Friday, February 24, 2012

Retaliating Through Satire And Blasphemy: All Dead Mormons Are Now Gay

Rick Santorum thought he had it bad when the neologism of his name* wound up on Google - and stayed #1 for years. Now a website called All Dead Mormons Are Now Gay offers to "convert" deceased Mormons and make them "gay." 

The site is a take-off on the practice of Mormons "baptizing" deceased relatives who may not have been Mormon. 

Most of the LGBT community have had a long standing contempt for the Mormon Church, especially since the Church's involvement in California's Proposition 8: $40 million and a bevy of out-of-state volunteers against one community could fuel just a tad of animosity. Stories of Mormon "gulags" for teens and drives for "reparative therapy" don't help much either.  

Blasphemous Retaliation

The days-old site which has garnered 17,000 "likes" on facebook has drawn the ire of Mormons and even some from the Christian Right for its blasphemy: ironic, since the same tactic for salvation drew the ire of Jewish communities after it was discovered that Mormons were declaring baptisms on certain members of the Holocaust ... namely Anne Frank. 

The site brings into question: what is satire and what is just plain blasphemy? Mockery of religious practices is nothing new: early Christians mocked each other's sects and which gospels they adhered to: the Carpocracians' gatherings were thought to be orgies and the later Cathars were considered pacifist weirdos - the first hippies. "Bishop" Eddie Long was said to mock Judaism when he was wrapped in the Torah and paraded around his congregation as "king." Mormons themselves have had to endure taunts about "magic underwear."  

It could be argued, however, that presidential hopeful Mitt Romny's Mormonism - during an election year - put the spotlight on the Church and nothing is sacred. 

But is outright blasphemy and mockery the way to go during an election year? You might ask Dan Savage, the man who created Santorum's neologism. 
"It's still out there and it is an insanely dirty joke," Savage told the Star-Telegram. "It is crude. It is vile, as are Santorum's comments about gay people."
And crude comments stick. That's the point. They stick more than the niceties and civilities do. That's the way of the world, folks. In other words, Santorum the righteous "Jesus" candidate may come and go, while Santorum the neologism is here to stay.

Laughing At Sacred Cows

In 1870, Joshua Abraham "Emperor" Norton I of San Francisco told the City that he would dress up as the pope and walk 7 miles to neighboring Colma to inter his beloved dog Lazarus. 10,000 people showed up for the funeral out of respect for the City's "Emperor" and to have a good laugh at the expense of sacred cows. 

Some might argue that America's religion often laughs at its own sacred cows too much for any other blasphemy to be taken seriously. When the Catholic Church came out with an I-phone application to confess your sins, people couldn't believe that the Church was denigrating a holy sacrament. The app was removed.

So will mockery of the self righteous and their churches continue during this election year?  Only insofar as the laughter continues. 

*"Santorum - that frothy mix of lube and fecal matter as a by-product of anal sex."