Because … I already feel guilty writing this column. … No one seems to remember that, unlike being gay, it’s a choice. … Eternal damnation in hell is held up as a scare tactic to make you behave the way the church wants.
You have to keep track of your sins and then humiliatingly recite them in a loud, crisp voice, so the priest doesn’t say, “Repeat that, please.”
The virgin birth put an impossibly high standard on the rest of us for all time. … The church blames internal pedophilia on gays, but then when gays get the right to marry in a healthy, adult, consensual way, the church vehemently condemns it. … The church urges us to be good citizens, but when gay marriage goes into law, they suddenly want people to buck the system. … The church reserves the divine right to further wreck lives by forbidding condoms and abortions.
Every Wednesday afternoon, I loathed being dragged out of school to go to catechism and be taught scary fairy tales by forbidding nuns. … Not enough proselytizers seem to have read the Bible all the way through, and even if they have, they relish picking out the supposedly hateful parts to make trouble with, twisting them for maximum effect. … Jesus is almost always portrayed as someone out of an Abercrombie & Fitch catalogue because, after all, if you advocate peace, love, and humble values, you have to look like a supermodel.
The founding dis of Christianity—”No room at the inn”—is the church’s favorite thing to tell people who don’t measure up. … “Love the sinner, but not the sin” is so deeply patronizing. Take all of me, baby. … If a non-priest walked around in the same garments and accessories as a clergyman, he’d be labeled a sicko and a degenerate. … The Radio City Christmas extravaganza stopped inviting me. … They falsely accuse gays of trying to convert children, but outside a church in Greenwich Village, there’s a sign asking, “Have you introduced your children to God? Let us help.”
Most religions contradict one another as to who God is and what He stands for. (How can they all be true? I’m guessing none of them are.) … Politicians—including our president—have invoked it as a reason for their beliefs on civil rights issues! (Whatever happened to the separation of church and state? Why should our leaders’ alleged religious values affect my status as a tax-paying citizen?) … An open atheist would have no chance whatsoever of making it to the White House.
Actors who regularly drink, drug, cheat, and do it up the ass shamelessly thank God when they win an award. … Broadway musicals about Jesus keep getting revived at the same time. Which to choose? … The Mormon musical is more fun than the Catholic one. That’s so wrong! … Mormons long ago made the bold move to quit polygamy, but nowadays they spend much of their time trying to stop gay monogamy.
Atheists who get old and face the threat of death suddenly believe in a divine being. … Losers who pray for a parking space occasionally get one and shriek, “It works!” … Some people I know who piously visit places of worship on a regular basis spend the rest of the week being bitchy, negative, and judgmental. … A handful of extremists in each religion come to represent the whole religion to a terrified populace.
All that supplicating and kneeling is bad for one’s ego (not to mention posture). … I don’t trust anyone who claims to have a direct hookup to a supreme power. I don’t even have international calling. … When something good happens, we thank God’s great generosity. When something bad happens, it’s our fault. … Most religions scoff at Scientology as hogwash, as if to say, “Stick to our batch of fiction, not theirs!” … Liberal religious people must not have powerful enough agents; they never seem to get airtime.
Religion hated me first. … Americans I’ve met who co-opt Buddhism do so as a self-advancement program more than a religion, exclusively chanting for money and promotions. … Producers who’ve told actors they look “too Jewish” have caused scores of noses to be cut off to spite their faces. … I have to be friends with people who killed my Jesus. … For Jews, the three weeks between the 17th of Tammuz and Tisha B’av are a mourning time when celebration and many other forms of activity are minimized. But most accidents happen at home!
Too many religious holidays are about fasting, denial, and abstinence. You come to dread these special days. … And yet, when Christ’s birthday gaily comes along every year, all that gratuitous gift giving and forced merriment ups the suicide rate. … Many Republicans scorn Shia Muslims for being oppressive to women, forgetting that they’re anti-gay, too. … God tells people to vote against gays, but did He also tell them to go to Chuck E. Cheese’s or see Transformers?
The architecture and songs are always really good, but they’re hard to enjoy with all that guilt attached. … Religious theme parks are usually way too brown. … The coffee grounds on my counter once almost formed a portrait of the Virgin Mary, but it wasn’t a strong enough resemblance to charge visitors to see.
The Hindus have literally millions of gods and goddesses. There is barely time to worship them all, let alone pick one of the three favored roads toward salvation. … There’s no guidebook on how it all works in actuality (e.g., how do you find your dead loved ones in heaven? Do you just float around, figuring you’ll eventually run into them, since you’re there for eternity? And I do mean you.)
But the thing I hate the most is that I happen to have met some religious people who aren’t petty or bigoted at all, and that tends to annoyingly get in the way of a lot of my theories. Amen.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 3, 2011