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Religious zealots should not be allowed to indoctrinate from jail

Gerry Wachovsky

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Religious propaganda inundates us daily, even in the most unlikely of places. Say that you just got done working out with your friend at the gym and you are walking to your car, when on your windshield you see what can’t be anything but a brochure inviting you to find Jesus and take him into your heart, from your friend Tony Alamo.

This happened to me the other day and it got me thinking about the fine line between insanity and normalcy in America.

Tony Alamo has probably always been crazy. Currently known as prisoner ID number 00305-112, Alamo is serving a 175 year sentence in Tucson, Arizona, for rape, sexual assault and contributing to the delinquency of minors. But his leaflets and tracts, distributed by his followers on car windshields, wouldn’t have you know that.

The only thing that’s strange about his pamphlets, besides the drivel that they’re filled with, is the picture of Tony Alamo that graces the cover of them: a picture taken in 1986, showing the Pentecostal crazy-man clad in a set of aviator sunglasses and a dapper looking suit. You instantly know that this guy is just another religious nut, because someone who is speaking the true word of Jesus Christ can’t possibly look like he just stepped out of a Frankie Goes To Hollywood music video, right? Of course not, that would be crazy!

But this article isn’t about Alamo alone. When you think about it, most religious leaders have some of Alamo in them. Maybe they don’t have the law-breaking or child sexual abuse things in common, but they do have similarities.

Take, for instance, a quote from the Alamo brochure that was left on my car:
“You’ve just completed the first step in a series of five steps which are necessary to receive salvation. Your second step is to deny yourself and take up your cross daily and follow Jesus for the purpose of mortifying your own flesh, that is, for putting to death your own will, your soulful self, and the world with all your lusts.”

This isn’t too different from most of the religious psycho-babble heard on the Trinity Broadcasting Network daily. This also isn’t too different from the sermons disseminated to congregations daily across the United States and the world, from self-titled prophets who think they are doing the “Lord’s” work.

Why isn’t this looked at by society as pure and unbridled insanity? People who believe in the resurrection, a higher power, or any other form of religious dogma are basically in line with Tony Alamo and his insane beliefs.

And the funny thing is that people who believe in such nonsense as divine intervention would just as quickly turn around and tell you that Tony Alamo is crazy. If that isn’t the pot calling the kettle black, I don’t know what is.

But that’s what dogmatic religion does to people. It breeds insanity, while at the same time instilling righteousness, telling people that they are the chosen ones yet they are still better than everyone else and will be rewarded with an eternal afterlife, blah, blah, blah.
Probably the funniest thing about all this is Alamo’s continuous high praise of himself. At the end of one article written by Alamo in the brochure, entitled “God Said That Arabs Are Wild Men, Lawless, Crazy!!!,” Alamo signs off by saying, “Tony Alamo is probably the greatest patriot this country has ever known.”

One thing is certain: Alamo has definitely figured out how to continue to indoctrinate people into passing out his leaflets and other writings from the comfort of his own jail cell. And that’s the problem. A convicted rapist and child molester can continue to sell his brand of bullshit and call himself “just another one of the prophets that went to jail for the Gospel,” all from behind bars.

What’s wrong with that picture?

Gerry Wachovsky is a graduate student and columnist for the Summer 49er and is probably the greatest patriot this country has ever known. 

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