A retrospective look at the the ideology of the Church of Euthanasia.
“What would you do if someone you loved wanted to join a cult that supports suicide, cannibalism and even eating the flesh of aborted babies”proclaims Jerry Springer when bringing representatives from the Church of Euthanasia to the stage of the infamous ‘Jerry Springer Show’, the crowd are aghast with a mixture of laughter and convulsion as three representatives from the Church of Euthanasia appear. All dressed in black, the founder Chris Korda dawning a rather fetching slim dress and black wig in the shape of the now popular ‘bangs’ hairstyle, Robert Kimberk (otherwise known as pastor Kim) smartly sporting a priest’s uniform while carrying a chicken crucifix alongside the now famous presidential candidate Vermin Supreme in a skeleton outfit, already a seemingly unusual combination of attire for people claiming to be of an organised religion.
The Church of Euthanasia was founded in 1992 as "a non-profit educational foundation devoted to restoring balance between Humans and the remaining species on Earth". They believe that the only way to save the planet from destruction is a voluntary mass reduction of the human population of the earth. On the face of it this manifesto seems reasonable, until you see the four pillars of the religion, suicide, abortion, cannibalism and sodomy. The Church as displayed in the Jerry Springer show in 1995 does not exist today in anything like the form it did at its birth, slowly fading out of the limelight bit by bit until it was forgotten along with all the other wacky cults and ‘religions’ of the late 20thcentury, but what if I told you there was a chance of the Church of Euthanasia coming back bigger than it ever did in the first place? Could this seemingly whacky approach to religion and environmentalism gain traction in the mainstream environmentalist movement?
First, it’s important to understand the differences between the philosophy of the church back in 1992 as compared with today and the reasons for these changes, to do this you need to know the philosophy of the Church of Euthanasia at the time of its founding. So, while you are here you may as well learn something edgy to tell your friends at that dinner party we’re all looking forward too after civilisation returns to normal.
After doing some research, Jerry Springer’s description of the Church seems to be a bit of an exaggeration, despite extensive digging I could not find anything pertaining to ‘eating the flesh of aborted babies’ as much as I admittedly would have liked to (anything for a great story am I right?!). In fact, upon further reading, the initially alarming four pillars when looked at individually start to resemble four movements which have been increasingly growing in popularity over the last two decades; right to death, the pro-choice movement, promoting safe sex and veganism. However, the churches website, which now serves as more of an archive than an active website, gives off the same air of shock factor as displayed on the Jerry Springer Show. Leading me to wonder why there was such a contrast between the Churches actual beliefs and their campaigning methods?
The Churches websiteis a glum affair, a classic late 90’s early 2000’s style site complete with a dull concrete block colour scheme, a live human population counter and a photo of Chris Korda licking one of the two towers during the 9/11 terrorist attacks with accompanying message “if you encounter things that shock or offend you, don't complain to us, because you have been warned”. Perfect bait for anyone easily triggered. I now know why the warning was required, highly likely it was put there to avoid a lawsuit from a Midwestern suburban parent after finding their child distraught from stumbling upon a photo of a Chris Korda’s penis by mistake. If your feeling adventurous and decide to take a look through the website yourself, take it from me, don’t watch the ‘church video’, you have now been warned twice.
Follow the links given for the ‘four pillars’ and you’ll find some off-beat literature about something loosely related to the heading, for example, after clicking on the ‘sodomy’ link expecting to find some propaganda on why it’s great to have anal sex and the odd blowjob I was surprised to find an extensive article on the health benefits of peeing in one’s own mouth, coupled with an equally graphic photo. The likes of which I’ll spare you.
Moving on to cannibalism and things become a little darker, displayed front and centre is the title “Butchering the Human Carcass for Human Consumption”followed by a detailed step-by-step guide on how to “break down the human body from the full figure into serviceable choice cuts of meat” written in concerning detail, genuinely making me wonder whether this man had first hand practice in this niche craft. Later discovering that this had in fact been copied from a deep web site - the chances being that it could have very well been from experience. Despite this being exactly what it says on the tin I didn’t see what this had to do with reducing the population after Korda clearly stated that this would only apply when someone had already died of natural causes.
The abortion section was the first of the three which made any attempt at making a case outside the realms of appealing to people with strange fetishes. What follows is a long rambling spiel for abortion rights which is more of an attack on Christians than anything else. Nevada Kerr proclaiming “Do not misunderstand! She means to do harm! You can invoke your insane and giddy god all day long. It will do no good. He has no power here! She who whets your appetite with sexual pleasures also whets the knife!”A strange method of turning people to your cause in the vast expanse of Christendom that is America.
