mad in pursuit: greed & arrogance

2004 political season

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greed & arrogance index


6.20.04 American Mullah & Message to John Kerry

Isn't moral certainty wonderful? It's a small world, after all. The Southern Baptists want the public schools to turn into madrassas and now Catholic bishops are turning into scolding mullahs:

The nation's Roman Catholic bishops approved a statement on Friday on "Catholics in Political Life" that brands politicians who support abortion rights as "cooperating in evil" and leaves the door open for bishops to deny communion to such lawmakers. [NYTimes 6.19.04]

Apparently it's okay with American bishops for politicians to lie their way into a war that kills hundreds and maims thousands of young Americans. Apparently it's okay for politicians to give contracts to companies so corrupt that people die when the money is used to line pockets instead of repair or maintain infrastructure. If Catholics are going to be urged into political action, shouldn't it be for broader evils -- for real crimes -- as opposed to symbolic pre-babies?

(I suppose pre-babies are the pagan babies of the 21st century -- a galvanizing icon of Catholic empire, something to organize your grade school kids around.)

Message to John Kerry: You have to know that Catholic hierarchy doesn't really go in for "following one's conscience" -- only for "examining" it. They expect you to play by their rules, period, no argument. The Pope is infallible. You are being victimized by that -- don't blow your advantage.

First, have the humility to back off the big public church services. Don't make your campaign about daring some bishop to deny you communion. Practice your faith in private. Get a sympathetic priest to visit your hotel room to receive the sacraments. Your faith is fine if it gives your comfort and courage. I don't need to see it in your campaign footage.

And drop the pious altar boy stories. Too many boys were abused by priests as altar boys. And girls were kept away entirely. It only works to tell us what a little dork you were.

Next, have the courage to avoid being dictated to by Catholic mullahs. What your conscience tells you, when you examine it, is between you and your confessor. Maybe the bishops want to go back to the Christian tradition of public witch hunts and symbolic burnings-at-the-stake. Maybe they can see into your soul. If governmental high priests "know" that the people in Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib are bad (excuse me, evil) without need for due process, certainly you can't expect the Church to do any better.

And my advice to all of us, is that we reserve the word evil for the things that truly are.






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