Get Real or Why I’m Glad I Live in Heathen Australia

 One of my occasional pastimes involves laughing at the hilarious and downright evil rantings of fundamentalist Christians (no, I’m not giving fundamentalist a capital ‘F’ unless it’s ‘F’ for fuckwit).

 I don’t understand these people. The stuff they preach is medieval nonsense. It should be treated with the same contempt as those who channel Supreme Commander Votron of the Ashtar Command* or those loopy people who think crop circles have some spiritual message or think there’s some grand conspiracy of medical doctors and drug companies.  What’s that? There IS a conspiracy? Bugger!

*Ok, Votron is probably not the guy’s name, but you know what I mean.

To prove my point, here’s some gems from the brimfire, flat earth, barefoot-in -the-kitchen brigade:

The women of America would do well to consider whether their much-cherished gains of the right to vote, work, murder and freely fornicate are worth destroying marriage, children, civilized Western society and little girls. They can at least console themselves with the thought that, in the long run, it doesn’t matter what they do, because the women’s-rights ideology is an evolutionary dead end, and it is increasingly apparent that societies embracing it will not survive.

Vox Day, WorldNetDaily  [2008-Sep-01]

Check out this absolute corker. I’ve left in the typos for your enjoyment:

The Fact the Earth is Flat is not my opinion, it is a Proved Fact! While all we need to know is that the Bible says the Earth is flat (Is.40:22, Ez.7:2, Dn.2:35; 4:10-11,20, Mt.4:8)… but for a second can you imagine what these so-called ‘scientists would have us believe — If the earth really was round, that would mean there arre people who are HANGING DOWN, HEAD DOWNWARDS while we are standing head up? But since the theory allows to travel to those parts of the earth where the people are said to hand head downward, and still to fancy ourselves to be heads upwards, and our friends whom we have left behind us to be heads downwards! LOL! What foolishness! TheWHOLE THING IS A MYTH – A DREAM – A DELUSION – and a snare, and, instead of there being any evidence at all in this direction to substantiate this popular theory, it is plain proof that the Earth is Not A Globe!  

Also, be sure to know the Sun and Moon are about 3,000 miles away are both 32 miles across. The Planets are ‘tiny.’ Sun and Moon do Move, earth does NOT move, whirl, spin or gyrate (1 Sam.2:8, 1 Chr.16:30; Job 9:6, 38:4-6; Ps.96:10, 104:5, Is.13:10, Mic.6:2). Australians do NOT hang by their feet under the world… this is a FACT, not a theory! Also a Fact the Spinning, Whirling, Gyrating Ball World Planet, Globe Idea is Entirely 100% now and at all times in the Past, a RELIGIOUS DOCTRINE… a Blind Dogmatic Article of Faith in the Religion for the Blind unreasoning beast of prey. No earthly reason for a Sane, Upright Member of the Elite True Christians to subscribe to it. Also a Fact, today the Elite of Earth ALL live on the Flat World. Only the illogical, unreasoning “herd”… prefers the way-out occult weird theology of the old Greek superstitution earth a spinning ball! Both Copernecious and Newton, the inventors of the “modern” superstitions (400 year OLD modern) have said: “It is not possible for a Sane reasonable person to ever really believe these Theories.” Thus sayeth Newton-Copernecious. What sayeth THOU?

KettleWhistle, Israel Forum [2007-Mar-02]

The Land of the Free?

 America is supposedly the land of the free, the home of science, consumerism, McDonald’s and now yoga.  The world has benefited from much that has arisen out of American economic and cultural dominance over the past 60 years.  But what I don’t understand is why America (as in the USA) is so beholden to the utter crap spewed by fundamentalist Christians. To me this isn’t freedom: it’s blackmail.

But Amanda, I hear you say, the pollies (politicians) are frightened of the political clout of right-wing loonies. Fine.  I have a solution to that: make voting compulsory. That way, Joe and Jane Average who would rather worship at Walmart will have to vote and the right-wing loonies will be outed for what they really are: an evil minority. However, I bet you that the moment the very idea of compulsory voting was whispered, the fundamentalist nutbags would be first out of the starting box, campaigning against it.

 What Happens in Aus?

Let’s face it, European Australia began life as a penal colony. Aboriginal people have their own cosmology which often makes more sense than Christianity (Aboriginal beliefs say things like: don’t camp near this waterhole. We don’t want fecal matter in our precious water supply). From the outset, Australians were marginally Christian, and Christian in the model of the English lase-faire orthodoxy with a few hundred thousand Irish immigrants, Indians, Lebanese Christians and Chinese thrown in around the beginning of the 20th Century.

At best, we were obedient to the outward trappings of Christianity, but there was nothing zealous about us. We were too busy trying to beat back the bush, figure out what to do with Aboriginal people, and get rich from wheat, sheep and digging bloody big holes in the land. At worst (if worst is a bad thing) we were and remain completely ambivalent to religion.

