After we finished the last pages of The Diary of Anne Frank in middle school, Mrs. Kelly informed the class that Anne and her sister died of typhus in a prison camp, thanks to Adolf Hitler. I was horrified, not just because of the prison camp but because everything I’d be taught as a girl told me that because Anne was Jewish, because she had not accepted Jesus Christ as her Savior, she and the rest of her family were burning in hell. I remember staring at the black-and-white picture of Anne on the cover of my paperback, privately begging God to let her out of the lake of fire. For weeks, I prayed diligently for her departed soul, even though I’d heard that only Catholics did such a thing. I was a pretty intense kid, actually…
In Sunday school, they always make hell out to be a place for people like Hitler, not a place for his victims. But if my Sunday school teachers and college professors were right, then hell will be populated not only by people like Hitler and Stalin, Hussein and Milosevic but by the people they persecuted. If only born-again Christians go to heaven, the piles of suitcases and bags of human hair displayed at the Holocaust Museum represents thousands upon thousands of men, women, and children suffering eternal agony at the hands of an angry God. If salvation is available only to Christians, then the gospel isn’t good news at all. For most of the human race, it is terrible news.
An old girlfriend of mine once related a story of an Ani Difranco concert she went to. Ani told an anecdote about going to a music festival or something when she overheard a curious Christian act singing a song entitled “Did Anne Frank Find Jesus Before She Died?” The anecdote led into a little improv ditty, something along the lines of “Did Jesus Find Buddha Before He Died?”
It’s cute to see the little theological dances in the comments section by all the well-meaning Christians attempting to avoid the very obvious answer, which is to say, “Yes, Anne Frank, being a Jew, would be in Hell in accordance with biblical doctrine.” And not only would Anne Frank be in Hell, but a majority of the 6 million Jews killed in the Holocaust (excluding only perhaps ethnic Jewish converts to Christianity) would be in Hell, suffering for an eternity alongside those that tormented them in life. The Bible contains many contradictions, but it is pretty clear on this point.
Of course, this conclusion is abhorrent even to those who accept the first principle (I personally think that this is great news, as it would seem to prove that not even religion is strong enough to erase our inborn tendencies towards compassion). It isn’t terribly surprising that a Christian’s first reaction to this cognitive dissonance isn’t to say “You’re right, the Bible is a lie!” I merely submit that, if one is interested in a thoroughly honest evaluation of the consistency of one’s own worldview, then the only answer available to the Bible-believing Christian is that Anne Frank is in Hell.
That isn’t to say you can’t be religious, or even a Christian, and believe Anne Frank might have been spared. I would wager, although I certainly can’t say this authoritatively, that most of the theistic people I know would say Anne Frank is NOT in Hell, that the Bible is not to be taken literally, that perhaps God’s true measure of Heaven-worthiness would be the depth of her courage, her unflaggingly optimistic view of humanity, the beauty of her testimony to the horrors of war and tyranny. And hey, that’s fine by me - I’m generally in favor of any worldview that values human virtue over scriptural minutia - but it’s not biblical, and if that’s something you value, it’s a contradiction you will have to work out.
I doubt I need to say this, but as for myself, as an atheist, I have no cognitive dissonance on this point. Anne Frank is not in Hell. She is not in Heaven, she has not attained Nirvana, and she has not been reincarnated (some people think this is a “bleak” outlook. I say, any worldview that would send a scared little girl who died alone in a concentration camp to an eternity of suffering and unanswered pleas for help for what amounts to a theological technicality has absolutely zero fucking business calling any dissenting opinion “bleak”). Anne Frank died in March 1945, and her body was buried in a mass grave at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, ending forever the existence of one more witness to the most calculated genocide in human history. A human life was extinguished for a whole host of extremely shitty reasons, and we are right to mourn its loss.
PSYCHIC KIDS: CHILDREN OF THE PARANORMAL™, profiles children who live with an incredible secret: they have psychic abilities. Feeling scared and isolated, these kids have nowhere to turn…until now. Help is on the way in the form of psychic/mediums Chip Coffey, Chris Fleming and Kim Russo, who themselves grew up with these senses, and licensed psychotherapist Edy Nathan, who has more than 20 years experience.
In this intense journey, the experts draw on their own personal experiences, training and unique outlook on life to bring troubled kids together to show them how to harness their abilities and, ultimately, show them that they’re not alone in this world.
Okay. In case you don’t see what’s wrong with the above paragraphs, let me unpack it a bit. Basically, a group of grown adults are singling out children who are troubled, who feel scared and isolated, and who claim to be haunted by evil spirits and possessed by demons, and telling them their problems can only be fixed by learning how to use their psychic powers in front of television cameras for the financial benefit of said adults. Clearer now?
I picked up Lesson Plan #4 at Blue State and I was oh so very happy to stumble across finally that month something mind freaking. I tear up a little (on the inside) each time you're not there now. Am I saying thank you? And why do you hate Whitey Bulger?
Thank ME? Nay, dear reader. Thank YOU. You have made this humble zinester’s day.
This ‘zine has been a kind of message-in-a-bottle endeavor for me - words carefully crafted out of desperation and flung headlong into a the silent void to an audience who may not even exist. Well, turn out they do. Holy CRAP, that’s cool.
Anyway, now that you mention it, it is about time I did another ‘zine drop, so I’ll be sure to hit up the East Side and Blue State in particular. Stay tuned for that, I suppose. In the meantime - you are beautiful, anonymous reader. Never let anyone take that from you.
“As a rule, large capitalists are Republicans and small capitalists are Democrats, but workingmen must remember that they are all capitalists, and that the many small ones, like the fewer large ones, are all politically supporting their class interests, and this is always and everywhere the capitalist class.”—Eugene V. Debs, Outlook for Socialism in the United States, 1900.
“There has never been a free people, a civilized nation, a real republic on this earth. Human society has always consisted of masters and slaves, and the slaves have always been and are today, the foundation stones of the social fabric. Wage-labor is but a name; wage-slavery is the fact.”—Eugene V. Debs, The Socialist Party and the Working Class, 1904.
“I’m a convicted felon and an anarchist. Even if I could vote, I wouldn’t. It’s stupid.”—In the afterglow of Rally for Whatever and on the eve of the midterm elections, some comments on the democratic process from World/Inferno’s own Jack Terricloth. Hallowmas 2010