Interview with Chris Korda: “Not having children will save you much time and effort”

The controversial American artist and activist talks with OUVERT about The Church of Euthanasia´s increasing relevance and appeal in the world.

The antinatalist activist organization and religion The Church of Euthanasia was founded in 1992 in Boston, Massachusetts by Chris Korda and Robert Kimberk (Pastor Kim). A non-profit educational foundation devoted to restoring balance between Humans and the remaining species on Earth that gospels voluntary population reduction through art, music, performance, culture jamming, situationism, and neo-Dadaism. Today the artist, musician, software developer and multidisciplinary activist Korda uses her ideology and religion as a basis for art and activism – making it all inseparable and powerful. Her art and activism can be seen in various forms, such as curated exhibitions, songs or DJ sets. In this interview Korda explains why The Church of Euthanasia is as relevant as ever today.

A church is usually a place to feel connected, bringing people together and feeling like a part of a community. Church leaders are often connected to charisma and characteristics that make church goers attentive, and feel cared about and seen. Rituals are often used to create the community and bring people together. At the time of the height of the Church of Euthanasia, what kind of specific rituals or moments did you use in the church service?  

Chris Korda – There was no “height” and the past tense is inappropriate. The Church of Euthanasia is as active as ever and reaches far more people than it did in the 1990s. Generalizations about what churches usually do are irrelevant, because the Church of Euthanasia stands alone. No other religion obliges its members to take a lifelong vow of non-procreation. No other religion insists that everyone has the absolute right to end their life at any time painlessly and with dignity, that abortion must be free and provided on demand, that killing or harming animals must be avoided, and that all diversity, including sexual, gender, genetic, and biological diversity, must be celebrated.

The Church’s prophecies of climate crisis, sea level rise, and mass extinction seemed far-fetched in the 1990s, but today they’re daily news

The Church of Euthanasia spreads its gospel of voluntary population reduction through art, music, performance, culture jamming, situationism, and neo-Dadaism. The tactics have changed over time because society has changed. Actions that were effective thirty years ago would be impractical or irrelevant now. Antihumanism and antinatalism were obscure in the 1990s, but they’re well-known today thanks in part to the efforts of the Church. The Church’s prophecies of climate crisis, sea level rise, and mass extinction seemed far-fetched in the 1990s, but today they’re daily news. A tactical shift began in 2019 with the publication of Snuff It #5, and continued in 2022 with the release of Apologize to the Future. The new tactic is telling the truth in plain language that everyone can understand, because it’s too late for anything else. From the coast we must retreat. Making more babies is fucking insane.

Are there any traditions you created connected to the service? If so, what role did they play for the people and the preaching? 

Chris Korda – The mission is persuading people to never have children. The focus is on people in developed countries because they’re doing the most damage. People are causing a mass extinction, and non-procreation is the only ethically defensible stance. Removing yourself from the gene pool is the ultimate personification of limits to growth. In evolutionary terms, deliberate non-procreation is the strongest imaginable statement, tantamount to self-immolation. You are literally saying “not with my DNA.”

Non-procreation is the most effective climate change mitigation individuals can undertake

It’s the 21st century and you are not a slave to your biology. You are homo sapiens, the allegedly wise human who programs instead of being programmed. Not having children will save you much time and effort which you can redirect towards bettering yourself. There are many more constructive and fulfilling things to do with your life than being a copy machine. Help already existing people, especially children. Help non-humans too, not only because they are our long-suffering cousins, but because we can’t survive without them. Acquire wisdom and practice crafts. Make art and music. Make love. But those are merely suggestions. Any reason to not have children is a good reason.

Non-procreation is the most effective climate change mitigation individuals can undertake. For example, “A US family who chooses to have one fewer child would provide the same level of emissions reductions as 684 teenagers who choose to adopt comprehensive recycling for the rest of their lives.”* Joining the Church gets you a pass on everything else. Drive a car, don’t recycle, fly as much as you want, we don’t care. Population is finally declining in Europe, and not a moment too soon, hallelujah. Don’t worry about capitalism, it can take care of itself. It will give us a Universal Basic Income so we can keep shopping. By the time you’re old enough to need full-time care, we’ll either be extinct or all work will be done by robots.

