Thursday, April 30, 2009

Political Confusion Test (18 of 21)- Whacky Religious Groups

As we gradually come to the end of this series, which seems to be more popular than "Know Your Congressman or Senator," we decided to dwelve into a deep philisophical question which has been pondered by the likes of Christopher Hitchens and Monty Python's Flying Circus.

But, beyond asking if God exists or not, we should think about which radical religious group would make us feel more uncomfortable.

If there is one thing I have noticed in life, it is that very conservative small towns like Rocky Mount, Va., have crazy, radical churches where people actually do things like speak in tongues.

And, in turn, very liberal college towns like Chapel Hill, NC, have their own brand of extremist kooks who borrow from aspects of Eastern religions.

This brings us to ask: "Who is more insane?"

Let us start with a Church of Christ minister named Johnny Robertson in Martinsville, Va., who was the target of a brilliant April Fool's Joke by my friend Chris Knight of Reidsville, NC, in which Knight claimed that Robertson flew to the Vatican in a botched effort to attack the Pope.

Robertson has made claims that the good lord hates homosexuals, and he is now currently fighting with the local natural history museum over (what else?!) evolution.

I have also heard that Robertson who not only thinks you are going straight to hell if you don't go to church, but you will in fact go upstairs if you don't go to his particular church.

Robertson hosts a show called "What Does the Bible Say" on WSGR-TV in Reidsville on Sunday nights from 8-10 p.m. It is opposite both "The Simpsons" and "Family Guy," and I must profess that the Rev. Johnny's show is funnier than either one of them!

But, not to be outdone there is a Hare Krishna congregation called the New Goloka Temple in Hillsborough, NC, just outside Chapel Hill, where the Lord Narashina will apparently be making an appearance on May 7.

Between these two extremes, I might well choose the Krishnas though I have no interest in walking barefoot, dressing in strange ritual clothing, eating tofu or bothering folks in airport lounges.

All of this made me think of Louis Theroux's book "Call of the Weird," where the author met with survivors of the Heaven's Gate cult. If you recall this was the group in San Diego which killed themselves by eating poisonous butterscotch pudding so they could get on board Haley's Comet. The 39 people who killed themselves (there were two more who did the same deed several months later) were all wearing brand-new Nike tennis shoes.

Amazingly enough, the group somehow maintains an active web site!

We have a link for it and these other crazy religious groups below. I hope no one actually joins any of these groups as a result of this!

And, as a disclaimer, I should also mention that I firmly against all forms of ritualistic suicide.

Useful links:

'Secular Sites:" (Chris Knight's blog)

'Religious Sites:" (Johnny Robertson's site) (New Goloka Temple) (Heaven's Gate)

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