Posts Tagged ‘Apostle Paul’

The Baltimore Riots are over. Freddie Gray is still dead, obviously. A half dozen officers have been charged in relation to the killing, but their subsequent convictions remain to be seen. The folks from Baltimore didn’t even give the justice system a chance to fail, like those in Ferguson did, they just assumed it was broken and started throwing rocks.

Hell, why not? After all, rock chucking and fire setting has been the traditional response of minority communities to an equally longstanding police tradition of targeting said communities with violence…and usually getting away with it. This tradition spans a half century at least. Not that cops weren’t killing poor black folk prior to the sixties, but it wasn’t really until the sixties that people began to respond by rioting and looting. Up until this time, somehow, being shot by the police wasn’t the black community’s biggest problem.

imageIn the 1960s, Americans did more rioting than any other decade, four to five times more in fact, than the thirties, when people were as broke and hungry and abused as ever. In 1964, a New York police lieutenant shot and killed a fifteen year old Harlem kid in front of his friends. A shit storm ensued, on the spot, and the rioting crowd swelled to more than 4000. For four days, angry citizens threw rocks, set fires, attacked the police station and, of course, looted stores…all to no avail. The police lieutenant remained in the clear. Irregardless, similar riots occurred that year in Pennsylvania, Chicago and New Jersey, initiating a 51 year old cultural trend which has yet to have any real impact on the problem, but has retained its position as the black community’s go-to response in such matters.

Not that someone, somewhere, consciously plans these actions as a response…like I said…it’s a cultural trend. Riots tend to happen in clusters, at least with regards to cause, and the clusters typically span across a few decades. In the first couple decades of the 1900s, the thing was for a big gang of whites to get together and murder blacks. Racial attacks, like those in Tulsa and Rosewood, left hundreds dead. The other thing was for primarily white union members to violently suppress others’ opportunities for the same contracts. After the 1927 Herrin massacre, when rioting strikers looted gun stores and shot down a bunch of black strike breakers in cold blood, the focus of labor riots shifted to workers rights for a decade or so. Racial riots shifted in nature as well, decreasing in levels of violence and intensity, and for the first time, minority groups became the willing participants of melees like the Zoot Suit Riots, instead of the victims they had been in the past. Things then quieted in the fifties…the calm before the storm.

The sixties were indeed a perfect storm, a convergence of unrest so varied that the parties involved fed off one another and mustered a collective momentum not seen since the American Revolution. “There was madness in every direction,” wrote Hunter Thompson, “you could strike sparks anywhere.” For some reason, in the 1960s, a lot of Americans decided that they deserved to be treated equally and they took it to the fucking streets. If the blacks were rioting about being victimized by white cops, why shouldn’t drag queens riot too? After all, by the sixties, a black guy at least had a perceived right to walk down a sidewalk without being arrested simply for being black.

imageNot so for drag queens. While homosexuality in general was frowned upon and in fact legally punishable, it was sometimes hard to prove. Crossdressing, on the other hand, was also illegal and very easy to prove. During a customary raid on a gay bar, “suspicious ladies” would be led into the restroom by a female officer who would check for penises. Offenders would then be arrested. I’m not kidding…that’s the power of the American tax dollar as hard at work as ever…Stop-and-Frisk meets TSA. So on one particularly balmy 1969 New York night, the patrons of a Greenwich Village gay bar, the Stonewall Inn, decided to fight back.

After refusing to consent to a penis search, several people were arrested. As they were being led to police cars, a crowd gathered outside. Witnesses reported an arrestee pleading for bystanders to intervene. And then, after suggesting that the cops be paid off on the spot, someone threw a penny. And then another. And another. And then a rock. And then it was on. A hailstorm of foreign objects rained down on the police officers, who were forced back inside the bar for their own safety…or driven into the bar like cattle…take your pick. Outside, a surge of entitled gay rage spread throughout the crowd. Participants have expressed a collective feeling of having had enough. Things had to change, and it all had to start somewhere.

