fearI can recall my first religious experience quite vividly. Forty years ago, in grade 4 we had religious instruction classes in our government school. The local catholic priest would come out every Tuesday and conduct a class.

Bromilow was his name. Brimstone Bromilow the older kids called him. I had no idea what brimstone was, but we were soon to find out. He was quite old, but anybody older than 20 was old to me. He was definitely as old as my grandfather though, so i guess he was quite old.

We didn’t really enjoy this class, well I didn’t anyway. It was full of yelling and accusations. We were told we were worthless and would spend an eternity in hell. Usual stuff. There was a girl, Rhonda, a jewish girl who always sat outside. I often thought why she was allowed to skip the class but not the rest of us. I really would have preferred to be out with Rhonda. I had a good friend Glenn who sat next to me. We both felt pretty much the same way about the class.

One day in religious studies Glenn asked father Bromilow if he could go to the toilet. “No you rude boy” he yelled. Glenn insisted that he really, really, REALLY needed to go. This just fell on deaf ears. A few minutes later, an awful stench permeated the classroom. Yep, Glenn had shitted his pants.

Father Bromilow flew into a rage. “Who has defiled the presence of the Lord?” Of course we had no idea what he was asking. “Who is the vile person who has done this?”. Meekly Glenn put up his hand and was subsequently banished outside. “Go sit with the jew girl you filthy child”. “Do not move from that seat. Jew girl, you stay with him”, he shouted.

Poor Glenn and Rhonda had to endure another 40 minutes of humiliation. By the end of the lesson, Glenn was as distressed as anybody I have ever seen. He had excreta dribbling down his leg and was just a wreck. ┬áRhonda wasn’t much better off either.

Glenn never came back to school after that day. Rhonda continued to sit outside. I never saw Glenn until another 10 years later. Forty years later I still have contact with Glenn and Rhonda on Facebook. Neither have ever mentioned that day, but I’m sure it left both deeply scarred.

Religious classes didn’t last long in our education system. I only ever recall having them that one year. I don’t know what happened to Bromilow. I wish that he was rotting in hell, but I know that not to be the case.

That was my first experience with religion. it was also the moment when I knew that there was nothing there for me. In fact I sensed that it was something to avoid. They were fearful times. The whole class was full of fear. This is how they roll.

TShirtThis is my first post on this blog. I’ve written several blogs in the past on mostly benign personal stuff. This one is a bit different. It has its origins in the aftermath of the tragic Sandy Hook School shootings. I cannot even come close to imagining the sheer terror and horror witnessed and experienced by the survivors and the slaughtered. The families and community of the slain need everyone’s support and empathy. It is not a time to blame, shame or name. That will come out in the course of time. It is a time for healing and a time for society to reflect on where it is and where it is going.

Shortly after, the shootings I read an article on line where Bryan Fisher, Director of the American Famiiy Association claimed the tragedy was an act of godliness in American schools. At first reading I dismissed as another pathetic idiot trying to push their religious agenda. After all this guy did suggest that a whale should have been stoned to death for killing a trainer at Sea World. What do you expect? I didn’t think much more of it until images of the t-shirt above started to appear across social media.

Great, I thought. Someone now wants to cash in on the tragedy. The lack of moral fibre in some my fellow humans never ceases to amaze me. On further reflection, it dawned on me that people must be believing this repugnant message for them to pass it on. Who could believe such hurtful and inflammatory comments? It seems many do.

Where was their benevolent, omnipresent and omnipotent deity? Did he have a dummy spit because some secular legislation restricted his access to schools? When did god start taking orders from man? Why was the omnipotent one powerless to stop it? If, as Fisher suggests, he chose not to, where was his benevolence? He could have saved their lives, but he chose not to? WTF? That is evil. Rather than living up to his reputation, he chose to be AWOL, impotent and malevolent. Allah and the other deities will be having a roaring laugh at this piss-weak deity who couldn’t get past the school gate.

How do christians reconcile their belief with such glaring contradictions? Of course the usual tripe will be trotted out like “god has a higher plan for them”, or “it was Satan” or simply god will respond by saying “Trust me”. Of course such a reconciliation would require a certain degree of free-thinking, so I don’t hold much hope of that happening.

It gives me hope that some christians, rightly, so are saying it has nothing to do with god. However they are far and few. Finding mainstream christians remonstrating with fundamental christians is becoming as rare as sky fairy shit. Are we heading down the islam path where fundamental muslims hold the floor when it comes to representing their religion?

If god found it acceptable to let these children be slaughtered, then those that believe it, also will find it acceptable. Here in lies the evil. They may have pulled the trigger themselves as there is no difference in what they or the killer believed to be acceptable.