You may think I am kidding, but I am not. My total and complete disgust towards religious leaders aside, they have a great scam going, and in my weaker, more immoral and selfish moments, I wish that I were a part of it. The life of a religious leader is one of strict piety and goodness, but only on Sunday mornings and special occasions. The rest of the time, it’s one big debauchery after another, and your followers will more than let you get away with it, they’ll pay the bar tab.
For starters, there’s the money. I don’t have any. I work a good job, at least until the end of the year, and I am essentially the sole source of support for a total of eight people (myself included). Religious leaders make the kind of bank I’ll never know, and who wouldn’t be jealous of that? The money is all tax free, there are no responsibilities, and if Peter Popoff has taught us anything, it’s that even after you are disgraced and discredited as a fraud, you can still fleece the masses of millions of dollars.
Then there’s the drugs. Personally, I don’t do them, aside from a maybe-a-few-times-a-year couple of hoots off a joint. I just don’t like the risk of drugs. But these people make Elvis look straight edge. Scientology’s L. Ron Hubbard is notorious for drug abuse. Pastor Ted Haggard, former head of the National Association of Evangelicals, spent his nights in enjoying that sweet crystal methamphetamine high that really gets one in touch with his creator. And the list goes on and on.
And the bullying? Man, that’s a huge sell! L. Ron Hubbard’s kid was an embarrassment, so what does he do? He kills him (allegedly)! George Roden doesn’t like the new preacher setting up in his sugar shack, so he and his followers usher the new guy, David Koresh, off at gunpoint. The threat of eternal damnation is another sort of bullying, used with great relish at any number of pulpits the world over. I wouldn’t say that bullying is built in to faith intentionally, but it sure finds its way in there quickly enough.
But the biggest sell has got to be the sex. Far from pious and chaste, religious leaders seem to get more and weirder sex than anyone I know. Now, I’m in a wonderful, monogamous, committed relationship with The Lovely Lady which I wouldn’t trade for anything, but that doesn’t mean a guy can’t wonder at the Penthouse Letters lives of the holy men. Joseph Smith convinced his wife, Emma, that God insisted he have as many wives as possible. Guys like David Koresh bless women by taking them into their beds. Pastor Ted Haggard was more into guys, a quality his church bribed away to silence until the scandal of the meth-induced gay sex. And nobody covers up illegal homosexual encounters better than the Catholic Church (with the possible exception of Penn State). Hell, even Ghandi is said to have been sex-mad.
And now, even the Amish are getting into it. It turns out that the Amish leader who is getting his followers to give haircuts to those not Amish enough for his tastes (read: those who don’t agree with everything he says) is pulling a Koresh, and getting the devil out of the married women in his care with a little bit of sex magic.
The truth is, I don’t want to be a religious leader. I find them loathsome. They are, by and large, the best examples of the wickedness, greed, corruption, selfishness, and misery that they claim to be fighting against. I don’t need that much money. I don’t need the drugs. I don’t need the life. I don’t need to bullying. I don’t need the sex. I don’t need any of it. I’m fine with my regular life with my regular friends and my amazing Lovely Lady. I’m too good a person to become a religious leader.