Circus of Perversion – John Downing

Blount County, Alabama
In this year of Our Lord 2020

We came to a tent centered in a nowhere land, in a nowhere county. A gathering had appeared under this tent. Vanloads of people had come from counties over to this “revival.” They called it a revival, but what I experienced was Cirque du Blount County. We took our seats to survey the circus set before us. We were immediately greeted by a man looking like his own second cousin. Looking around, we noticed we were surrounded by various shapes and sizes of hicks, bumpkins, yokels, and rednecks. These people were rather welcoming if nothing else. The feeling was greatly appreciated, being that we were so far out of our element.

As we were getting settled into the environment, the music minister started up the band. The music was not very irregular from your average church songs. It droned on in the familiar pseudo-excitement that the lyrics try to evoke. You might sway to the rhythm, or maybe clap your hands, but the whole time you can’t help but think about how much you’d like to sit back down.

The preacher came to break any illusion of a wholesome churchgoing experience. He roused the crowd with a yelling, yet rhythmic candor. The crowd came alive. They were champing at the bit to hear what he had to say. Yells of exclamation rang out throughout the tent. The people were hounds hungry for the hunt, and his message was the prey. The pastor was more than happy to give them what they wanted.

He began to rant and rave about broken homes. Fathers abandoning children in their times of need. He used examples of Jacob in the Bible to actuate this preaching. He talked about drug use, and argued his “once an addict, always an addict” philosophy. He exposed his homophobic beliefs by asserting the difference between “being gay and living gay.” The only way to be absolved, he asserted, is to follow the American Evangelical way of life. There was no room for hippies, hipsters, yuppies, and queers in HIS heaven.

During his enflamed rhetoric, I began to realize something. I looked around at those surrounding me and discovered that, in fact, I was the strange beast from the strange land. I had foolishly thought of myself as the normal surrounded by a whole lot of abnormality, but normal is subjective. I was the freak to these people. I was the demon that had infiltrated their spiritual haven. A forcefield of plastic Christianity fostered by their fearless leader in Christ. He was the sheep in wolf’s clothing, while his congregation were wolves tricked into believing they were sheep. They would die by this man’s command. They would kill in the name of the preacher’s personification of the Holy Ghost.

Of course these creatures born of desperation would heed the beck and call of the man in front of them. They don’t have much of a choice. Combine ignorance and shortsightedness, and you have a recipe for destruction. At least these people can LIVE as spiritual slaves. They don’t have to worry about the pitfalls of instant gratification. You can’t OD on Jesus’s love by golly.

Why think for yourself, when the pastor does it for you? Spiritual policing has worked for centuries and will likely continue for centuries more. Do what we tell you, think how we think, and eternal bliss awaits you in the afterlife. Deviate from the evangelical path and be doomed to hellfire. The Jews killed the messiah, Muhammad was a child rapist, and Buddha foolishly sought to kill God. Pay no mind to the man behind the curtain. God forbid you ever discover the power of the synchronistic nature of the universe. We are NOT all One: experiencing consciousness together as one cosmic organism. We are NOT celestial bodies consisting of an ancient concoction of stardust and antimatter. We are NOT holding collective micro-universes inside ourselves. We are NOT able to speak spiritual magick into existence with mere words. Lastly, we most certainly are NOT able to find God, Tao, Brahma within ourselves without the shackles of evangelical indoctrination.

Hallelujah! Amen my brothers and sisters! I have been washed by the blood! I no longer hold wicked sin in my heart. My number may no longer be counted with that of the Enemy. I see the truth! America is saved! All you must do is refrain from ever thinking of any pleasure-giving chemical ever again. Stem the flow of ejaculate entering your neighbor’s anus. Instead, shake his hand. Tell him to vote for Trump, so that people of skin darker than thou may continue to be oppressed. The Evangelical God only tolerates the other races, after all. Praise be to the God that will bless us with a healthy Dow Jones, so that we may mindlessly consume Coca-Cola and McDonald’s products.

Forever-and-ever, amen.