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The S.T.P. Campaign

By Carl S ~

Several weeks ago, I went into a rant with a believer. I told her how I felt about prayer, and mentioned the prayer of grace before meals that I have to put up with before I can eat with her friends. Why, I asked, should I listen to someone praise a heavenly father for giving us a meal we pay for, when I know that that "father" allows children to be abducted, raped, and left dead in the woods? (I ended up on that believer's s**t list for quite a while.) But then, last Sunday, after her church service, she and I attended yet another of our after-service familiar luncheons. This time was different. No one said the blessing before we ate, even though a retired pastor and his wife were present. Was this just a fluke, or will this change last?

Actually, my protest to saying "grace" predated my rant, for I used to simply look around or start eating during its recitation. In telling Wizened Sage about this latest of experiences, I added, "I'm too old to go on pretending." He heartily agreed. So, with this thought in mind, I am offering an idea for your consideration: the Stop The Pretending campaign, or S.T.P.

Let's face it, so much of the success of the religious right/radicals/nuts, depends on pretending to respect their beliefs. At the same time, they denigrate and otherwise militate against anyone who disagrees with them.

Congregants who don't accept dogmas in their churches pretend to go along with them, and teach their children to also pretend and keep their mouths shut. A local church presents each week their "Statement of Faith" set up by the sect's headquarters. Each dogma in a list of dogmas begins with the words, "We believe." Not everyone in a church actually believes every dogma listed, but pretends anyhow.

The president of the U.S. respectfully sits down with the bishops and cardinals of the Catholic church, even while knowing of their abuses of human rights of women and children and efforts to erode or end abortion and contraceptive laws. Must he pretend to give them his respect? Why?

Let's face it, so much of the success of the religious right/radicals/nuts, depends on pretending to respect their beliefs. At the same time, they denigrate and otherwise militate against anyone who disagrees with them.Why should we continue pretending to go along with what we know as nonsense recited at funerals, weddings, and our personal loving events in life? What about baptizing babies, in which those attending speak for the baby as believing all the dogmas expounded at the event? A baby "Accepts Jesus and rejects Satan?" Give us a break! Respect that, my ass. As if circumcision speaks for the male baby, yeah. Why must others pretend these things are oh so beautiful and holy, when they're just tribal rituals? (My wedding before a pastor had the phrase, "Your love reflected as Christ's love for his church," inserted into it without my pre-consent. Oh please! Gag me with a spoon.) So, yes, don't even pretend to pretend. If others insult your intelligence and morality with their religions, don't even give them that pleasure by your silence.

Can you imagine the outcome if all those who are pretending to believe come out and say they will no longer pretend? Think of what would happen in Islamic countries if their inhabitants were not required by force to pretend to believe. Perhaps there will be a tremendous backlash. Perhaps those who are pretending will be shown to be a very large percentage of the population. Maybe not, but just enough to make people think. Nevertheless, being honest can only be a positive, opening the floodgates to dialog and unloading so much B.S. in society and ultimately, hopefully, to widespread unacceptance of all irrational beliefs.

The question is: Doesn't encouraging openness about unbelief and acceptance of reality actually help societies? We can see the answer to that question daily and hourly. When has it ever been found to not benefit society in admitting, "Just who the hell are we fooling anyhow?" (Unless the storks still bring babies.) We are all so much more mentally stable in accepting the realities of life than hoping in and fearing the supernatural fabrications and superstitious beliefs of antiquity.

So... who is willing to start the movement rolling? Suggestions, like T shirts, caps, bumper stickers, with S.T.P. on them, which could produce the response of "What the hell does S.T.P. mean?" And yes, what if the manufacturer of STP the product, complains? (Something we would hope for, for our own publicity.) Why then, we would point out that there has been no violation of their name, since we are S dot T dot P dot.

I'm too old to pretend. And come to think of it, so are you. Yeah.