Monday, April 27, 2009

Cultural Christian Sensibility


I see in the New York Times an article about how atheists and agnostics are networking via E-mail and the Internet to feel more comfortable and defend themselves against the aggressive religious types who like to have a monopoly on the concept of God – and who like to harass anybody outside the local God Club. This, in what some are now calling post-Christian America.

More Atheists Shout It From the Rooftops

My choosing the “Cultural Christian” label was to have something. I am not an atheist, not quite an agnostic and am perhaps Christian, whatever that truly is, in my heart. I do not like religion and or religions and this is based on their dismal past performance.

Part of the social contract of humanity since the beginning of time is the “yeah okay” response to shamans, wish craft, superstitions and the bully chief in charge of the tribe.

In exchange for “yeah okay” you get to stay on this side of the fence or stay inside the cave – and are protected from the great unknown of “them” whoever and whatever “them” is – fear (?) – and or the forces of nature.

Over the centuries, God and or Religion got stuck in the social fabric thing as an entitlement for some and as a permanent tool of the state. Why?

Messengers of God! Messengers of messengers of God keep trying to polish the message from God if there is a true message or a true God.

Even Mohammed had to renegotiate the prayer thing with a supposedly perfect God through the middleman messenger of Gabriel. The number of times required per day for prayers to God got cut down from fifty times a day to five. Is that a bargain or what?

That prayer five times a day seems an awful lot to pray to a deity that is in all likelihood not listening. That the deity perhaps has better things to do and is perhaps distracted with another dinosaur experiment on another planet in another galaxy at the moment? Whatever.

The message of Jesus is in the Sermon on the Mount – and to love one’s neighbor and to love one’s self in balance and in concert with others. Life is or should be a group effort thing.

The Golden Rule by any other name is still the Golden Rule.

That Jesus if he had succeeded in his social revolution, he may have been forgotten in time like Simon Bar Kochba.

As such and in my local corner of the western hemisphere I look at and measure all things through an ancient Christian prism as well as modern secular bifocal lenses. (Always read the fine print!)

As the earth’s common culture continues to shrink into a singular global stage, I pray. I pray because I think it a useful and right thing to do. It is part of my makeup and upbringing. I pray for myself and I pray for the overthrow of any kind of “tyranny over the mind of man”.

Organized religion seems to be obsolete in western culture. Schools, hospitals and government are mostly secular and here in the USA the separation of church and state has been the cornerstone law of this land for over two centuries.

It is not that God is dead in so much as ancient myths and logics are misunderstood and or incompatible with this modern age. In any case – God is God; man is religion.

I pray that all of Islam wakes up one day soon. I pray that it is able to think independently of the state and the evil fascist rulers controlling the local mosque. That awakening will be Islam’s Reformation and gift to the world.

The harder the extremists of Islam and Christianity fight for a place at the table of a fascist rulers’ feast – the greater the awakening to moderates who do not want to be told what God wants.

Who knows what God wants ? Only madmen!

The secular sunshine of tomorrow will shine on all cultures on all continents.

Other than that, my Cultural Christian Sensibility knows that in fifty years time – all of humanity will look at all things including God and religion as either “B.D” or “A.D.” – either “Before Darwin” or “After Darwin”.

God and religion will not totally disappear but man and man’s grasp of science will be accepted as the newest and latest revelation or message of Creation.

Humankind is both the messenger and the message. Man is the arbitrator of life itself, the quality of life and the goal of life. Man is the primary key for the survival of the species.

A true close and or distant God might agree with the thought that “Man is (and should be) the measure of all things” on earth.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

I Hope You Dance

-


In the interest to myself to not take myself too seriously in some of these odious blog topics - a lighter note - a secular hymn if you will - and a moment to reflect on the weekend "sabbath".

I hope you dance.

-

-

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Bush Cheney Inquisition


One mans’s torture is another man’s pleasure???

There is a lot of vetting going on now in the media and the Congress about that torture thingy. Sean Hannity of FOX News has volunteered to be water boarded for charity to show that the near drowning experience is not torture but a frat house prank kind of thing. Keith Olbermann of MSNBC has offered $1,000 a second for every second that Sean does this easy frat house thing for charity. Poor Keith is going to spend a fortune on Sean who will proving that he is no pussy. Good fun for TV, the media circus and ratings.

Water boarding as torture goes back to the Spanish Inquisition which came into place over five centuries ago to weed out heretics but in reality it was a ethnic cleansing tool to get rid of Jews and Muslims from Spain who had been in Spain for centuries.

If you cannot get a modern day picture in your head about this Inquisition or torture thing I suggest the movie “Goya’s Ghosts” which shows torture and the Inquisition of about two centuries ago. Yes heretics were still being rounded up and tortured up to 1834 in Catholic Spain. Natalie Portman’s character in the movie gets caught up in Church politics and torture just because of her not liking a particular dish in a restaurant. No more plot give away here. See the movie. Splendid period piece against the backdrop of the Napoleonic Wars in Spain (Global Politics circa 1800 AD).

Goya's Ghosts

Getting back to people like Condelezza Rice, selling her soul to get ahead in life but as National Security Advisor signing off on torture before attorney Jay Bybee had even pulled out his crayons at DOJ to write his legal opinion on the subject to give legal credence to - well it’s a long story.

As I said earlier, if men and women of good conscience were trying to defend this county in an emergency situation they, the former regime and its defenders, would not be acting like such inbred idiots and a bunch of tossers about this current tempest in a teapot?

If we are a nation of laws, a so-called “Christian country”, we can live without torture as a modus operandi of our mantra and national identity.

Throughout this so called debate going on now about torture picture this – George Washington did not need torture to win the Revolution.

Bush and Cheney, two natural born bullies, did need torture to justify the illegal invasion of Iraq for fun and profit.

See the movie Goya’s Ghosts. Get some perspective on this current topic.

Be well – and don’t be tortured.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Twitter to God



Our Father, which art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done,
in earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our dail



(Commentary: Oh the modern age - how like the proverbial glass - is it half empty or half full?)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Dick Cheney Go Home


Lately, Dick Cheney is all over the place – hyperactive – and perhaps in fear that the truth if we discover it about the Bush Cheney years will set us free. Alleluia!

If you acted in good conscience in the defense of the nation, nobody will fault you up to a certain point. Beyond that point, I doubt international indictments regarding War Crimes will touch you unless you go to nasty places like France.

Dear Dick, you seem lately more like Pontius Pilate’s gatekeeper Cartaphilus who gave that social malcontent Jesus a shove and Jesus in term damned him to walk the earth until the second coming. The only second coming you seem to be praying for is a second big terrorist attack on the domestic US scene. In which case you will no doubt feel absolved from your personal hand in Abu Grhaib and Gitmo and justified in your extreme defense of Liberty which would seem to be no vice to you.

I suggest you get Fox News to give you official Pundit status if you are in fact competing with Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich and Michael Steele to be head of the party – or at least what is left of it after you and George’s drunken sailors’ party at the expense of the once good name of this nation.

Like the guest who came to dinner and feasted, you will not leave. How Rude and un-Emily Post of you dude!

If you are trying for the remake of Fatal Attraction and they say you can’t do the Glenn Close part even in drag – I will vouch for you and I’ll will pay to see that flick dudette.

Other than that, like Shakespeare who no doubt said after he no doubt sensed that the play had its full run - your hour upon the stage has come and gone Dear Mr. Cheney.

Take the advice from Matt below and enjoy your well (?) deserved retirement.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Christian America at a Crossroads



Newsweek tried to imitate Time and its 1966 blockbuster cover “Is God Dead?”

Newsweek is a pale reflection of that historic Time piece in the issue shown above from last week. Perhaps Journalism is in decline in America with a dozen other things including religion – I don’t know. I just know that we are in that long tunnel underground and traveling under water from one shore to another in terms of a cultural upheaval or is it merely our finally looking at reality – looking honestly at America as part of and not master of a Global World.

I do not like the term “post Christian America”. Nothing can be farther from the truth. Perhaps forty years of reaction to the Time question “Is God Dead?” and the last seismic shocks of Vatican II have finally petered out.

I read the Newsweek article below. Read it if you want to. It is not a masterpiece. It is statistics and observations whether true or not about faith in secular America and at a crossroads.

The End of Christian America

The only quote I will mention from the Newsweek article, page 4, comes from a former pope and an archbishop of Canterbury.
As always with the Bible, however, there are passages that complicate the picture. The author of Hebrews says believers are "strangers and exiles on the earth" and that "For here we have no lasting city, but seek the city which is to come." In Romans the apostle Paul advises: "Do not be conformed to this world." The Second Vatican Council cited these words of Pius XII: the Catholic Church's "divine Founder, Jesus Christ, has not given it any mandate or fixed any end of the cultural order. The goal which Christ assigns to it is strictly religious … The Church can never lose sight of the strictly religious, supernatural goal."