I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if the mob had gotten to the officers cornered in the bar…your guess is as good as mine. Not that they didn’t try, mind you. Multiple accounts indicate one or more alleged drag queens ripping a parking meter out of the sidewalk and then using it, siege style, as a battering ram against the buildings entrance. Unsuccessful, they attempted another classic siege strategy, setting the building on fire. Remember, these weren’t Roman centurions. Or common street thugs. These were dudes in dresses with size twelve star-spangled pumps who’d probably never hurt anyone before in their entire lives.

And they beat the shit out of those cops. Another witness recollected a drag queen straddling a prone policeman, cowgirl style, while (s)he thrashed him mercilessly with with one of those big assed shoes. And it wasn’t just the cross dressers bashing white devil cops with their purses…though the imagery is almost too awesome not to dwell on…but the vast majority of New York’s gay community. Just as the police eventually managed to summon assistance, home phones all over Greenwich Village rung off the hook.

imageShit got wild. The city had to send in their tactical riot squad to extract the officers trapped inside the Stonewall. The gays rallied enough reinforcements to sustain a full length Broadway style kick line while still managing to overturn cars, light fires and chuck rocks. I have yet to figure out what could possibly be contained within a transvestite’s purse to make it heavy enough to smash a police cruiser’s windshield.

By sunup on Saturday, the violence had stopped and the crowds had dispersed. But it didn’t last. Saturday night’s rioting was described by some as being even more intense and violent than Friday’s, although accounts vary. Nighttime clashes with police continued through the middle of the next week, and then the fighting was over. The gays went back to their lives and the police went back to oppressing them. It wasn’t long before Inspector Seymore Pine was raiding gay bars again, despite the fact he’d barely escaped the Stonewall Inn alive.

But while laws hadn’t changed, attitudes had. The gay community found that in order to riot about their right to be gay, they had to come out of the closet into the light of police cruisers and paddy wagons set ablaze. I’m a clinical sociopath – I know what masks and closets feel like – and I also know how liberating it feels to let your nature shine in the bright light of a fire you intentionally set. It feels fucking good. And for the gays, it took, so as the fires went out and the day broke, they discovered the sun feels even better.

New York City saw it’s first gay publications and the community began to associate on another level, that of activism. The conflagrations, it seemed, hadn’t gone out entirely, but had activated secondary fires in the hearts and minds of the homosexual collective. By the next June, they organized a march in commemoration of the Stonewall Riots. News had spread, it seemed, as had the metaphorical flames, and marches were held in a number of U.S. cities. It’s 2015, and this month, they’ll be marching again. Betcha didn’t know that’s where Pride parades came from, did you?

The black community just had their latest parade as well. It was in Baltimore this time, but instead of commemorating the beginning of a rather successful movement, or even the previous riots in Baltimore, it was just the same old noise. From Harlem to Watts, L.A. In 1992, Ferguson, Baltimore…nothing changes but the names. The significance of the community’s rage against the institution, however justified, is ultimately lost in the lawlessness that inevitably takes control, so much so that when Bill O’Reilly pointed out how dem colored folk need to do some policing of themselves, he kind of had a point.

imageThe gays understood this. For them, Stonewall was nothing more than a rallying point, a catalyst that drew the community together and brought the issues out into the light. When the fires went out and the sun rose, they began to organize, and then to move forward. I dare say that the effectiveness of the gay rights movement has far surpassed that of the civil rights movement. A big part of this, I think, is a level of cohesiveness that the black community has never attained. Close they’ve come, but never enough so for a cigar.

I’ve always framed the civil rights movement through the Martin vs. Malcolm paradigm…that is…non-violent resistance vs. resistance by any means necessary. Both have their place, both are useful, even necessary…but they can’t work independently of one another. Non-violence means nothing if one has never experienced violence just as violence itself loses significance when there is no foreseeable hope of peace. Resistance is a school of thought unto itself and in order to be successful it must be inclusive of all approaches. The very notion of a Martin vs. Malcolm paradigm demonstrates an internal conflict which dooms the movement from its inception and therein lies the lack of cohesiveness.

