Fundies in a Bunch - Paul Fallon

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by Paul Fallon

I have contempt for all religions. Does that mean I'm unbiased? Not really. I especially intensely despise fundamentalists. Whether they are Jews, Muslims or Catholics, fundamentalists suck because they flee from common sense and reason and cling to literal interpretations of ancient texts no matter how irrational the dictates may be. In America, the fundamentalists that dominate and are by far the most prevalent and therefore the most dangerous are the Christian Fundamentalists (PBS's Frontline said 90 million people identified themselves as Fundies in America which is over one third of our 280 million population). George W. Bush is a card carrying Fundy but downplays it so as not to scare the living shit out of the rest of us civilians. Think of the movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers and you get the idea of the kind of scourge we're dealing with involving these Fundies.

So when a news item reminded me that May 6th was the National Day of Prayer, I knew I had to strike a blow for all that is unholy, secular and profane. You see, the Christian Fundamentalists are not content to pray in their churches, homes and on television, they want to pray in your face all the time to intimidate all defenseless non-praying people everywhere, especially children. They overwhelm the weak-minded with devotional rantings forcing them to join in or risk being ostracized.

A quick scan of the NDP web site, www.nationaldayofprayer.org (not to be mistaken for the website www.larryflynt.com/national_prayer_day.html, which is a site where Hustler magazine invites you to pray for the death of Fox News dickweed Bill O'Reilly) informed me that an NDP service was being held at the Dulski Federal Office Building at noon on the sanctified day. A prime target within a block of The BEAST's evil office. Something had to be done. Then I read in the Buffalo News that this particular prayer day service was arranged by a group calling itself Fundamentalist Christian Internal Revenue Employees. I had to see what kind of fucked up troglodytes these cretins were. If getting hassled by the IRS wasn't already terrifiying enough, now you have to worry that the agent on your case is some kind of misanthropic Jesus freak. I should also mention that Oliver North was this year's NDP honorary chairman.

I first heard of the National Day of Prayer in 2001, when a friend of mine at the New York Civil Liberties Union informed me that a National Day of Prayer service was scheduled to be held in the offices of the Erie County Probation Department. Government and religion aren't supposed to mix, but imagine that your probation officer, the very person that can deprive you of your liberty and put you in jail, not only piss tests you but asks if you have let the Lord into your life. If you don't think this is a problem, check out www.nationaldayofreason.org and read the section on the separation of church and state.

The annual National Day of Prayer was first enacted by Congress in 1952. This was at around the same time congress was busy doing all sorts of things to show God we meant to keep him on our side, like requiring "In God We Trust" on all our money and inserting "under God" in the pledge of allegiance. In 1988, President Reagan designated the first Thursday in May the National Day of Prayer. The National Day of Prayer Task Force was formed and headed by the wife of former Campus Crusade for Christ president and founder Bill Bright. Succeeding Mrs. Bright was the Task Force's current director, Shirley Dobson, who is married to Focus on the Family board chairman and founder Dr. James Dobson. Focus of the Family is a strident Fundamentalist Christian organization that has to be seen to be believed. Check out www.family.org and glimpse the sick fucked up world view these freaks are pimping. Focus on the Family funded the National Day of Prayer Task Force in the early 1990s and the operation is run out of the Focus on the Family offices. Although the legislation enacting the National Day of Prayer claims no religious denomination takes precedence, the bottom line is that this is a Fundamentalist Christian show of force.

For the 2001 National Day of Prayer, a bunch of us accompanied the NYCLU with signs in hand and attempted to disrupt the service at the probation department. The Sheriffs guarding the doors wouldn't let us in the building with our signs. We got our point across by marching in front of the building and accosting passersby with our clever signs. In 2002, while the first issue of The BEAST was in production, we found out that a National Day of Prayer event was going to be held in Niagara Square just outside our old Statler Towers office. BEAST editors Kevin McElwee and Matt Taibbi and I decided we would join in on the festivities. Kevin dressed up in a gorilla suit and had a sign that said something like "I am your forefather" while Matt and I had signs saying "God is a bitch" and "Separate Church and State" respectively. We marched around and got a lot of angry stares and shouts of "you're going to burn in hell" and "blasphemers", that sort of shit. Fundies don't appreciate humor. In 2003, we forgot about the event and missed it.

This year I hadn't really planned anything but when it got close to the time for the event to start I figured I at least had to go and walk around with a sign just to let them know they had a few pods still to go. Looking around the office I found a yellow sign that was used when John Ashcroft came to town last year. It said "Hey John, Read the Bill of Rights?" I figured with a little work this sign would do just fine. I took a piece of paper and covered up John and wrote on the paper "Assholes" then at the bottom of the sign I added the words "Separate Church and State". The sign then read "Hey Assholes, Read the Bill of Rights? Separate Church and State". I then headed to Federal building with John Curr III from the NYCLU as legal observer.

Outside the Federal building about thirty people were milling aroung in front of a public address system that was plugged into the Federal Building. They were all talking and laughing and handing out a program of sorts and copies of the designated prayer. As I walked up to the group I held my sign above my head. Everyone stopped talking and some looked at me with venom. I walked around the group and then saw two security types heading in my direction. One was an older Wackenhut guard who wore a look that said, "Leave me alone, I just want to sit around and collect my $8/hour." The guy with him was late 20s, maybe early 30s, and looked serious. I tried to walk the other way to make things a little difficult for them, but they caught up to me. The young one said "You have to leave" and I said "No I don't, this is public property and this event is open to the public. I'm not doing anything or saying anything to anyone." The young one said "your sign is upsetting people" so I told him that I could remove the word "Asshole" which I did. Then he said that I better not cause any trouble because the minute I did he would arrest me. I asked him if he was from Wackenhut too and he told me he worked for the government.

I hung around while the group held their service which was pretty torturous. Several different ministers got up and spouted the usual bullshit. Blah, blah, blah, God loves America, blah, blah, blah, drugs are bad, blah, blah, blah, sex is bad, blah, blah blah, homosexuals should be disemboweled, blah, blah, blah, Muslims are evil, blah, blah, blah...whatever.

At some point, BEAST editor Al Uthman showed up in a pitiful outfit he thought might make him pass as a Christian (basically he tucked his shirt in). He pretended not to know us and tried to blend in with the Christians, but wasn’t too convincing; they all seemed to know each other. The brethren passed around copies of a sheet of paper listing which "public servants" we should pray for. The list included Bush, Cheney, and all the heads of each department, but failed to mention Condoleeza Rice for some reason. When the service was over, I tried to reinforce the idea that church is the place for such services until I got Wackenhut and g-boy's attention. When they started heading my way I decided my work was done and left the area.

Al caught up with us, and advised us of some of the reactions we got from the upset drones. A couple of guys were dismissive, saying we had nothing better to do that day—true enough. One lady thought that the detestable list of White House prayer recipients would change our hearts. Fat chance, fundy.

Has anyone noticed how many times they play the commercial for Christian rock music on Cartoon Network? There is something very sinister about seeing that commercial being played over and over dury Ed, Edd and Eddy. The commercial is really creepy with all these Creed rejects smiling and bouncing with the vacuous I've been saved look on their faces. The moral of the story? These freaks are everywhere and we should be very worried.


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