As an archbishop of Canterbury once said, though, it is a mistake to think that God is chiefly or even largely concerned with religion. "I hate the sound of your solemn assemblies," the Lord says in Amos. Religion is not only about worshipping your God but about doing godly things, and a central message of the Gospels is the duty of the Christian to transform, as best one can, reality through works of love. "Being in the world and not of it remains our charge," says Mohler. "The church is an eternal presence in a fallen, temporal world—but we are to have influence. The Sermon on the Mount is about what we are to do—but it does not come with a political handbook."

Here are a few lines from someone’s reaction to the recent Newsweek article about the so-called “Decline and Fall of Christian America” by Jim Wallis.

Rectifying a historic Christian mistake
The Religious Right was a Christian mistake. It was a movement that sought to implement a “Christian agenda” by tying the faithful to one political option -- the right wing of the Republican Party. The politicizing of faith in such a partisan way is always a theological mistake. But the rapid decline of the Religious Right now offers us a new opportunity to re-think the role of faith in American public life.

Personally, I am not offended or alarmed by the notion of a post-Christian America. Christianity was originally and in my view, always meant to be, a minority faith with a counter-cultural stance, as opposed to being the dominant cultural and political force. Notions of a 'Christian America' quite frankly have not turned out very well.

But that does not mean a lack of religious influence — on the contrary. Committed minorities have had a tremendous influence on cultures and even on politics. Just look at all the faith-inspired social-reform movements animated by people of faith. But Martin Luther King Jr. did not get the Civil Rights Act passed because he had the most Bible verses on his side but because he entered into the public square with compelling arguments, vision and policies that ultimately won the day. Those faith-inspired movements are disciplined by democracy, meaning they do not expect to win just because they are “Christian.” They have to win the debates about what is best for the common good by convincing their fellow citizens.

And that is best done by shaping the values narrative, as opposed to converting everyone to their particular brand of religion. Rather, they are always looking for allies around their moral causes, including people of other faiths or of no religion. The story of Christianity in America during the coming decades will be defined by a multicultural shift as well as by a generational one. 'New' evangelicals and Catholics, along with black, Hispanic, and Asian churches will now shape the agenda. But also included are the millions of Americans who say they are “spiritual but not religious,” and who find homes in non-traditional churches, mega-churches which teach that true religion is found in care for “the least of these.” Making a real impact on the values and directions that a democracy will choose is perhaps a more exciting kind of influence than relying on the illusory and often disappointing hopes of cultural and political dominance.
Food for thought.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Impeach Judge Jay Bybee


I don’t know if Federal Judge Jay Bybee should be handed over to an international War Crimes Tribunal or not. He is not Himmler. He is more a German Judge type tried at Nuremburg for only carrying out orders – a well paid and well pensioned rubberstamp for the regime. Only in this case he is one of the cadre of fascists in the Justice Department who wrote the rules saying this or that is okay which translates into torture.

He should resign as a matter of honor now that his anti-humanity memos have been out-ed of the closet at DOJ.

If not that then Impeach him! He is a sniveling yes man and poster boy for American fascism.

To list two of four common indictment counts against Nazi judges at Nuremburg listed below:
1. Participating in a common plan or conspiracy to commit war crimes and crimes against humanity;
2. War crimes through the abuse of the judicial and penal process, resulting in mass murder, torture, plunder of private property… Wikipedia – Judges’ Trial

Conspiracy is still conspiracy even if it is done in broad daylight and in the offices of the Department of Justice or the White House.

The hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians murdered in the US war of liberation I count in the mass murder thing. It was an unnecessary and illegal Act of War against another country by the US Regime in power. It was carried out and justified under the cover of American bias or misperception after 911 that "All Muslims are Bad!"

Torture against the bastards who took down the World Trade Center? Let’s not split fine hairs here. In real war you do what is necessary to protect you and yours.

Abu Ghraib Prison and Torture was part of the result of Jay Bybee's clean white shirt memos over at DOJ. Abu Ghraib they would have you believe was some misconduct by non-coms. What Bullshit! Evil is a smooth tongued devil – d’evil.

Not all judges are evil. Spanish Judge Baltazar Garzon, famous for bringing Chilean Dictator/Monster Augusto Pinochet to justice, has been thwarted on his current round to bring Bush cronies to justice in Spanish courts for torture conducted against Spanish citizens and under the direct or indirect auspices of Bush Justice Department (oxymoron) lawyers/henchmen, one now on the bench, who okayed torture

In a clear and present danger to our homeland, anything in war and or response is a likely thing to happen. But was there a real war on terror after 911? Or was there a hostile petroleum corporation takeover of Iraq also known as the Glorious American War of Liberation of the Iraqi People. Hey the old Pravda is dead. It was blood for oil and Jay Bybee did whatever it took to get a lifetime appointment as a US government bureaucrat.

I don’t know if this Pontius Pilate thing by Barry Obama is a test run – just releasing memos and hoping the need for prosecution gets lost or talked out in the media. He doesn’t want to harass the elite white ruling class of America so early into his administration. He is not a messiah type.

Let us remember that the President is just another corporate lawyer. That being what it may be - This is a first round of the game of Americans coming to grips and to fully view recent and current reality. They had been shielded from reality for decades in the name of national security: the prolonged phony cold war, the phony war on drugs and the phony war on terror – torture, gangsterism, and let’s not forget corporate gross mismanagement/crime on wall street. These are tough reality pills to swallow. Perhaps these bitter pills are necessary medicine.

Reality sometimes sucks and so does Justice when it has to be carried out by a free society.

If America is to survive into the whole of the 21st century and be great, it needs to at least fully investigate this recent disgrace and fall from humanity conducted by the thugs of the Bush Cheney Regime.

I managed to write this whole thing without once using the word morality. Hey, can anybody get me a job at Justice?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

No Salvation Outside Mel's Church

-


I think that Mel Gibson is a great actor. He manages to get pulled over in his own neighborhood for drunk driving and then starts on a some sort of anti-Jewish tirade in 2006. Great script!

I have always discounted his behavior that night as someone with a past drinking problem and then going off the wagon and then blacking out. I know people like that, like Mel drinking beer since age thirteen and after two beers in a bar, the next day, they don’t what they said or did the night before and then they ask you.

Mel, admit that he blacks out? Or has a dysfunctional family situation with Dad? Hell no. His Father is quoted by Mel in many places as “never having lied to him about anything” – like the Holocaust. Of course if Hutton Gibson has never lied about anything, doesn’t that make him perfect? And doesn’t that make Mel the son of God so to speak.

This narcissistic behavior out of the show biz types started or at least I labeled it as such when Michael Jackson was on top twenty five years ago. When you are that rich you can do or believe anything you want to. Until you get caught.

The whole anti-Semitic incident may have been a cowardly way for Mel to start the divorce process. Put a dozen projects on hold, hide the assets offshore and separate long enough for half your actual estate to disappear temporarily. Mel missed his true calling in life. He should have been a RC bishop.

Community property or not his spouse of twenty eight years will get about $120 million. It is a lot less than the 50% - 50% California community property split might promise. But she will get ten percent at least of book value of his properties. Ten percent cash is hard to come up with especially if you are land poor and movie project poor like old dear Mel.

I remember some years ago when they, the press, were talking about his cult church there in Malibu. Must be fifteen, twenty or more years ago. The news said he paid something like $500,000 to fund the construction of his designer religion traditionalist catholic church. Now that all the Hollywood news sites are getting their teeth into Mel – pay back time – I see that his Church is part of a foundation and he has supposedly spent $45 million dollars ??? on it as an ongoing building of a monument to himself and his exclusive religion. His own construction company too – talk about cooking the books. Like I said, he should have been a bishop to put such a low accounting tax book value on an adobe structure with how many acres of sub dividable Malibu real estate, ten, twenty, thirty? Whatever.

Reading all the petty Hollywood stuff, I went onto the Internet and went with the flow to see a few interesting things directly or indirectly related to Mad Max. This here is petty too I admit. Mea Culpa. Mea Culpa. But when I read that he thinks that his Episcopalian wife is an automatic send to “hell” – Christ what a medieval jerk she was married to and mothered seven of his known children with!

His church – his cult following – subscribes to the third century concept “extra Ecclesiam nulla salus” (“outside The Church there is no salvation”). This is the backbone of the Traditionalist Catholic movement – that and the Latin Mass. The old Church condemned all the non-Catholics, mostly Jews and Protestants back then to hell.

There is a hero, a saint, a martyr, of that fanatical Traditionalist anti-semitic branch of Catholicism. Have you ever heard of Leonard Feeney SJ, a Jesuit in Boston that got quite popular in his writings in the late 1940s into the early 1950s. Even the Vatican was embarrassed by his success. He managed to get excommunicated for not submitting to proper Vatican management of his activities. He would not tone down his rigid non-conforming exclusive interpretation of salvation within the Church only and never outside the Roman Catholic church.

