Parting Glances: Reruns as metaphor (Pt. 1 of 2)

By |2005-09-08T09:00:00-04:00September 8th, 2005|Opinions|

I rented “The Vanishing.” My second go-around was still disturbing: a creepy crawler. For those who haven’t seen the films — Dutch (1988) and American (1993) — both versions are about being buried alive, a kink dear to few beating hearts.
(TEN SECOND PLOT: Girlfriend is abducted during a motor trip. Boyfriend eventually tracks abductor, hoping to discover girlfriend alive. Amoral college prof says he’ll “return” her, but only if boyfriend agrees to be chloroformed, so that travel route and prof’s home remain secret. Desperate, he agrees. Film ends: Boyfriend awakes underground in a wooden box. Nearby, sweetheart, earlier done in by prof, rests in peace.)
Hold the terror in mind (while counting final breaths of your own). According to Fundamentalist House of Wax theocrats your time’s coming, too. But let me collar you first . . .
Back in the 19th century being buried alive — premature burial — was not uncommon, especially for those subject to comatose/catatonic states that doctors could not readily diagnose. Some persons were so afraid of “waking up dead” that they had their casket rigged with access to exterior bells and buzzers. Some asked that their throats be slit in death, just to be sure they’d become like the proverbial doornail.
These days being buried alive is physically unlikely — but not mentally — and certainly a state that no one would wish even upon life’s worst monsters (Adolf Hitler, John Wayne Gacy, Tomas de Torquemada). And surely never on a loved one, a neighbor, or friend — a Jew, a Muslim, a follower of Zen, a spiritual John Doe.
Yet, one of the tenets of Fundamentalist chimp-think is that any person — for whatever reason of intellectual skepticism or unrepentant sin — who does not accept Christ “as personal savior” — is “unsaved” — is doomed to spend Eternity in Hell, Hades, the Lake of Fire, Gehenna. Trapped alive. No release. Never!
The ALMIGHTY!!! demanding such nonstop torture is what . . . loving? compassionate? forgiving? reconciling? to be worshipped? taken seriously? to be adored? to be trusted? believed? to be represented in Congress? (Run — don’t genuflect — to the nearest No Exit.)
Lest thou thinkest I speaketh through my elastic halo, I know wherein I say. For a couple of years in my teens — ’til I realized I was gay — i.e., intelligent — I attended a local Southern Baptist church (with TV outreach) where it was preached that if you died without being “washed in the Blood of the Lamb” you were LOST! — plain and simple — going to Hell. FOREVER! (Without purgatorial washroom privileges.)
[A drawing recently making the e-mail Sunday School rounds shows two churches: Church “A” — usually a Unitarian/Universalist — has posted outside on its welcoming sign: There is no hell! Church “B,” on the opposite side of the street — a Fundie stronghold — posts: The hell there ain’t!]
So far in America we are free to believe what we want to. [Newsweek reports 67% believe in hell.] I personally find such punishment theology appalling, inhuman, stupid, offensive, and frightening in its brutish cruelty. Downright Bible Bates Motel.
If ALMIGHTY!!! dooms non-Fundamentalist believers — and that’s a lot of people — to endless torment, is it any wonder that the Robertsons, Falwells, Dobsons, Phelps — theocratic ayatollahs — tolerate “holy” wars, negate other faiths, “hate the sin, love[!] the sinner”, and condone imprisoning LGBT teens in reparative therapy camps, where change is about coercion and celibacy — and the end result the neutering of young lives by burying them alive — psychologically — one zombification at a time?

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