Modern Day Pharisees and Religious Scammers

Scammers are everywhere and everyone tries to game the system.

People want free stuff and will lie, cheat, steal, scam or do anything to do it. As long as it is someone else’s ox that gets gored.

You do not achieve great wealth in this country without cheating or scamming. Lawyers overbill clients and concoct fraudulent lawsuits, Wall Streeters cheat their clients and churn accounts. People scam Medicare, flying around the world on trips, having the best cell phone service and HDTV’s while hiding their income from taxation or and living off the public teat as if we are nothing more than a hose from which they can siphon off whatever they need off the backs of our children’s debt.

But for some people, scamming others isn’t even enough.  No, some particularly loathsome individuals scam God. Or at least they try to. They don’t want to feel the slightest pain of sacrifice, so they scam the rules, find loopholes and yet still present themselves as defenders of the faith. Hypocrites like this deserve to be targets of the Misanthrope.

One can only begin to imagine the egotism of someone who thinks that by obeying the letter of the religious law they will somehow achieve the end result of their religion, be it getting to heaven or something else. But these perverted minds have to try. Like scummy lawyers they evoke loopholes. If no one saw it, it didn’t happen, right? These modern-day Pharisees are more concerned with how the world perceives them than how they live.

Though I am a lapsed Catholic that no longer follows the Church, I have respect for any religious true believers. Though I disagree with them, they at least are not the invidious, repugnant sorts that scam their own beliefs. The devout followers are not hypocrites; they genuinely believe in the tenets of their religion and try to live them to the fullest.

I know many people like this and they generally deserve our admiration for being upstanding citizens, even if I think they are misguided. See, they are not following the silly rules of a man-made institution; they are living by a code. They are not following the letter of the law at the expense of the actual moral philosophy of their faith.

But for every bit of admiration they deserve, the lying, cheating, scamming demons that cheat their religion are deserving of even more disdain.

People wear masks. We hide our true selves from the world, mostly because our true selves are repugnant. Who among us could withstand intense scrutiny? If we truly knew other people we would be shocked. That’s okay though, just admit what you are. Most people don’t go out of their way to act as if they are holy, devout followers of God. They don’t beat us over the head with their beliefs. They don’t act like Dr. Jekyll when they are actually Mr. Hyde.

But too many do. We have preachers and priests that are pedophiles. We have ministers that scam their flock by claiming to have healing powers. We have so-called reverends that literally surf on a pile of money while yelling for their followers to donate (Creflo Dollar-I am looking in your direction). These are disgusting, vile individuals, preying on the weak and unfortunate to line their golden pockets and buy another ivory back scratcher.

But it is not just leadership. Many of the followers are the same way. In the Catholic religion we have many that do not believe in one of the central doctrines of the faith, transubstantiation, or the changing of the host and wine into the body and blood of Jesus. And we have pro-choice, cafeteria Catholics who get dressed up in their Sunday best three times a year, dolling their kids up in suits and bonnets as if God is fooled. Hey, we must be good Catholics, we get dressed up! Of course when the idea of charity comes, they suddenly develop Tyrannosaurus Rex-like arms. And forget about asking them to volunteer their time.

In my town in Long Island, New York most forget the admonition that it will be easier to get a camel through the eye of a needle that for a rich man to get into heaven. Our whole town consists of professionals such as the Wall Streeters and Lawyers mentioned above and various business men with shady practices. They crow about their “big” houses. At my daughter’s christening recently one of the other dads was wearing a $15,000 Franck Muller watch. That could buy a lot of food for the soup kitchen. But then he wouldn’t be able to wear a gaudy, expensive watch in Church.

But I am sure these people will recant on their deathbed, and get into heaven by the back door. And every week the church is full to the brim. As long as we show up, obey the letter of the law, God is happy, right?

It is not just my fellow Catholics. Every religion has these cheaters, scamming their way into the afterlife. We have people blowing others up in the name of religion. We have a whole website devoted to helping a particular sect cheat on their spouses. We have religious communities convicted of money-laundering and evading taxes.

One of my favorites: in one religion on certain days they are not allowed to press buttons or do any work. The point, presumably is sacrifice; they are supposed to feel some pain of sacrifice. Does God really care about pushing buttons? No. He cares about sacrifice.

They cheat. They have elevators that stop at every floor so they don’t have to walk. They have TV’s that turn themselves on and off with timers. They are supposed to sleep outside in the rough, to feel the pain of their ancestors, but instead they have dinner in a tent on their lighted front porch. You see, in their heads, God only cares about turning a volume knob, he doesn’t actually care about sacrifice.

But they will use their faith as a way to get off from work early. It could be the middle of June, when the day is longest and the sun doesn’t go down until 8:30 PM but they will rush home at noon. And still expect a full day’s pay. But ask them to walk up a flight of stairs or go without watching Dancing With The Stars? Salvation isn’t that important.

You can walk around and show the whole world that you are part of a religious sect, you can make it clear by the way you dress that you are devout. But you don’t actually have to give a rat’s ass about the actual philosophy; nope, just present one face to the world and do whatever you want as long as you obey the letter, if not the intent, behind the rules. Why should they have to do anything to make their piddling existences more comfortable and less full of filthy lucre?

Another of my favorites is the Bingo Night or Casino Night fundraiser. These were popular in my church in Flushing, New York when I was younger. Jesus ridded the temple of money changers, but apparently that didn’t apply to Roulette or Blackjack. No, we get to gamble for the purposes of raising even more money for the richest private institution that ever existed. Wow, what a deal for us!

Well, our church got tired of this. Why shell out money to bring food vendors and rent rides? So they came up with a “silent bazaar.” What was that you ask? They merely sent out an envelope and asked us to donate what we would have spent at the bazaar. Perverted, twisted, mentally crippled and greedy, that was my church leadership.

These organized religions are like every other institution-they are all about the Benjamins and the power. So reject them. You will have a better chance of getting into heaven. And don’t say that the Misanthrope does not try to help his fellow man, at least in getting on the path to the afterlife.

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