Category Archives: Religion

Of Muffins, Mechanics, and Meddling Old Men

It’s a long story but my scooter mechanic works pretty much for free if I throw homemade foodie goods his way. So, since my bike’s getting its love on with the boy avec wrench today, I had to zip up to Safeway for the urgently-needed chocolate chips with which I would bake muffins to appease said mechanic boy.

I was pre-caffeine when the driver of the car next to my scooter eyeballed my bumpersticker on the side of my bike, which reads: “The last time we combined politics and religion, people were burned at the stake.”

So the old guy goes, “I’m sorry your bike doesn’t like religion.”

It took me off-guard, which it shouldn’t, since a surprising number of people question me about the sticker. But I gathered my clues and sputtered, “It doesn’t have a problem with religion, it just doesn’t like it when religion mixes with politics.”

“Well, I like my religion.”

“In your politics? As long as it’s YOUR religion, right?”

“Oh. Hmm. Well… Now that you mention it…”

“Yeah, there you go.”

So he chuckled, scratched his head, finished backing up and took off.

Which goes to show you: It’d be nice if people would actually think about what they read before they go spouting off against it, wouldn’t it? Ahh, the silly things I dream of.

Fuck The Pope.

The Catholic Church continues to dwell in the dark ages. Chillin’ in Rome on Saturday, Pope Benedict has again, and very adamantly, praised Humanae vitae, the 1968 Catholic document that declared the sanctity of human life in all its forms, including sperm and eggs, and thus issuing a Church-wide opposition to use of artificial birth control.

When choosing a new pope after John Paul II’s death, the Church decided against some of the more progressive thinkers who are wondering if, in the face of the epidemic spread of AIDS in Africa, it might be wise to begin using condoms to stem the spread of the disease. After all, Humanae vitae was written and enacted long before AIDS was either discovered or understood. Who could have conceived of a sexually-transmitted virus wiping out an entire generation of Africans in just 25 years after its “discovery”?

Today’s pope would have you believe it’s an act of courage to live according to the values espoused by Humanae vitae, but I say it’s an example of uncourageous Church that fails to see that we’re fighting against a horrendous virus that can, and may, mutate, making it even harder to prevent or even eliminate in the years ahead. But a condom is essentially the best weapon we have against AIDS. We can fight it now. Who’s to say what a future strain or mutation of AIDS might have the ability to do against us? Am I scare-mongering? No, but sometimes I get a little scared in the face of such dangerous ignorance.

The Church would rather an HIV-infected spouse have unprotected sex and risk infecting their partner than be safe and still share love without as much fear of death and disease.

JP II actively campaigned against the use of condoms to fight AIDS– in Africa!– by doing a series of speaking engagements throughout the continent in the years before his death, when Africa was already being labelled a hotbed of AIDS that had to be doused. The Church would have you believe that abstinence should be sufficient.

The powers that be in the Catholic Church have lost their grip on reality.

I was raised Catholic and went to both Catholic elementary and high school… Until, that is, it became known that my diocese had knowingly allowed a teacher to continue teaching at my Catholic high school for more than four years after they had discovered he had been molesting boys.

The spring of the year I learned that, when I was in grade nine, a girl committed suicide. The priest then told the school she would go to hell as suicide was a sin. You should have heard the heaving sobs and pained cries emitted by the student body as their grief became uncontrollable with the words “…to hell.”

That September found me going to public school. After three years of arguing with my parents about going to public school, they both were disgusted by the hypocrisy of the Church and I never was made to attend mass again.

So, I’m obviously a little biased.

Still, I am disgusted by the hypocrisy of the Church now. First it claims it’s the sanctity of human life, in all its possible forms, that drives it to fight for its protection by way of declaring all artificial contraception to be sins. Yet it’s the demise of human life they spread when all that’s needed to prevent more than 90% of the sexual transmissions of HIV & AIDS is the use of a little itty-bitty piece of latex. An entire generation has been wiped out and the Church STILL campaigns against a known way of preventing this horrific endless parade of death.

I mean, they’ve not declared the use of condoms as a sin then quietly looked the other way, like they seem to do to a greater extent with adultery and white-collar crime and other things that actually are sins committed against others. No, they’re out there banging that fucking drum and fighting it on a regular basis, with a microphone and camera, and in places where the education and savvy maybe could use a little helping hand. “Condoms are a sin, don’t wear condoms”?

That’s fucking obscene. That’s a fucking sin. Sanctity of life? Waste of life!

