Tuesday, January 21, 2014

When Prophets Squeeze Blood From a Stone

It's an awful thing when religious leaders use their position and faith as a vegetable juicer to get the last dollar from their faithful.  We are familiar with the televangelists who pound their TV pulpit.  And, some of the Sunday morning preachers are not to far removed from a circus tent.  Then we have the Pope, his Cardinals and Bishops, telling their faithful about a variety of things that requires the cash of their adherents.  But, some of that cash actually goes to charities that truly benefit their recipients (this is not the "send money now or you will burn in hell" demands).  Then we have the private businessmen that have no qualms about fleecing you and use their religion to do it.  This is one of those stories.

My son Erik had a dream.  In 1990, he privately purchased a Datsun 240Z, with the hope of turning it into something then known as a "California package."  It took a lot of work:  pulling out the in-line six cylinder engine and replacing it with a rebuilt Chevrolet short block 283 V8 engine, which led to a host of other things.   He succeeded and the car was operational, but it needed a few tweaks that were beyond his scope and tool availability.  He drove his prize to a recommended shop; that was a mistake.

What should have cost less than $1,000.00 was totaled out to be well over seven.  Yes, $7,000.00.  The shop owner was a primitive, literal fundamentalist Christian who had no qualms using biblical verse to take advantage of people who were "different."  Like having a dragon tattooed on his (Erik's) arm.  The SOB took credit for things that he absolutely did not do.    

I tried to talk to the guy but he was unmovable.  He used biblical verse to support his outrageous bill; those verses that are so rampant in the bible that say it's OK to screw someone who is perceived to be "different" than members of the "true faith."  He quoted me chapter and verse, and was quite proud of it.   To this guy, it was like he just conquered the Infidel and now occupied Jerusalem.  The bottom line - he wanted to break my son; he wanted the car for himself to sell to a collector.  He did not succeed.  

Family rallied and the bill was paid in full, much to the dismay of this primitive, fundamentalist, Christian proprietor.  As we left with the car, I gave that asshole a mouthful; I think I invented some new cuss words.  He just looked at me with a sickly smile and let me know that I was going to hell.  Well, that really scared the shit out of me - not.  

It is sad that this event had to happen and there are some folks who would argue that Christianity in general is to blame.  I do not think that that is the case.  The blame, the fault lies in not correcting a literal view of myth:  that every word in holy writ is the unerring word of God and must be followed to the letter.  My personal observations have shown me that most modern Christians do not subscribe to that line of thought.  But Christianity is not alone with their fundamentalists; other faith paths have theirs to deal with.  It should be a basic tenant that primitive, fundamentalist thought is a bane to tolerance and the well being of any faith group.  It does not do anything positive.  It undermines growth and harmony within the faith set and destroys frith, tolerance, among peoples.  It must be extinguished.  

                                                    Copyright @2014 Terry Unger


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