‘Jesus Camp’ – “America Is Being Born Again” and not in a good way.

jesuscamp

Tory (Victoria 10), Levi (11) and Rachael (9) enter ‘Jesus Camp’ as children but leave it as newly recruited soldiers for the Religious Right.

Their mission; to “take back America for Christ”.

A growing number of evangelical Christians believe that there is a war being fought in their country for the hearts and minds of America’s youth. .

This is a war that aggressive Evangelical Children’s Minister, Pastor Becky Fischer , fully intends to win, as she demands that the children of America to rise up to form an army of young Christian soldiers to once again go fourth and do God’s will.

To this end, Fischer devotes herself to the task of indoctrinating children as young as six, within the confines of a summer camp she established for fundamentalist Christian children, called “Kids on Fire”, with the message that Jesus needs you to fight for him, because “Christian Adults have become too fat and lazy to protect them from the evils of this world”.

By following the activities that take place within Fischer’s camp through the eyes of three of the children targeted by her message, this documentary not only enables viewers to directly see and hear just what these children are being e are exposed too, but also enables us to see the way in which her process of indoctrination both impacts on, and changes the way these children view not just religion, but the world as whole.

Prior to entering the camp, Tory appears to be a fairly normal ten year old girl who likes to dance and listen to Christian music. Yet it’s not long before her views on Christianity are changed as she explains to the camera, whilst at camp, that in her view, there are “churches that are called ‘dead churches”.

These are churches where people sing three songs, listen to a sermon and talk like robots. God is not to be found in such churches.

God only likes to go to churches like hers, where people are jumping up and down and shouting his name.

Apparently, quiet, reflective religious practices are no longer acceptable, as God is only attracted to bouncy people who praise him loudly

By the end of the camp she truly believes that she’s being trained to be a warrior for god.

Levi, the eldest of the children followed, is a friendly 11 years old boy who is home schooled. Neither he nor his family believe in global warming,

They believe, as many on the religious right do, that science isn’t real. It’s merely another belief system and as such, should not be given greater weight in schools than creationism and the teaching of the bible.

Levi is asked to preach to he’s fellow campers and whilst preparing his sermon he claims that god writes the sermon through him and that he can actually feel God’s hand guiding him.

He also believes that whenever he interacts with a non-Christian there’s always something about them that doesn’t seem right and makes his spirit feel ‘really yucky’.

He states that he believes that America is supposed to be gods’ nation but that it’s been twisted by corruption and evil

Rachael, at only nine, is perhaps the most zealous of all the camp attendees. She prays before even doing something as simple and fun as bowling and views every outing as an opportunity to preach to people.

This becomes apparent when, whilst at the bowling alley, she approaches an unknown woman and begins preaching at her, telling her that God wants her to “follow him with her whole heart” and that she approached this particular woman “because god told her too”.

Instead of having a quiet word with his daughter about the dangers of approaching strangers, her father instead praises her for the strength of her faith and calls her a ‘medium’.

She admits that she dreams of becoming a nail technician so that she can use her nail painting skills to hold people’s hands and preach to them.

In other words, her idea of a perfect audience is a captive and unsuspecting one.

Rachel’s thinking appears to be highly reflective of the themes she’s experienced whilst at camp.

Inside the Camp

On the first day of the camp itself, we find Pastor Fischer preaching:

“This is a sick old world so let’s just fix it. Kids you need to change things. We’ve got too many Christian adults who are fat and lazy. They don’t want to do anything. Do you know Muslims train their children from the time they are five years old, to fast during the month of Ramadan.”—said with mock awe.

When the kids don’t respond with appropriate awe, they are told “listen, we hold the keys. We can change the world. Boys and girls can change the world. I need you to get serious with god. To say god I’m here to be trained. “

And this is the reasoning behind Pastor Fisher’s words:

“Our enemies are putting their focus onto the kids. They’re going into the schools. You go into Palestine and they’re putting hand grenades in their kid’s hands and they’re teaching them how to put on bomb belts. They’re teaching them how to use rifles; they’re teaching them how to use machine guns.

It’s no wonder, that with that kind of intense training and decipling that those young people are ready to kill themselves for the cause of Islam.

I want to see young people as radically laying down their lives for the gospel as they are over in Pakistan and Israel and Palestine and all those different places because, excuse me, but we have the truth.”

“We have to stand up and take back the land”.

She also says that “kids are so useable in Christianity because one third of the world’s population are children under the age of 15.”

She believes that George Bush has rekindled America’s faith in Christianity via his own faith because he is telling schools that they should still be teaching creationism. (Please. Has she not read how many dodgy corporations this man and his family are involved in?)

Seriously, she reminds me of Abby Lee Miller from Dance Moms. She’s demanding and tough and big on the hard sell when it comes to promoting her camps.

She prepares for preaching in much the same way that Abby prepares for competitions.

She begins the camp by stepping into her makeshift pulpit and asking her camp congregation “what do you guys think of the hair, the nails, the eyebrows and the rest of me?”

Immediately after providing this display of vanity, Fischer then explains to her congregation that the devil is hunting them, even as children, and that sin is designed to destroy them.

She warns them that:

“The devil goes after the young, those that cannot fend for themselves”.