Most interesting of all, access to the ‘suicide’ section of the website has been restricted to everyone except the website admin. Maybe they decided this was one step to far for Joe public to handle, or perhaps it something more sinister?
In 2003 a woman in Missouri was found dead in her home lying next to some explicit suicide instructions listed on the churches website. Soon after, the top prosecutor from the city of St. Louis Jennifer Joyce threated to charge the church with voluntary manslaughter, the instructions were removed shortly afterwards. In aninterview with VICEwhen asked whether there had been any follow up with the courts Korda replied: "I am unaware of any such activity, nor would I be disposed to comment on or discuss such an activity if it did in fact exist." Perhaps they never got around to replacing the old instructions with some different suicide info that carries less criminal liability.
Unfortunately, Chris Korda declined my request for an interview citing concerns about the limited reach of this feature, perhaps revealing an egotistical side to Chris I should have expected, but she kindly provided a link to a document on her personal website that in her words “best describes the significant changes of the Church of Euthanasia’s ideology over the nearly thirty years of existence”. In light of this and interviews I’ve watched of the timid and less radical Robert Kimbeck I decided to give her the benefit of the doubt, her new manifesto published on her personal website alongside downloadable MP3’s of experimental techno and various software’s for music production, is considerably more rational than the literature published on the Church of Euthanasia’s website. Working through logically from a basis of establishing the definition of truth all the way through to a concise argument for an extensive lowering of the human population. Could all the extreme rhetoric have been placed to shock rather than convert?
First, we have to remember that in 1992 America was sitting in a very different context to what it is today, having just finished fighting in the first Gulf War, a war fought almost solely because of oil prices and oil drilling disputes between Iraq and Kuwait, drastic measures to reduce the human population in the name of environmentalism were far from the minds of the American public. Extreme rhetoric could have been Korda’s way of raising awareness of the issues concerning the environment at the time, making her much further ahead of the game than most of us.
Now this is all just speculation on my part, but judging from the absence of the words suicide, abortion, cannibalism and sodomy from her website, Korda has decided to distance her philosophy from that of the church, raising the question of whether she even believed in the philosophy of the church in the first place. Were the disturbing texts and images just a way to get attention? Especially in an era where the internet was still in its infancy and movements needed to battle for airtime on shows like Jerry Springer. A question that will regrettably remain unanswered for now.
Effectively, all four pillars of the Church boil down to one commandment; “thou shalt not pro-create”, a belief that is gaining traction independent of the four pillars. Michael Moore’s new documentary ‘Planet of the Humans’ although very controversial due to claims it makes about the renewable energy industry causing more damage to the environment than good, sets aside a significant amount of interview time for experts who believe reduction of the population is the only way to save the planet. This alongside growing organisations such as Wold Population Balance and Population Matters are starting to push this belief into the mainstream.
As for the four pillars, Korda was quoted on the Jerry Springer show as saying “if I was to put pig flesh and human flesh in front of you, you would not be able to tell the difference, why? Because flesh is flesh, why don’t you think about that next time you bite into your cheese burger. We are talking about a massive system of cruelty in which animals are harvested and destroyed”. Sound familiar? Between 2014 and 2017 the number of Americans self-identifying as vegan rose from 1% to 6%, a 600% increase. You may have heard something similar coming out of the mouth of prominent vegan activist Gary Yourofsky or Oscar winning vegan actor Joaquin Phoenix on their quest to convert people to a planet based diet in the name of environmentalism. Again, ahead of the game.
When it comes to abortion sodomy and suicide, these pillars have also become mainstream talking points in western society. 75% of Americans when polled agreed that the landmark pro-choice supreme court decision Roe Vs Wade should remain in place, securing a women’s right to an abortion in US law. 73% of American adults believe a doctor should be allowed to end the life of a terminally ill patient by painless means if requested, aligning nicely with the churches optional suicide commandment. As for sodomy, if your interpretation of the teaching is sex for means other than procreation then 98% of sexually active women in the US have used birth control at some point in their life, while 62% of those currently at reproductive age are currently using birth control. The LGBTQ+ movement has grown exponentially over the last two decades, normalising sodomy in the process.
Whether or not you agree with the shocking rhetoric of the Church of Euthanasia, or whether you believe Chris Korda was in fact a visionary whose opinions are twenty years ahead of the public’s. You have to admit, despite all the extreme and disturbing tactics, Chris Korda and the rest of the Church of Euthanasia might have actually been onto something that we the public couldn’t, or didn’t, want to see.
One has to give the Church credit, putting your head above the parapet in the name of something you believe in is a difficult thing to do, especially when you sit on the peripheries of popular belief. Scratch beneath the surface a little and I think you’ll find a church not obsessed with death as Jerry Springer would have you believe, but a group of committed activists attempting to save us from ourselves.