Have you ever seen one of the many horror movies set in a rural area? Whether they’re supposed to take place in modern times or in a bygone era, in many of these films you will see a character that can only be described as a religious nutjob. Bible-thumpers, fire and brimstone preachers and even cannibalistic commune members are cast as representatives of the zealots and whackos who pervert religion into something purely evil.
In case you were wondering, no, we’re not all like that down here. Do we have religious bigots and a high watermark of prejudice? You betcha. But the folks who proselytize the harder-edged flavors of faith don’t often ascend the ranks of crazy to claim the title of murderer or psychopath.
That being said, religious prejudice is an ugly stain on what could be, and one day may well be, a truly progressive and inclusive area of the country. We realize that some of these folks are holding us back. Trust me, we’re working on it.
I am a staunch defendant of the right to freedom of (and from) religion and I am a vicious opponent of intolerance, whether it’s from or towards religious folks. I grew up in church and the vast majority of these people are hardworking, kind, big-hearted people who would bend over backwards for you if you showed up hungry and in trouble on their doorstep.
Not all of them, though. Some of them distrust science, others actively hate and mock it. Some of them vote Republican, others lean so far right they’re essentially bumping elbows with fascism. Some folks take it a bit too far, is what I’m getting at. This, I believe, is the source of the rumor about the religious crazies who wield pitchforks and slay teens on the big screen.
I sat down with my friend Sam to talk about the ways that blind religious devotion can hurt, and even ruin, relationships. Sometimes you can believe something so strongly that you can’t see around it to notice that you’re hurting yourself and others.
Tune in to see why the demons we can’t see may be the creepiest of all.