No this post does not have anything to do with the image of a deity on breakfast food. It was one of my first thoughts when reading the following news story:
PHOENIX, Sept. 9 (UPI) — The founder of an Arizona sex church and 17 others have been arrested on a variety of prostitution-related charges, officials said.
Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said the Phoenix Goddess Temple raided by police “was no more a church than Cuba is Fantasy Island,” The Arizona Republic of Phoenix reported Friday.
Well that kind of depends on your perspective and attitude doesn’t it? Have you been to Cuba? I haven’t but I did google some images.
Kinda looks like an island fantasy to me. Sure, maybe the government is corrupt *coughcough* but if I’m sipping a pina colada in that chair with that view…
The temple’s religious tenets connect spirituality and sexuality, its Web site says.
Online ads for the temple offered “sensual worship” for $204 an hour and promoted the “Very Erotic Priestess Sophia.”
Founder Tracy Elise, 50, who called herself the temple’s “Mystic Mother,” faces charges of prostitution, illegal control of an enterprise, pandering and operating a house of prostitution.
Acting Phoenix Police Chief Joe Yahner said it is “particularly disheartening that some would attempt to disguise their crimes as religious freedom.”
Disheartening? You wanna know what is disheartening? Armed tax collectors arresting people who have done no harm whatsoever to anyone. If children in cages were found you bet we would have heard about it. But no, consenting adults went there for mutual pleasure and benefits – in private, and weren’t messing with anybody. Whats disheartening is that people aren’t allowed to live their own life without government intrusion in cases where no harm, foul play, or fraud is present.
Montgomery said his office worked with vice squad detectives from Phoenix for six months to indict 33 people associated with the temple.
Sacred sexuality is a part of religion. Maybe not your religion but a belief system itself. Which is what constitutes a religion isn’t it? Pagans practice it, some Wiccans practice it, there are temple prostitutes and sacred whores. In ancient times women were set up in temples for society to worship. Their belief was that orgasms brought a person closer to God(ess).
Per wikipedia – “Sacred prostitution, temple prostitution, or religious prostitution is a practice of worship that includes hieros gamos or sacred marriage performed as a fertility rite and part of sacred sexual ritual.” and “Hieros gamos or Hierogamy (Greek ἱερὸς γάμος, ἱερογαμία ”holy marriage”) refers to a sexual ritual that plays out a marriage between agod and a goddess, especially when enacted in a symbolic ritual where human participants represent the deities. It is the harmonization of opposites.” and in this modern era of neo-Pagans, Wicca, and Magick – “Sex magic is a term for various types of sexual activity used in magical, ritualistic or otherwise religious and spiritual pursuits. One practice of sex magic is using the energy of sexual arousal or orgasm with visualization of a desired result. A premise of sex magic is the concept that sexual energy is a potent force that can be harnessed to transcend one’s normally perceived reality.”
So I don’t want to hear your crap. There is, has, and always will be a belief system that includes sexual rites and it should not be confused with a simple base desire to “get off”. Granted in ancient times, those who sought to worship did not get charged a fee of $200.00 per hour but an offering was required. Back then it could have been a goat, a chicken, produce, or copper and silver.
Now some may say fine, practice your sacred sex or whatever just don’t get paid for it. Really? Is that how we treat ministers, pastors, and preachers? Of course not. They are paid by the members/congregation of the church. They are allowed to do fundraisers to pay for the church and the utilities it uses as well as donate money to charities. The church staff gets paid by the patrons it serves. One statement I found when looking at pastor salaries was this:
- The pastor’s salary is both the congregation’s responsibility and its privilege.
- Salary is determined in part by what the church can afford. However, I feel I need to say that the New Testament churches in Macedonia gave beyond their ability – they supported others even when it meant they might go without (2 Corinthians 8:1-3). That passage in particular teaches us that giving should be generous – even sacrificial at times, and joyful – counting it a privilege to help others. So, determine what you can give and also what you shouldgive. There needs to be balance.
- Paying a pastor salary frees a pastor to be more involved in ministry. This is why you give your pastor compensation. The greater his freedom, the more he is able to help you and your congregation.
- A clergy compensation package should include provisions for both the immediate and long-term needs of your pastor.