However, as apathetic we Australians are, we all have to vote. Even Aboriginal people living in remote outback communities have to vote. If you don’t vote, you get fined. It has a massive impact on negating the power and influence of nutbags of all kinds: Red, Green, Black, Gun lovers, Animal rights extremists etc. The ambivalent majority really does have the last say.

At the last election, it became known that an extreme right-wing Christian sect, the Exclusive Breathren, had been making massive donations to Australia’s then-ruling conservative party. In November last year, this party was ejected from office. I’m not saying that it was the only reason they were voted out, I’m just saying that donations from the Exclusive Breathren didn’t help their cause.  The moral: voting keeps the bastards honest! (Aussies will understand this statement).

Is Religion UN-Australian?

If you’re a religious zealot in Australia, you can guarantee that people will shun you. If you’re big enough, Four Corners will appear on your doorstep and you will be labelled a freak and a menace to society’s moral fabric. In many ways, to be a religious fundamentalist is anti-Australian. You aren’t going to give your mates a fair go if you’re prattling about sin and setting yourself up as better than they are, and you won’t be able to participate in all the rituals of life that make you a ‘real’ Australian. We simply won’t invite you to the BBQ!

We don’t mind going to church for weddings, funerals, and Christmas Mass. But regular church-going and baptisms have been on the decrease for decades. We tend to believe in some higher power, but not literally the teachings of the Bible. The Ten Commandments, yes. Be nice to others, be a good person and don’t screw your next door neighbour’s wife. But the end of the world if you have consensual sex before marriage, no.

Thus, you don’t drive across the country and see billboards ranting about abortion (although there is one about reading the Bible in Alice Springs, right near one promoting betting on horseraces. How very Australian!). And for that, I am glad. Here, it’s generally a woman’s individual right to chose. Not my business, not yours. Jesus doesn’t give a shit about it. End of story.

We are relaxed and ambivalent in our beliefs. What happens, happens. Is God real or not? Maybe, and pass me another cold beer… what’s the score in the cricket?

You get the picture. No worries and she’ll be right, mate, are two very well-known sayings that sum this perspective on life up. Shit happens is one that others might understand.

But I Still Don’t Get it.

Thus, as an Australian, I find American’s preoccupation with fundamentalism less comprehensible than Aboriginal cosmology or Islam. What I want to say is: get over it. It’s dragging you down. Your eye is off the ballgame, and on what’s happening in the back row of the stalls. Sure, they can have their beliefs, just not in my face, controlling my life and trying to lay their guilt tips and evil on others.

Can’t the consumers of America just vote these loonies into oblivion? Of course you can.

To finish, here’s something that Richard Dawkins did this week in London:


6 thoughts on “Get Real or Why I’m Glad I Live in Heathen Australia

  1. I definitely understand why some of our US friends get so wild around the political beast that is the presidential election, as well as all the fundies.

    And you’re right – if the non-fundie US folk could just pull together, perhaps they could vote out the crazy people long enough for the country to stop its current inevitable slide into dictatorial insanity.

    But then, I’m an Aussie and mostly I just scratch my head at politics. Even ours! I do think voting should be compulsory however… its a good thing to be forced to make a choice between the lesser of two evils (as it goes in Australian politics).

    And also, I’m a yogi. So I tend not to get involved in anything much. Because the wider view is that none of this crap matters anyway… ah, that’s a topic for another post, and not to write up here in your comments.

    Actually what I want to write up is an extrapolation on something I’ve heard before that goes something like: anti-war protesters create war (you can’t have one without the other, they’re two sides of the coin). Tricky to get your head around, but rather interesting when you do…

  2. I just got had an e-mail battle with one of my fundie relatives after she sent me ANOTHER racist e-mail. Things are really getting ugly over here…then, they’re also looking as positive and idealistic as they have in a long, long time, like the country make actually enter the 21st century and the rest of the world and try to live up to its own state ideals–then, that’s exactly why the fundamentalists and the bigots and the idiots are so upset.

    Of course, I’m a yogi just like my friend Svasti above, though with a very different view of how that relates to being politically engaged–seeing, rather that the compassionate path is not to say that it doesn’t matter–especially when “it” includes people being bombed, denied healthcare, or denied basic rights–in the greater scheme of things but to do whatever one can for our fellow human beings and the earth, even if that means dealing with all the ugliness of the political process (and, as I pointed out to her, saying that anti-war protesters create war is as absurd as saying chainsaws create trees)–we argued it all out, but we’re still friends.

    Anyway, much as I’m in favor of making it easier to vote, and eliminating barriers put up to keep certain groups from voting, I don’t know if I’d be for requiring people to vote. Ultimately, that would mean that even more uninformed people would vote, and, ultimately, uninformed people voting is how we got a government that represents only oil companies and religious fanatics, because the leaders of the Republican party know that the way to get into office is to appeal to the ignorance and prejudice of the uninformed.

