Friday, September 17, 2010

The Church of Body Modification and Religious Relativism

 I seriously don't make this garbage up. This blog is so easy to maintain. The material just comes out of the woodwork in these ridiculous times.

Now here's a story of a 14 year old girl who got suspended from school for blatantly violating the school's dress code for having a nose ring. Typical non issue, right?

"I think it's kind of stupid for them to kick me out of school for a nose piercing," she said. "It's in the First Amendment for me to have freedom of religion."

Iacono and her mother, Nikki, belong to the Church of Body Modification, a small group unfamiliar to rural North Carolina, but one with a clergy, a statement of beliefs and a formal process for accepting new members.

It's enough to draw the interest of the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, which has contacted school officials with concerns that the rights of the Iaconos are being violated by the suspension.


"They're basically saying, because they don't agree and because they choose not to respect our beliefs, that it can't be a sincerely held religious belief," he said.

Ivey describes the church as a non-theistic faith that draws people who see tattoos, piercings and other physical alterations as ways of experiencing the divine.

"We don't worship the god of body modification or anything like that," he said. "Our spirituality comes from what we choose to do ourselves. Through body modification, we can change how we feel about ourselves and how we feel about the world."

It was too good to be true! This opens the flood gates. Those of you who are regular readers know my previous rants about various forms of relativism. Well here we have a classic case of religious relativism. (If you believe sincerely that's your religion, then it's your religion!)

I looked up the Church of Body Modification. Here is their statement of "faith":

As followers of this faith, it is our purpose to educate and inspire, to share ideas, and to help each other achieve our dreams. We strive to unify and strengthen our mind, body, and soul so we can overcome any challenges we may encounter. We assert and protect our rights to modify our bodies and to practice our rituals.
We believe our bodies belong only to ourselves and are a whole and integrated entity: mind, body, and soul. We maintain we have the right to alter them for spiritual and other reasons.
Affirmation of our living, breathing, physical beings is paramount to our self-identities and helps us define who we are. The Church of Body Modification promotes affirmation and growth of a more expansive perspective of our physical and spiritual being.

This is not a religion. It is a cult. Plain and simple. The "Church" of Body Modification is a joke. The ACLU is treading on dangerous ground. To accept and recognize this cult as a religion so that all should accommodate their beliefs, whatever they may be, regardless of rule systems, then they must also also regard virtually any stray cult or aimless belief system as a true religion. Where do you draw the line?

Let's get something straight. Religious freedom does NOT mean you are allowed to break the rules where you work/study/play. Nor does it mean you have free reign to do whatever, whenever, because you are simply "expressing" yourself. No one is telling this girl she can't practice her "religion". Just don't wear the nose ring while in school.

Hey stupid! I have an idea. Maybe, just maaaaybe, you could take the precious goblet of all knowing power out of your nose during the 7 hours you are at school and put in back in when you get home. Is that that difficult to do? Nope! Not in this day and age where everyone is entitled to something and everyone's "rights" are being trampled on!

Maybe I'll go rob a bank today and tell the police when they get there I'm a member of the Church of Thievery.

Heck, maybe I'll start my own church called the Church of Holy Rulebreakers. We will all worship ourselves by breaking rules wherever they may be. Who's with me!?


Gorges Smythe said...

I've always believed that the test of whether something is a religion was whether it considered itself exclusive to the point that all other religions are considered false. Otherwise, it's merely a life philiosophy. I've yet to see any reason to change my belief in that definition, but anybody who wants is welcome to take a whack at it.

The Watcher said...

OVer on Wiki there's a piece on them. Scroll down to the 'Controversy' heading: another one tried this with an eyebrow ring at Costco, but 'When taken to trial, the court ruled in favor of Costco saying that this was not protected under the First Amendment because her religious beliefs did not require her to always wear her eyebrow ring.'

DeanO said...

Nope - can't make this stuff up Hack. Mercy

DeanO said...

Wow - you can't make up this stuff Mr. Hack - So much in the name of religious freedom. Just another code word for "I will"

Dan said...

I wonder what the mother thinks she's teaching her child?