Christian ‘comedian’ accidentally exposes evils of indoctrination
I was raised very, very Christian. So Christian, in fact, my family wouldn’t even identify their denomination — which is to say, they were in the anti-denomination denomination. They preferred the term “nondenominational.”
Even as a child, I carried an ever-present suspicion that everyone I knew was completely Fucking insane.
As an adult, I realize how foolish and even frightening some of their indoctrination was. I also recognize the mark it left on me, the shame I’ve felt over perfectly natural impulses and my persistent battle to maintain self-confidence, all of which was bestowed by a fiercely religious, conservative upbringing in the midst of the Christian Right’s rise to power.
Some of my experiences from within the belly of American fundamentalism — like having a serial spouse abuser in a blue tuxedo squeeze my trachea while “speaking in tongues” in front of an audience, all in the name of a miracle cure for strep throat (among others) — would make even the director of Jesus Camp wince.
The teachings of Christ still get my respect, mind you. But please understand, I enjoy a bit of good-natured religious ribbing, especially on Easter, slightly more than the next guy.
Some of it is fantastically sarcastic, like Prayer Hour, a satire so deadpan I honestly thought it was a serious production for approximately one minute. Another clever spot for delicious, delicious sacrilege is Christwire, which featured a yummy bit about Zombie Jesus that got my blasphemy flowing this past Easter Sunday. Go look at it. Seriously. It’ll put what comes next in proper context.
Done? Yes. Good.
Fresh off reading that post, I stumbled across the following video, thinking it sly bullshit. It was not. Everyone in the video below is entirely serious.
That poor girl probably thinks these people are her friends. Did you see that look she gave? It was like a caged animal that just realized it’s about to be thrown into a boiling stew. She really believed her very holy, very white crowd of associates had been magically spirited away into the clouds, leaving her and the rest of humanity’s filth to suffer the tribulations.
The guy at the beginning calls himself Rich Praytor, a Christian “comedian” with a big idea: fooling deluded people into thinking they’ve been “left behind” with all the sinners on a post-rapture Earth.
… All of which is about as funny as telling a little boy that his parents were ground into sausage by the goddamned Santa Clause and he’d accidentally eaten his mother on Christmas eve.
On his Web site’s “about” page, Praytor brags about taking his little show on the road, even winning the participation of one Ryan Dobson, son of James Dobson, the recently-retired right wing fundamentalist who founded the ultra-conservative media company “Focus on the Family”.
While Praytor’s DVD features other filmed stunts posing as pseudo-humor, it’s his rapture shtick that quite accidentally exposes the completely evil nature of this indoctrination; this so-called “prank” hinges entirely upon the subject fully believing that one day very soon, all their troubles will end in an instant if they just keep on giving money to the church and doing everything their authority figure tells them to.
Yes, ho-ho, very funny. These are the folks who picket and boycott films over dick and fart jokes. I’d wager a few Federal Reserve notes that most of Praytor’s fans are oblivious to how completely sick this “prank” is.
To be clear, this “rapture” is not in the Bible that most Christians know. It was invented by an Irishman named John Nelson Darby and made popular by evangelist author William Eugene Blackstone in the mid-1800s. It didn’t really become a force in mainstream Americana until the Christian Right movements of the 70s and 80s. Now, this illogical creation of man is everywhere in American Christiandom.
The rapture has essentially become a tool, widely used by master manipulators to engender obedience, loyalty and a steady cash-flow from the faithful … And this guy, once recognized as “Best Comedian of the Year” at the American Gospel Music Awards, has found a way to capitalize off it. Uniquely American, is it not?
From the perspective of a child with absolutely zero social input outside their parents’ church, the rapture is an absolutely terrifying prospect to consider. Surrounded by people who believe their fantasy to be common knowledge, one becomes a freak or a sinner or the lost for thinking otherwise. To an adult, challenging the established Truth from within such a circle can be social and sometimes even economic suicide … For me as a kid, even a mention of my fomenting thought rebellion was a sure way to get bent over and lashed raw — and I don’t mean like an actress in a Maybelline ad.
Growing up in this group insanity is like constantly reliving that line from Dogma, where the two fallen angels are laughing about how man has warped Christ’s teachings, making God out to be this bearded man in the clouds who will “fucking spank you” if you’re not enough of a fan. (A line made more humorous because that’s really how life was explained to us.)
Watching that poor girl’s reaction made me finally understand that rapture enthusiasts really aren’t so far away from falling in line with the God Hates Fags crowd. Even though the word “hate” is usually quite a distance from their vocabulary, the mentality is identical. The methods of propaganda are identical. The only difference is the prejudice of the propagandist, reflected uniformly across their followers.
If people can be so thoroughly indoctrinated they truly believe everyone they know and love simply vanished one day, people can also be made to believe a particular type of person deserves to be eradicated. Like the Jews. Or the gays. Or you.
It certainly wouldn’t be the first time in history.
(Hat tip: Disinfo.)