Before Stonewall, the gay rights movement was, well, still in the closet. Associations like Mattachine and the Daughters of Bilitis were established in the fifties and advocated for the rights of gays, but encouraged members to assimilate into straight society. Their strategy was to gain ground by convincing the mass culture that they were no different. A Mattachine march on the White House went unnoticed, in fact, because it was just a dozen or so dudes in suits walking up and down the sidewalk. A couple of years after Stonewall, there were over a thousand, and everyone noticed them.

Frank Kameny, the MLK of the gay rights movement, was critical of the Stonewall riots, as well as the sudden outing and publicization afterward. He later regretted his initial opinion, however, when he realized that even with his twenty years of work, it wasn’t until after Stonewall that he was able to garner the necessary public support to be the first openly gay candidate on a Congressional ballot. Kameny and the old schoolers had indeed assimilated, but it was not within the culture which they had expected. It suddenly became apparent that they didn’t have nearly as much in common with mainstream white America as they did with a handful of rock chunking transvestites.

For the last century and a half, black people have faced the same dilemma, at least with regards to their identity and position within America’s social food chain. The Martins preach assimilation and love while the Malcolms demand resistance against oppression. Both sides pretend to want to understand one another and work together…but ultimately, the push and pull they exert prevents any sort of unified black identity from ever really emerging. And identity is what it’s really all about, in the end.

“Ya wanna know how we screwed up in the beginning,” asked hip hop activist KRS-ONE in his song Higher Level. “We accepted our oppressor’s religion.”

It’s an excellent point. Why in the world, I wonder, would a people with a history of being enslaved subscribe to the very religion used to morally justify the wrongs inflicted upon them? When an imprisoned Paul met a runaway slave names Onesimus, he instructed the man to return to his master. When he decided this didn’t make him a big enough asshole, he wrote his Letter to the Ephesians, wherein chapter 6 admonishes slaves to be obedient to their masters as to their Lord Jesus Christ. Really now, Paul, really now.

So for me, with an outsider’s perspective, it’s hard to take a guy like Martin Luther King seriously. It’s even harder to stomach Baltimore mega church pastor Jamal Bryant, who, throughout the Ferguson and Baltimore protests, urged the community to calm down, drop the stones, stop setting fires and looting items that corporate white insurance companies would ultimately be paying for…to settle down and be, well, good ol’ friendly American negroes.

How would Stonewall have turned out if that one drag queen suddenly dropped the parking meter and proclaimed: “Settle down boys and girls, and remember that these policemen have rights too…now get on home now…and let these nice boys go back to institutionally molesting our entire culture!”

See what I mean?

imageSo by the time the Baltimore riots were winding down, the black community was getting two barrels of advice to settle down and straighten up. Besides Bryant’s calls for nonviolent protest and peace, local gang leaders joined in as well, yep, the same guys who make the cops trigger happy and scared to begin with. The big question is, should the black community be listening to either party? Are religious leaders who propagate the same religion used to justify slavery thinking in terms of what is best for the people? Something tells me that Jamal Bryant, in his casual business attire, his downhome southern preacher affect and his 7500 strong flock of income producing sheep, has very little in common with those marginalized and murdered by the police culture. And as for the gang leaders, they are at least as bad, if not worse, than the nightstick toting police who beat their asses. Neither non-violent passive resistance, nor the white Jesus, nor black tar heroin will correct what is wrong.

But you can’t tell that shit to America, black or white. Americans are too busy singing praises of Baltimore’s own dragon lady and house nigga extraordinaire, Toya Graham. Graham claimed international fame after attacking her brick lobbing 16 year old son in front of news cameras. I’m sure you’ve seen it…it’s all over youtube. What really struck me was the public’s reaction, as well as that of local government, which was overwhelmingly positive. In any other context, a mother shown on live TV to be striking her teenaged son on or around his head while screaming profanity at him would be labeled a child abuser and likely prosecuted. It suddenly becomes acceptable however, and even praiseworthy in this situation. But the kid wasn’t looting or stealing or selling drugs or even back talking his mom…he was chunking rocks with his friends, all in support of one particular friend whom he claimed had been beaten by policemen.

imageOf course, Graham was praised by everyone from those old wrinkled bags on the View to Baltimore’s own police commissioner. “Good job Toya,” they all seem to say. “Way to use violence to instill the values of assimilation, submission and tolerance of abuse into the next generation.” Her pastor, none other than the aforementioned Jamal Bryant, also spoke warmly of her actions, as did the ghost of MLK.