Back in grade school, I heard the Leonard Feeney story from the nuns every year because he had some poetry in our outdated poetry books. His poems were about St. Mary and the nuns’ dedicated to St. Mary gave a kind rendition to us of why the pope f-----d Leonard Feeney for his views about the damnation of anybody outside the RC church. There was dissention in the ranks before Vatican II and even from nuns.

So when Vatican II defined, redefined who or who was not inside the Church, who would, could be saved from hell etc, the Tradionalists like Hutton Gibson went ape shit. Poor man could not get a decent night’s sleep with the noisy six million Jews (recently arrived immigrants) living in the apartment house next door to him in Queens NY. Had to move to Australia for breathing space so to speak. I think all this made an impression on young Mel. Whatever.

Like I said before Mel is a good actor. I wish him well on the building of his mini-Vatican in fashionable, expensive and exclusive Malibu. I also hope Robyn screws the pants off him in divorce court. Cheers mate.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Of God, UFOs and Gary McKinnon



I don’t know what to make of this story about Gary McKinnon. There is this fellow in Britain. He seems fairly articulate. He is diagnosed with a form of Autism which makes people obsessed and focused on a limited number of topics. His two topics seem to be UFOs and FREE ENERGY – two topics that supposedly caused him to hack into relatively unprotected and easily accessible NASA and PENTAGON computers in search of his pet projects.

There is this long extradition thing going on whereby the US wants him tried in the US and not in Britain where he would get a much lighter sentence if convicted. The previous administration no doubt had room for him in Gitmo - no trial, and rotting there until what he might have seen or discovered on the computer database is obsolete and old technology. Whatever.

This US GOVs big push to get their hands on Gary just leads to speculation that there really are UFOs. I believe in the possibility of other intelligent life in the universe. I am perhaps much more skeptical than the general public in terms of a belief in UFOs.

I have been looking for the bland Vatican statement about Extraterrestrials on the Internet some many years back but I can’t seem to locate it. It, the original statement not unlike my own, has been spun off into tens of thousands of tangents and contextual misquotes on websites and supporting the cottage industry that promotes topics such as UFOs, New Age, and other occult subjects.

Just because you have a fuzzy picture or see a fuzzy picture of something does not necessary make it a UFO, an angel or a shooting star.

British Hacker's Supporters Rally at US Embassy

Although McKinnon has publicly admitted to hacking into NASA and other military computers, he maintains he was merely curious and was looking for evidence of UFOs.

However, the U.S. alleges between 2001 and 2002 he deleted critical files, copied user names and passwords and intentionally caused damage on U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, NASA and Department of Defense computers and those belonging to universities and companies.

McKinnon's demure, inquisitive nature seems to have helped marshal support from many corners.

British authorities are pouring ever more money and police effort into fighting cybercrime. But McKinnon's hacking -- which wasn't aimed at stealing money -- seems to be widely regarded in Britain as harmless. The U.S. is pushing too hard, they say.

I believe in God. God created all things. That is my faith.

I do not believe in UFOs. Until I see or touch one, I am skeptical. That I think is existential.

If you have fifteen odd minutes to kill, this guy spins and delivers a good tale about the UFO thingy. I almost came to believe but I am an old dog and am set in my ways.




I can half picture someone as brilliant as this guy and as sharp and focused as he is and being someone not like the original wonder salesman of Saint Paul.

Who knows? I could wrong on many subjects including that of UFOs.

Be well.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

GOP and the New Racism


I do not think that it is intellectual or moral backbone that has the Cardinal Newman Society, a once harmless national on-campus organization, campaigning against President Obama, to prevent him from speaking at Notre Dame on May 17. I think it is out and out pure old fashioned racism. Not so recognizable as racism but the coded worded type so frequently used in the recent past.

This moral outrage – is it funded in anyway by the down and out GOP?

GOP money seems to be funding this tea bag thing against whatever – taxes? - too.

The GOP is looking for a hook. Anything that will stick and get them back into Sodom and Gomorrah like absolute power in Washington D.C.. This wanting "Obama to fail" strategy is publicly professed by Gingrich and Limbaugh among others. This wanting Obama to fail is unpatriotic in my opinion. I feel that it goes deeper than failed politics on the GOP side. I think it also goes to the level of race.

I don’t think it is coincidence that Tony Blair converted to Roman Catholicism as a prelude to his campaigning to be the first president of the EU.

I don’t think it a coincidence that Newt Gingrich has now converted to Roman Catholicism. I think the new “IN” for the republicans and their tired decades old “family values” hypocrisy is in hiding behind the skirts of the RC Church to push its fascist agenda forward.

I do not think it coincidence that a nationally mounted campaign in the Catholic Blogoshpere against Obama speaking at Notre Dame - or on any level - but with this run let's call it moral - and not racism coded or otherwise - is anything but a test run for politics and new GOP strategy.

If this new fascist strategy wrapped in moral sheep's clothing - if it works at Notre Dame, then the New Racism (the hook) is born and and the GOP will try to rise again using this new found gimmick of pushing its agenda forward on the "moral" Catholic Blogosphere, coded or otherwise.

I watched this person last night, this Raymond Arroyo “News” anchor on the EWTN – Eternal Word Television Network – and heard him pump up and advance this (covert racist) campaign by the Cardinal Newman Society to throw the black guy off campus at Notre Dame. The spokesperson for the Cardinal Newman society said that he would be happy if they withdrew the honorary degree and the (second class negro citizen) President be allowed to only talk at the commencement.

Sound familiar? ASU in Tempe Arizona will not give the black guy an honorary degree. Like what has Obama done lately? Not much apparently. Arizona, has a republican Governor and two republican senators. Arizona, under a republican governor, shot down the MLK federal holiday a generation ago – a good red neck state and it’s Universities suck too.

I had come to believe lately that the party of Lincoln and their recent round of debauchery, of sodomy in airport bathrooms and fondling page boys in the Capitol hallways and the adultery, drunk driving and making of bastard children was on its way out for a long needed rest.

But no. Fox News may be in decline. The Catholic Blogosphere is the next wave, the secret weapon of the GOP. I told you that Roman Catholicism was not a fascist religion so much as a religion in search of a fascist patron – President Newt Gingrich?

I can’t find any credible journalistic credentials for this Pee Wee Herman look alike spokesperson for the Church of Rome – Mr. Arroyo seems to be an official spokesperson supporting the church’s (racist?) policies in Africa and the Pope’s evil (coded) pronouncements on condoms. We in the west don’t take the Pope’s unscientific pronouncements on condoms seriously.

But a bunch of poor uneducated Africans do take the words of the pope as sacred or sounding like they come from Mt. Sinai or such.

The pope is not pro-life
Appearing on Fox's O'Reilly Factor last week, I debated the pope's statement with writer Raymond Arroyo. I pointed out that UNAIDS, calls the condom the “single, most efficient, available technology to reduce the sexual transmission of HIV.” Arroyo responded with a bizarre conspiracy theory saying that the United Nations group was only trying to “protect the government infusion of money to these condom programs that have demonstrably not worked at all.”

Then I asked Arroyo point blank: “If all the condoms in Africa magically disappeared, would the number of HIV cases increase or decrease?”

He responded that HIV would decrease if people would model their lives on the pope's “ideal way in which to live.”

In the ideal world promoted by Arroyo, priests would not rape little boys, while getting shuffled around parishes to protect the church. In the real world, the Vatican has spent millions of dollars to pay for child abuse lawsuits. In Arroyo's fantasy world, young people pledge abstinence until marriage. In the real world, studies show that teens taking virginity pledges were just as likely to engage in sex—and less likely to use birth control or condoms when they finally did.

Beware of the new power of the RC church as an agent of the GOP.

Fascism in America or it’s secret agenda within the GOP is not dead yet.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Of gods, Monsters and Intelligent Design?



I don’t know what to make of all the fake science that is trying to get endorsed or believed these days.

Intelligent Design is supposed to tell us that the universe is not a random chaotic thing, which it is. They would have you believe that there is an intelligent design (by God) to the whole mess. The Vatican and or its German speaking surrogates such as Cardinal Schoenborn of Vienna back Intelligent Design.

There is supposed to be some international meeting of minds or conference on Darwin sponsored by the Vatican on the calendar right about now. Don’t hold your breath expecting any intelligent outcome or pronouncements. One critic, the former head of the Vatican Observatory Father George V. Coyne, a real scientist, got fired over his views about real rational science, which is opposed to fake science or Intelligent Design. I don’t think he was invited to this Darwin Conference thing.

The whole folly comes within the realm of Voltaire from his book Candide and the philosophical falsity that this world is “le meilleur des mondes possibles” – the best of all possible worlds. Délusion. Délusion. Délusion.

If the earth is of an intelligent design then why did the Intelligent Designer waste hundreds of millions of years on the Dinosaur Project ???

