I was a Catholic school boy, indoctrinated and imbued with Christian theology and dogma. I do have to say I enjoyed the old Catholic mass, the chanting, the gorgeous vestments, the incense, the candles, the warm, fuzzy feeling coming from familiarity. During the long, tedious sermons my mind tended to wander around such subjects as what movie to see later that day, should I do my wash or just read a book, or which trendy bar should my buddies and I go to this evening. Then one time, somewhere in my twenties, I suddenly perked up during the mass and started to listen to what the priest was saying. In a very monotone and bored tone of voice, he was telling us what's going to happen once we die. All of a sudden I received this flash of light, this epiphany, of tremendous disbelief. I thought to myself, how the hell does he know what's going to happen to us when we're dead, I don't really believe this stuff, I'm out of here. I left the church and never looked back. Now at the old age of 63 I'm content to live and let live. Except that I'm terribly upset as to what seems to be happening at present in America and in the world, with the rise of religious fundamentalism of all stripes. I studied American history in college and know about all the religious revival movements that seem to have plagued America from time to time since its inception. But I didn't think it could happen again in my country, not with all the progress and openness made during the '60's and '70's. Boy, was I wrong!! It seems to me that America is lurching towards some kind of theocracy with a born-again president and snake-oil salesmen like Falwell and Robertson given tremendous prestige and power. My taxes are given over to faith-based organizations, my science is taken over by intelligent design nonsense, my kids are taught abstinence only, and religious toadies are running the Congress as well as governmental agencies overseeing the environment, natural resources, and the Pentagon. In the new political correctness we have liberals, homosexuals, feminists, abortion, and atheists as the main evils in the world, the things that need to be overcome. My mind boggles at the irrationality of it all. I don't care if my neighbors want to be religious, just leave me alone, is that so hard to understand??
B. A. Niechlanski