The ghost of another “Milk,” on the other hand, probably sees it a little differently. Harvey Milk (first openly gay politician in office…and the first of such to be assassinated…and the second cause of the second series of flamboyantly gay riots) came out of the Stonewall era. He wasn’t militant or violent and he wasn’t nationalistically homosexual. What he was, was part of a very small demographic of American people who decided they weren’t going to fucking take it in the ass anymore, metaphorically speaking at least.

This demographic, though small, included a wide range of differences…from men who like men, to women who like women, to drag queens and whatever the hell you call women with mustaches and workboots, pretty much everything 1969 America regarded as sexually deviant, except perhaps the pedophiles and dudes who like to screw wet tree stumps. The diversity of the movement didn’t stop there either; differences based on race and ethnicity, socioeconomics, the same shit we all argue about-these differences were deemed secondary and sidelined in favor of the larger picture. And to show for it, they have a strong movement that has only gained in momentum. And they also have the Pride parades, their equivalent of the American Independence Day.

It’s hard to say if that is a reality the black community will ever be able to attain, but my magic eight ball says they won’t. The situation has been as it is for too long and the people involved, sadly, are trapped-unable to stop snapping at the bait. A free meal from a burning CVS is no different from the false hope offered by Jamal Bryant and his hoes and his precious white Jesus…one way tickets on a train with no real destination in sight, that is, save the mirage of equality and the fallacious notion that our country is built upon it.

And ain’t that just the awful, bloody truth of it all?

My grandmother has a bumper sticker that reads, “Well behaved women rarely make history.” I’ve always gotten a good chuckle from that, especially when considering my grandma’s eccentric personality and her unorthodox methods of getting shit done. Sometimes I think that her bumper sticker should be on the front of the car and not the back, that way, at least we’d all get a fair warning that she’s coming and have a good idea of what sort of behavior to expect.

The sticker speaks for more than my grandma, I think. It speaks for more than women in general. Human behavior that deviates from what society considers to be the norm jumps out at us like a blip on an empty radar screen or a spike in a polygraph printout. Deviant behavior is a huge factor in the evolution of human culture because we are compelled, for some reason, to address it and how it is addressed often makes it the catalyst for some sort of change in the larger social group’s behavior patterns. Sometimes it happens on a micro level, like in a family or a community, but sometimes one person’s divergent actions can affect a macro level shift in the culture of a city, of a country or even of the entire world.

People whose brains function in ways outside what society considers to be normal have a bit of a propensity towards this sort of thing. Psychopaths, in particular, seem to be programmed to inspire change. A psychopath is made to behave selfishly and is not equipped, mentally, with the wiring necessary to conform on a pathological level. The sociopath and the psychopath have to learn and consciously apply these behavior patterns in order to fit in with the rest of the world and try to experience some sort of happiness.

Often, the psychopath’s true nature leaks around the edges of the mask or tears entirely through it. Once the psychopath abandons the restrictions of conformity and begins to impose his own nature upon the larger group, he emerges as a catalyst for an overall behavioral shift. This can happen in one of two ways or in a combination of both. In the first, the deviant behavior is pathological with no intent whatsoever in controlling the larger group. Numerous instances of serial killings have prompted all sorts of changes in society, particularly related to passage of legislation, but none of this change was intended. To the psychopath, the associated shift in the larger culture was not even considered with regards to the behavior; the deviant behavior is it’s own motivation and the resulting societal shift is…coincidental. However, when the psychopath seeks to intentionally change the nature of the larger culture by imposing himself upon it, look out, because all bets are off.

Think of it this way: mass shootings like the ones in Colorado and Connecticut have brought about a lot of talk regarding the expansion of gun regulation and have added momentum to an anti gun subculture. If tighter gun laws come as society’s expression of need for them in the wake of these sort of incidents, this was probably not considered by the shooters when they locked and loaded. There is no grand design and maybe the need for heavier handed gun restrictions might be justified. This is a natural reaction to a pathologically deviant behavior which causes harm. There are some people, however, who claim these shootings were actually carried out by unknown conspirators in hopes of drawing support to overreaching international small arms legislation which was up for vote around the same time these shootings went down. If these guys are right, and they seem to present a fair amount of evidence, it means the behavior (shooting a bunch of innocent people) itself was not actually pathological, and that it merely served as a conduit of influence towards achieving whatever pathological need that heavier duty gun laws might serve.

