I’m starting to think I like riling up outrage. Too bad I’m not actually attracting much outrage thus far. So, here’s me taking another stab at it, by attacking three of the most venerated religious figures of all time.
Given the hypothetical situation that Gandhi, Mother Teresa, and the Dalai Lama are all drowning, and you only have time to save one of them, what would you do? Personally, I’d probably take a whiz on whoever was closest. That’s right — in my estimation, none of them would be worth saving, for various reasons.
Let’s leave aside the fact that Gandhi is already dead (so’s Mother Teresa for that matter), so I couldn’t save him if I tried, and the fact that in his political career he helped the civil rights movement immensely and fought against British colonial rule of India. I won’t even take the easy route and talk about his cult-like followers, or his belief in religion. I’m sure when you think of Gandhi, you think of the gentle pacifist who opposes military juntas and corrupt politicians alike — and a lot of this is true. However, he was also incredibly racist, considering black people, especially Africans, to be an inferior species. He was a staunch supporter of the Indian caste system (who at the top of a pyramidical caste system isn’t though?), and despite fighting colonialism on his home turf, he was a strong proponent of white rule over Africa, considering Europeans to be a necessary “civilizing” influence, as though Africans were mere “savages”.
Beyond racism, Gandhi was by any standards (and I’m no prude, believe me), a pervert. He cultivated an air of total celibacy in order to appear holy, and yet he often had several women “lie naked in bed with him” in order to “test himself”. Of course, nobody could prove he didn’t even pop a stiffie per his claims, and he often dodged questions regarding whether or not he had relations with his women, but we’re not talking about someone niggling about the definition of “is” here — we’re talking about someone who condemned all sexual activity as being unholy, who engaged in bizarre sexual practices regularly. I mean stuff like receiving enemas daily from two attendant women, and occasionally administering them to others (others meaning of course women). Now, there’s nothing at all wrong with having sex with multiple (consenting!!) women at once, or getting enemas regularly, if it gets you off — it’s the hypocrisy that bothers me. And it’s that hypocrisy that turned him from a political powerhouse into a laughingstock in India.
Speaking of hypocrisy, that’s a sin* of which Mother Teresa is especially guilty. I’m guessing you probably think that her life’s work is beyond saintly, selflessly helping the poor and unwell. Well, not quite. More like, she believed that suffering itself was holy, and while running around staying in posh accomodations raising money (ostensibly for her homes for the poor and unwell), in the meantime her charges in her Home for the Dying were getting the bare minimum of care, just enough to keep them alive and suffering, often undiagnosed and poorly nourished, disallowed from seeing friends and family and not allowed to leave their cots. Yet when she was unwell, only the very best medical care would do, checking into the most expensive hospitals. She frequently lied about her soup kitchens’ daily usage, about her schools’ enrollment, about anything that would keep her public image nicely burnished.
And while we’re talking about burnishing an undeserved image (how’s this for two segues in a row?), the Dalai Lama has managed to hoodwink most of the world into believing that a) a Lama-class-run Tibet would be freer than the current Chinese rule, and b) that he lives a life of poverty and enlightenment, while spouting greeting card slogans and bilking credulous governments and celebrities of all their money. Besides all this, he doesn’t even want a truly “free” Tibet — he’s looking for a Lama-run statehood within China’s government, something like Hong Kong — dependant on China for its economy but with its own independent ruling class.
That’s right — every time someone protests to Free Tibet, they’re actually totally wrong about D.L.’s aims, and if they were to ever succeed in convincing China to give up that particular plot of land, they’d be condemning Tibetans to be the slaves of the Lama monkhood while the monks live in opulence in a thirteen-story palace. But it’s okay, because the Dalai Lama is enlightened! Just listen to his words: “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” It’s merely a trifle that if he became Tibetan dictator for life again, compassion wouldn’t extend beyond the walls of Potala.
Just so you know, I’m aware that Penn and Teller did an episode of Bullshit! about exactly this subject (Dalai Lama, Mother T, and Gandhi), but this information has been available to the public for quite some time with very little public outrage over the fact that all three’s reputations are fabricated and whitewashed, and so I feel the need to say something myself. I suspect there’s some sort of psychology behind this — possibly to do with the public’s need for messiahs to rally behind in a particular cause. I’ll leave off on the speculation as to why that is.
Oh, and extra bonus outrage points — Pope Benedickhead is a complete fuckwit on whose head every African AIDS death that could have been prevented with condoms should be placed.
So who do you think I should do next? I’m sorta leaning toward a polemic against Oprah Winfrey for legitimizing so much pseudoscience and reducing populism to “come on my show and you might get a car”.
* At least I WISH hypocrisy was enumerated as a sin in the popular religions! It would make living with religious nutbags so much easier.