Volume 1504, Number 2
Look like Cults, Act like Cults
“Save the …” cults* are not registered as religions but many do enjoy tax-exempt status – an important boon for religions – for other reasons.
“Save the . . . “ cults can look a lot like religions, though. In some areas people suffer from debilitating, sometimes fatal, diseases consequent to lack of protein in their diet (e.g. Marasmus and Kwashiorkor). The cows in the area are considered sacred, though, and can’t be eaten. Cows are allowed to roam unimpeded, including through people’s living areas, bringing their feces, flies and filth. Cow comfort then, is accorded more importance than people’s health, wealth, and well-being. The religious dogma1 is enforced by government’s edicts
In California we are instituting water restrictions in response to a severe drought. Central Valley farmers are drilling deeper and deeper and depleting aquifers with potentially devastating and widespread consequences.
The water that used to lubricate tectonic plates is gone, increasing friction. Instead of being relieved by frequent, small tremors – pressure is building and being expressed near and far.
California poured over a trillion gallons of water into the Pacific – to keep small, economically-useless fish cool. The precepts of the “Save the Smelt” cult are enforced by government’s powers to regulate, tax and even use deadly force against unbelievers.
The liturgy2 of the “Save the Smelt” cult, when enforced by government edict, leads to lost farms, disease, food shortages, and potential geological disasters such as tsunamis and large-scale earthquakes. The Smelt are kept at a comfortable temperature.
Religions also may revere and protect ground touched by their sacred icons. For example, Jews and Christians consider some areas in the vicinity of Jerusalem holy and mandate respect. A non-Muslim entering Mecca can expect to be tortured and executed if he’s caught.
Locally, the “Save the . . .” cults have drawn on their power as government supported belief systems to mandate the appearance and usage of Fairview Park. Ugly fencing must surround ground depressions that might harbor viable numbers of (potential) Fairy Shrimp. Deny use to citizens and erect unsightly aluminum nets in otherwise undeveloped fields? Of course! The rubrics3 require it!
A couple of Burrowing Owls were once seen on a hilltop in the Park. The ground became “Holy” to the “Save the Burrowing Owl” cult. A celebratory event – The Scarecrow Contest – had to be located where it wouldn’t encourage children to play on or even trod the sacred ground. Brush and weeds cannot be cut there (unless a severe fire danger can be shown) making it even less likely that people will desecrate that hilltop with their feet and dogs.
Burrowing Owls seek open (read brush free) land so they can watch for predators. The protected ground is thus made untenable4 for the owls by its protections.
Logic and reality aren’t necessary when enforcing the edicts of the official governmental religion, “Save the …” That was also true in the former USSR when Communism became the state religion.
*”Cults are characterized by . . .concerted efforts at influence and control. . . (are) elitist . . . on a special mission to save (whatever) . . . have a polarized us-versus-them mentality . . . (and) teach or imply that its . . . ends justify whatever means it deems necessary.”
Author’s note: a regular reader (known herein as “Bubbles”) complained that he couldn’t understand some of our posts. Selected definitions are provided to help him understand the post:
1dogma – prescribed doctrine proclaimed as unquestionably true by a particular group
2liturgy – a form of public worship; ritual
3rubrics – directions for the conduct of (a) divine service
4untenable – not fit to be occupied