by Glenn Buttkus

“It is not God who fucked up, it’s the screamers who say
they believe in him, & who claim to pursue their ends in
his holy name.”–John Irving

God has multiple faces,
every pigment of skin,
speaks all languages,

but it never
has made any sense to
me that as

many choose, or
are chosen to follow a
specific faith, they

immediately fan their own hubris,
plunge into pitfalls of elitism,
condescend to everyone named Morris,
& condemn all the other ‘isms.

The world’s religions break down to
the Big Dog Clubs, the strays, and non-members;
33% of us are Christians,
23% are Muslims, 14% are Hindus,
7% are Buddhists, 2% follow Judaism,
about 10% are considered non-religious,
and everyone else falls through the cracks.

Are we all slaves to our own base nature?
If we belong to or favor a sports team,
a fraternal organization, a city, a state, a country–

this somehow makes us feel superior
to everyone else?
We belong, they don’t, so fuck them?
Citing our unalienable rights to fight
for what we believe in, versus what
they believe in, giving us impetus
to declare war on them.

Our Founding Fathers believed that
we should always keep Church & State
as separate entities, & yet throughout history
more wars have been fought,
more lives have been lost,
more blood has been shed,

over religious conflicts than
any other single factor.

The entire American Military Complex
is in crisis, it seems, facing
a suicide epidemic. Last year more
active duty servicemen & women
committed suicide than died in combat.

Within the US Marine Corps,
in another lame attempt to promote
well-being among troops, they force
those on active duty to fill out
a training document, asking them
to check boxes that pertain to them,

as their commanders hope to prevent
loss of life by monitoring warning signs
like substance abuse, criminal records,
prior suicide attempts, implied sexual orientation,
and the latest is “lack or loss of spiritual faith.”
In the Army they require soldiers to complete
a survey that measures their “spiritual fitness”,
because spiritual people have decreased odds
of attempting suicide, spiritual fitness has a positive

effect on quality of life & mental health,
and no one is ever allowed to put the word
atheist on their dog tags.

Come on, how in hell are we to keep religion
out of the armed forces,
out of politics,
out of our schools,
out of our workplace, &
out of our wars.

Are there truly no atheists in foxholes
during a devastating mortar attack?
Have there been wars in heaven
as the angels did battle wearing
white or black wings?
Is there a war within our own hearts
between greed & compassion?

Rhetorical inquiries I suspect, since
belief in one’s faith often denies logic
and fully embraces conundrum.

Midst the maze, each of us must seek
our own answers, adopt our own conclusions,
and then face the consequences
of those actions–regardless
of what we are told, mandated, preached to about,
dictated, forced, cajoled, or manipulated
by the powers that be.


One thought on “Zealots

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