And how does he do this?

According to Fischer, the devil is attacking children via Harry potter.

“Warlocks” she declares, “are the enemies of god, and had Harry Potter have been in the Old Testament, he would have been put to death.” Poor harry.

One child later admits to his small circle of friends, that he watches Harry Potter movies at his dad’s house, because his mum won’t let him watch them at home.

The response he receives from those around him is a shocked silence, complete with nervous eyes flicking in all directions.

Ghost stories are out of bounds too as they don’t honor god. But hang on, wasn’t Jesus kind of a ghost when he rose again and don’t they say the father, the son and the Holy Ghost?

In Fischer’s next sermon, she tells the kids that they are phonies and hypocrites because they go to church but then they talk dirty with their friends and that they need to come up to her and get washed clean of their sins with the bottle of normal drinking water she’s holding in her hands.

Kids immediately start bowing their heads, falling to the floor and crying in response to her accusations that they are “phonies”.

This goes on for quite some time and the kids look completely demoralized and traumatized by the prospect of having to step forward to have their hands cleaned, because as young as they are, they realize that the act of stepping forward is, in and of itself, an admission of guilt.

And not step forward would make them guilty of deceit.

One poor kid sits on stage with a microphone and tells the entire camp that sometimes he doesn’t even believe what the bible says and that makes him a “faker” and a “phony” and that he feels really bad about that.

All the other kids watch him with anxious eyes, no doubt hoping that they won’t be required to confess their hypocrisy aloud as well.

It’s like some form of bizarre mind control. She suggests it and they immediately feel it.

At one point another preacher places a life sized cardboard cut-out of George Bush on the stage and begins to talk to the cut out as if it were real and encourages the kids to pray over the cut-out and to use their prayers to fill Bush with god’s spirit.

“One nation under god”, they shout at him.

Yet another preacher takes the stage and starts telling all of the children that over 50 million babies have been cut out of their mother’s womb s and aborted.

He then says:-

“Do you know that a third of your friends couldn’t be here tonight, because, they never made it”.

As the ramifications of his words hit home the children are handed out tiny dolls that represent foetuses at 5 weeks, 7 weeks and so on.

He then challenges the children to become a part of the anti-abortion movement, which of course they accept, clapping once again and screaming yes.

As the camera pans back out, some young children are now sitting with pieces of red tape plastered across their mouths with the word “life” written on them.

The preacher then places even more red tape over the mouths of over children as he fills them with the horror of the devil’s plan to kill unborn children.

And now of course he tells them that the courts too are corrupt, (but not because they let rapists and murders walk free, but) because they allow a woman to choose her own biological destiny.

The end result is once again children crying, begging for an end to abortion, commanding the devil to leave those unborn children alone and ends with a close up of Rachael, tears streaming down her face, gripping a microphone for dear life and crying while she chants, “no more, no more, no more”.

But does she mean no more abortion or simply no more of having to be exposed to the disgusting thoughts, feelings and distress that this preacher has incited within her?

Remember she is only nine years old.

During the camp the kids are all told that they are soldiers for Christ and asked how many of them want to be one of those who would give up their lives for Jesus?

The response is clapping and cheering, hand raising and affirmations” I do, I want to give up my life for Jesus.

A male preacher states that they are going to break the power of the enemy over government. That’s right, government isn’t corrupt due to the many back door deals that it does, no, and it’s corrupt for removing prayer from their schools.

America now has a corrupt government and that god wants that government to be replaced by a good godly government who will reinstate prayers and the teaching of creations, whilst doing away with science all together, as well as abortion and declaring war on all non-Christians and punishing them accordingly.

I presume that “punishing them accordingly” means death.

Once again this is followed by images of kids in tears and distress while the adults preach war and vengeance at them.

Fischer later declares:

“This means war. Are you apart of it or not?”

Ah……………….not.

I don’t believe that there will ever be any true fairness in the world while some people are choosing to raise their children to be fearful of those who are different from them in any way, whilst enabling them to be arrogant enough to believe, even at the age of 9, that they know everything and that any adult who disagrees with them must automatically be an agent of the devil, who needs to be wiped off the face of this earth.

Nor will I ever believe that one group of people should ever have the right to rule over and dictate to all others how things should be done.

Not to mention that I found it very disturbing to see such small children being spoken to about issues as complex as abortion, war and corruption, in such a simplistic and biased way.

I’m pro-choice.

Pro-gender equality.

Pro- marriage equality.

I’m also anti- child abuse in all of its forms, including psychological abuse.

If this is the future of America, then……

I’m sure you can finish the rest of that sentence yourself and when you do, you might also want to also consider just what form that help might take.

Let’s hope that God is not a fan of Evangelical teaching.

Like many others, if I had to try and classify this film in terms of genre, I’d have to agree that it’s more of a horror story, than a hopeful story.

Related Reviews

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/jesus_camp/

http://www.cinemablend.com/reviews/Jesus-Camp-1816.html

http://www.relevantmagazine.com/culture/film/reviews/3421-review-jesus-camp

Australia The land of the Young, White, Able Bodied, Heterosexual, Male, Fair Go…..