The Creationist theory will tell you that the Bible, being the exact and perfect world of God, proves that science is wrong in determining the age of the earth. They will tell you that all physical evidence must fit into the five thousand year old timeframe of the Bible. That is why if you stop off at some GOP endorsed Creationist Museum, you will see our ancestors, as cave men and women, living in harmony with the dinosaur things.

The Bible is a flawed document. The bible is a human document. The New Testament is a committee written document. Jesus changes from a human being to a god in the time frame of three hundred years. Jesus’ words, wisdom, divine inspiration and divine mission have been subordinated to politics since his death almost two thousand years ago.

Did he rise from the dead ? Definitely. As a Christian I believe that. God can do anything including raise the dead. To believe in Jesus is to believe in the higher powers of an evolved, evolving species called man. I have faith in the non-tangible abilities and powers of God and his servant Jesus.

These religious screamers call faith, faith, faith. I do not think they believe or have faith. They need an exact user manual for life – a rule book. If anything, the day to day struggle of Jesus to get imperfect people to listen to his more perfect evolved message for the human race seems at times to have been wasted on many deaf human ears.

So too the flaws of the Old Testament are obvious. The Hebrew Testament does not get written or fully consolidated until after the Babylonian captivity. Along the way to consolidation several non-communicating committees manage to lose ten tribes and the Ark of the Covenant.

Tangible things such as fake relics like the Shroud of Turin or a Jesus Ossuary - speaks of non-faith in the original person and the true message of the teacher of Jesus.

What I have found or sensed along the way of this study of my own beliefs is the negatuve reception or reaction of others to the Gnostic concept of a divine spark within. Negative belief too in the possiblility of Jesus as a bearer or in his own recognition of that divinity. The role of bearer and of recognition connotes great responsibility to go forward in life as bearer of the light of God within and with that light to be given freely to others. Few of us now or in the generations past have come close to the ideal of Jesus as evolved enlightened being and creation of God.

There is hope - the human race continues and “Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?”…(W.B.Yeats)

The problem with the Gnostic belief approach is that 99.9% of humanity do not seem to want responsibility. They want to be sheep and they want to be led. As such, the P.T.Barnum types in the Vatican and the far right fundamentalists need road shows, conferences, freak shows, museums, literal interpretation of myths - tangible proof of their so-called faith – which is not faith but seems so much more like superstition.

The show goes on.

Popcorn! Peanuts! Cotton Candy!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Dear Christians, One and All, Rejoice


It is Spring. It is Easter. There is promise of rebirth and renewal in the air.

A story about St. Paul’s Chapel in downtown Manhattan caught my eye. They have resuscitated the organ at St Paul’s for this year’s Easter Service. If you are unfamiliar with Saint Paul’s, it is a small church, a chapel, and part of the Trinity Church at the foot of Wall Street some three or four blocks further south. Saint Paul’s is older than the present Trinity Church and older than the Revolution. Washington’s private pew box is enshrined within and surrounded by beautiful Georgian architecture.

Also, this stone façade building from the 1770s and its graveyard would look more comfortable in a rural English town. But here it is in the middle of the most valuable real estate in the world. Some of that valuable real estate and the precious lives of valuable people got destroyed on September 11, 2001 with the attack on the World Trade Center literally across the street.

By some miracle and or the grace of God, St. Paul’s was spared that horrific carnage and destruction.

Now that the World Trade Center is slowly rising from the ashes of that day, so too St. Paul's and it’s organ are making a comeback. The wounds of that day are slowly healing and life goes on.

Near Ground Zero, organ in historic chapel 'speaks' again
A man from the Bronx who assisted the New York Fire Department in the months after the attacks remembered a time when the chapel "closed its door to souls and opened it to bodies" and the organ fell silent under the clamor of refuge-seeking firemen, police officers and other workers. He said he was attending Friday morning's rehearsal to hear the organ played for the first time.

St. Paul’s multipurpose, multitasking function after the 911 attack harkens back to a time when a church building was the center of a community’s full life and functioned as hospital or refuge when times dictated these uses.




1. Dear Christians, one and all, rejoice,
With exultation springing,
And, with united heart and voice
And holy rapture singing,
Proclaim the wonders God hath done,
How His right arm the victory won;
Right dearly it hath cost Him.

4. But God beheld my wretched state
Before the world's foundation,
And, mindful of His mercies great,
He planned my soul's salvation.
A father's heart He turned to me,
Sought my redemption fervently:
He gave His dearest Treasure.

8. The Foe shall shed My precious blood,
Me of My life bereaving.
All this I suffer for thy good;
Be steadfast and believing.
Life shall from death the victory win,
My innocence shall bear thy sin;
So art thou blest forever.

M. Luther 1523, Lutheran Hymnal

Friday, April 10, 2009

Meal Ticket to Heaven

There was a famous BBC documentary series with James Burke called “Connections”. It seemed to ramble all about and show how different historic events, inventions, ideas sometimes came together to form other historic events, inventions, ideas.

I have a similar idea and flow here and it all has to do with food and religion.

Holy Thursday was also in stellar or is it lunar alignment with Passover this year.

As such or by coincidence, the Jewish Seder, or feast meal remembering Passover was held in the White House this year with Jewish staff officiating and the First Family in attendance in the private family quarters. This is no doubt a good political or is it a PC move for a chief executive who last week or in the last few days has mentioned his family links to Islam and in a predominately Muslim country of Turkey. Astute!

Let me go free flow on this. In my article about Saint Paul, I had mentioned my encounter with a Hindu salesman in an Arizona parking lot over a decade ago and his mentioning family and meals as the basis of response for questions I had about his religious background. Perhaps he was secular and did not know or did not want to go into detail with me within the context of a western, predominately in the past, Christian country.

And then there is Mel Gibson, sad soul, a RC traditionalist, that blames the Jews for Jesus’ Jewish mission in life. One of his seeming passions in life is anti-Semitism. That and transubstantiation of the conversion of Bread during the mass into the body of Christ – no satisfactory religious chefs after Vatican II for him. Does he resent the Jewish tradition of Passover or would he rather have had Jesus being secular and eating at Burger King?

Mr. Gibson’s profound anti-Semitism is I think rooted in his Irish Catholic American background not unlike my own. Irish American you say? A side trip to Australia as a young child and into adulthood didn’t much improve his cosmopolitan or lack of it view of the planet. Is it anti-Semitism or a profound lack of the knowledge of Jewish culture?

Moving along, I think of all the nuns who taught me as a child. Was their involvement in the faith profound, spiritual or was it all a meal ticket thing.

Standing behind three nuns in a polling place in the 1976 presidential election, I was surprised to hear that the nuns had legal names and they had to announce them to people running the election polling station. One by one they announced their legal names and one by one I heard the first real name of Mary for each and I don’t remember the other two’s last names but the third one of Mary Clancy – that sure hit a note of recognition of an good sounding Irish Catholic name. Then I thought to myself. All these nuns attached to a religious order that used the name Mary in the title of the order, they were all named Mary as well. Did they choose their vocations or were they steered toward vocations by parents who named them and groomed them for such.

This brings me in thought to Vatican II. I think the lay people did not panic so much then as it was the priests and nuns that jumped ship in droves that began a downward spire in the whole full life RC thing. Perhaps these deserters wanted a whole full secular life thing with sex and all that. Fewer nuns. Lay teachers cost more. Tuition for a RC education and a few decades later no more free Catholic grade schools for the average Catholic.

The priests, after Vatican II, saw the medieval church melt in front of their eyes and standing there Sunday after Sunday preaching the same lame boiler plate religion message just got so unspeakable.

The nuns and the priests for better or worse I classify under the meal ticket thing. That when Catholic families had five, six or eight kids, the parents had to do some futuristic planning about what to do with so many kids. One son for the priesthood and one daughter for the convent took care of two children. The others would marry and reproduce and take care of the parents in old age etc. It seemed like a good plan.

There has always been a percentage of priests and nuns who leave religious orders after their parents die. My aunt who had been a nun for twenty five years gave up the career after her parents, my grandparents died etc. Meal ticket or not, sometimes breathing your own free secular air is what life is really all about.

This brings me to the four gospels and how perception is everything. The Gospel of John seems to have been written by a non-Jew or a profoundly ignorant about his own culture Jew or anti-Semitic Roman Empire type. Only three of the gospels bothers to mentions the traditional Last Supper scene, the Jewish Seder, in the context of the Bread and Wine sacramental thing that has held a great deal of Christianity together for close to two millennia.

If one steps back and looks at these other three synoptic gospels, you realize that the menu is quite sparse there too.

Which makes me think? Did either secularized Jews or Hellenistic Jews write the gospels as “eyewitness” accounts? Or maybe non-Jews wrote them. That or they date further down a timeline well into the second century of the Common Era or got rewritten all the way up until the time of Saint Constantine the Great in the fourth century.

