Columnist for Thursday, 3/15 - jims

Bring in the Lions

An innocent enough headline ran through the news paper yesterday, specifically that local Santa Cruz churches had invited the Luis Palau Evangelistic Association to host a gathering here in September. It seems fairly normal. Santa Cruz is a tourist town, after all. Through out the year, Santa Cruz plays host to all sorts of events from music festivals to sporting events. This proposed event fits into the mold, even, it is titled 'Beachfest' and is planned to be a two day music festival. The minor rub, they are expecting as many as 75,000 people to descend upon Santa Cruz main beach.

Seventy-five thousand people. That is one hell of a lot of Christians. Many people I know are wondering just how so many people will be accommodated. My concern is more, how the heck are we going to deal with so many Christians. The Romans would have had a hey day. Lions for all, would have been the cheer. I suspect the Romans had the right idea.

I don't necessarily want to give the impression that I am anti- Christian. I pretty much disdain religion in general. It just is not my thing, though I do have friends and colleagues that partake of the Biblical fruits -- hellfire and damnation. My angst involving such gatherings born out from prior experiences.

When large gatherings of religious groups descend upon our sand and surf, there will undoubtedly be some form of proselytizing occurring. Maybe it is some weird quota system, 'Hey Suzie, how many have you saved today?' Often, they are pretty sneaky about it to. Do they empower the kindly old lady, the slimy fast talking preacher type, or the funny looking bald guys in yellow robes? No. They empower the attractive young ones to entice your, seduce you to joining them. It is really hard to not think those thoughts...I mean ignore the group of smiling, attractive, friendly young people as they approach you. What you think may be flirting small talk really is an attempt to use sexual persuasion to bring you under the power of their particular brand of supernatural being, or at least attend a meeting to find out more information.

The tactics these groups use are very similar to those that the moonies and others made use of during the 1960s and 1970s. At least then, you were probably more likely to get laid rather than teased. Some groups specifically advocated the use of sex to bring people in. These days, such frivolity in sexual relations runs a greater risk of hastening ones time to feeding the worms or meeting some proverbial maker. So instead, teasing and tantalizing are the chosen methods.

A Christian sect that exemplifies pent up sexuality has to be that which is referred to as the Later Day Saints or the followers of Joseph Smith or simply the Mormons. My exposure to them of late has been limited, but in the past, that is a different matter entirely. Growing up, I had a friend (his family was Mormon) who's father suspected he was gay. One possible solution was to force him to attend Mormon social events -- in particular dances. These dances were festering little hot-beds of pent up sexuality. Wander away from where the chaperones were, and happy little Mormon kids were groping one another, attempting tonsilectomys with their tongues, having a little love fest with their hormones. In the presence of the elders, however, it was all about limited touching, keep the width of the Book of Mormon apart (not the condensed version), no hint of the bulge in ones trousers or the fidgeting due to once dry undergarments.

It is known that non-Mormons are not allowed within the temples, probably because the elders are hiding their concubines. But, the dances were held in community centers, and thus open to one and all. Just like the roving bands of Christian hotties that descend upon Santa Cruz and other places, non-Mormons were tempted to joining through the hint of sins of the flesh. Members of the faith were not distinguished from non-members, the topic usually was breached through conversation like, 'What temple do you belong to?' Now, if you find yourself dancing with the little Aryan hottie and are set on getting her in the sack, the wrong answer is 'I'm not Mormon.' Flames die quickly, very very quickly. The proper answer for the situation is to make something up (with the appropriate knowledge to not get caught), or follow up the previous statement with, 'I have been considering converting, however.' In fact, if the hottie you are with is a proper member of the faith, the second answer may get you a bit farther than the first. Just be wary of special underwear and interviews with an elder about temptations.

If religion really is so wrapped up in the sexual interactions of individuals, do we really need all the structure, deceit, and politics that the organized religions bring? Western civilization is fond of tracing modern institutions, like government, warfare, and the like back to the Romans. I say we bring back one of their forgotten traditions, the lions. It would be very handy here in Santa Cruz come September. In addition, if we cut out the bureaucracy of religion and expose it for the sexual morass that it really is. Let unbridled lust exist without the fear of damnation. Those that want to hold on to the power and the proselytizing, well I'm sure the lions will be hungry.

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