerous, or contradictory side of Evangelical Christianity, please send me an email with the name or link to the video. Please do not leave suggestions in the comment section. Let’s have some fun!
Today’s Sound of Fundamentalism is a video clip produced by Mormons who saw the light, rejected Mormonism, and embraced “true’ Christianity. These “saved” Mormons mock their former beliefs, thinking that they are now enlightened and have found the true path to salvation. I find it amusing that they fail to see that all they have done is trade one crazy religion for another. Many of their points of mockery could just easily be applied to “orthodox” Christianity.
A year ago, the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage, invalidating federal and state laws that defined marriage solely as the union of a man and a woman. Evangelical, Catholic, and Mormon culture warriors warned that the Supreme Court’s ruling would pave the way for forcing pastors, priests and elders to marry same-sex couples. Warning that pastors would soon be jailed for refusing to perform such marriages, these defenders of heterosexual marriage began working at the state level to pass laws that would exempt pastors, priests, and elders from marrying gay couples. These hysterical laws were/are little more than lame attempts by conservative (Republican) legislators to show Evangelical voters that they are still battling the secularists and atheists who want to outlaw Christianity.
Remember Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Church, Dallas, Texas, saying:
That [refusing to perform same-sex marriages] may mean we experience jail time, loss of tax exempt status, but as the scripture says, we ought to obey God rather than man, and that’s our choice.
Or Baptist pastor Rick Scarborough telling a radio audience:
…[the clergy must] resist all government efforts to require them to accept gay marriage, and they will accept any fine and jail time to protect their religious freedom and the freedom of others.
And former Presidential candidate and Baptist preacher Mike Huckabee warning pastors:
If the courts rule that people have a civil right – not only to be a homosexual but a civil right to have a homosexual marriage – then a homosexual couple coming to a pastor, who believes in Biblical marriage, who says, ‘I can’t perform that wedding,’ will now be breaking the law.
Ominous, indeed. Surely, a year later scores of pastors have been arrested and jailed for refusing to perform same-sex marriages, right?
That’s right, not one pastor has been arrested or jailed for refusing to marry a same-sex couple. Why? Because it has NEVER been against the law to do so. Pastors, priests, and elders have always been free to refuse to perform the marriage ceremonies of couples who do not meet their personal or ecclesiastical marriage standards. Sects, churches, and pastors are free to marry whomever they wish. As long as the U.S. Constitution remains in its current form, conservative Christian churches will have the legal right to not only refuse to marry same-sex couples, but also to bar gays from being members of their congregations. Evangelicals, Catholics, and Mormons — along with every other religious sect — are free to discriminate at will.
Evangelical blowhards such as Robert Jeffress, Rick Scarborough, and Mike Huckabee are shameless liars for Jesus. These culture warriors only care about one thing, political power. This is why these very same men spent yesterday on their knees — not praying — but performing fellatio on Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump. These warriors are so shameless that they have convinced themselves that Trump is a Christian. Several months ago, Jerry Falwell, Jr. stated unequivocally that Trump is a member of Team Jesus®:
I’ve seen his generosity to strangers, to his employees, his warm relationship with his children. I’m convinced he’s a Christian. I believe he has faith in Jesus Christ. I’ve had conversations with him just within the past few weeks about his faith, and I have no doubts he is a man of faith and he’s a Christian.
Evangelicals are busy now with plans to put “Christian” Trump in the Oval Office. Once their candidate is thoroughly trounced by Hillary Clinton, these liars for Jesus will return to the culture battlefield, once again trying to capitalize on the fears of their constituents. War on Christmas! Transgender Bathroom Use! Homosexuals Preying on Children! Prayer in the Public Schools! Creationism! President Clinton Taking Away Religious Freedom!
As in past years, pastors and church leaders will indeed be arrested, but not for marrying same-sex couples. These men of God will make the front pages of their local newspapers, arrested for crimes such as child abuse, sexual abuse, rape, sexual misconduct, and sundry other crimes. These issues will be shoved under the rug, replaced by fake outrages and boycotts. These liars for Jesus will continue to reveal that at the heart of conservative Christianity lies hatred, bigotry, homophobia, and racism.
This is the fifty-first installment in The Sounds of Fundamentalism series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a video clip that shows the crazy, cantankerous, or contradictory side of Evangelical Christianity, please send me an email with the name or link to the video. Please do not leave suggestions in the comment section. Let’s have some fun!
Most people would agree that watching porn in plain view of strangers — especially on an airplane — is inappropriate. However, in the process of listing every minute detail of what the man was watching, Hawkins forgets that she too was watching porn. If watching porn is a sin, why was Hawkins watching it? Hawkins intently viewing what was on the man’s screen and then complaining about it is akin to someone getting drunk and then preaching against alcohol use. I highly doubt the man was watching child pornography. Hawkins knows this, but suggesting that the man “might” have been watching child pornography gives the story a salacious appeal and likely promotes increased giving to NCSE by outraged Christians. Hawkins reported the man to the police. I found no public record of anyone being arrested for watching child porn on an airplane.