The oldest known existing fragment of the gospels is one page from John and that is in a museum in England and is dated to around 130-140 AD. Those dates triggers off a possible connection to the second Jewish rebellion during which The Third Temple got temporarily dedicated to Yahweh out of the recycled temple stones from Herod's time or the unfinished Temple of Jupiter on temple mount.

Not a lot of recorded history there. Josephus Flavius was dead and Jewish historian types were scarce at the second most total and most long lasting decimation of the Jewish nation in 135 AD. No doubt Hadrian wanted the facts covered up and did not even try the PR thing altogether. The emperor Hadrian has a favored status among most western historians. His collecting antiques and boy toys gets more mention in history books and you have to dig a lot to find his ranking in holocaust standings.

(If Jews want archeology opened up on the noble sanctuary, mention that you are looking for the Hadrian’s whatnot or the Temple of Jupiter, the west will approve.)

The gospels got written most likely by some Hellenistic Jews in Asia Minor (Turkey), a refugee staging area after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD and the final blow to the nation in 135 AD. That perhaps the anti-rebellion forces within Judaism in 70 and 135 is what laid the basis of anti-Semitism all the way to the present day. The present day anti-Semitism may have its beginnings on a change of internal attitudes and divisions in Judaism and the turning away from the old Judaism, more political than religious, recently passed away in 135 AD.

That said, I do not understand why they tack the Hebrew Testament onto the Greek Testament and have so little, basic knowledge among the common ranks of that long standing world religion and culture of Judaism.

The strength, salvation and possible rebirth of the dying Christian Church lies in the foundation stones of Judaism and Jesus’ (sorry Mel) Jewish mission. Two menus in one restaurant like the Old and New Testament speaks not of good eating but more like competing food court entities at a shopping mall.

Where is the horseradish? Bon appetite.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Timelines of God/Allah

I am someone who in an earlier article described myself and my Cultural Christianity as something conforming more to the primitive, pre-title, pre Constantine, pre-catholic variety.

I think that God’s message through Jesus is still there and salvageable to unite or to bond a common faith better in a modern secular world - this for both us primitive Christian types as well as the other Christian varieties that have evolved since those early years of the faith.

This is perhaps clumsy but here I go.

I think the Islamic claim that Mohammed is the last prophet puts a limitation on the perfection of God/Allah.

There are no timelines for God/Allah.

We in the west in our cultural context put God as a perfect being meaning one that is all and does not need any changes.

As such I believe that God’s message to man is and has always been there to hear and or interpret. Hearing is one thing. Interpreting is another thing altogether. In a way, the job of prophets more or less has them in a unique position to hear and or interpret the eternal message, whatever that may be.

Each generation I think accepts or reexamines the interpretation of the message until the message become unclear and then new interpretations or deconstructions and reconstructions are attempted.

If God is perfect by a western concept, then God in our interpretation has no concept of time as we limited finite human beings have.

The message is always there. It is always there to hear for the first or second or third time interpreted or reinterpreted. A timeline from A to B to C will continue for cultures and cultural prophets because time has not ceased on that timeline.

Partial Message – NO*. (* Partial Interpretation – Yes.)

The word, the eternal message is part of the cosmic genetic makeup. The message of God to his creation is always there. God is immune to time, a human concept. God is always available to reach out and touch his creation – as his creation is reaching out in the other direction.

God’s message is not finite. The message unfortunately is subject to limitations such as the context of the receiving culture(s) – the ability to understand.

Just as the Sun emanates energy in all directions on a physical level, the spiritual message for the Creator to its creation is eternal and flows in all directions to all times, cultures, planets, galaxies etc.

Islam, the message through Mohammed, came about out of necessity, because of all the corruption and baggage added onto the message of God through Jesus.

Because of the cultural context thing, Christianity traveled more easily west over the stone roads of the Roman Empire.

Because of the cultural context thing, Islam traveled more easily over caravan routes to the east.

The message of God is the same but perceived differently in different cultures and in different times.

There is no absolute end to potential prophets within the context of time.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Saint Mary's in Exile - Brisbane



First RC rule of obedience:

Don’t let the local bishop get into your pants – your pants pocket that is – the one with the deed to the church in it.

Once Rome or the local bishop has the deed, they can throw you out with any excuse and like any other slumlord. And sell your church to meet walking around petty cash expenses.

Looks like Father Kennedy of St Mary’s of Brisbane fame is learning the fine points of the fine print of boilerplate real estate contracts with the official RC Church.

Want to preach and live 95% of the whole Cultural Catholic thing and skip the 5% BULLSHIT imposed by the prissy guys in dresses – Form your own RC church parish and don’t surrender the deed.

One can see far reaching possibilities in the RC people of God who care and believe in themselves and within the cultural context of Christian fellowship to continue an energetic and viable church ministry – with less interference from church bureaucrats.

Rebel priest forms ‘church in exile’

Sacked St Mary's priest, Father Peter Kennedy has announced that he will be forming a "church in exile" only a few blocks from St Mary's Catholic Church in South Brisbane, after Fr Kennedy and the archdiocese of Brisbane reached an agreement in arbitration…

Father Kennedy said the Archbishop would not be able to stop him from forming another congregation of the Catholic Church.

"The Archbishop told me that himself," Fr Kennedy said.

Rebel priest Peter Kennedy expects congregation to follow him

Fr Kennedy, a priest for 44 years including 28 at St Mary's, said he still rejected Archbishop Bathersby's claim that St Mary's was operating outside the Church.

"We've lost the fight but have we lost the battle?" Fr Kennedy said.

He predicted the Catholic Church was "pragmatic enough" to change radically, including allowing women to become leaders.

"The Church when it is facing annihilation can turn itself around," he said.

Fr Kennedy said he was not afraid of being excommunicated, because the move was "just words".

"They can't burn you at the stake these days," he said. "We live, thank God, in a liberal-democratic society.

"That's the question the Church has to face: How it can be a feudal system working in a liberal democracy."

Enough said for the moment. And good luck.

Cain - The King



Shortly there after Adam and Eve, the trailer trash couple, recently evicted from Paradise Trailer Park, go on their way and struggle without a guide book through life.

Years later, the two grown sons of Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel go at it for love of an abstract God. “God loves me more!” No he doesn’t!” Etc.

Cain kills Abel and wanders the earth with his wife (where did she come from – his sister?). There are problems with believing only in a literal belief of the Bible especially if you believe that every word comes exclusively from the God person.

The RC church treats the creation myth of Adam and Eve as more or less allegory, except for the Original Sin thing, in that the bottom line of belief is that the first man and woman were the first creatures that God gave souls to.

The literalists, the fundamentalists live, breath and consume the words of God of the Bible thing quite literally.

Perhaps I am a minimalist and a little bit religionist in that I do believe mathematically that someone, two at least, is, are, the beginning of the line of the human race.

Without going into a debate about ancient literary flaws in the Old Testament, perhaps you can get a closer look or at least a closer feel for the murder, incest thing of the Cain, Abel story in the movie The King:

The King

The title is I think a play on words of the first name of the main character Elvis, (Gael Garcia Bernal) looking up a father he has never known, a fundamentalist preacher, (William Hurt), in Corpus Christi Texas.

I won’t give all the plot away but for me at least, I understood the underlying biblical story played out in a modern setting. Other than that be forewarned, about this strange sleeper classic. There is an element of evil there. Rather than turn away or turn off this flick, I was strangely drawn to it not unlike a moth to a porch light.

The human race and the human condition is or is not always portrayed correctly in the Bible, a very human book about humanity.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Christian Creation Myth ?


One of the menu items I think irrelevant as part of my 20% discounted smorgasbord Christianity is the concept of Original Sin.

All primitive societies have their creation myths but I do not quite understand the Judeo-Christian myth of creation.

First of all I wonder why God wasted tens of millions of years on the dinosaur experiment. Failed experiment or necessary to create fossil fuels to poison the present environment?

And then the final most perfect experiment is man. Man is somehow incomplete so you make him a helper with a birth out of a his ribcage. Sounds like the Sci-fi movie “Alien”. Pop! But man who cannot stand pain gets to give birth while asleep or in an anaesthetised state. (Wimp!)

The helper, the female thing, gets the run of the landscape but is told along with her hubby not to touch or eat the forbidden fruit of the tree of knowledge.

Like all children who are told not to do anything (human nature), they, Adam and Eve eat the forbidden fruit.

God who gives his new creation “free will” gets pissed off at this experiment when it exercises that free will and throws it (Adam and Eve) out of his laboratory called “Paradise”.

God does not immediately eliminate his failed experiment of man like his failed experiment with the dinosaurs. Mankind waits around for “the end” that has not arrived yet on the calendar.

Because “We failed” and not the experimenter, we have to suffer in a world that is quite hostile and “We” as part of this half-assed creation myth should be ashamed of ourselves and we need saving (?) as a result ???

