Saturday, February 5, 2011


In the late 70's and 1980's, I spent a few years investigating motorcycle gangs on the east coast. At the time, gang members were heavily involved in many nefarious activities, namely drugs, prostitution and loan sharking. The members I interacted with were pretty bad individuals who thumbed their noses at government, religion and civil society in general.

I worked the motorcycle show today and the vast majority of bikers wearing colors were sporting this patch. Some were handing out fliers with information about joining, and the few I spoke with seemed pleasant and genuine. While the criminal activity of the original gangs was wrong, I always admired both their rebellious attitudes and their desire to live life on their own terms. IMHO, religion is quickly morphing into a brand instead of a belief, and many of it's most strident followers feel the need to wear their beliefs for all to see.

Ironically, right next door to the motorcycle show, was a gathering of thousands of teens attending the Acquire The Fire Tour. From what I saw, it was a series of Christian bands combined with the occasional preacher. The kids were being kids, dancing and singing and generally having a good time.

And then it happened. A preacher walked to the center of the stage and yelled (and I quote):
" God is your true parent. You should listen to him, and him only". I looked around at the parents in the audience to see if their was going to be any reaction but they continued to drink the kool aid for the next 20 minutes as the preacher went on about how bad the world was blah, blah. It's no wonder teen suicide is on the rise. Being a teenager is hard enough without having an extra guilt trip laid on you.

Crimes aside, the attitudes of the original bikers would do those teens a lot more good than the preachers. Live your life your way -- and listen to your real parents.