By Kelly Jean Cogswell
In Pakistan, the government dumped democracy in the violent Shat region, agreeing Monday to institute homo-cidal Sharia law in exchange for the Taliban there laying down their arms, or at least not killing the local cops.
In the U.S., meanwhile, Obama's pushing ahead with his faith-based funding dumping money in social service programs run by religious groups that (to less deadly effect) also encourage the hatred of queers, the subjugation of women, as well as the extraordinary misconception that science is nothing more than a whacky belief system on the same plain of reality as flying carpets and time machines. Nevertheless, some dead guy on a cross coming back to life is the "gospel" truth and if we don't accept him as our personal savior we're more or less banned from running for public office, not to mention on a one-way ticket to hell.
And Gallup celebrated the birth of Darwin last week by asking citizens if they believed in evolution, and by the very shape of their question giving credence to the "No" thirty-nine percent of my glorious confreres answered with. Perhaps next time around they'll ask if we believe that the earth is round. I'll stick to the obvious and give it a definite "No."
The numbers of nonbelievers (in evolution) will only climb higher with Obama's paid-to-pray programs which contrary to campaign promises, offer no firewall between church and state, no safeguard to prevent uppity women or queers from being discriminated against either within the organization or as people served.
Neither is there an effective mechanism in these faith-based programs to prevent the faithful from proselytizing and disseminating such debatable claptrap as the seven day creation of the 4.5 billion year old earth, the sinfulness of homosexual sex, or the resurrection. I guess the government just has to take their discretion on faith.
Not that it matters. Even if they keep their holy traps shut, which they don't, the religious have plenty of opportunity for product placement, crosses on the wall, dinner in church basements with jingles (hymns) banging out from the speakers in less than subliminal advertising.
Apparently, the business of American democracy is not providing equality under the law, but bolstering higher laws and a random series of differentiated moralities that leaves a hell of a lot of us out in the cold.
Here's to four (eight?) more years of Rick Warren and the likes of the delightful Catholic Bishop Richard Williamson. Yeah, here's to good old Dick who plied his holocaust-denying patter at the St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary in Minnesota before he did it on Swedish television announcing, "There was not one Jew killed by the gas chambers. It was all lies, lies, lies."
According to Williamson, Jews actually made up the gas chambers so they could play the victim and blackmail those gullible goys with perpetual underdog status.
Are these really the people we want to hand our tax dollars to? Before you get all mushy about how he's an isolated incident, let me tell you that like Rick Warren he's just the icicle at the tip of the burg.
Pope John Paul II purged whatever leftist tendencies lingered in the Church after Vatican Two. Now Williamson's no exception, but the rule, a guiding member of the actively proselytizing Catholic Society St. Pius X, which is quite overt in its efforts to erase Vatican Two, and return to the anti-ecumenical days in which people of other religions were not in any way God's children, Jews were still Christ-killers, women had an entirely subservient role, and queers weren't even targeted because they didn't exist.
The Catholic Society St. Pius X was founded by conservative French archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, a priest that battled change and explicitly rejected the Vatican declaration, Nostra Aetate, which absolved Jews of killing Christ and gave them the status, the "older brothers" of Christians.
While Lefebvre was excommunicated in 1988 along with the four Bishops he consecrated -- including Williamson-- the St. Pius X Society has continued to consolidate power. In France, they occupy several churches, including Saint-Nicolas du Chardonnet, openly celebrating mass and conducting services in the center of Paris. Regis de Cacquerey, the district superior is received like any other religious leader, by the minister of the interior, Michele Alliot-Marie.
I dropped by Saint Nicolas the other day. It's as vibrant as any church I've seen in Paris. A bulletin board full of activities. Networks of jobs and housing. Young men came in and out in jeans, while plenty of old ladies knelt in prayer, their grey heads covered.
I'm here to say beware. Pope Benedict's decision to reinstate ontological fossils is less the bureaucratic mistake asserted by the Vatican, than a troubling sign of their growing influence. In all religions, all sects, it seems the future belongs to fundamentalists. Tear down the sea wall between church and state, we all drown.