Friday, November 14, 2008

Jesus Truck

The Yellow Jesus Truck is out again.

Boyfriend and I occasionally see YJT on our way home from the subway. It's a yellow truck, think like a mid-size U-Haul truck, and the side of it folds out into a stage. They park the truck on the sidewalk outside one of the housing projects, and spread blankets on the sidewalk for kids to sit on. Then whoever it is who owns the YJT holds a noisy Jesus rally for the kiddies.

I fucking hate YJT. Seriously. I seethe with anger when I walk by.

"But why, Phoebe! Why do you hate Jesus!"

No, no, I don't hate your precious lamb of god. I just hate the YJT. Because the weird Jesus rallies they have send fucked-up messages, and those messages remind me of the Jesus Camp that I attended for two summers in my early teens. The sick fucking Jesus Camp that played sick fucking mind games, except we were too young to know better so we just accepted the brainwashing. I don't like watching other children accepting the brainwashing from the YJT.

Today when I walked past YJT, two staffers (ministers? missionaries? crazeballs?) Were doing a little call-and-repeat. They were holding up a sign with the messages that they wanted the kids to shout. The first sign item was "Jesus loves me." That's cool. I sort of like that message. It's cute to hear them all shout that someone loves them.

The second message is what makes me clench my teeth and fists: "I am a sinner." UGH. I HATE IT. Making little kids say that they sin, that they're sinners, that they're unworthy, etc. It's so FUCKED UP. Do you know how much guilt I had as a kid over messages like that? No wonder I had such low self-esteem my whole life. No kid should have to go through life having extreme guilt over that stupid fucking shit. What sort of "loving" religion makes little kids chant that they're "sinners"? Fucking FUCKED UP.

The third message wasn't much better: "Jesus died for me." I triple hate that one. Now, on top of making a kid feel like a sinner, you're making them feel responsible for some dude's grisly death 2000 years ago.

"Hey Billy! I just want you to know that there is this guy who REALLY loves you, with all of his heart and soul. But also, I want you to know that you're the reason he died. Oh, and the things that you do everyday make him sad and unhappy."

Yeah, that's religion in a nutshell for me. I just really hate the way it's taught to kids. I mean, it's great to teach kids right from wrong, like don't steal. But really, I think it's better to teach them to not do those things for their logical reasons (like, stealing will hurt the owners' business and you can go to jail); rather than just saying "it's a sin and sinners go to Hell." And I don't like how lessons of "right and wrong" snowball into telling kids that they are sinners. Because whatever they're doing that's "wrong" in religions' eye shouldn't really define the whole person. Especially not a kid.


Andy said...

Yeah, I'm a churchy guy and all, but I'm not a fan of organized Jesus shouting. Jesus doesn't like organized Jesus shouting, for Christ's sake, which is actually his sake, which gets confusing

Phoebe Caulfield said...

See, thank you Andy. I like some rationality in my Christians. I was leery of this stuff back when I was a Christian. It's just creepy.

Lucy said...

I am Catholic, so obviously we have some differences but I agree with you and Andy, can't stand those preachy,creepy shout outs with no explaining.
Never seen a YJT were I live. I'm thinking we might not like them in suburbia land. (lol)

Rj said...

What was the age range of the children? Do they get any food or other goodies for participating? Interesting...

Phoebe Caulfield said...

RJ: Good qouestion. The kids seem to range from younger (8ish) to early teens. Tweens, I think the kids are calling it these days. A lot of adults (presumably accompanying the children) stand and watch the truck, too. But once I passed it and it seemed like the kids were there on their own, with no adults except the truck people. And yes, I do see them handing out goodies to the kids (candy and such) and I have seen them put the kids on stage.

Also, the truck seems specifically aimed at appealing to the impoverished in the area. It only parks outside of a specific housing project near my apartment. Not a surprise that they prey on the needs of the under served and underprivileged. Also a reason why you won't be seeing them in suburbia anytime soon, Lucy.

Herding Cats said...

Ugh. That's painful to hear about. If there is one thing about organized religion that I can't stand, it's when people try to brainwash the innocent. Disgusting.

Rj said...

I think the idea is if you pray harder, you won't be so poor...

Phoebe Caulfield said...

@RJ: Ha! exactly.

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