Now that fundamentalist Christians are starting Creation Museums to show that the dinosaurs lived side by side with our caveman ancestors, I am waiting for the true end of western civilization when the hottest Christmas toy one year is Jesus riding on the back of a baby Tyrannosaurus Rex. (My apologies to Jesus and little Rex on that thought.)

Have a nice inferior failed experiment day!

Friday, April 3, 2009

The 80% Christian



I had mentioned something in one of my previous posts about being of a same mind with some early nineteenth Unitarian beliefs. Not claiming to be any expert on that dogma, here is a quote from John Adams:
"The substance and essence of Christianity, as I understand it, is eternal and unchangeable, and will bear examination forever, but it has been mixed with extraneous ingredients, which I think will not bear examination, and they ought to be separated.” -- John Adams, letter to Thomas Jefferson (January 23, 1825).

I have read somewhere that Unitarians like Adams at that time did not think much of Concept of the Trinity with Jesus being less than a full third - or not being the sharpest point on that triangle. In other words, people then thought that Jesus was definitely more human than divine but that his words and teachings were worth examining and holding onto in a religion context.

So too, I often wonder if the Greco-Roman concept of Jesus as the Son of God, how can he be equal to or just one third at the same time? Thirty three and one third percent does not add up to one hundred percent in my math book. A son is just a son and a father is just a father? Just shut up and label it mystery. Right?

I guess in the strictest sense of Christianity I might be labeled an 80% Christian. I am not going anywhere and have done more research on the subject than the average Joe. I am who I am. I am what I am. And God’s grace in me I do not believe fruitless.

An Episcopalian priest has just been defrocked for trying to believe in two major monotheistic faiths – Christianity and Islam.

This is not an April Fool's joke --- Episcopal Priest defrocked

The Seattle priest first became aware of the Islamic tradition in 2005 when St. Mark's Cathedral invited a Muslim leader as an interfaith guest. Redding was impressed with his prayer which sparked her interest in Islam and eventually lead to her making her Shahada -- Islamic profession of faith - in 2006. This eventually cost her the Episcopal priesthood and forced Bishop Wolf's decisive actions. Basically, the Shahada asks the Muslim to affirm: "There is no god but God and that Muhammad is the Messenger of God."

For almost two years, Bishop Wolf has patiently worked with Dr. Redding to help clarify her mixed religious beliefs and practices as well as her commitment to Jesus Christ through the Christian sacerdotal priesthood as an Episcopalian.

In July 2007, the bishop originally issued a Pastoral Direction to Dr. Redding inhibiting her from all priestly and diaconal duties. In a letter to her priests, the diocesan council and standing committee, the Rhode Island bishop explained why she disciplined the theologically straying Seattle priest...

April 1, 2009 ...Bishop Wolf believes that a priest of the Church cannot be both a Christian and a Muslim. Consequently, as a result of the abandonment of the Communion of the Episcopal Church, Bishop Wolf imposed a sentence of deposition in accordance with the Canons of the Church.

The priest is/was the Rev. Dr. Ann Redding. Her bishop in Rhode Island took the bold step to establish some discipline about something, anything and not focus on the other ugly, ignorant things within the decaying crumbling Episcopal church - like the still current and enthusiastic witch hunt against gays. Anybody got a match?

Perhaps Dr. Redding was at one point a 50% Christian and a 50% Muslim. Perhaps she is right. Perhaps she in wrong in accepting that there is no God but God and Mohammed is one of his prophets/messengers. Or –let me try this. There is no God but God and Jesus is one of his prophets/messengers. She can’t call Jesus a prophet? Can she? He got elevated to godhood in a Greco-Roman cultural context as in Hercules, son of Zeus cultural context. Right?

The more I study about Jesus the more I know he is real and his true message is hidden amidst the baggage and fears imposed on him by the God Emperor Constantine who adopted Jesus as his political arm and son and inducted him into his newly invented Pagan Catholicism.

Constantine was 50% Roman God and 50% Pagan Catholic. Other than that I think a better percentage to describe him was something like 5% Christian in that he may or may not have even bothered to join his own new religion - not even on his deathbed.

Reminds me of the grade school myth told us every year by the nuns about how George Washington went to heaven because he knew that as a Protestant he would go straight to hell. So on this deathbed and delirious as he was he sent for a Jesuit to save himself by conversion to the one truth faith. Believe that? Yeah. Hey I got shares in the Brooklyn Bridge – very valuable in that they are going to start charging tolls there soon.

There is a line in the movie Gandhi (1982) when the great soul (mahatma) talks of religious services when he was a young boy and the person conducting the religious service was quoting from both Hindu sacred texts (Vedas) and the Muslim’s Quran side by side.

From the movie:

Gandhi: “I am a Muslim and a Hindu and a Christian and a Jew and so are all of you.”

Just a movie script but powerful words not unlike the dynamic words of Jesus who if you seek him out – he cuts through all the religious bullshit and cuts the mustard in my book of life. The movie is secular but the message seems sacred. In this presently spinning overloaded technical world, where does the sacred stop and the secular begin? Or is the modern age a centrifuge pulling all similar ideas and things together into one item.

I don’t know where to stand on Dr. Redding’s embrace of another perhaps legitimate faith in the concept of God. I think she is ahead of the curve and the merging of the best aspects of Christianity and Islam and Buddhism is upon us in this 21st century of this magnificent dawning common era of humankind.

I don’t know what is in Dr. Redding’s heart. I do say good luck and good labor opening up a new pathway to heaven for those of us trailing far behind you.

Semantics may temporarily serve the old dying churches in Rome or Canterbury.

Others with true faith and love of God do not care what you call or label him/her/it – There is no God but God.

The thing about spirituality and faith and getting through life on crutches of belief/faith or is it floating on air with wings of prayer – these things are perhaps only perception awakenings (light) and not perception problems (blindness).

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

That Celibacy Thing - Part Three

For Pope Benedict XVI it is perhaps shame that has finally caused an action. This “sexual” abomination thing has gone on too long. The shame like road kill has to be swept away or at least some of it.

Vatican to investigate scandalized religious order

Pope Benedict XVI has taken the extraordinary step of ordering a Vatican investigation of the Legionaries of Christ, the influential, conservative religious order that has acknowledged that its founder fathered a child and molested seminarians.

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the No. 2 man in the Vatican, said church leaders will visit and evaluate all seminaries, schools and other institutions run by the Legion worldwide.

Bertone, the Vatican secretary of state, said in a statement made public Tuesday that the Vatican was stepping in "so that with truth and transparency, in a climate of fraternal and constructive dialogue, you will overcome the present difficulties."

The Legion revealed in February that its founder, the Rev. Marcial Maciel of Mexico, had fathered a daughter who is now in her 20s and lives in Spain. Maciel died in 2008 at age 87.

The disclosure caused turmoil inside the religious order and its lay affiliate, Regnum Christi. The groups teach that Maciel was a hero whose life should be studied and emulated.

The news also raised many questions — from the order's critics and defenders alike — that the Legion still hasn't publicly answered, about whether any current leaders covered up Maciel's misdeeds and whether any donations were used to facilitate the misconduct or pay victims.


It is a little over a year since one of John Paul II's major groupies has died. No doubt the probate estate thing for his daughter has cleared the probate courts and the inner circle of his heinous, obscene "Openis Dei" organization has burned all possible relevant records.

Celibacy rakes in the money on top – low overhead with the worker religious bees and no family healthcare plans to fund. More walkin around money for the Rock Stars in charge of the Show.

It is perhaps ashamed that he died after John Paul II instead of before. Otherwise I suspect that Father Marcial Maciel would be on a fast track to sainthood and a retired Cardinal Ratzinger might even be encouraged to come out of retirement as a favor to Pope Rockstar to sanitize and present the right paperwork to present his petition for sainthood to the proper Vatican agency.

Success and money and power opens doors and also closes them on crimes against humanity. But who am I to judge? I can still hear a fem gasp from this past February when it was disclosed that the dead saint had fathered a daughter. You can bugger a hundred boys in the RC church and that is OK but did he really put his dick in one of those things (vaginas) and more than once?! Gasp! Yuck!

Celibacy (chastity?) is for the street priests who believe all that Christ stuff. People on the top – the alpha male fascist types live by a separate set of rules. No bureaucrat in his right mind would challenge Marcial Maciel in his prime and jeopardize a career or a pension.

Probate is probably over and it time to move on and start evaluating the property values of a religious order doomed to hopeful extinction. Hardly a brave or a dramatic move in spite of Vatican PR to the contrary

So now that probate is probably cleared, they are opening up his tomb so to speak to move the bones into an ossuary. What a waste of relics. Could have been sold for a fortune.

The stench left from the life of this famous RC church man remains.

And a fitting obit in case you had not read it the first time around.

Fascist pervert Marcial Maciel dies. Good.