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The question of “Australian Identity” reared its head again this week (as it so often has a remarkable tendency to do whenever this nation gets within spitting distance of an election).

At first, due to my overwhelming cynicism of all such notions hoisted  up on behalf of nationalism, I summarily dismissed the question.

However upon reflection, I think this time around, it might just be a question well worth asking.

Though not in terms of assessing what the average Aussie now looks like but rather in terms of assessing Australia’s mythologizing of the ‘Fair Go Spirit’.

So can Australia, through the lens of identity, really be seen as the land of the iconic “Fair Go”?

I have a rather unsettling suspicion the answer to this question might just be no.

If you look at the Australian response to illegal refugee’s (AKA ‘Boat People’) the answer would most definitely have to be a resounding no to the idea of a ‘Fair Go’.

There has been a rather concerning lack of ‘fairness’ shown toward those who arrive on our shores without the benefit of that all-important small piece of paper known as a valid passport.

So being Australian today, if you believe the political spin, now includes holding a rather alarming propensity for locking asylum seekers away.

Another Australian propensity related to this revolves around the broader issue of racism.

Apparently Australians today are a racist bunch and indeed if you were only to look at Australia’s policy driven responses to Indigenous Affairs, you would undoubtedly see clear evidence of this.

Australia’s history of  ‘Intervention’ in Indigenous Affairs is a rather sad and sorry one. Consisting of one human rights violations (such as the “Stolen Generation”) on top of another..

So far, the notion of the Australian ‘Fair Go’, in terms of identity, only applies to those who are born white and non-Indigenous in this country.

The Australian identity (well at least our political one) is also  homophobic too.

If you look at the political stance that Australia’s leaders have taken over  Gar Marriage, you could also add the denial of the right to marry the one you love, to the list of  human rights violations occurring in this country.

In terms of identity, the ‘Fair Go’ spirit does not seem to apply to those born elsewhere or born of a different race (ethnicity), nor to those born with a different sexual orientation.

But wait…. There’s more……

If you are an Australian with a disability or the parent of an Australian with a disability, guess what?  Apparently you are excluded from the notion of a ‘Fair Go’ too.

The recent political ‘push through’ of the National Disability Insurance Scheme in Australia (NDIS) is not what many within the disability community had hoped it would be.

Nor can the NDIS even be seen to be, at this point time, as providing a solid promise toward making the lives of those with disabilities ‘fairer’.

So far all it has done is make those agencies who provide disability support workers, richer and quite frankly, that’s about it.

The quality of care has not increased even thought the amount of money being thrown at organizations who provide said care, has.

As the parent of a young adult with a disability I can tell you that there is absolutely nothing even remotely  ‘Fair Go-ish’ about the way this country both treats and regards those with disabilities.

So far the concept of a ‘Fair Go’ only applies to those who identify as white, born in this country but not of Indigenous or any other ethnic descent  and who are entirely heterosexual and also not at all disabled.

And then there’s the unemployed whom have been quite vocal of late in airing their grievances over the fact that unemployment benefits haven’t risen for the last 20 years despite the constant leaps and bounds in inflation.

Of course I should also add the elderly and those who work as unpaid familial carer’s, to the ever growing list of those whose identities, are no longer experiencing the much mythologized Aussie Fair Go.

Ok, I will. So here we go…..

Identities that don’t qualify for the Australian ‘Fair Go’ experience are those who are Indigenous or of any other ethnicity, not born in Australia, homosexual, disabled, elderly or work in the care giving industry and those who are unemployed.

Qualifiers for the Aussie ‘Fair Go’ experience are those who are white, born in Australia with not too much ethnicity, heterosexual, able bodied, young, workers.

I really should also add the growing, (not shrinking), lack of equal pay being experienced by Australian women  in terms of wages and job security in this country.

One more time….

Those who qualify for the Aussie ‘Fair Go’ are……..

-White,

-Non-Indigenous

-Australian Born

-Young,

-Heterosexual,

Able Bodied,

-Male

-Workers.

Sounds like a capitalists dream workforce really……. Oh wait

Those who do not qualify for the Aussie ‘Fair Go’ experience are those who are……..

-Indigenous

-Any other ethnicity

-Not born here,

-Aged,

-Gay,

-Female,

Disabled,

-Familial Carers

Unemployed

Makes me wonder just how much of the Australian population there is left for politicians to marginalize?

So what do all of the potential leaders of the Liberal Party worried about?

Well, clearly they fear that an elderly, disabled, gay, unemployed, refugee seeking female, on a boat may be coming their way.

Related articles

‘Wool’ – If the lies don’t kill you, the truth will. A novel by Hugh Howey

wool howey

What are the rules and beliefs that knit a society together?

What are the commonalities that enable people of different social status’ to successfully coexist with one another, even when stacked in tightly like wheat, one atop the other, and knotted irrevocably into place like rows of wool, that ultimately serve to both shape and create a functioning whole.

Would the continued existence of such a society, even 150 years after it began, be viewed as being purely the result of its creator’s wisdom, or would the dedication shown by those few who continue to serve to maintain the social order of such a society be entitled to take some of the credit?

What if those dedicated few had made up some new rules of their own?

Rules that proved themselves to be useful, even though being somewhat contradictory in nature, to the original design?

