Archive for the ‘religion’ Tag

The only surprising thing to me about the impending canonization of John Paul II

…is that it’s happening before that of Mother Teresa, which has still not got its final approval. A second miracle was approved, clearing the path for him, although John XXIII’s is going ahead without the second miracle. Francis is expected to canonize both by the end of the year.

I really have no opinion — I stopped being a Catholic 30+ years ago, and see this as a purely internal matter to the church. I haven’t any truck with non-Catholics going on about who should and shouldn’t be made saints, although I found it interesting when Christopher Hitchens was brought in as an informal “devil’s advocate” during the beatification process for Mother Teresa (John Paul II had actually abolished the office in ’83).

As a point of curiosity, is the papal regnal number included? Will they be Pope St. John Paul (of Kraków) and Pope St. John (of Venice), or Pope St. John Paul II and Pope St. John XXIII?

Of extremely tangential relation to that, I’ve noted that my Latinized name would probably be Daniel Periparus, insofar as my quite Polish surname is based on the Polish word for ‘tit’ — no, the bird — and the genus of one of the ones common to Europe is Periparus. The family name Paridus could probably work, too. I rather like that!

Stray thoughts on the upcoming conclave

I think the single most fascinating thing is that this is the first conclave I can think of where the College of Cardinals has been able to get the feel of the public well before the actual voting starts.

Whether or not that’s happening, I don’t know, but they don’t exist in a vacuum. I have to wonder how many are at least aware of the betting sites and commentary and all, and how much some of them will weigh public expectations when they fill in their slip of paper.

I think the pre-conclave buzz over Turkson is probably hurting him now. I don’t think the Europeans can coalesce around a single candidate to elect a European, and the strongest European candidate, Schoenborn, is probably hurt by being an Austrian — too close to another German. I doubt strongly that the Italians can ‘reclaim’ the office. I expect the next pope will be young (at least relatively), and more a pastor than a professor. Personally, I think it will be Braz de Aviz of Brazil, or Tagle of the Philippines, but handicapping a Conclave is not unlike Kremlinology in the 1980s — guesswork on a good day.

I’ve been idly wondering about the regnal name — all I can say for certain is that it won’t be Peter II. I expect it won’t be John Paul III or Benedict XVII — those names are going to both have a cool-down period, I think. I shouldn’t be too surprised if there’s a John XXIV by the end of the month. Something simple and accessible.

On the nature of charity

Washington, DC is on the verge of passing a law permitting gay marriage, with all the usual exemptions stating that churches are not required to perform them in contravention of their doctrine, or even rent event space for them.

Sadly, this isn’t enough for the local archdiocese, which is threatening to shut down their charity services in the city if it passes.

So, if the city extends civil rights to their citizens, the diocese’s response will be to punish needy people who have nothing to do with the dispute.

A statement from the chancellor of the archdiocese says that this has to be seen in the context of balancing “the interest of the homosexual community to be able to marry freely and the interests of the religious community to be able to practice religion freely.”

I fail to see any way in which the simple right to marry impacts anyone else’s right to the freedom of their own conscience. Nothing in the pending legislation requires a church, Catholic or otherwise, to officiate over same-sex marriages, and even exempts them from renting space for hosting the reception for a same-sex wedding. The church remains free to make their own determination as to whether or not they will sanctify such unions. The practice of one’s religion is not impacted one whit.

However, the church is attempting to force exactly the opposite. I am not a Catholic. Why should I be bound by the church’s rules on marriage, then? One would not apply the rules by which Jewish or Islamic marriages are made to a Catholic couple. It is therefore inappropriate for the church to expect the right to apply its rules to non-adherents.

As for myself, the only ‘rules’ I can think of for a couple to get married are: they are both of the age of majority and legally able to enter into contracts for themselves, and they love each other.

That the Catholic Church has additional requirements for a church service is entirely their business and emphatically not mine. But the any church’s rules for a wedding by necessity stop at the church door. That’s the fundamental basis of a civil society that honors freedom of conscience. One church may not tell another church what rules they must operate under, and neither may one dictate rules to non-adherents.

Fortunately, the city is not going to allow themselves to be bullied, but I can’t help but think of the thousands who will be directly hurt by the diocese’s action.

A better place to ask WWJD? I cannot think of.

And now, back to your regularly scheduled ranting

Mitt Romney can go fuck himself.

I resent, personally and deeply, the suggestion that as an Atheist, I am not an American. That as an Atheist, I do not deserve freedom.

Seldom have I heard more ludicrous propositions than “freedom requires religion” or “religion requires freedom”. Historically, religion has often been the enemy of freedom, the enemy of free thought and free expression. Historically, religion survived in the face of dictatorship and despotism, when it wasn’t being used as the tool of dictatorship and despotism by men with aims far more temporal than spiritual.

