By: R. Murray-o'hair Re: Easter S+M RELIGIOUS SADOMASOCHISM IN CAMDEN by Conrad Goeringer

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By: R. Murray-o'hair Re: Easter S&M RELIGIOUS SADOMASOCHISM IN CAMDEN by Conrad Goeringer In much of the popular imagination, Easter is depicted as a time of celebration. People dress up in their "good clothes" and head to church to celebrate the ostensible rise-from-the-dead of the Christian god-man, one Jesus Christ. The legend probably dates back to prehistory, when celestial events such as the gradual lengthening of the day or the appearance of certain stars or planets in the sky heralded the planting season, the rebirth of nature from the "death" of winter. Pagan ritual celebrated Astarte, the Goddess of Spring; ironically, the Christian church had to fix the exact date of their version, Easter, according to the phases of the moon. One remnant of this fertility worship carries over today in the form of Easter eggs and the symbolism of the rabbit. But Easter is more than just Sunday dress, spring and kids receiving baskets. Even in the industrialized 20th century, the dark undercurrent of this celebration still asserts itself with continued emphasis on the "suffering" and torture of the mythical Jesus. In the Phillippines, for instance, there are multiple crucifixions where supplicants actually have nails driven into their arms and legs as an act of piety. The emphasis on "Good Friday," with its debasing theme of mindless self-sacrifice and torture still occupies the thoughts of many religious. Camden, New Jersey is a town that has enough suffering without Jesus Christ showing up. The murder rate is among the highest in the nation, and there are severe problems in maintaining basic municipal services. The tax base has eroded, industry and services have left the city, and the area is known widely for its drug-related gang violence. But last Friday, Camden witnessed a sadomasochist ritual that according to news reports made even the junkies and drug dealers break down. A local Roman Catholic Church actually staged a one-mile procession through the city streets which reenacted the supposed march of Christ on the way to his crucifixion. A parish youth counselor played the role of JC so seriously that he was bruising his knee each time he collapsed as part of the orchestration. We're told, "he suffered real scrapes under the lashes of the fake Roman soldiers" who accompanies him. The spectacle was produced by a drama teacher at a nearby college and the church pastor. The church congregation is primarily Hispanic, and the performance was bilingual. Ironically, the Roman soldiers spoke English, while those playing Jews and the Christ spoke Spanish. "Jesus" lugged a wooden cross throughout the two-hour march, surrounded by actors playing an indignant mob and shouting "Crucificalo! Crucificalo!" ("Crucify him! Crucify him!"). The finale was a fake crucifixion complete with the Tap! Tap! Tap! sound of nails. A totally uncritical report in a Philadelphia newspaper (which made it a second-section front page story complete with photographs) noted: "The cross was hoisted into the air and planted in between the other two. The crowd stood, shocked and silence by the sight. An image from the Bible was now alive on a South Camden street corner . . . " Some Questions WE would like to ask . . . -- Is there any good, credible historical evidence that any of this ever took place? Do any sources outside of the anecdotal tales of the New Testament support existence of either Jesus or this sadistic event? -- If Jesus was indeed the son of a god, why did he do this? What good did this brutal death do vis a vis the "sins" of others? Was his dad, Jehovah, a kind of cosmic "bean counter" who balanced his own kid's gruesome execution against the transgressions of everyone else? -- If an individual made these claims today -- that he or she was the son/daughter of a deity -- most people, including many religionists, might doubt or even laugh. Why should we believe this story? Just because it supposedly took place 2,000 years ago? And today -- if somebody orchestrated a bloody crucifixion and said that it was part of a cosmic plan of some sort, well, they'd be put away for intensive mental health therapy. We consider THOSE people to be insane, yet many admire Jesus for his self-sacrifice. Why? -- Is this sado-masochistic ritual beneficial to the mental and social well being of the citizens of Camden, New Jersey -- or anywhere else? What about the young, impressionable children who watched? According to reports, some were disturbed by this "passion play" -- Who paid the bill for blocking off public streets so this religious event could take place? The local church? Probably not. We'll let you know if we find out. -- Isn't this whole religious holiday not only atavistic and superstitious, but sick in its glorification of mindless self-sacrifice, personal debasement, and religious fanaticism? Despite uncritical media and unrestrained church exploitation, the (Continued to next message) [...incomplete...]

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