Text of the video:
Hi everyone! My name is Dawn Hawkins, I’m the Executive Director of Morality in Media. I direct a number of anti-pornography campaigns, and I just wanted to share with you my experience from the weekend. I’m kind of emotional about it still, so bear with me.
So, I was heading to Texas from DC. I was asked to speak at a conference about the links between pornography and sex trafficking. And I boarded my flight in Baltimore, at 6 AM on Friday. Only to find that the man sitting in front of me was looking at pornography on his iPad. Of all people to be sitting in front of, he was right in front of me. I was speechless, I was stunned, I didn’t know what to say. I could not believe he was looking at pornography right there on the airplane, at six am in the morning.
So, I sat back, for enough time for him to for him to flip through about eight images. They were all of very-very young girls. I couldn’t tell if they were 14 or 18. They were definitely young. They were all Asian. And a couple of the photographs were very violent in nature. One of them even had one girl whipping the other girl. With a whip.
As soon as I gathered myself, I couldn’t help it, I definitely said something. Somewhat loudly, I asked him if he was really looking at pornography at that time. I said, you know, “is that really pornography?! Are you looking at pornography right now, on this airplane?” “Are those girls even 18? Is that child-pornography?!” I was making a fairly big deal about it. And everyone seemed to be look at us. “Are those girls even 18? Is that child-pornography?!” I was making a fairly big deal about it. And everyone seemed to be look at us.
And I turned around, and there was a flight attendant right behind me. A male flight attendant. And I said to him, “Sir, this man is looking at pornography. Will you please do something about it?” The flight attendant just stood there. He did nothing. He said there was nothing he could do. That he refused to do anything, especially because it was making me and other passengers so uncomfortable. And I am so sure it was making the other passengers uncomfortable as well.
Anyway, the guy put it away. I was sitting there, shaking. I was so upset.
A few minutes later, I leaned forward and in a much quiet voice, directed just at the man, I said to him, “Sir, I’m head right now to speak at a conference about pornography and sex trafficking. You are contributing to the problem. You’re exploiting millions of women. And children. You’re creating the demand. You’re the one contributing to all this harm.” And right then, a woman who was two rows up from us, she stood up and interrupted me. And she faced me and she said, she was probably in her 50’s, she said, “be quiet! No one cares!”
I couldn’t, I could not believe that a woman, of all people, would stand up and tell me to be quiet. She didn’t tell the man to stop looking at pornography! She didn’t say anything about that! She just said, no one cared, that he was looking at pornography. What was likely child pornography.
We know that pornography is so addictive, and that man was likely very addicted to whatever, that’s why he was looking at porn right there. And that early. He couldn’t help it! I feel really bad for him. Part of me does. Just because I understand that he was struggling with these urges, and I’m sure that he doesn’t. He’s not happy and he doesn’t want that.
I just wanted to share this experience with you all. Have you experienced pornography on your plane? Is this the common danger to us? I mean, I’m involved, every day, in the fight against pornography. And I did not realize that there is a danger to us on airplanes in the United States. I got off the airplane and I reported it to a police officer, who promised to investigate. He went to man’s next gate, especially because the likelihood that it was child pornography is very high.
Needless to say, airlines need to have a policy. It needs to be spelled out. That obscenity and pornography is not allowed on an airplane, especially since it’s a danger to all passengers, and flight attendants. It would be a very unhealthy working place.
I work for Morality in Media, we direct the war on illegal pornography at pornharms.com. I hope to hear from you soon!
This is the fiftieth installment in The Sounds of Fundamentalism series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a video clip that shows the crazy, cantankerous, or contradictory side of Evangelical Christianity, please send me an email with the name or link to the video. Please do not leave suggestions in the comment section. Let’s have some fun!
Today’s Sound of Fundamentalism is an anti-masturbation video produced by Brigham Young University-Idaho President Kim B. Clark and the Housing & Student Living Office.
This is the one hundred and first installment in the Songs of Sacrilege series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a song that is irreverent towards religion, makes fun of religion, pokes fun at sincerely held religious beliefs, or challenges the firmly held religious beliefs of others, please send me an email.
Today’s Song of Sacrilege is Trash by Tyler Glenn, lead singer for Neon Tree.
