Thursday, July 2, 2009

Should I Join In With All The Beatles... And Mae West, Too?

That's REVEREND Dan Vojir To You!

The last post about becoming a minister (or priest) got me thinking: why not? Why can't I become a card-carrying, legal (in most states) and revered "Reverend"? Why can't I have the authority to marry people and baptize them? Oh, and don't forget about exorcism!

From wikipedia:
The ULC’s ordinations are issued in the belief that all people are already ordained by God and that the ULC is merely recognizing this fact.

The ULC has no traditional doctrine, believing as an organization merely in doing "that which is right." Each individual has the privilege and responsibility to determine what is right for him or her as long as it does not infringe on the rights of others. The Church does not stand between the member and their God.

The ULC’s stated beliefs are as follows:

  • Objective: Eternal Progression.
  • Goal: A Fuller Life for Everyone.
  • Slogan: To Live and Help Live.
  • Maxim: “We Are One."
I particularly like "To Live and HELP Live". That's compassion. "To Live and LET Live," is merely tolerance.

From their website:

Every person has the natural right (and the responsibility) to peacefully determine what is right. We are advocates of religious freedom.

The Universal Life Church wants you to pursue your spiritual beliefs without interference from any outside agency, including government or church authority.

Of course, ULC ministers can be crazy and as wily as con artists, but, as we have seen in the past, the snake oil salesmen of religion are mostly at the top of the food chain: Rod Parsley, Joel Osteen, John Hagee to name but a few.

I certainly believe in freedom of religion, but I also believe in freedom FROM religion! Any church that I would lead would have no proselytizing. NONE. The most we would do is to put it out there what we believe and that anyone who wants to join can join. You might call it an anti-church, but that sounds too close to anti-Christ. It would NOT be a Satanic cult. It would NOT involve rituals. It WOULD hold Internet forums focusing on people who are spiritual rather than "religious." It WOULD foster knowledge of comparative religions. It WOULD report misuse of religious titles. It WOULD report the abuse of any religious scripture for purposes of condemning people or gaining converts. It COULD be a watchdog service.

A possible name for the group: The Church of the Non Proselytizer.

Here are some notables who have been ordained by the Universal Life Church

Glenn Beck - Milton Berle - Mel Blanc - Ray Bolger - Richard Branson - Vikki Carr - Johnny Carson - Cyd Charisse - Tony Danza - Sammy Davis, Jr. - Doris Day - Wavy Gravy - Kathy Griffin - George Harrison - Goldie Hawn - Hugh Hefner - Wolfman Jack - Carson Kressley - John Lennon - Courtney Love - Paul McCartney - Alanis Morissette - Madalyn Murray O'Hair - Debbie Reynolds - Rosalind Russell - Tori Spelling - Ringo Starr - James Stewart - Sharon Stone - Barbra Streisand - Hunter S. Thompson - John Waters - Mae West

Good company, eh? Think of being baptized by Wolfman Jack! Or united in holy matrimony by Hunter S. Thompson! Imagine a funeral presided over by Johnny Carson! Okay, I could do without my name being mentioned in the same breath as Glenn Beck or Doris Day. Oh well, que sera, sera!

Seriously, if you're in a war (the culture war, of course), it wouldn't hurt to have some of the same weapons as the enemy. Christofascists are an arrogant lot simply because they think they have R.E.S.P.E.C.T. on their side. They do - but it's only a blind respect: never challenged, seldom earned.

So why not a church or religious group devoted to Freedom From Organized Religion? No, we wouldn't try to convert the Jehovah's Witnesses who ring our doorbells. Nor would we approach people with the assumption that they are sinners. That would be insulting!

My own credentials? The research for my upcoming book (Sacred Cows Make The Best Hamburgers) has over 110 books in its bibliography. I've witnessed religions in their prime and when they become irrelevent. As a student, I studied with Dominican scholars and know enough Latin to fake my way through the meanings of some very long words. I know about the historical/critical method of reading the Bible (applicable to other faiths as well). I have Faith in a God (not merely belief), I believe in humanity, compassion, scholarship, Karen Armstrong, John Boswell, Bishop John Shelby Spong, Morton Smith, Charles Freedman, Bart Ehrman (must reading) and Elaine Pagels.

And one more thing: I believe in looking great in a pair of Speedos.

So, to be ordained or not to be ordained?

Comments welcome!