Maciel, born in Michoacán 10 March 1920, was the founder of the Legions of Christ and Regnum Christi. The Legion is a religious congregation, Regnum Christi includes both priests and laymen. Both inculcate absolute, unquestioning fidelity to the ultimate leader (aka, Marcial Maciel) and to rat out any internal critics… sort of like Scientologists, or fascists.

The fascist tendencies in Marciel’s movements is reflected in their support for Franco’s Falangist Spain, and their later support for Mexican synarchism (and, the “confessional wing” of PAN). It’s no accident that Eric Prince, of Blackwater infamy, is one of the groups more enthusiastic backers.

Several Roman Catholic Bishops in the United States have thrown the Legion — and Regnum Christi out of their dioceses, mostly because they see the two Marciel organizations as a “parallel church” which discourages its members from contact with “normal” Catholics. Several bishops — and not just in the United States — have also been bothered by overt elitism in these groups, an attitude seen as reactionary to modern church leaders.

Marciel encouraged his followers to target the well-heeled and well-connected (again, like the Scientologists) — with the goal of influencing public policy. With their strict obedience to superiors, these “elites” were the natural allies of people like Franco and Pinochet, and — with their unquestioning fidelity to their Fuhrer, were perfect servants to the Fascists. In Mexico, the Regnum Christi movement took a very sinister turn a few years ago, turning into youth gangs that beat up minorities (indigenous peoples, Protestants, gays) in PANista strongholds like Aguascalientes.

Marciel a favorite of Augustin Pinochet and Imelda Marcos was … alas poor Mexico… coddled by Pope John-Paul II. The late pope brought Marciel along on his three Mexican tours, permitted the two groups expansion and… apparently… turned a blind eye to what exactly Marciel’s “unquestioning fidelity” meant.

As one commentator put it:

Marcial Maciel, was guilty of the sexual abuse of his seminarians, that he was/is addicted to a form of morphine called Dolantin (demerol, meperidine, isonipecaine, dolantol), and that he did indeed abuse his power to control all those beneath him in order to carry out his plans.

Told ya that John Paul II was a Rock Star and he had his groupies along on his tours – among them Saint Marcial Maciel and the boys. Sex. Drugs. Rock and Roll. Its good to be pope. (and celibate)

The Long Dark Corridor



(excerpts from a journal...)

...in this day and age of maximum sexual exposure and sexual exploitation - the church sticks its nose in and says it has authority to tell you how to live and who to have sex with and how to have that sex…

...anyway, years later I am thinking of the mysterious death of my high school biology teacher, a priest who managed to wrap his car around a highway support pillar - in a "single vehicle collision".

"The Long Dark Corridor" is the title of a short story I have been carrying around in my head for years. There was this third floor corridor of my high school that ran almost half a city block long and ran toward an industrial exit door with chicken wire glass in the top half.

The door opened onto an elevated concrete foot bridge that connected the high school with the faculty house of the religious teaching order of priests, brothers and seminarians that taught at our all boys facility.

I remember the bridge of concrete about five feet wide, twenty feet up in the air - being built around the time I was five. We lived on the next block. In fact, my father could remember our Philadelphia row house being built during his high school days at the same school in the 1930's.

Well, I started this story - title and the theme have been going through my brain for at least two decades...

I think that I have always had an innate intuition - something unformed, unspoken, unrecognizable. I probably subconsciously knew how to avoid contact with the gay clique within the religious teaching order.

My older brother who is now openly gay, I think had an encounter with them some years before - still remember the stress of my father and the meetings with the principal and the whispers and then the silence - the silence. My brother rarely shared anything with anybody all this life and especially that event – a topic for non-discussion.

We sophomores had the first biology class of the day. Lab was locked.  Father Ed had the key. We would wait in the hallway for Father Ed to appear through the door over the bridge from the faculty house. He was bigger than life in both girth and his charisma and knowledge of biology. I enjoyed the class even though I have no great love of the subject matter...

All my life I never liked the roman catholic practice of confession - going into a dark box and talking to a priest about my sins - I have my faults but most I think are attributable to the natural world side of my human nature.

During Easter Week each year, high school was a week long retreat for the students. Lectures, discussion groups, mass and confessions. I never went to confession in these high school days - optional - go to a dozen different classrooms - pick your favorite priest, kneel in a bright classroom next to a seated priest - where was the traditional black box?

I have often wondered in recent years if many students mentioned their sexual nature or related matters in confession in this retreat setting. I have also wondered if somehow the heterosexual priests were competing with the gay priests to recruit new young men with vocations to the priesthood with similar sexual persuasions and natures. And of course looking back - this heterosexual/homosexual divide was not visible then in the late 1960's. Society had layer upon layer of subtlety, priority, mask -

Anyway, just before my sophomore year, and biology, the religious teaching order had gotten a legacy of a large estate in the Chestnut Hill section of Philly, half a city away from my high school. We as a family drove past it one Sunday during our weekly Sunday ride - couldn't see much beyond the massive cast iron fence and gates - lots of fog that day - I guess that the religious order had decided to maintain the property until it could be evaluated whether to sell it - use it, convert it etc. I think that maybe about fifteen priests and seminarians used the grand estate as a second faculty house - to relieve overcrowding in the primary faculty house – and commuting by car back and forth to the high school.

In retrospect I connect some dots (possibly in total error) and perhaps it was the gay section of the original faculty house that went into separate quarters at this white elephant mansion.

Oh this speculation breaks down into two categories: good gays, abstaining from gay sex religious and the bad gays - actually occasionally practicing their natural instincts -

There is not much to this story except for connecting dots and wondering. In the middle of that sophomore year, a young, dynamic, charismatic seminarian teacher died in a car crash coming back from some long distance weekend duties - deacon at some parish etc. I remember his picture in the newspaper and the official speculation that he had fallen asleep at the wheel of his car in this "single vehicle collision" - And then my biology teacher, I liked him, died during the summer break.

I suppose I would not be writing this today except that in the next school year, my junior year, a very prissy but not unlikable priest blurted out something in class. Father Tom, a history teacher, said something like a veiled admission regarding the sudden tragic death of Father Ed, the biology teacher. He said something like "wrapping oneself around a highway pillar was indeed a suspicious thing to happen" while talking to the class one day, I think his comments went over many students heads...

Father Ed, the biology teacher, had been head of the Chestnut Hill faculty house - the history teacher had now succeeded him to that post of responsibility. The history teacher was burdened with balancing budgets, replacing automobiles lost, expenses of running a white elephant much in need of repairs, out of date mansion. I think Father Tom was pissed because of all the added multitasking duties dumped on him. I also think there was a tone of hurt that day, more than sorrow, that Father Ed was no longer with us.

...but that long dark corridor of my high school as I looked down it many times both empty and full of students had many stories to tell...

Perhaps this story or it bits and pieces will never be written either as fiction or as the truth if the truth in this case could ever truly be resurrected...

...Let the dead rest in peace.

-

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

That Celibacy Thing - Part Two

Someone sent me an article about a help center for priests in New Mexico in the 1950’s run by a religious order. The center had been started as a treatment center for alcohol abuse and emotional problems. The facility eventually also treated priests involved with sex abuse with children.

The main point of the article was to illustrate how there was an awareness of this heinous crime back then, over half a century ago. Letters and discussions of the topic were circulating among the American church hierarchy. Recommendations, such as not putting a priest back in the setting where he could molest more children, never got made into any formal policy within the hierarchy of the American RC church.

Individual and ambitious bishops apparently did not want to take any meaningful first steps toward revolving this terrible situation. No bishop wants to tell the RC institution or the emperor that management had a problem that it could not solve. Nobody wanted to tell that Emperor that he was not wearing any clothes. Only a few good “yes men” need to apply for the position of bishop.

I recommend that you read it:

Catholic bishops warned in '50s on abusive priests

There was such a large volume of Catholics in those years of the 50’s that a few bad priests got unnoticed on the public side except if you knew the victim etc. The buck had to eventually stop somewhere - and the underlying issue is "celibacy".

Celibacy is not chastity. Celibacy is only an agreement not to marry - and not have legitimate heirs to claims deeds or church property etc. Considering all the legal hassles the church thought it would avoid with this medieval policy of celibacy, I think it may be cheaper in the long run to let priests marry and in a way eliminate some of the reason that these sick bastards, operating under an institutional blind eye, hit on children etc.

Celibacy, besides meaning both celibacy and chastity, no doubt is also a code word of sorts for protecting those who cannot control their sexual needs and appetites. Is it a code word for that “sex topic” thingy? Don’t touch! Bad mojo! Bad juju! How immature!

This passing the buck obviously went on for decades until the numbers in the ranks of the faithful thinned and individual crimes got more notice. This is I believe a worldwide phenomenon. It is only because it is so easy to sue people in the USA that this whole abuse thing spun out of control and fell into the public forum.

The issue(s) under the heading of “Celibacy” must be separated, dissected, discussed and possible solutions recommended and in an open forum of both hierarchy and laity. This RC Celibacy thing needs an intervention. The dysfunctional nature of this present RC corporate culture matter regarding sex interrupts, disrupts and interferes with the energy flow of Christ’s true mission statement for his church.

