Okay, so first I stumbled upon this article about the ACLU fighting for the rights of a teenager at school who was suspended for having a pierced nose. Her defense? She’s a member of the Church of Body Modification, so her suspension is a form of religious discrimination.
Which prompted me to visit the “church”‘s website and submit an application to become a member:
from Church of Body Modification <firstname.lastname@example.org>
subject CoBM Membership Application
My name is Chris Carter and I am the President of the Church of Body Modification. I must inform you that your membership application has been turned down. With some exception, this is because you either did not fill out all three essay type questions or you filled out all the questions but with only a single sentence or with limited detail.
Please understand that the application is our way of getting to know potential members and that the CoBM is a legitimate religious organization, a Church. We must make sure that the members we approve will fit in and that they understand, accept, and also follow the beliefs that brings us together. If you are not sure what these beliefs are, please read the Statement of Faith as well as our Mission Statement; both documents can be found on our main website, http://uscobm.com.
If you have any questions, or if you would like help in expressing your feelings in written form, please write back and let me know. I, or a fellow minister, would be happy to assist you. I hope you see this denial as a small hurdle and that, after realizing how serious the CoBM is and how important the membership application is, you reapply for membership. I look forward to hearing back from you.
Church of Body Modification, President
Mr. Chris Carter, President of the Church of Body Modification
My deepest apologies. I did not notice the part of your application where it stated I must answer each question with an essay in order to be considered for membership into your church. I thought that for a church whose members find their spirituality in body modification that perhaps “I find body modification to be spiritually fulfilling” would be a sufficient answer to be considered.
I don’t think I specifically included that particular phrase in my membership application (though to be honest, I can’t think of many churches with an application procedure), so please reconsider my application when I tell you now that I find spiritual meaning in body modification, and feel a great sense of euphoria and connection between my body and my self when being tattooed or pierced.
Thank you for your (re)consideration,