What would happen if the unspoken beliefs that once encouraged people to follow the rules were being slowly eroded away by the contradictions contained within them?

Would such a society begin to fray and unravel?

How could such a gradual disintegration of faith ever be stopped?

And if it weren’t stopped, would each row, or strata of society, simply take it’s turn at falling away, to the detriment of those above them?

If so, how far would those above them go, to retain order?

Hugh Howey’s post-apocalyptic novel ,‘Wool’, examines the way in which society uses the construct of religion both to underpin and play on, our collective notions of duty and sense of obligation to ensure the survival of future generations, regardless of the current costs to ourselves .

Through the voices of 3 strong female characters, who each take their turn at questioning the way of things, Howey exposes how those in power, manipulate religious thought, in order to ensure that whatever rules they decree to be necessary, are taken on board by the masses willingly.

No matter how contradictory such decrees may be when examined more deeply.

Such is life for the inhabitants of silo 18.

A collective of people all living their lives within a silo that burrows its way down 140 floors deep beneath the earth, built just before some long ago catastrophe had rendered the earth’s surface uninhabitable .

Just what catastrophe had taken place and why, remains a mystery to many within the silo as they’ve been there so long that many of them hold no memory of the why’s and wherefores of how the silo came to be.

This is the very mystery that Howey’s characters set out to solve as they try to discover the truth or their existence, each challenging in their own ways, the precepts of their beliefs about their world, and the rules within it, to which they’ve grown accustom.

“The silo was something [they’d] always taken for granted. The priests said it had always been here, that it was lovingly created by a caring God that everything they would ever need had been provided.”

Yet if this were truly so, then why do so many of its inhabitants dream of once again being able to live a life in the outside world, free of the restrictions of the silo?

Why do so many of them cling to the “broken fragments, unearthed in each of their sleeping minds that suggests: we weren’t supposed to live like this”?

Why is it considered an act of treason for anyone to even so much as utter a single word about the outside world, when the silo has several external cameras attached to its roof, that continually show its inhabitants the outside world, with all of its sunrises, sunsets, and sand storms that require each camera’s lens to be cleaned on a regular basis, if speaking of the outside world is deemed a crime?

The act of “cleaning “the camera’s, even though it carries with it an automatic death sentence, as no one ever survives the toxic surface long enough to make it back inside the silo safely, is revered as being both “the highest law and the deepest religion” of the silo’s inhabitants.

Despite this, it is only ever those who have been deemed criminals due to one form of transgression or another, that are ever sent outside to perform this most holy of duties.

Slowly a revolution of thought begins as many begin to observe the truth that:

“Breaking the rules means we.. die… obeying them means we all suffer”.

And still others begin to wonder:

“What God would make so much rock below and air above and just a…measly silo” below?

What kind of God indeed?

And why are people being held within a metal contraption that was designed to safely store excess seed as a buffer against future bad crops?

 Even good seeds, when stored away for too long a time, will eventually become thick with mould and rot.

But people aren’t seeds and before long the idea of mutiny hangs darkly in the air, as long-held truths begin to be exposed to the light of doubt and some of the inhabitants of the silo begin to take action.

But have they awoken to the truth of their situation far too late to change their fate?

Is their awakening the beginning of the end or the end of the beginning for the people in silo 18?

Find out in Hugh Howey’s next book in the series “Shift”.

Are all Men Pedophiles?

Are_All_Men_Pedophiles_Correct_Poster

This is the question posed by Jan Willem Breure in a 60 minute piece of propaganda documentary which attempts to persuade viewers that an adult male’s level of increased sexual attraction toward much younger female’s, is an evolutionary and therefore natural process that all adult males experience.

This documentary states, that from an evolutionary perspective, it has been preferable for older males to find much younger females (teens and tweens) sexually attractive because their appearances indicate to men, that on some primal level ,that young and developing girls are at their prime breeding age.

Hence forth the older male should be excused for having lustful thoughts and feelings towards teenage girls as they are only obeying their primal instincts by doing so.

The makers of this documentary then take this particular line of rational despicably one step further by making the claim that it’s also a natural evolutionary and biological process for younger females (teens and tweens) to deliberately seek out and desire the sexual attention of older males.

As evidence of this they cite the rising levels of young girls taking naked or sexually suggestive “selfies” and sending them to boys or posting them online to garner male attention.

They then state that across globe “there is no standard definition for pedophilia because the world cannot agree on the legal definition of the age of consent. The legal age at which a heterosexual person is considered legal for sexual acts varies from nine years to twenty years.”

Due to the lack of legal agreement as to the age of consent, the presumption is them made that the age at which one is considered to be an adult, in western countries, is an arbitrary one that is based more on the needs of our economic and educational systems, than it is based on a young person’s actual levels of physical and mental maturity.

Thus, because girls mature physically faster than males of their own age, they are also presumed to mature mentally and sexually faster as well.

So fast in fact that under age girls are (supposedly) routinely seeking out and willingly engaging in sexual encounters with much older men.

Given that the film makers have already argued that the age at which one becomes viewed as an adult is an ineffective and economically arbitrary one, the sick argument then follows that, if a girl is physically developed, regardless of her biological age, she should also be considered mentally mature enough to legally have sex.

