Sunday, December 6, 2020

Against Monoliths

I want to start out by saying that I really have tried over the last month to avoid posting on every story I see about Christians being jerks. There have been a lot of them lately, especially surrounding the election, and I have made a conscious effort not to add to that noise. Augoeides is not a political blog, and I try to concentrate only on those areas of politics and public policy where they overlap with religion and the paranormal.

Some background on the story I am covering today. Recently several mysterious monoliths have shown up around the world. While there was a bit of initial paranormal speculation surrounding them, it quickly became clear that they were some sort of art project. And they caught the world's attention, because they were weird and interesting and funky. It left everyone wondering where the next one was going to appear.

But here's the sad bit - Christians who are apparently against... monoliths? A group of these idiots went out and destroyed the California monolith and put up a ramshackle cross in it's place to show how much they "love Jesus Christ." Seriously?

In a video, which was livestreamed and posted online, the group of young men drive from southern California to tear down the structure. Under cover of darkness, they hike up to the structure and tear it down while chanting “Christ is king!”. They then erect a homemade wooden cross in its place and drag the remains of the monolith down the mountain to their car.

During the video, the men also make offensive comments and drink substantial quantities of energy drinks, while also referencing Donald Trump and the QAnon conspiracy theory and their mission is to demonstrate “how much we love Jesus Christ”.

The vandalism angered local officials. “We are upset that these young men felt the need to drive five hours to come into our community and vandalize the monolith,” Atascadero’s mayor, Heather Moreno, said in a news release. “The monolith was something unique and fun in an otherwise stressful time.”

I also want to make it clear that I'm not lumping all Christians in with these folks - many of them are entirely reasonable, decent people who don't care about ruining other peoples' fun. But Christians like these are the exact reason that I will never support politicians who back the conservative Christian agenda. That sort of Christianity is not about spirituality or devotion or even salvation, really. It's about posturing and tribalism and basically wrecking things for anybody who's not part of their club, just because.

It should be obvious that nothing about a featureless, metal pillar in the middle of a desert is in any way prohibited by the Christian religion. The entire fact that it's featureless means that it has no symbols on it that might represent a competing religion - which, while still awful, might at least explain some other reason for doing besides simply being terrible people. But no, it appears that them being terrible people is in fact the real explanation.

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