Labels: demonizing, Freddie Kruger, gay teen suicides, Happy Halloween, Hell House, Hell Houses, President Barack Obama, Public Religion Research Institute, Sarah Palin, teen suicides
Yes, readers, it's that time again: the streets will be filled with little demons...and fairies, and Freddies and Sarah Palins. No doubt, you've thought about taking the kids to a "Hell House" tonight to entertain them and keep them off the streets. After all, Halloween has gotten scarier. Just ask people in San Francisco's Castro district, who have had to give up Halloween festivities because of violence.
It's just possible, however, that the greatest threat to safety (future safety that is) is the church-run "Hell House" in your neighborhood. You see, while the usual Halloween Haunted House/Hell House tries to scare kids with the fantasies of the superstitious and the supernatural, church-sponsored Hell Houses try to scare kids with a form of REALITY.
Albeit a very skewed, very gruesome form of reality.
At a Hell House, a demon may escort you through scenes too gory for small children and too disturbing for young adults: a botched abortion of a cheerleader who dies and is headed to hell; the wedding of a gay couple, (the ceremony presided by a demon) the scene then shifting to one of the men dying of AIDS; a young girl goes to a rave, is given a "pill" then gang raped (she also goes to hell). These and other scenes are graphically depicted before the end, when a moral is intoned and forgiveness of "sins" is offered.
It's Scary ... and It Kills
We've already seen the fate of some kids who are bullied for being "different" or unpopular. And needless to say, the suicides of gay teens have been focused on by the media. What most people don't know, however, is that religious attempts to steer kids away from "sin" stigmatize as much as they warn: boys and girls have killed themselves over unwanted pregnancies, abortions, abusing drugs or alcohol, or a myriad of other perceived faults. Hells Houses also enable bullies and impound guilt.
In a recent poll taken by the Public Religion Research Institute, almost two thirds of the American public blame religion in having a direct causal relationship to the latest spate of gay teen suicides:
Bottom line: Hell Houses are not as emotionally healthy as they think they are.
For the rest of this blogs articles on Hell Houses and demonizing: