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A pretty low bar for “accomplishments,” I must say

So there’s this Christian kid from north Texas named Junior Garcia. Junior decided, as many Christians do, that the world is a vile, steaming cesspit of moral decay, and the best thing to do about that would be to go to Home Depot, buy some lumber, fashion it into a big cross, and drag it (on wheels, because it’s not like he’s doing this to suffer for our sins or anything) from Texas to Washington, D.C.

He should have gotten Apple’s new iCross instead, which has 4G.

You may wonder what he hoped to accomplish by this feat. I mean, it’s impressive, in the way that being the guy with the world record for hot dog eating is impressive. But in the end, I can’t think of anything to say about it other than it’s clearly a stunt for its own sake. I’m not sure what Junior expected when he made it to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Obama might have been too busy running the country and trolling Mitt Romney for the lulz to schedule a meeting. And it’s not as if everyone just stopped sinning at all once, everywhere, as if all humanity was, in a flash, transformed into pious, prayerful pod people.

“Gay people! Getting married! EEEEEEEEEEEEEEE…”

Nor were any cancer patients miraculously healed, wars stopped, severed limbs regrown, abused children delivered from pain. The clouds did not part as in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, so that God could peer out and give this young man a divine fist-bump for a job well done. After all, as Eddie Izzard has pointed out, God had a prime opportunity to do that with the moon landing, and passed.

I’m being a bit facetious. I don’t, of course, really think even Junior expected any of that to happen. But he still must have thought that dragging a cross thousands of miles would have contributed positively, in some meaningful and direct way, to people’s lives and awaken them to America’s “moral decline,” whatever that is this week. Christians, naturally, are falling over themselves with praise for this inspiring young man and his impressive “accomplishment,” which, apparently, makes him a role model up to whom all young people should look. (Hah! You can’t catch me, grammar police!) Facebook, naturally, has brought the inanity in a big way. I have to say, whatever it is these people are so bowled over by is escaping me.

I have often wondered why people are so impressed by the shallowest expressions of what is supposedly a devoutly held belief, like little yellow magnets on the backs of their trucks to “support the troops,” as long as they don’t have to hear the names of the ones who died today on the news.

Don’t get me wrong. I have no doubt that this was physically an impressive feat.* But what material good does it do anyone? What is it other than a big act of religious showboating, allowing the young man to bask in the approval of his fellow churchgoers and other Christians who hear about him in the news? And why do so many Christians find it so impressive when you’d think they could, if nothing else, find a faith-based charity or something that’s actually doing things to have some positive impact (like this one I found at random) and heap their praise upon them?

I don’t mean to fall into any binary thinking here. I’m sure most of the people praising this young man would also have praise for real acts of charity, depending on just how much “poor people suck” messaging from right-wing media they’ve allowed themselves to absorb. There are so many ways a person could make a public statement about his beliefs that would positively impact the lives of others, and many many believers and atheists alike have done such things all down the years. But I guess this kind of public performance art — and not feeding the homeless or helping underprivileged kids with their educations, or spending years and years of study and research looking for scientific cures for the ills that plague us — is what gets your face in the media, eh?


* Or, not so much. Some readers have discovered that the cross weighed a mere 15 pounds, meaning Junior could have carried it in one hand while walking, and a good portion of the “walk” was done in a car. Now that’s inspirational!

Comments

  1. Comment1 says

    I wonder if this kind of display is most attractive to nice Christians with lots of doubt. It’s just the kind of trivial nonsense everyone can get behind regardless of what they think about things that actually matter.

    To say anything against it would be like hating kittens.

  2. Suido says

    I have no doubt that this was physically an impressive feat.

    Not really that impressive. Posted over at Dispatches by timpayne:

    Garcia, who was accompanied by his father, Pastor Lemme, and several others on his nationwide trek, did much of his walking on highways with heavy traffic. When legs of his journey became too risky due to traffic, Garcia and his group used a van to get to a safer location before the teen continued on foot.

    Source

    So any time it was ‘risky’, where ‘risky’ may have included long stretches of highway with no media attention, he put his feet up. Oh, the inspiration.

  3. trj says

    Raising awareness can be valuable. Though in this case I don’t see the value. It’s more or less a staple of Christian belief that the world is in a state of moral decay, so it’s not like he’s telling anyone something new. His journey will lead to some backpatting, but that’s about it.

    Which is fine by me. I don’t want more religion in politics.

  4. Chrissetti says

    Until I read comment #2 I was going to say that just walking the hundreds of miles from Texas to DC would be impressive, even without the stupid cross.

    Was he sponsored for this cross-walk? If he was then he could have actually turned this into something positive as opposed to just a mildly impressive cross-country walk/drive.

  5. tosspotovich says

    Is it egocentric to view this as little more than a “fuck you” to the gnu atheist movement?

  6. DSimon says

    Yep. The fuckgnuness was directed at all non-Christians, not just atheists, let alone only “new” or activist atheists. It’s not always (only) about us!

  7. says

    Surely he didn’t gimp out on the stunt. I’m sure he had people throwing rocks at him, as he was forced to wear a crown of thorns. When does the whipping begin?

    What? His ass was delivered in a nice air-conditioned vehicle most of the way? It’s what Jesus would have done, I’m sure.

  8. longstreet63 says

    Jesus? That wimp only walked a couple of miles and he could barely carry the cross! What sort of example is that?

    Kobyashi, though, is a man of consequence.

  9. John Kruger says

    I thought feats of strength were already called by Festivus, Christians take all the best stuff from everybody.

    The dedication is somewhat impressive, but that is about it.

    How many push ups would it take to make Buddhism right?

  10. Aviatrix says

    Arthur Blessitt did this, across the US and around the world, years ago. Was his “calling card” to get an audience to evangelize to.

  11. hexidecima says

    nice hollow looking cross there, Junior. With this and his avoiding “heavy traffic” and lying about how much he walked, so much for “suffering” like Jesus.

  12. Yiab says

    It looks to me like somewhere between publicity stunt for his father’s church (or his own future ministry) and what passes for performance art in fundieville.

  13. beammeupscotty says

    Not wanting to be outdone by a silly Xtain, I am now planning to drag a Coelacanth from California to Washington D.C.

    And I am doing it without wheels.

  14. Chrish says

    “I think its awesome,” said Oasis Church member Chuck Mays. “It’s not for attention to himself. What he’s wanting is to bring this country back to the founding principles it was formed on which is the cross of Jesus Christ. And that was his whole motivation for the whole thing.”

    Whaaaa? The founding principles this country was founded on are…Roman torture devices? This kids bringing torture back?

  15. Max Entropy says

    If I had known about this sooner I would have volunteered to scourge Junior during his trek. I would have made my own scourge, just like Jesus did (John 2:25). People like Junior are a scourge who deserve to be scourged with a scourge.
    Scourge, scourge, scourge, scourge,
    Scourge, scourge, scourge, scourge,
    Lovely scourge, wonderful scourge,
    Lovely scourge, wonderful scourge…

  16. mark says

    “physically an impressive feat”
    They interviewed this kid and his dad on one of the local tv stations the other evening in Dallas. I’m only listening with one ear while cleaning up the dinner dishes, when I heard the phrase “15 pounds”.
    I run it back (all blessings of the great and noodly one for dvr auto-taping), and sure enough, that big, impressive ol’ cross he is humping across the country for jesus weighs a whopping 15 pounds.
    So, basically this kid took a long hike with a lot of stops, with one of the lightest backpacks in the world.

  17. Andrew says

    It would have made more sense if he’d run it like a marathon or something. What Texas(or any Republican for that matter) politician wouldn’t shell out oodles of dollars per mile he carried that thing to whatever charity he wanted? Okay, maybe expecting charitable acts from Republicans is a bit far fetched, but really?

  18. ledwhofloyd says

    I would strongly encourage the Americans/non-Canadians here to look up Terry Fox.

    Terry Fox was a Canadian who lost his leg to cancer, and then decided to run across Canada from coast to coast in order to raise money for cancer research. He ran a marathon every day with an archaic(from the 70s) prosthetic leg. Terry Fox inspired Canada and his legacy continues to this day with kids raising money for cancer research in Terry’s name.

    That is what I call “doing something” and having a positive impact on the world. This Christian kid could have tried to inspire the world and have a positive impact, but instead all he is doing is promoting himself and his stupid religion. How pathetic.

  19. lorn says

    If there is any justice in this world it will be a cold December evening when he gets a few miles outside DC. He will stop to take a leak. While he is in the toilet a couple of homeless guys will break up his cross and add it to the burn barrel destitute families are warming themselves around. When he comes out they will thank him for the wood and tell him how it will likely prevent a few cases of frostbite. He will then have an epiphany and understand that doing the right thing wasn’t about making a symbolic show to legislators; it was delivering badly needed firewood to homeless people. He will make it his life’s work to help the homeless.

  20. mikespeir says

    Just racking up some bona fides. Nobody will say he’s not a Real Christian for sure now.

  21. sharkjack says

    Well it’s more about the symbol than the actual accomplishment itself. It reminds me of how the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus comes down to him dying for a few days and then going to rule up with himself/his dad.

    In that sense this ‘accomplishment’ is very Christian indeed.

  22. Mike de Fleuriot says

    Some one should whip up a real Roman Death Stick and then challenge the little prick to carry that sans wheels.

  23. desoto says

    How come the only time xtian action ever actually achieves anything is when it is against something or someone? When they do things for “good”, it’s just for show or pointless, like praying. And how come he wasn’t hung from the cross at the end like jeebus?

  24. says

    Isn’t there something in the Bible about flashy displays of faith…showing off in this way?