Can you see the difference? The psychopaths who use their capacity to engage in deviant behavior as a means to an end are infinitely scarier than those whose behavior, as bizarre and/or terrifying as it can potentially be, are relatively benign on a macro level. Think of it this way: who is more harmful and has done more damage to the larger group…Ted Bundy or Dick Cheney?

Ha.

So all this being said, I have two absolute favorite psychopaths about whom I simply must share…

The first is Joshua Milton Blahyi aka General Butt Naked. I first learned about the General from a Vice documentary called “The Cannibal Warlords of Liberia.” During the early 90s, Liberia was engaged in a very nasty civil war. Blahyi, who was supposedly initiated as a tribal shaman at the age of eleven, had already participated in ritualized human sacrifice and cannibalism before the war ever began. With the onset of the war and his subsequent commission under warlord Roosevelt Johnson, General Butt Naked continued to engage in violent antisocial behavior, although on a much grander scale.

In Butt Naked’s heyday, he led a small army of child soldiers into combat, wearing nothing but sneakers and tightie whities and often carrying purses along with rifles and machetes. He described heavy use of alcohol and drugs, along with regular ritual killings and cannibalization in conjunction with the atrocities that were already being committed as a part of the war.

It was funny, in the Hostel movie, when the little kids used the bad guy’s head as a soccer ball. Dark and twisted, but still funny. It wasn’t funny when Blahyi talked about doing it for real. To my knowledge, he’s never been tried or held accountable for any of his past actions.

These days he’s a traveling evangelical Christian preacher with a wife and four kids. He wears clothes, along with his shoes and sports a bible instead of an AK-47 and a purse. These days he delivers seemingly relevant and well penned sermons throughout churches in Liberia. The documentary showcased one such sermon that I found to be, given the social context of post civil war Liberia, quite poignant and generally good advice on how the country should conduct itself in the future.

This crazy bastard isn’t my favorite psychopath because I venerate anything he did or does, it’s because he makes me think. Without a doubt, the guy is a monster all the way down to his marrow. His behavior, historically, has proven his status as a monster. I question, however, the nature of his pathological need…is it slaughter, blood drinking and severed head Olympics, or were these activities simply a means to some other end? Or both?

Personally, I don’t think monsters stop being monsters. It’s an ingrained part of a person’s identity. I do think that people often change tactics and evolve with the changing of the times. This is what I suspect has happened with the General. He’s still the same old rotten bastard he always was, he just conducts his business in a different way. He now speaks to people in a way which, from what I can tell, is likely to have a substantial effect on the social culture of the country. My question is, given who he is and what he’s done, do his words still carry value?

Absolutely. Words are, well, words, and they all carry value. By removing the source context, the cannibal General, the words alone amount to, in my opinion, pretty good advice. If we disregard the history and very existence of General Butt Naked and consider only the family man Joshua Blahyi, it truly seems as though he speaks from a place of wisdom and honesty.

Perhaps that’s why he changed his name…maybe he understands something that everyone else should.

Once a man kills a child and eats it and then gives it to other children to eat before arming them and sending them into combat, once that happens, we can understand never to trust that person. That person is capable of anything and the behavior proves it. In order to ever be considered credible, the person has to distance their self from the behavior…or reinvent their identity entirely.

This is dangerous for everyone else. If Liberia forgets who General Butt Naked is, and engages Joshua Blahyi the preacher by adopting his ideas and teachings, they risk giving him power once more. In a few generations, the truth of Butt Naked will fade entirely and people will only know a famous preacher as a preacher. And we all know we can trust preachers, right?

This brings us to my other favorite psycho, one with whom we are all familiar, though only by his preaching name. Most folks have no idea who Saul of Tarsus actually is. Like General Butt Naked, he assumed another name and took up the cross.

