Beast Banner October 5 - 19, 2006
ISSUE #108
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Features

ArrowWelcome to the Monkey House
On Safari at “The Chapel” in Getzville

Ian Murphy

ArrowI, Left Gatekeeper
Why the "9/11 Truth" movement makes the "Left Behind" sci-fi series read like Shakespeare
Matt Taibbi

ArrowGet on Board
A farewell to Habeas Corpus in one act.

Allan Uthman

ArrowThe Madness of King Us
Think we're turning a corner? Think again

Donnie Dobovitch

ArrowSexual Predators
What can you do?

ArrowHow the Media Lies About China
"Try harder," American worker – and Thomas Friedman thinks everything will be fine
Matt Taibbi

Local BEAST

ArrowPig Roast
Tom Reynolds is done. Let’s all stick forks in him.
Allan Uthman

ArrowBEAST Staff Aids Non-Millionaire
“Relief for Reynolds” Campaign a Modest Success
Josh Bunting

ArrowCaring is Hard Work!
A selection of transcripts from our neighborhood canvass in the 26th district.

Departments

ArrowThe Beast Page 3
Incredibly Full of Shit Asshole

ArrowKino Korner: Movies
Jackass Number Two, The Guardian, Flyboys, All the King's Men, School for Scoundrels, Fearless

ArrowBEAST-O-Scopes
As divined by your ethereal guide

Arrow[sic] - Letters
Partisan Bickering, A Bold Challenge, Crocodile Punter, Reynolds R.I.P. and more

Welcome to the Monkey House
On Safari at “The Chapel” in Getzville
Ian Murphy

The Chapel in HDIt’s an everyday thing for me to feel a strong urge to repeatedly bash my skull against a cinder block in frustration over man’s incredible stupidity. This feeling is never so pointed as when I’m confronted by the fact that archaic mythologies still dominate the minds of so many worldwide and across our nation. The delusions under which these people suffer are pitiable and foreign to me, a tragic waste of minds which seek virtue in ignorance and disregard scientific truth in favor of blind faith in fairy tales. In an attempt to better understand the threat of the religion epidemic and how the delusional mind works, I went on a fact finding mission to the mega-church in our backyard, The Chapel at Crosspoint, in Getzville, NY.

Despite its quaint moniker, The Chapel is a massive modern structure, roughly the size of a city block. Situated in a corporate park, across a vast parking lot from a Bank of America, The Chapel is striking in its resemblance to a shopping mall or an enormous Starbucks, rather than a traditional place of worship (these impressions were bolstered when I found the bookstore/gift shop and coffee stand within). The vaulted ceiling and pristine floor beyond the main entrance enclose a large amount of space, encircling the main room of congregation. In the heart of the building, beyond the sleek, impeccably kept corridor, lies what could best be described a Jesus-themed concert hall. Row upon rising row of plush theatre seating semicircles a stage bearing chorus risers, a large house band and a dangling 10 foot cross. I gazed in wonder at an ostentatious display of wealth in the form of 2 twenty-foot flat screen televisions anchored high at each side of the stage, the multitude of video cameras and a grand sound board that would be the envy of any music venue. The Chapel’s only modesty, aside from the casual dress code, comes from the lack of a superfluous steeple reaching vaingloriously toward imagined deities. This congregation’s God doesn’t need a steeple; He’s got WiFi and after the service he’ll sip a latte and check out the podcast.

As I stood there, watching hairless bi-peds meander carpeted pathways, I was greeted by an usher named Martin who asked me if this was my first time worshipping at The Chapel. “We get over 3,000 people a morning,” he offered without my asking. Martin’s eyes were slightly glazed over with that peculiar narcosis people get from unthinking love of the lord, and he was quick to assure me, “God had a purpose in bringing you here this morning.” Of course he did.

Before the festivities began, I took a seat next to an old woman who already had her checkbook splayed and pen in hand ; a bribe for Saint Peter no doubt. After a few torturous Christian power ballads, complete with Jefferson Airplane-era psychedelic imagery projected onto screens stretched above the stage, it was time for the sermon. Pastor Jerry Gillis, dressed in khakis and a green plaid shirt, took to the stage for an informal rap session. From the view of him on the big screens, I would have to say his head is nearly 15 feet wide: a truly great man. Armed with both a clip-on shirt microphone and redundant headset mic, Gillis delivered his hip-thirty-something-you-can-relate-to-me-because-I’m-sitting-cross-legged-on-a-stool anecdotes to the mixed crowd of gray-hairs and younger couples. He invoked the names of Jesus and Corey Hart with a relaxed vigor.

After the story, the moral of which was that Jesus wants you to obey the law, I looked around and realized there were no young children among the crowd. They were most likely being systematically frightened in a dank dungeon below the facility, I figured. I wandered in search of the dungeon’s trap door, finding something far worse: “King’s World.” Kid-tested and clergy-approved, King’s World is a brightly decorated mini-church for kids where the love of Christ is imagineered. It features a colorfully painted stage where the youngsters watch morality plays and sing verses like “I’m trading my shame, I’m trading my sorrows, for the lord.” As I peaked through the door of the theater space, I couldn’t help but wonder what these seemingly innocent toddlers had done to feel such sorrow and shame. They must’ve been real little bastards. I checked to make sure one of them hadn’t already made off with my wallet.

The sight of me wandering around the youngest of the flock roused suspicion from a vigilant holy automaton named Gayle. Gayle was particularly useless. After telling me how the bible was “the literal and unerring word of God,” and that “we are made in the image of God,” she couldn’t then tell me whether god had a navel; instead she backtracked and told me that part of the bible was “up for interpretation.”

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