In other words, if her breasts are developing and she’s begun menstruating, then a girl should effectively be considered an adult who is fair game able to engage in sex with older men.

In a further attempt to normalize pedophilia the documentary makers repeatedly make the assertion that the sexual actions that we consider to be acts of pedophilia are instead acts of Hebophilia which is defined as the state of adults being sexually attracted to adolescent children.

In this case an adolescent is described as a child between the ages of 12 to 16 years of age.

As opposed to pedophilia which is defined as an attraction to pre-pubescent children (12 years or younger)

Hebophilia, they argue, should be seen as something that is perfectly normal as it serves an evolutionary purpose and therefore should be accepted and if not legalized, then understood by society to be a lesser crime than that of pedophilia.

In order to further bolster this claim they then introduce the few cases of hebophilia around the world that have involved older women, usually teachers, engaging in consensual sexual acts with teenage males.

As if this fact somehow creates a level of predatory equality.

At no point within this documentary do they make the point that the vast majority of hebophilia is committed by males and that acts of pedophilia, sexual acts committed against children under the age of 12, are exclusively committed by males.

Only once do they mention the sea of damage and devastation caused to the many victims of pedophilia who are by no means willing participants in the process of their sexual abuse.

They do their best to make it sound as if all acts of hebophilia between younger women and older males are consensual acts, when in point of fact, statistically they are not.

Only once in this documentary is the word ‘rape’ mentioned and even then it’s only as a sound bite within a broader conversation.

They also fail to address the incredibly wide age range wherein acts of hebophilia, the kind of pedophilia that they say is okay and should be made forgivable, occur.

It’s one thing to claim that a 16-year-old gave her consent to engaging in a sexual encounter with an older male but another thing entirely to try and make that same claim regarding a 13-year-old child.

On the whole I’d have to say that this documentary sickened me to my very core and left me even more concerned for a world that could produce a documentary that seeks to promote and defend pedophilia / hebophilia in such way.

As much as I despised the messages contained within this documentary I think it’s worth making others aware of the kind of illogical bias and propaganda that those who are willing to defend pedophilia are spouting.

Related Materials

“Are All Men Pedophiles Correct Poster” by Source (WP:NFCC#4). Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki

http://freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/2012/05/13/are-all-men-pedophiles/

http://www.amazon.com/Are-All-Pedophiles-Dick-Swaab/product-reviews/B00EX6UHPA

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/are_all_men_pedophiles/

From Slaughterhouses to Serial Killers

A few days ago I watched a documentary called “Earthlings” (which you can find of a review of here earthlings-a-documentary-not-for-the-faint-hearted/ ) which detailed the disturbingly inhumane ways in which animals in slaughterhouses are being killed for their meat.

The documentary is filled with graphic footage of cattle being shot in the head with bolts, (which don’t actually kill them) and hung upside down on great metal machines by one hoof so that their necks can be more easily sliced open by the slaughter-men, who, if the cattle don’t die quickly enough for their liking, stab them in the heart and then reach in and pull the animals entire trachea out of their bodies, whilst the animals are still alive.

Gasping for air they kick so hard with their legs, even with their trachea’s dangling down, that they actually managed to free themselves of the giant metal machines holding them upside down, only to land on a hard, blood soaked concrete floor and suffer the further harm of being kicked in the head and stabbed multiple times until they finally die.

As I watched this I couldn’t help but wonder what kind of person would choose to work in a place where they torture and kill not just one animal but hundreds of animals, day in day out, week in week out, as if it were nothing?

I also couldn’t help but notice, that without fail, all of the people shown working in jobs that involved active killing were male.

It didn’t even really seem to matter whether the killing was occurring in India, Japan, America, Mexico, Cuba, Australia, Indonesia, Canada, England or even what species of animal was being slaughtered or why.

The workers were all male.

(That’s not to say that there aren’t any females actively working in slaughterhouses, but if there are, they aren’t in the documentary).

This gender anomaly led me to wonder whether or not the lack of women in that kind of work place is a reflection of social and cultural norms towards killing  being seen as “men’s work “ or if males for some reason do genuinely hold a greater propensity toward being attracted to jobs that involve inflicting pain and killing.

I know that I wouldn’t be attracted to doing a job like that even if there were a million dollars waiting for me at the end of every week and I doubt that any of my female friends would even be tempted either.

But here’s the weird thing about it all:

The men working in the slaughterhouses, most of the time, weren’t even getting paid a decent wage, let alone an extravagant one..

So they weren’t doing it for the money.

And most of them were also regularly getting sick due to bacterial contamination from blood and fecal matter.

So, if men are not doing jobs like this because they offer greater money, and are instead actually getting physically ill from doing them, then why are they doing them?

Could it possibly be that some of them actually like it?

With the vision of that documentary clearly still fresh in mind, today I began reading a book called “Predators – killers without a conscience” by Howard and Wilson, which sets out to examine why serial killers kill and  to explore what parts social and/or psychological issues may play in it all

Within reading the first few pages of this book I was instantly struck by two very clear similarities that seem to somehow flow, eerily neatly, between the documentary and the book, even though they are both about very different subject matters.

