Founded in 2012 by Las Vegas-based ex-Marine John Whiteside, the basic premise of the United Church of Bacon is rather simple – bacon is our God, because bacon is real. Well, who can argue with logic like that?
The church claims to have over 4,000 meat-loving members, some of whom even bear quirky titles. Whiteside goes by ‘Bacon Prophet’, while member Johnny Monsarrat calls himself ‘Funkmaster General’ and ‘Institutionalised Thought Leader’. The members are mostly atheists who claim that their religion is to doubt religion.
Although the church aims to unite meat lovers, it was basically started by Whiteside to stand up for atheists’ rights. “The hatred of atheists, atheophobia and secularphobia, has no stigma, unlike homophobia, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, and racism. That needs to change,” he said.
“We chose a funny bacon name to expose how wrong it is for society to give automatic respect and special privileges to religions,” the official website revealed. “Is our saying we worship Bacon really any stranger than Catholics who say that communion wafers become the body of Christ? Unlike God, who is invisible, at least we can see Bacon. Bacon is demonstrably real.”
The website goes on to describe the church’s real missions – to oppose supernatural claims, fight discrimination against atheists, raise money for charity, perform legal weddings and of course, praise bacon. They even have their own set of nine commandments such as ‘Be Skeptical’, ‘Have Fun’, and ‘Pay Taxes’.
The Church of Bacon offers its members free religious services such as weddings, funerals, and baptisms, in a non-religious setting. According to the website, “Officiants in the United Church of Bacon can perform legal weddings for those who don’t want God in their ceremony. We’ll bring creative suggestions to make your wedding even more magical.”
Over the years, the church has managed to raise tens of thousands of dollars for various causes. Despite this, the Church of Bacon has been severely criticised by religious leaders, especially for their controversial billboards around Las Vegas. Whiteside himself was refused notary services for an official document of the church last year.
“We’re not immoral,” Whiteside said in response to critics. “We’re not un-American. That’s what we’re trying to get corrected. We enjoy people mocking us. We mock ourselves. This isn’t supposed to offend anyone.” The man has a point. Who could be offended by bacon?