Posts Tagged ‘New York’

Christians and Falun Gong and Scientologists, OH MY!!!

April 15, 2008

So it’s Friday night awhile back, and I’m going from the ESPN ZONE ( pro-athletics on the projection screens, anti-athletic food on the table), in Times Square to the A train, up to Fibi’s in Harlem. If you never had the pleasure of walking underground around the Times Square area anytime from the 1970’s to the mid-90’s, you would be hard pressed to understand just how much these tunnels have changed.

While not gorgeous, they seem wider, better lit, certainly cleaner and better smelling. The walk from Times Square to Port Authority just isn’t the hellish trudge it used to be. While you don’t feel you are going to be shot, stabbed, assaulted, or targeted by the body fluids of assorted lunatics, there are still those seeking to lead you off your intended path.

Right at the stairs to the 7 train is the Areana of RELIGIOUS KOMBAT! ( FIGHT!!! CHOOSE YOUR RELIGION! CHOOSE YOUR SPIRITUALITY! FIGHT!!!)

First was a Christian with literature spread over 12-15 feet of tables, signs suggesting with extreme prejudice that you “THINK JESUS”. If you didn’t get that message, more verse was computer-stitched on the back of his hoody, complete with different colors, bold face and underlining.

New York has long been a target for Christians looking for not-Christian enough folks. I remember one time a couple of years back, a whole choir of blond, blue eyed Southern teens and their long haired pastor were crooning “There Is Power In The Blood.” near Bryant Park. Of course, my first thought was to ask him for their passports and how much for the lot of them. (Isn’t that always everyone’s first thought on seeing a choir of Southern gals from an unaffiliated church singing on 42nd street?)Instead, I chuckled to myself and walked on.

In all fairness, they were more polite and cheerful in their p.d.f. (public demonstration of faith) than most.

And a couple of them gals was really, really cute. So why be rude?

The guys at the table by the 7 train? Not so pretty or cheerful. They were much more in the “Believe-or-go-to-hell-and-die” tradition. Still, they didn’t go out of the way to stop you from goingwhere you were going.

And they were actually honest about what they thought about you.

Right after passing the tables and tables of Chick tracks we came upon back-lit billboards for the “Holiday Extravaganza.” This was one of the many covert/overt efforts by the Falun Gong to publicize both their practices and the persecution by the Chinese government. After a couple years of failed, very blatant protests, they’ve shifted tactics. These last two years, they had followers spread throughout New York in traditional Chinese costumes, some even making it onto network morning shows.

Looking and sounding like, well, blissed out cult members, they’d talk up the traditional Chinese values and splendors of their show, while not mentioning a thing about it being a Gong show. And, from many posted reports, people who actually went were bored to tears by bad performances and anti-Chinese propaganda.

Now, the commonplace persecution of well… not just the Falun Gong but about anyone who doesn’t toe the Party line in China deserves protest and condemnation. We’ve been bad here in the US, they’ve been worse. If you don’t get that, start reading some different newspapers and history books.

But the Gong’s manipulative practices, like the bait and switch of the Holiday Spectacular, doesn’t help their cause. Just because the PRC’s actions are wrong, doesn’t mean the Gong are right, or shouldn’t be a cause for concern. After all, if a group is generating cult-like devotion, making cult-like claims of the powers of its’ beliefs and practices, and acting in really creepy ways, well, maybe they are a cult.

Just because you have two wrongs, doesn’t mean you have to choose one of them as right.

Also, maybe the MTA should get around to rotating it’s subway ads more? Just a suggestion.

So guess who we ran into next? Think cults, un-scientific claims, manic devotion and sleazy practices.

Right by the stairs to the downtown the A.C.E and the RAG shop, were our friends, the Scientologists. Big tables, lots of E-meters and books, three Sci guys, one person having a reading taken and not much else. They were looking a little down. This was right around the time Tom Cruise’s private rant leaked on video, just before Anonymous started doing it’s net-vigilante thing.

As we passed, I remarked “Sorry, I’m a suppressive.” And kept going.

Too say I don’t indulge my scorn the these particular cult flunkies would be both dishonest, and pointless, given that it’s here in plain html. But tearing into them doesn’t do much good, and is just plain self indulgent.

Unlike posting on a blog 4 or 5 people may actually read.

All the same, to take a stroll through the depths of the Earth being accosted by false prophets and their advertising buys was a strange way to start a Friday night.

So what did we learn on this stroll?

One- Strange things in NYC always come in threes.

Two- Overbearing religious zealots are just that. Overbearing religious zealots. But a little bit honesty on their part helps

Cute blonde girls in pastel with lovely singing voices helps as well.

Three- While the underpasses beneath 42nd street may be less crime ridden than they used to be, sometimes it’s still safer to walk above ground.