Firstly there’s a striking similarity between the ways in which the serial killers in the book choose to kill their victims and the ways in which animals in slaughterhouses are killed.

The book quite literally contains page after page of men rendering their victims immobile while stabbing, raping, strangling, mutilating and cutting the throats of not just women but also children and all , so the authors believe, for their own “male sexual gratification”.

Here are just a few examples that almost mirror in places, the acts of violence that were perpetrated against the cattle in the slaughterhouse.

Trigger warning, if you have a sensitivity towards violence please do not read the following quotes.

“She was hog-tied on the ground. I walked around to her left side and I cut her throat two or three times…but she just started thrashing around on the ground. She was trying to scream but nothing was coming out. I kicked her and put my foot on her to keep her still. It didn’t work so I stabbed her in the throat again. I aimed and stabbed at the hard thing (her windpipe) in her neck. I pushed the knife all the way in but she still wouldn’t keep still so I worked out where the heart would be and I stabbed her on the left side of the chest. She still didn’t stop moving so I stabbed her in the chest again. I needed two hands to get through her chest. She kept moving so I kicked her in the head a couple of times. She still kept moving but she was slowing down. I waited.” (Confession of a man who raped and murdered a 16-year-old girl quoted directly from “Predators – killers without a conscience”).

“He dragged the girl’s dying body…blood still dripping from the wound in her throat…then cut the crotch out of her swimmers and raped her dying body”.(murder and rape of a 15-year-old girl quoted directly from “Predators – killers without a conscience”)

“The killer drove her to a secluded area where he sexually abused her, using a knife to inflict horrific injuries on the girl’s body, before disembowelling her while she was still alive.” (murder and rape of a 12-year-old girl quoted directly from “Predators – killers without a conscience”).

““The killer tortured and mutilated his body. As his killer sliced away … he died a slow suffocating death. The killer cut the boys throat.” (3-year-old boy, abducted and murdered quoted directly from “Predators – killers without a conscience”).

Time and time again the authors report that all pleas for mercy were met with the same callous and cold refusal by the killers to even recognize their victims as human beings.

The second similarity between the documentary and the book is the fact that 99% of all the serial killers, not just mentioned in the book, but also statistically, are indeed male.

In the entire book there are only two women listed and of the two, one was an accomplice to her partners crimes and didn’t kill anyone and the other was an horrendously abused woman herself with clear psychological issues who, unfortunately for her and perhaps because she was already psychologically vulnerable, became romantically entangled with a man who was already a serial killer.

So, as of now, I’ll be staying well and truly clear of anyone who works in a slaughterhouse.

Let me know whether or not you think there may be a valid connection between the two.

Related Reviews

https://vultureculture2016.wordpress.com/2016/01/20/predators-killers-without-a-conscience/

http://www.amazon.com/Predators-Killers-Without-Conscience-Amanda-Howard-ebook/dp/B005PSUOHQ

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0358456/reviews

http://www.nomeatathlete.com/earthlings/

Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God

Mea_Maxima_Culpa_-_Silence_in_the_House_of_God_posterImagine trying to fight for justice against a corrupt and abusive system when you literally have no voice to use to get your message across.

This is exactly the position that four deaf men, Terry Kohut, Gary Smith, Pat Kuehn and Arthur Budzinski, found themselves in as they courageously struggled to free themselves from the atrocities of the past by warning others of the dangerous sexual predator lurking within their midst.

With the help of documentary film maker Alex Gibney, these four men, Terry Kohut, Gary Smith, Pat Kuehn and Arthur Budzinski, bring to life and expose the secret crimes of Father Lawrence Murphy, who abused more than 200 deaf children during his tenure as the head priest of St Johns school for deaf children.

To many people, Father Murphy appeared to be both a caring and charismatic priest, whose fluent ability with sign language made him the perfect choice to run St Johns.

Yet to the boys of St Johns he was little more than a sexual predator, a wolf who would stalk their dormitories in the dead of the night, looking for the most vulnerable of their kin to abuse.

Often he would seek out those boys whose hearing parents refused to learn how to communicate directly with their children by learning sign language themselves.

This left the children he abused entirely at his mercy as they were unable to tell their parents or anyone else outside of the realms of the catholic school, about his constant abuse.

Despite each of them graduating from the school and doing their best to move on with their lives as adults, Terry, Gary, Pat and Arthur found that their common experiences of being abused at the hands of Father Murphy reunited them.

Only this time, instead of being afraid or unable to speak out, those same childhood experiences galvanized them into taking whatever action they could to make their community members aware that Father Murphy, who still ran the school for the deaf, wasn’t the godly leader he represented himself to be, but was instead a sexual predator who’d been lurking within their small community for decades.

Their campaign for the awareness of his abuses began with them making leaflets outing him as a child molester and placing them on the windscreen’s of cars parked around Murphy’s church.

Their actions became the first ever known case of a public protest to be held against clerical sex abuse.

The sex scandal they exposed within the Catholic Church later became known as the ‘Murphy Case.

As the documentary unfolds Gibney brings in the testimony of a former priest Father Sipes who had been conducting a 20 year study into the issues of sexuality and sexual abuse within the Catholic Church.