    But, I’ve already written more in your comments than I did in my last blog post, which was like four days ago….Namaste.

  3. I couldn’t resist a blog title like AnthroYogini, since I’m a new yogini and an anthropology-trained journalist. Great reading so far! I enjoyed this post – the freakiness of the flat-earthers made me laugh. Here in New Zealand, we’ll be voting in our general election in a couple of weeks [just a couple of days after the US elections]. Voting is voluntary here. I think of compulsory voting as an Australian peculiarity; it seems very heavy-handed and undemocratic. Surely you should be allowed to NOT have your say, if that’s what you want?

  4. Hey thanks for commenting and reading, Dr Jay. Now get back to your blog and write something … controversial.

    Anne-Marie, welcome and thanks for your comments. I’ll check out your blog, too.

    Yes, the compulsory voting thing is a paradox – I often reflect on this – isn’t compulsory voting antithetical to the idea of democracy?

    However, it is easy to understand from a cultural and historical perspective in Australia:

    -we almost didn’t become an entire ‘nation’ (federation) in 1901 when we gained independence from Great Britain. They needed to get everyone to vote to ensure the solidarity of the new federation. (In case you’re wondering, the West Australians wanted to be their own nation).

    -the notion of egalitarianism (a powerful Australian cultural
    narrative) was written in to our constitution. This ensured that all men, regardless of class, status or power, were able to vote, thus ensuring the legitimacy and strength of the new federation.

    -these two points should suggest to non-Australians that we are an apathetic lot when it comes to politics … and we still are.

    I am sure that most Australians wouldn’t vote if it wasn’t compulsory (true!).

    I wouldn’t vote in local government (council) elections if I had a choice!

  5. Ah my friendly but contrary Dr Jay… 😉

    Yes, Amanda – we disagreed – but what Jay forgot to mention is that as well as definitely still being friends (he can’t scare me that easily), we also discussed things in far more detail… until 5am his time, LOL!

    Thing is, I’m *not* saying things don’t matter in a cold hearted way as in I don’t care. Far from it. As I mentioned in my last comment on this post, its hard to explain and possibly I shouldn’t have said some of what I did without being able to explain further.

    And right now I’m not in a space where I can. I did try to get the message across to Jay but it didn’t quite work as he kept thinking I meant that because I said “doesn’t matter” above, that I’m coming from a non-compassionate, uncaring point of view.

    Far from it.

    Also, the war/anti-war thing… its not quite as ridiculous as it sounds, its just something I should have edited out of my comment. Once I’ve had the chance to do some more meditation on the issue, I’ll be able to explain what I mean there – perhaps in a post.

    Re: the Aussie compulsory voting… perhaps the only reason it works for us is because we’re so damn lacksadasical as a nation that if we *weren’t* required to vote, only 10 people would!

    Now, pass another beer thanks…

  6. Hi Amanda and Friends,

    Wow, Amanda you are prolific! But as one of those Yanks, I thought I ought to comment on fundamentalists. I happen to live in Lynchburg, VA, the home of the late Jerry Falwell, his megachurch, and his large Liberty University. I have a few friends who are evangelicals. Thank goodness there is a Unitarian Universalist church here, a haven for liberals like me. I have a theory about fundamentalists: I think they are a psychological type who are uncomfortable with ambiguity. They need something that gives them absolute answers, i.e., the Bible and the conservative fundamentalist Christian ministers. Amanda, as an anthropologist, you know that almost every religion has its fundamentalist population. Even Buddhism has its “large boat” and “small boat” division. Looks like there’ll be fundamentalists with us forever.

    But even as we speak, fundamentalism in the U.S. is evolving (what a delicious irony : ) The fundamentlaistic megachurches are de-emphasizing dogma and emphasizing support groups and entertaining music for their members.

    The evangelicals (who may or may not be fundamentalists, there is a difference) I know are professionals, and have a “live and let live” attitude. But nevertheless, hard core fundamentalists remain dangerous. It wasn’t that long ago in the U.S. that they burned some “witches” at the stake. And of course we all remember the fun times of the Inquisition. But since the fundamentalists are less than 40% of our population, the only way they can take over would be the apathy of the rest of us. Considering the defeat of Creationists’/ ID attempts to take over school systems here in Kansas and Penn., I have hopes that their power is on the wane and that the rest of us are now keeping a sharper eye on them.

    With the Democrats poised to have control of the Oval office and the Congress, you’ll see a lot more liberal U.S. government for at least four years.

    But who knows, conservatives may serve a useful purpose in a culture. They may be the flywheel that keeps the motor from running away and flying apart.

    Namaste, Dick

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