    Can’t some devout soul bring the verse to bear…

  25. Kimpatsu says

    “…makes him a role model up to whom all young people should look. (Hah! You can’t catch me, grammar police!)”
    Up with this we shall not put.

  26. greg1466 says

    Is it just me or does the picture at the top look like the cross is made from vinyl fence posts that has been painted to look like wood in the videos?

  27. mike says

    I was thinking the same thing when reading those ridiculous facebook comments above how brave and inspirational this Junior guy is. Give me a break!
    Terry Fox was a 22 yr. old boy who had lost his leg to cancer and decided to run the 8000km trek across Canada with a prosthetic leg.(a 1980 one, no modern spring leg) His goal was $1 for every Canadian, $24million at the time. Gaining little notoriety until he passed thru Ottawa and Toronto,he was passed the halfway mark around Thunder Bay, ON, when he started feeling very sick 143 days into the run forcing him to stop and receive the bad news that the cancer had returned, this time to his lungs. He died in hospital 10 months later. He was 5340km (3339miles) into his journey, running a marathon (26mi.) a day for 143 days, on one leg-suck on that Junior!
    A telethon in his name afterwards reached his goal of $24 million, and today The Terry Fox Run is held in September in over 60 countries raising over $500million in his name, to date.

  28. NorskVind says

    Indeed. I’d like to see him make his own web shooter and swing his way across the country! Spider-Man would be pleased by this. I think I have some work to do, the Church of Spider-Manology will not promote itself.

  29. says

    I don’t want to pick apart this kid’s accomplishment. If he was trying to gloat around atheists about his faith and how awesome it makes him, then he’d be fair game. But c’mon, this kind of ragging is just petty.

  30. Jim B says

    I’m thinking of building a 4′ tall cross, mounting a wheel on the top, then riding it upside down as a unicycle to Washington DC to spread the message that silly displays of religious affiliation won’t change a damn thing.

  31. Chrish says

    I don’t want to pick apart this kid’s accomplishment. If he was trying to gloat around atheists about his faith and how awesome it makes him, then he’d be fair game. But c’mon, this kind of ragging is just petty.

    We’re making fun because this is a prime example of Christian “holier than thou” “Look at me” “showboating” crap.

  32. mike says

    If you don’t want to pick it apart, that’s fine, there’s plenty of us that do want to pick apart his “accomplishment”. I’ll start by putting “accomplishment” in quotes! His stunt does nothing, helps noone, and it increases awareness of x-ianitry, like no one has heard of religion in the south lol!

  33. Houndentenor says

    You obviously don’t spend much time around fundamentalist Christians. Lucky you.

    The more treacly and saccharine, the more moving they find the action or performance. No Bach for this crowd.* They would prefer a musical rendition of the “Footsteps in the sand” poster. Again, if you don’t know what that is…lucky you.

    (* One of my friends often says that J.S. Bach is the only reason to even consider the existence of a god. It’s not enough to convince either of us, but it sure is great music.)

  34. says

    NO ONE EXPECTS THE GRAMMAR POLICE…

    but we are always here.

    “Look up to” is a phrasal verb, meaning that in the case of this usage, “up” and “to” are not prepositions but particles that should not, in fact, be separated.

    Your “whom” is perfect, though. Nice job. :)

    By the way, Churchill’s famous supposed takedown of this pedantry is, of course, incorrect, as “put up with” is also a phrasal verb.

    *drops the mic*

  35. Sili (I have no penis and I must jizz) says

    We have a guy in Denmark who’s been doing the shtick for years.

    http://da.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moses_Hansen

    He used to be big on Porn Cons, but apparently he’s been branching out into islamophobia. According that wiki, he’s been on Celebrity Big Brother, but he was expelled because the rest of the cast was scared of him.

  36. says

    During my next extended travel I will stop and eat spaghetti and meatballs as much as possible, and then make my wife drive while I stretch out in the back in a pasta coma. All hail my sacrifice.

    Ramen.

  37. HyperB says

    Absolutely.
    I’m stunned you haven’t heard of Counter-Strike Atheism.
    You should see the Mods and Cheats libraries.

  38. Nick260682 says

    Imagine how many actual, tangible things this moron could achieve if he was to expend the same amount of energy on productive things, like going to Africa and building wells for people without access to drinking water. If he were to do that and we were being really charitable, then hey, perhaps we could even overlook the inevitable subsequent self indulgent proclamations of piety.

    But instead he’s walking around America, utterly wasting his energy like a fuckwit with a plank of fucking wood. What a cunt.

  39. chrisv says

    While we are on the subject of crosses, I find it interesting that the Romans were so considerate about honoring Jesus’s modesty. After all the mocking, the whipping, the crown of thorns thingy, the cross dragging, the frickin’nails and that spear job, they were still considerate enough to hide the holy penis. Just think what the little chillun would be seeing if they hadn’t. Hundreds of times a day! Whew! Thank you Roman soldiers.

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