Sipes states that in his experience and understandings of the way in which the church conducts itself that:

“The system of the Catholic Church selects, cultivates, protects, defends and produces sexual abusers”.

In fact, the problem of priests sexually abusing their congregations had become so bad, that by the 1960’s, long before any of their acts of barbarity were ever known to the broader public, the Catholic Church had itself, set up numerous secret ‘treatment centers’ for them.

An offending priest would be sent to one of these centers for a month and then be sent right back to his ever trusting flock who would be none the wiser as to where he’d been or why.

Once it became obvious that the ‘treatment centers’ were futile, the process of musical diocese began, during which time a pedophile priest, once caught, would be shipped off to another parish, to begin his debauchery anew with a fresh set of innocence at his feet.

This is a practice that continues today and it is a practice that men like Cardinal Ratzinger, who later went on to become Pope Benedict XVI, knew only too well.

According to Sipes, long before Cardinal Ratzinger became pope, he’d previously been in charge of reviewing and responding too, (hushing up) all reports of child sexual abuse by Catholic Priests from across the globe.

It may well have been under his decree that the game of musical priest first began.

Although this is a speculation that we’ll never know for certain, however, merely knowing what Pope Benedict’s former role within the Vatican actually was, definitely adds a whole new perspective as to why it was that he chose to become the first Pope in history to step down from papacy.

After all, his abdication occurred not long after the issue of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church first came to the public’s attention.

It certainly gives one pause for thought.

In fact, the entire power of this documentary lies within its ability to go beyond revealing the previously unacknowledged and mercenary practices of priests like Murphy’s abuse of deaf children under the catholic church system, by creating such an enormous pause for thought, due to the painfully honest testimonies of Terry, Gary, Pat and Arthur, that it completely strips away any possibility of defending the actions of priests like Murphy, who prey on vulnerable children.

The testimonies of these men leave absolutely no room what so ever for either the church or its lawyers to continue to cling to the erroneous belief that good intentions purify bad behaviour, all so known as “Noble Cause Corruption.”

It is has been this unyielding belief in “Noble Cause Corruption” that has allowed the catholic church to constantly insist that every act of atrocity committed by its priests be kept in house, covered up or paid off.

It has also been the precept behind its refusal to allow outside authority figures, such as the police, to have any involvement within such matters, as they believe that what they are doing is for the greater good, therefore any crimes they commit while serving the greater good are not just made null and void under god’s laws, but in much the same way that Jesus was said to turn water into wine, their acts of sexual abuse are transformed from being crimes into being acts of service.

They don’t need to have a mortal judge telling them what’s right and wrong when god’s already purified their actions.

Such a belief system only lend weight to Sipes assertions that the Church itself has become little more than both a breeding ground and playground for sexual predators who flourish under its protection.

There is little doubt that men such as Terry Kohut, Gary Smith, Pat Kuehn and Arthur Budzinski, whose refusal to be silenced, ignored, marginalize and subjugated by the deceitful machinations of the Catholic Church and Father Murphy, but who instead chose to stand up and be counted by saying NO to the enforced silence that surrounded them as children, have saved many vulnerable children from enduring the same fate.

I thank them for speaking/signing their truths.

The whole world can hear you now.

Related Reviews:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Mea_Maxima_Culpa_-_Silence_in_the_House_of_God_poster.jpg#/media/File:Mea_Maxima_Culpa_-_Silence_in_the_House_of_God_poster.jpg

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2111478/

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/mea_maxima_culpa_silence_in_the_house_of_god/

Mutually Insured Insanity

Long ago, insurance was predominantly viewed as being a stop gap measure that was designed to cover you financially should disaster strike you.

As with most things back in the way back when, taking out insurance on one’s property was a luxury that only the rich could afford.

As such it both gave them a weapon to use against the honest and the poor whilst at the same time providing many with the means that would eventually make them targets.

But what about today?

Supposedly insurance is now something that everyone who owns anything should be able to afford.

That’s what we’re told right?

After all, what’s the point of owning a nice car, a nice home or even a nice laptop if you can’t afford to insure it against its potential loss?

I mean really, what on earth would you do if your car was stolen or trashed and it wasn’t insured?

Or worse still, what would you do if a hurricane or a raging flood engulfed your home and you weren’t insured?

Chances are you’d probably be in a right mess, as would we all, if such things were to happen to us.

Yet the truth is, that the chances of any of those things actually happening to us in our lifetimes, are fairly small.

That is unless of course you’ve chosen to buy, build or rent a house in an area that’s known to be prone to such disastrous occurrences.

In which case taking out insurance to cover such risky behavior on your part would seem to be the only fair and reasonable thing to do.

Or so we are told.

But what if it’s not the only fair and reasonable thing to do?

What if the actually fair and reasonable thing to do would be to choose not to take such risks by choosing not to build, buy or rent in areas that are prone to natural disasters?

Wouldn’t that make more sense?

So what if we only believe that such risks are reasonable simply because it’s what insurance companies, the people who make money out of our risk taking behaviors, want us to accept and believe in order to guarantee that we’ll keep doing it?

The insurance industry, over the last 4 decades, has become a n auto exacerbating entity in its own right.

As such, it’s key area of interest lies solely in perpetuating its own areas of growth and profits.

Insurance companies are not genuinely interested in making sure that we as individuals are covered against any and all future financial losses.

If they were, well then, we may as well call them charities.

Because that’s basically what they’d have to be if their main area of interest lay in preventing us from becoming destitute due to misfortune or unforseen circumstances, whilst not turning a healthy profit by doing so.

But they’re not charities.

They’re businesses.

And like all businesses they’re sole aim is to make as much profit as they possibly can out of their customers.

They do this by engendering the sense of fear within us that something unforseen might happen to us.

That someone might steal our car, break into our homes, or that we ourselves may be struck by lightning, another person’s car, a truck, a bus or just pure bad luck.

Via this fear mongering they encourage us to insure more and more items with them for more and more money.

And as we do so our premiums go up and up and up, right alongside our access fees.

But does anyone ever stop to ask whether or not any of this is even feasible, let alone sensible?

Does anyone ever stop to consider the fact that, barring natural disasters, crimes are committed by other real life people and that for many criminals, the fact that the owners of whatever item is stolen or damaged is probably insured, provides the very rational for targeting those people or items in the first place?

From small crimes like shop lifting:

                “Hey the stores are insured so it’s no skin off their nose if a few items go missing here and there.”

To larger crimes like robbing banks:

                “The money’s insured so what does it matter. It’s not like they’re actually going to lose anything.”

Or far more heinous crimes like kidnapping and ransom:

                “They’re rich. They’re insurance company will payout. ”

All provide classic examples of the way in which our societies thinking processes have been altered by the mere idea, let alone the actualization, of insurance.

So pervasive has the role of insurance become within our society that even genuine accidents, such as small fender benders, are now being treated with the gravity of a life and death situation, in which the person with the biggest insurance company wins.

No longer is it even an option for the parties involved in ‘fender benders’ to even try to talk directly to each other to sort out the quickest and most cost effective way for one to make reparations to the other.

Instead such things now involve the swapping of insurance company details and any notion that the real life people involved might actually be able to resolve such accidents themselves faster, cheaper and easier, without ever getting insurance companies involved seems to have gone completely out the window.

And heaven help you if you are an uninsured driver who’s involved in a ‘fender bender’ as the other person’s insurance company will see to it that you are taken to the cleaners and charged for every little thing they can possibly think to charge you for, including encouraging their client to use a hire car whilst awaiting repairs, simply for the sake of making their client believe they are getting their money’s worth from their insurer, when no such undue expense is either warranted or required.

Yet the insurance company isn’t the one paying the bill for all of these things.

The other driver is.

All the insurance company does in such situations is simply add on the cost of their substantial fees for doing nothing more than sending the other driver the bill.

Seriously, just think about it.

The insured driver is the person who drives the car to the repair shop of their choice.

They pick out their choice of hire car.

They return their hire car and collect their repaired car.

The insurance company quite literally does nothing at all within this entire process other than send out a bill.

It pays out no money what so ever to its client, yet retains the premiums paid, plus the access fee, plus then maintains the right to charge their client a higher premium simply because they’ve made a claim for which the insurance company paid no money out on.

So the insurance company makes a tidy profit for doing nothing much at all.

Just think that over for a few seconds and you may be able to see how honest people, who do take responsibility for their actions in such situations, are fundamentally being double billed for their honesty by an insurance company that’s done nothing but encourage their client to get the most expensive repair job possible and waste money on an unnecessary hire car in the process.

It’s a wonder anyone ever dares own an uninsured vehicle and I’m sure, given enough time, the act of doing so will eventually become illegal.

The point of all this is to highlight the ways in which insurance companies are changing the face of our society.

Now, not only do we live in a world in which we are constantly being told that we should strive to own a nice car, a nice home and have nice possessions, but that once we achieve these things we should also live in the perpetual fear of someone taking these nice things away from us.

Hence we should pay continuously to hedge our bets against such things happening to us, despite the fact that the very people who are making life so expensive and unpredictable for us are the same ones who are insuring that life is so.

How does this even make sense to anyone?

What’s the point of striving for the biggest and the best if all its doing is leading us to a place of fear and loathing once we achieve our goals?

Wouldn’t it have made more sense for us to have been directed instead toward striving to become a generation of decent people living in a world surrounded by other decent people?

Yet, all the insurance industry has done is made it possible for us to continuously believe the worst of other people.

To fear them to such a point that we feel that we have to pay money to cover the many potential “what if” scenarios that they throw at us daily.

To me, this is the very definition of mutually insured insanity and I for one am tired of being told that I don’t live in a world where I can trust others to do the right thing.

Thanks to insurance companies, we’ll never really know if people are capable of doing the right thing anymore.

Because their very existence both underpins and perpetuates the idea that people are no longer capable of doing the right thing.

In fact, according to them, people have become so incapable of doing the right thing that we are now required to pay money, year after year, to faceless corporations who take that money knowing full well that the chances of anything really catastrophic happening to us is slim to none.

We can’t insure ourselves against life.

All though I’m sure that at some point in time we’ll be encouraged to try doing just that.

After all, they’ve already got death covered now haven’t they?