Saul was born in Tarsus, now Turkey, to a Jewish father and a Roman mother. He is assumed to have been well educated, Tarsus having been considered the first century equivalent of a modern university town. Tarsus was also rich, both academically and culturally, and Saul supposedly came from a notable family with the means to provide just such an education. He was, in fact, educated in Jerusalem as a Pharisaic Jew and it is this element of his education which made his life notable.

Saul grew into a great persecutor of the early Christians, attempting to erase the new faith and it’s followers from the Earth, and he was there from the beginning. In the book of Acts in the New Testament, Saul is noted as approving of the stoning of St. Stephen, the first recorded incidence of Christian martyrdom. According to his own words, he persecuted Christians “beyond measure” and was both known and feared by those he encountered. Typical executions of Christians by Jews used stoning as the primary method, while those referred to Roman authorities were generally crucified (as in Jesus) or beheaded (like Paul). Speaking of Paul…

Our good friend, Saul of Tarsus, was headed south towards Damascus when he was engaged, supposedly, by the martyred Jesus, who told him he was being naughty and had better straighten up. Saul fell down and worshipped Jesus, became a Christian, and is thereafter known as Paul the Apostle. If you are unfamiliar with Paul, perhaps you have read some of his work, fourteen of the twenty seven books of the New Testament. He also carries the burden of responsibility for the formation and ideology of the Christian church.

Paul never wrote about his conversion or when he was visited by the ghost of Jesus. Whoever wrote the book of Acts recounted that story, sometime after Paul’s death. Paul, according to scholars, didn’t actually write half of the books attributed to him, most of which are sermons and communiques directed towards the budding Christian churches in the places he visited. Depending upon who you ask, only between four and seven of Paul’s “works” were actually even written by the same person. And that person could have been anyone. Outside of biblical accounts, Paul is virtually devoid of mention in other historical records of his time. His execution, thought to have been at the hands of Nero, was not documented until more than a century after it happened. The bible even neglects to mention his beheading. The Catholics, however, claim to have unearthed his remains in 2009.

To Christians, Paul is central to the theology, with his teachings assigned value comparable to those of Jesus, even when they might not seem to be on the same page. Unfortunately, we are not usually presented with a historical context from which to interpret events coming from one source. Most of us, for example, are unfamiliar with the historical connotations of the term ‘Pharisee.’ If you ask the Sunday school teacher, she’ll direct you to the preacher who will tell you they were the Jewish rabbis who killed Jesus. That’s maybe a little bit true. No, actually it’s not really true at all.

They were Jewish church officials and they did happen to be Pharisees, but that term represented much more in those days. The Pharisees were actually a sect of Judaism, generally considered dominant over the Saducces (their primary rivals), the Essenes ( monks thought to be responsible for the Dead Sea Scrolls) and the Zealots (more of a renegade political movement, think Jewish Taliban). During the first century, violence amongst these groups was common and it is likely that Paul was engaging moreso in sectarian terrorism as opposed to the active persecution of Christianity, a concept which hadn’t actually come together yet.

It is important to remember that during the time of Paul, and especially his former days as Saul, there were no Christians. There were Jews who believed Jesus was the messiah, but there did not yet exist a true creation of a new people. Paul, or Saul I suppose, wouldn’t necessarily have identified as a persecutor of a new religion. I think he would be more accurately described as a member of the Pharisee sect, possibly identifying with the Zealots politically, who did his best to stamp out the beginnings of a a group of heretics before subsequently joining them and becoming a church leader.

Also worth considering is Jewish tithing law, which did actually specify a ten percent contribution to support the priest class. The high council of priests, the Sanhedrin, was subsequently behind the execution of Jesus. Ten percent of everyone’s salary was, and still is, a lot of dough and it makes sense that the governing preachers would have a vested interest in protecting that. A splinter sect of Judaism that virtually absolved it followers from the authority of the Jewish temple would have been considered to be a major financial threat and it is through this context of history that Saul of Tarsus emerges as an enforcer for a religion-based protection racket.