The only thing that requires religion is the need to believe there’s more to reality than reality itself. Freedom does not require the filter of deism. Freedom requires no filters. Freedom means the freedom from religion as well as freedom of religion. Freedom means the right to say something as patently offensive and divisive as Romney’s statement. And it means my right to call him on it.

Almost 50 years ago, when John F. Kennedy spoke about his religion, he spoke of tolerance for all beliefs, not just his own. He cast opposition to his candidacy on the basis of his religion—on strictly because he was Roman Catholic and not for any regard to his plans, proposals, actions or statements—as bigotry.

He was right.

Now, another Massachusetts politician has designs on the White House, and this one is calling on intolerance and bigotry and division to catapult himself forward.

One does not need to be an Atheist to represent me in our government. One does not need to be a Jew to represent Jews. One does not need to be a Hindu, a Wiccan, a Unitarian, a Baptist, a whatever: one just needs to respect our diversity of belief and thought.

Mitt Romney does not. He’s made it clear that if you’re not religious (and let’s be honest here, you know and I know he means specifically Judeo-Christian religious), you’re not American. You don’t deserve your freedom. He doesn’t represent you because you don’t deserve representation.

So, Mitt Romney can go fuck himself. At least Mike Huckabee is honest about where he’s coming from—I can respect that, even as much as I’d dread a Huckabee presidency.

My governor, a Democrat, is a Methodist minister. My governor has also done more to clean up the state government than any of his pious-mouthed predecessors or detractors in the party opposite, and he’s done it without referencing some divine entity every ten words. I can respect that. What a candidate believes is their business, and as long as they make decisions based on the needs of the state and civil society and the facts on the ground over the needs and philosophies of their one particular sect, they can believe in the Great Green Arkleseizure for all I care.

Nor should they care whether I believe in God or the Great Pumpkin or nothing at all.

Because that’s the nature of civil society. That’s the nature of freedom.

Something Romney and his ilk shout the loudest about, and understand the least.

Words fail.

Sometimes, the only thing you can say is “…the HELL?” China proves that their politicos are neuron for neuron just as deranged as anyone in Dumbass’ (mal)administration. Thankee to for the linky…

Was I just touched by a Noodly Appendage?

Went to Red White and Boom with last night.

Took lots of pictures, 90% of which were crap–which is what I expected, because getting good fireworks pictures is more luck than anything else.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered I captured an apparition of the Flying Spaghetti Monster

(yes, I’ve sent the link on to the official website…)

Fan, meet s**t. S**t, meet fan.

Well, the conversation I expected with my mom has finally commenced. She forwarded me a bizarre little Paul Harvey screed about “poor, oppressed Christians can’t even say ‘merry Christmas’ anymore without being threatened with legal action”, and I fired back a long email to her telling her in no uncertain terms that religion as a topic is now absolutely verboten between she and I, that I’ve spent the last twenty-plus years not intruding my beliefs on hers (or anyone else’s, for that matter), and that it’s high time I got the same respect.

When my dad and I had the same sort of talk over a different subject–ultimately winding up with me telling him, quote, “Look me in the eye and tell me that I’m the fuckup you keep treating me as”–Dad admitted that I was right and that I did deserve more respect than he was showing me.

We’ll see what happens here.

Interesting quiz.

Can you tell if the quotes were said by Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson, or by Osama bin Laden? Most of the time, I couldn’t.

All in all, I agree with Barry Goldwater.

Specifically, when he said that “I think every good Christian ought to kick Falwell right in the ass.”

Typically, I’m a believer in not speaking ill of the dead, but I’m about to make an exception.

You think one should only speak good of the dead? Fine, here you go:

He’s dead. Good.

Jerry Falwell had best hope that I’m right and there is no Hell. He was a hateful hypocrite, a bigot, and a racist. This was a man who blamed the events of 9/11 not on Al Qaeda, or Saudi Arabia, or even Saddam Hussein–specifically, here is exactly what he said: “I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say ‘you helped this happen.’

How about encouraging his parishioners to buy Krugerrands in order to help support apartheid in South Africa, through the 1980s? Calling Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu a “phony” for claiming to speak for black South Africa?

The fraud investigation by the SEC against his unsecured “church bonds” in 1973? Oh, and the deliberate lie told in his official biography that he won the suit and was cleared of the charges. The reality? He admitted that the SEC was “technically” correct back then. And of course, there were fines levied against him by the FEC for illegally transferring church money to political causes.

This is a man of whom even Jimmy Carter was moved to say, “In a very Christian way, as far as I’m concerned, he can go to hell!”

Enough said. Good riddance. I won’t miss him a bit. Sure, I know his friends and family are hurting right now. I hurt when he blamed me as a liberal, a non-Christian and a gay man for 9/11. The country still hurts for the damage, division and hate he’s sown. If he’s lucky, I’m right and there is no god–a far more gentle afterlife fate than he deserves.

The best part of Lent?

The pączki sales after Ash Wednesday. XD