John Paul II formally dumped this American mess into Cardinal Ratzinger’s lap in 2002 when this American mess blew up in the press. Ratzinger doesn’t understand the scientific life saving benefits of condoms. Both as Cardinal and Pope, Ratzy has not dealt with the problem. It has been swept under the bumpy carpets in the papal apartment waiting for some other pontiff in some other decade to maturely deal with it.

God help the planet and protect us from all failed corporate CEOs!

That Celibacy Thing

There is this nagging question at the back of my brain every time I read the NT. This thing about celibacy is a stated or a verbal contract, a vow promising not to marry. If you are not married, you cannot have legitimate children. Your bastards will have no claim on your estate. Your estate as a priest will go to the church. Any property temporarily in your name as head of a parish will not get confused with your estate should you die in between the time the widow gives you a deed and you record it in the parish church’s name.

Legitimacy used to matter a lot especially with royalty and in the old days. These days with DNA testing, even if Pops is a priest, you go for the estate claim.

Celibacy is not chastity. Chastity is a promise or vow not to have sex. I know this might sound confusing to some. The whole celibacy issue on the public stage uses one word with two entirely different meanings. Rather than get too technical, and God forbid there be allowed any in depth questioning of the religious clerics on stage that might be there to answer questions, a muddled cross connotation of facts is represented by the upfront PR word "celibacy" to describe the whole idiotic RC church thing about religious sexual and taboo practices.

Celibacy is more a general rule thing for priests. It is more for the local diocese thing.

Chastity is more a religious group or religious order thing. If so many men are living together in a monastery, then the no sex rule would hopefully mean no practice of sodomy.

Part of the demise of great numbers of Catholics and Parishes since Vatican II has been first and foremost the dwindling number of men willing to give up a normal life and put on a cassock and play the celibate / no sex game.

They say that Jesus did not marry. They say Jesus was in fact married to Mary Magdalene. Peter the so called first pope was married and had many children. Even though there is this proselytizing thing in scripture from time to time to give up everything and go out on the road and drum up new business, this life time withdraw from life, living, sex and family is not properly presented in the cut and paste gospels that were assembled decades or even rewritten in some parts centuries after the life of Jesus.

Jesus was most likely an orthodox Jew. At an early age he probably was wed in a marriage arranged by his parents. Whether he stayed married was another issue. Divorce in his time was a frequent thing and not unlike the Islamic thing in a traditional sense.

In any case, while Jesus was on the road he did not want his mostly male followers to say that they could not go on the road because the kid was sick etc.

Jesus said that he came to fulfill the law. Marriage was not necessarily part of the law but the law encompassed every aspect of a daily Jewish life.

Celibacy is a later invention after Jesus. It probably comes from some Jewish or Hellenistic cult thing and definitely was not part of the law or traditions that Jesus came to fulfill.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Secret of Fatima - End of the Papacy?



I remember this thing from first grade in 1958 and it was related to the apparition of Mary at Fatima. The thing of course was the secret letter containing prophecy and to be opened in 1960. Suspense, mystery and absoluteness were hallmarks of this then urban legend.

The legend no doubt twittered out from the convent of Lucia who wrote down these memories twenty five years after their happening. Twenty five years can change a bit of context or connotation. The four gospels were in general consensus written forty to sixty years after the death of Jesus. Of course Sister Lucia’s memory and voice were of one person and not many.

I have read this so-called third letter and released from the Vatican that got spun in different ways. Before I comment, here is the text of that so-called third “secret” prophecy:

"I write in obedience to you, my God, who command me to do so through his Excellency the Bishop of Leiria and through your Most Holy Mother and mine.

"After the two parts which I have already explained, at the left of Our Lady and a little above, we saw an Angel with a flaming sword in his left hand; flashing, it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire; but they died out in contact with the splendor that Our Lady radiated towards him from her right hand: pointing to the earth with his right hand, the Angel cried out in a loud voice: 'Penance, Penance, Penance!'. And we saw in an immense light that is God: 'something similar to how people appear in a mirror when they pass in front of it' a Bishop dressed in White 'we had the impression that it was the Holy Father'. Other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big Cross of rough-hewn trunks as of a cork-tree with the bark; before reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another the other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious, and various lay people
different ranks and positions. Beneath the two arms of the Cross there were two Angels each with a crystal aspersorium in his hand, in which they gathered up the blood of the Martyrs and with it sprinkled the souls that were making their way to God."

No doubt Pius XII read this letter in private. He may have shit himself if he read it in early 1944 with the Nazi army camped outside the gates of the Vatican. He probably put it away to 1960 as recommended by Sister Lucia when it was supposed to be clearer in its meaning.

John XXIII became pope in 1958 and called for a Council within three months of his taking office, in early 1959. I think he read that “secret” letter and it may have helped in his decision to call a Council.

The difficult part of any “prophecy” is in who interprets and or who understands the prophecy.

Cardinal Ratzinger, as head of the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith, is one of a handful of people, mostly popes, who had access and read this message of Mary in Fatima before its official release in 2000.

The fringe conspiracy types put a blanket of doubt over the full disclosure by Ratzinger and or the Vatican in that this is a vision interpreted by Lucia and there are no words and or message in this third part of a whole message package.

John Paul the Great, superstar of the Vatican, took this vision to mean that he was the Bishop in White and that instead of being killed, he was saved from death by the divine intervention of Our Lady of Fatima. He was shot in 1981 in St. Peter’s Square and survived on the feast of that Lady of Fatima. Indeed, the big “M” on his coat of arms stood for Mary. He felt that his survival after Fatima Day was more than a coincidence but divine. He was strongly into the Mary cult wing of the RC church which has a tendency to be medieval or “traditional” on its religious perception of the church’s mission.

John Paul II takes the prophecy or vision of Sister Lucia literally. As a playboy superstar who was privately criticized for spending more time on planning with worldwide rockstar tours than spending time on the nitty gritty of politics and bureaucracy at the Vatican, John Paul thought it was “all about me” in the opinion of some who worked with him.

The one man who Pope Rockstar could always turn to in the nitty gritty bureaucrat role was Joseph Ratzinger, the present pope. Appointed as head of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith – formerly known was the Holy Office of the Inquisition - in 1981, Ratzinger was the hard nosed bureaucrat you came up against if you did not follow the party line in your role of layman, nun, priest or bishop.

Joe was John Paul’s bad cop in the good cop/bad cop routine of John Paul raking in the glory and PR success. Now in retrospect, perhaps the historic case or label might be good pope/bad pope in the scheme of things.

This past duty roster and his twenty four year methodology in being a power until himself is perhaps first and foremost the greatest obstacle to Benedict XVI’s public interface and the public’s perception of him as Bishop of Rome. That and Benedict’s personal thought that anybody can be a rockstar. Yeah right.

John Paul II had the same medieval, backward looking, not friendly user attitude toward the laity that Benedict XVI is now being trashed for. John Paul II could get away with it. John Paul II, if you read current history books, single handedly brought down the evil Soviet Empire. The west, masters of the liberal media, and pro-western, anti-Soviet propaganda, makes John Paul some sort of Nietzsche religious superman if such a combination could possibly occur.

In fact, I think that in fifty years, I believe that historians if they are able to be honest will paint the source of the present crumbling western culture on three people. They will be Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and John Paul II. Not a true axis of evil so to speak but maybe a goofy “Gang of Three” who set the western civilization down a wrong road toward Global fascism and away from human liberation and freedom – a secular real time salvation.

Right now my personal advice to Benedict XVI is to stop trying to be a rockstar. Tear down the Rockstar Audience Theatre and go back to being a Pope in a photograph on the wall or a holy card in the missal of all good and faithful Catholics. Keep your mouth shut or at least have twenty bureaucrats review your remarks before releasing them to the public

Getting back to Sister’s Lucia’s prophecy/vision – John XXIII understood the meaning of the letter of Fatima all too well. Pope John understood the vision on a symbolic level while John Paul took it on a literal level.

On a symbolic level, if the White Bishop is the all too powerful head of a Catholics only Church, then the organization will die if the Papacy dies or is prevented from acting in an actual political or religious sense. The death of the RC church drags her sister churches down as well with her. The whole world becomes a truly darker place then. This is not unlike the so-called prophecy of the now defunct sister churches in Asia Minor in the Book of Revelation – a book, as prophecy, that I personally do not subscribe to.

The pope and or the Vatican is not the Church. The Church is not buildings – it is people – it is the People of God.

Fifty years from now I can picture not a dead Christian Church but a living, thriving, growing institution on all continents and being the Anglican, Lutheran, Roman, Orthodox Church for want of a better term for a United Christianity that I think is the Great (unrecognized) Legacy of John XXIII and the Second Vatican Council.