In doing such, Saul had people stoned. Later, when he wrote the verses that would be used to formulate the first Christian church, he even boasted of it. I think he was a dirtbag who was capable if manipulating and inciting other people to do some awful shit. Through a modern understanding of human nature, the established patter of behavior indicates that the Apostle Paul was actually a dangerous psychopath.
Incidentally, Paul was not even technically an apostle. According to Jesus’ homeboy Peter, you had to be a disciple before you could be an apostle. Paul never even met Jesus. Furthermore, much discourse exists regarding fundamental differences between the teachings of Paul as opposed to those of Jesus, some being downright contradictions. In these respects, as well as all others mentioned, feel free to do your own sound research and make up your own mind.

Regarding Paul’s theoretical identification as a psychopath, he is not all that different from General Butt Naked. Both men engaged in violent and manipulative psychopathic behavior before adopting a new identity and becoming traveling evangelists. As with Butt Naked, Paul’s historical pattern of behavior raises questions as to the validity of his later teachings and writings.

In Ephesians, Paul instructs slaves to “obey your earthly masters.” Apparently, it’s more important to set a good Christian example as a slave than to experience God given free will. He also writes, in Romans, that governments and leaders should be obeyed and that they are “ordained by God.” Isn’t that interesting?

It is also through Paul, in his same letter to the Romans, that a renewed justification in the persecution of homosexuals is derived. It is more likely that he was referring to the pederasty associated with some forms of pagan religions. I find it darkly comical that the same form of sexual deviancy he spoke against has persisted in the very church he founded for centuries. That was a direct stab at the Catholics, by the way.

In a handful of passages, good ol’ Paul sets our women folk in a place of submission, asserting authority over them and directing that they quietly learn from men. I’m not kidding or even exaggerating about that. Look in Corinthians, Timothy and Ephesians. I think it’s elsewhere as well. This doctrine, sadly, is actually still applied in some American communities and written words attributed to a proven dickhead who existed two thousand years ago.

The trouble, again, with people like Joshua Blahyi is that eventually we forget he used to be General Butt Naked and that he fed people’s children to other children. He has also, as Paul did, boasted of it in an expression of feigned repentance. Disassociating the historical context from the identity of the teacher is very dangerous and leaves people open to manipulation. The changing of the name is significant and coincidentally, symbolic of the act of a wolf zipping up a sheep costume.

Paul, or rather Saul, is of much more concern than Butt Naked, however, because his teachings not only reach a global audience but have established much of the doctrine that his audience subscribes to. Furthermore, these teachings have persisted for generations, with each becoming more ignorant of the cultural implications of the belief system than the last.

I think I agree with Thomas Jefferson when he claimed that Paul did more to subvert the message of Jesus than any other man in history. Considering how much of the foundation of the Catholic Church, and the Protestants actually, is based upon Paul’s teachings, an assertion that much of the church itself is a subversion of the very idea of Christ is not at all out of the question.

Paul’s influence is, in fact, prolific, and he is certainly notable as one of the most influential psychopaths in history. Butt Naked is small potatoes, compared to Paul, but I think they are cut from the same cloth and find society’s acceptance of their “conversions” and veneration of their teachings to be both fascinating and horrifying. Imagine being a sheep and seeing a wolf. Just as you start to flee, the wolf says, “Wait…hold up…give me a second to put on this sheep suit and then you won’t have to run. You can just go back to eating grass and breeding. Every now and then, my homeboys and I will eat one of you and it’ll be ok because Jesus said to do it like that.” So you say, “Ok.”

Indeed.

The accepted perception of a person’s conversion from a homicidal maniac to a respected follower and teacher of Christianity is not an easy feat. Serial killers and other criminal psychopaths try that shit all the time. In these two cases, Saul and Butt Naked, the success is notable and the results are, particularly with Saul, measurable on a grand scale. It’s why I say they are my favorites. Of all the psychos and socios that exist in history, most are known for deeds directly associated with anti social personality spectrum disorders. These two guys, the ones I enjoy reading about, have been able to reinvent their personas entirely, right in front of their victims, and then be warmly accepted as new men.

I don’t believe in conversions. I only understand calculated tactical shifts in behavior designed to elicit a response and I’m telling you, these guys are motherfucking masters at it.