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
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
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