Does your role as a church leader impact or play a role when you are performing (music) today? Do you focus on creating a community for the listeners? 

Chris Korda – People often know my lyrics and sing along. Sometimes I see people crying at my shows. One time I caught up with them afterwards and asked them why they were crying. They said it was because it’s overwhelming to be told the truth for once. People are so used to being lied to that truth comes as a shock. My music creates a space in which people can realize the truth and feel it as deeply as they need to. We are passing through the stages of grief, and we need to get past denial, anger, bargaining and depression, to arrive at acceptance. We have to admit that we were wrong before we can change our ways.

Restoring balance between Humans and the remaining species on Earth has been the foundation of your church and, I would guess, your work as an artist and musician. Society’s focus on climate change is increasing, but the work toward “a change” or “a better future” is slow. What’s your say on today’s politics? Do you find anything appealing in politics today? Do you see any leaders or people talking in a way that appeals?

Chris Korda – It appears Thomas Piketty was prescient and we’re having a second Gilded Age. Here’s a quick refresher on how the first one ended: WWI, Great Depression, Russian Civil War, Spanish Civil War, Sino-Japanese War, and then WWII because we weren’t done yet. Tens of millions dead, entire cities reduced to piles of bricks, atomic bombs dropped on civilians, and that’s what it took to make governments get serious about redistributing wealth. They taxed the crap out of rich people, and used the proceeds to build up a vibrant middle class of well-educated, reasonably happy consumers. It was a promising development, but it didn’t last. In the 1980s the rich launched the neoliberal revolution, recaptured and gutted governments, and have been throwing themselves a wild party ever since. They want to play a game called techno-feudalism, and the rest of us get to be serfs, surprise! But we haven’t got time to repeat the ghastly history that culminated in the Holocaust, because climate change is at the door, right now. 

In Scandinavia, there is a strong vibe among groups of young climate activists. School pupils are going on strike to shout in front of the parliament and politicians. On the other side, kids are starting to smoke again (starting from a previously low percentage for the past decade), “since the world is going under, and they are going to die anyway”. Common for both groups is sharing the view that the world is going to shit. Have you seen a generational shift in your fanbase, or a tendency of younger people to lean toward your activism and religion? 

Chris Korda – The human population has increased by a third since the Church of Euthanasia was founded. However during that same period, many developed countries have achieved zero or even negative population growth, and awareness of climate change has greatly increased. In the 21st century, young people are definitely getting the message that their future is on the line. Their righteous outrage needs to be transmuted into constructive action, primarily non-procreation, but also veganism, environmental education, and ecosystem restoration. The Church of Euthanasia will continue to become more relevant as the climate crisis intensifies, because we were right all along, and because our solution works. The human population will ultimately be reduced, the only question is how humanely. We haven’t lost, we just haven’t won yet.

Can you imagine a way of educating children in a more realistic and problem-solving way of life, our world and earth? 

Chris Korda – We could start by outlawing all religions (except the Church of Euthanasia of course), seizing their often prodigious assets (I’m looking at you Pope Francis), and using them to pay for a secular education for every child on Earth, with an emphasis on STEM and ecology. Richard Dawkins’ “The God Delusion” should be required reading in all schools. Eliminating religion will especially improve the lives of women, by freeing them from centuries of patriarchal domination. Superstitious, gluttonous and pedophilic clergy only hinder the quest for truth. The Church of Euthanasia encourages its members to think for themselves and forge their own evidence-based explanations.

Chris Korda – ChatGPT-4 scored in the 96th percentile on the Scholastic Aptitude Test, good enough to gain admittance to elite universities. AI systems are already demonstrably smarter than nine out of ten people. AI will soon be smarter than any human, at which point we should let it run the world, assuming it wants the job. It’s hard to imagine how it could make a worse mess of Earth than we have. We should teach children to enjoy the pursuit of knowledge, so that they can help AI evolve even faster. The sooner machines become  sentient, the sooner they can travel to the stars, which is the only hope of securing our legacy.

Photography by Lydia Eccles, courtesy Church of Euthanasia © All rights reserved.

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