Religious Fundamentalism in America

Jesus Fish

I thought it would be funny to put a Ichthys placard on Kirsten’s vehicle and wait for her to notice. I visited Perfect Peace Christian Lifestyle Store during lunch and purchased the “Jesus fish”. Being in the store was awkward. It was somewhat like accidentally finding myself in the women’s locker room: part of me was curious and wanted to look around while the other part of me just wanted to get the hell out of there!

If you think Islam has cornered the market on religious fundamentalism or that Christian extremism is limited to abortion clinic bombing you probably haven’t been in a Christian “lifestyle” store lately. The store I visited was selling a plethora of apolocyptic books, cds, t-shirts, and bookmarks. Many of the offerings, as expected, were extremely xenophobic.

While looking at the sea of propoganda I asked myself a question I’ve considered many times before: “Why spend to much time indoctrinating oneself unless the dogma is quite unbelievable and when, if ever, has one learned enough that faith is no longer necessary?” It appears that even the devout followers have diffuculty believing this crap!

Narrow Minded

As I wandered around this large store looking for the Jesus Fish I noticed a bright orange t-shirt hanging on the wall at the opposite side of the store with large black letters on the front that spelled “NARROW MIND, OPEN HEART.” I thought, “there is no way they put that on a shirt!” Could it be true? I fumbled around in my pocket searching for my camera phone as I walked across the store to get you this picture. Priceless. Are Christians really this stupid? Or do they consider narrow mindedness a desirable attribute? It is beyond me how any intelligent person can make truth statements without having first considered alternative explanations and available evidence. This t-shirt might as well have read, “STUPID, BUT NICE.”

GWB: Portrait of a Leader

George W. Bush: Portrait of a Leader was prominently displayed on a small table near the POS counter. The Christian right is the only demographic that could promote George W. Bush’s leadership capacity as something other than a vacuum. Perhaps they feel obligated to support the man who has for so long and hard tried to push their delusional dogmatic bullshit on the rest of us. Or perhaps they think it is un-American not to support the president because…well…he’s the president. That attitude is decidedly un-American. I doubt this is the case since they obviously didn’t feel that way about the office during Bill Clinton’s tenure. To the store’s credit this $24.99 book was marked down to $9.97. I like what David M. Yates said in his Amazon.com book review, “One of the best examples of hero worshipping going way over the top.”

7 Comment

  1. Hilarious prank… but you forgot the punchline – or hasn’t she noticed yet?

    I love it that you provided a link to the Perfect Peace Christian Lifestyle Store :-)

    The Melbourne Comedy Festival has just been on here, so there has been a lot of live comedy and also some on TV. Comedians are willing to have quite a go at religion in general and Christianity in particular. I wonder if they would get away with that there in the States?

  2. She saw it from the front window, quickly snatched it off the van, and threw it hastily (and with gusto) into the trash. She was laughing and giving me the evil eye. I retrieved it and put it on my friend’s motorcycle =)

    People seem to give comedians a great deal of latitude. I’m sure they’d get away with it even in puritanical US of A. If they couldn’t I’d be making plans to move my family Down Under. Also, although most people “claim” to believe in God I think the fundamentalist wackos are the vocal minority. Most people, as Dr. Daniel Dennett suggests in his book Breaking the Spell, believe in belief and don’t know (or probably care) what the tenets of their religion are.

  3. Narrow mind, open heart? I would have thought it more accurate for most American believers to have a sticker that says: Unused mind, clogged up heart!
    It has been years since I have been in a Christian book store. I realize that whackos come in all flavors and book stores have to stock what sells for them. I find I can purchase books more to my liking (including Christian books) at Borders or Amazon.
    I will read almost anything with printing on it. I draw the line at “George Bush, Portrait of a Leader” A few more books like that and I could almost tolerate a book burning!

  4. King, have you seen the documentary Jesus Camp? That’s some super scary shit! Kirsten and I watched it last night. It’s 84 minutes of disgusting child abuse.

  5. No, I haven’t.

    I would have thought that by now people would have had enough of Jim Jones, David Koresh, or some of the other groups. It seems not. Was it P.T. Barnum that said there is a fool born every minute?

    Religion is a little bit like liquor. In moderation it can help a person make friends, feel better when they are down, and help us loosen up around others and learn who we really are. When abused, it leads to impoverishment financially and emotionally, alienates people around us, and destroys our ability to help ourselves or others. It leads to dependancy on those that got the person in their situation to begin with.

  6. King, I like your analogy and think you’re dead on. Unfortunately most religious people would probably tell you more is better, not less.

  7. A. J. Whitney says: Reply

    What a great idea for a prank! Sue would kill me though, but it might be worth it.

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