I think I lost myself in your new religion You say a prayer for me like a superstition We were always made for love We could always speak in tongues On my knees and I’m seeing visions Yeah, you remind me that seven sins are deadly You used to baptize me when I wasn’t ready Water never turns to wine I’ve been drinking all the time I think of you whenever I see fire in the sky
[Chorus] Your friends think I’m a freak What was in my drink? I can’t even think, but we got history In all of this, I lost myself Maybe I’ll see you in hell Okay, whatever One man’s trash is another man’s treasure
[Verse 2] I said my flesh is weak but the spirit’s willing And you would sell my soul just to make the killing If you wanted me to stay I’d repent my days away I think of you when I see fire in the sky
[Chorus] Your friends think I’m a freak What was in my drink? I can’t even think, but we got history In all of this, I lost myself Maybe I’ll see you in hell Okay, whatever One man’s trash is another man’s treasure
[Bridge] You keep throwing me out like You keep throwing me out like You keep throwing me out like One man’s trash is another man’s treasure One man’s trash is another man’s treasure
[Chorus] Your friends think I’m a freak What was in my drink? I can’t even think, but we got history In all of this, I lost myself Maybe I’ll see you in hell Okay, whatever One man’s trash is another man’s treasure One man’s trash is another man’s treasure
Atheists do not hate God. While Evangelical Christians will certainly suggest otherwise, I do not know of one atheist who hates God. Think about it for a moment. Do atheists believe in the existence of the Christian God, or any other God, for that matter? Of course not, so it makes no sense to say that atheists hate a non-existent, mythical being. Surely even the densest of Christians can understand this. If I asked Evangelicals, Do you believe in the existence of Odin, the Norse God? how do you think they would respond? I have no doubt Evangelicals would laugh and say, Odin is a mythical being. It would be silly of us to hate a being that doesn’t exist. Bingo. Just like the atheist and the Christian God.
Evangelicals often refuse to accept at face value what others say/believe about their God. When atheists deny the existence of the Christian God, Evangelicals say that atheists are suppressing their knowledge of this God. Supposedly, atheists KNOW that the Christian God exists, but they, having a hard heart and a seared conscience, deny his existence. Couldn’t the same be said of Christians who deny the existence of Odin? Christians KNOW that the Norse God exists, but they refuse to accept this, clinging to a God who is no God at all.
The fact is, atheists do not hate God. Anyone who suggests otherwise is either deliberately ignorant of what atheists believe or are so blinded by their own beliefs that they cannot fathom any other belief but their own. Wait a minute, Bruce, Evangelicals say. If atheists do not hate God, then why do they spend so much time talking about God? Good question.
While atheists know that the Christian God is a myth, they also understand that much harm has been done in his name. It is not the Christian God that is the problem. God, divorced from his followers, is little more than an ancient explanation for human existence. Who cares, right? Myths, in and of themselves, have no power. The Harry Potter books tell a wonderful story of mystery and magic, but no one in his or her right mind thinks the stories are true. Imagine if a group of people believed that what was written in the Harry Potter books is some sort of divine message from God. Does the fact that this group of people believe the stories are true mean that they are? Of course not. So it is with Christianity. That people believe is no proof that something is true. Millions of people believe in the Mormon God, yet Evangelicals, for the most part, believe Mormonism is a false religion. I fail to see how Mormonism’s God is any different from Christianity’s God. Taken at face value, both myths are absurd.
The real issue for atheists is what Christians DO in the name of their God. It is Christians that are the problem, not their God. If Christianity was little more than a Kiwanis Club, I suspect that most atheist writers such as myself would put down their digital pens and turn their attention to other pursuits. However, because many Christians will not rest until the entire world worships their God and bows to their interpretation of an antiquated religious text, atheists, humanists, agnostics, and secularists are forced to do battle with Evangelical zealots. Believe me, I’d rather be writing about sports or photography, but as long as Evangelicals continue to clamor for a Christian nation governed by Christian laws, I intend to raise my objection to their theocratic ambitions.
Bruce, if Christianity doesn’t matter, why do you bother with it?
On one hand, Christianity doesn’t matter. The Bible doesn’t matter. Jesus, the Holy Spirit, God, the Church, none of it matters.
If Christians want to worship their God, I have no objection. I subscribe to the “live and let live” school of thought. Each to his own. May Jesus be with you. May the force be with you. May nothing be with you. I don’t care.
I do care about the influence Christianity has on our culture and government. I do care about the damage done to society in the name of the Christian God. I do care when people are hurt, maimed, and killed in the name of the Christian God.
When Christians want to turn the United States into a theocracy…It matters.
When Christians want their religion to have preference over any and all others…It matters.
When Christians demand atheists and agnostics be treated as the spawn of Satan…It matters.
When Christians attempt to teach religious dogma as scientific fact in our public schools…It matters.
When Christians attempt to force their religious moral code on everyone…It matters.
When Christians attempt to stand in the way of my pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness…It matters.
When Christians abuse and molest children in the name of their God…It matters.
When Christians wage wars thousands of miles away in the name of their God…It matters.
When Christians mentally and emotionally abuse people…It matters.
When Christian expect preferential treatment because of who they worship…It matters.
As long as Christians continue to force themselves on others, and as long as they attack and demean anyone who is not a Christian…It matters.
As long as pastors and churches get preferential tax code treatment…It matters.
As to who you worship and where? It doesn’t matter.
As to what sacred text you use? It doesn’t matter.
I want all Christians to have the absolute freedom to worship their God.
I want that same freedom to NOT worship any God or another God…
And as long as that courtesy is not extended to me and to every human being on the earth…