I think it’s a crime to do what the Church is doing. Not only that, it breaks my heart. It really does. When I was a kid, I was absolutely passionate about the Catholic creed. I had a comic book volume of the Bible, seven books I read again and again and again, dog-eared to shit, and I’m still angry at my dead mom for getting rid of ’em on me. I’d preach to the kiddies in the ‘hood about God’s good word. Thought about being a nun. Enjoyed going to mass before school every day, by choice, till I was in grade 5 or so. I was hardcore, just loved my Church.

I’m not religious, not anymore. The Church has disillusioned me time and time again. I dig Jesus. I dig Buddha. I dig Mohammed. They all have beautiful messages, and I believe in much of the values and ethics espoused by pretty much every major faith in the world. I live an honest life. I’m a good person. I’m charitable. I’m everything you should want to be. I just choose to believe that men keep fucking up faith by putting too much of man’s bullshit into something that doesn’t need to be as complicated as we have managed to make it.

Do I believe in something bigger than me? Yeah. But I don’t believe that saving my life when I choose to express the passion that lives in me as a sexual being by using a simple condom that I am being immoral. I refuse to believe that following my heart and libido and enthusiasm for life is wrong. I refuse to believe that using something created to make the act of loving someone else safe from disease and contagion should be a sin.

No moral code in the world can make that make sense to me. Anyone who believes it, I really don’t care their level of intelligence, education, or social importance; they’re a fucking nimrod. Seriously. Welcome to a little place I call Earth, where we have things like “spontanaeity”, “accidents”, and something apparently given by the Creator called “free will”.

Centuries from now, when we’re all dead and buried, and funky new people walk this plane instead of us, they’ll look at the history and say, “Okay, the Bubonic Plague… I get that, they had no plumbing, hygeine was hard, cities were overcrowded… but, AIDS? A guy in a fucking funny hat says using condoms was a sin ‘cos he thinks God told him that, so Africa doesn’t use condoms and AIDS wipes out entire generations? Fuck, man. That’s just moronic! How dumb were these people?”

Because that’s what it is. These Popes, man. I love how the first pope, St. Peter, was actually on a first-name “wanna get some wine?” basis with Jesus, but Jesus somehow forgot to mention to Pete that he thought popes should be “infallible” — ie, he “is preserved from even the possibility of error” according to the First Vatican Council of 1870, more than 1800 years after Christ apparently walked our world*. Funny how it’s not really until the Church began amassing more and more riches and power (during the middle ages), on its way to becoming the wealthiest organization in the world (think of all the art and real estate) that they decide Popes are to never, ever be wrong. That’s an awfully convenient thing to lay on one of the most powerful men in the world.

Never wrong? Gotta be kidding me! What a fucking joke. Somebody’s been lacing the sacramental wine with LSD again, man.

Fuck the Pope. Fuck the Church. Wear condoms. It’s the new rebellion. And it’ll save your life (most of the time, but not always).

*That’s when it was first written into the Catholic doctrine, 1870, but there was a good many who believed it as far back as the Medieval times, so about a thousand years or so, but a thousand years after Christ still.

Finally! Armageddon! Bring it on, Motherfucker!

“Welcome. May I take your order, please?”

“Sure! I’ll have a half-order of debauchery, two orders of ethical abandonment, four simultaneous orgasms, a complete absence of scruples, and a double-chocolate shake, please. That’ll hold me over till four. What time’s your drive-thru open till?”

“That all depends on the shelling, and the heavy barrage of bullshit on CNN, but we’re thinking 3am. If Anderson Cooper’s not too busy taking it up the ass in the backroom, that is. That silly queer! Tricks are for hos!”

____________

Okay, so I caught a few minutes of the Daily Show and had to laugh since they brought up what’s been on my mind for days now, only I’ve had no sense of humour so nothing was coming as far as writing goes.

CNN’s on an Armageddon watch. I mean, they’re literally “checking” with their sources to see if the end of times is nigh. “If you don’t accept Jesus,” said one of their religious sources, “You’ll be in for some terrible times. Terrible times!”

If you’re gonna get some sinnin’ in, you best be doin’ it soon, is almost what I’m gleaning from their no-I.Q. broadcasts of late. Some of the reporting’s pretty good, but as soon as you get into the talking heads back in Atlanta, they’re pandering to the religious bullshit that makes me think all the Secret Service guys on Bush’s detail really ought to ALL go for coffee at the EXACT same time every single day so some fucker with an NRA membership can load up and take potshots.

[WhiZZ-BaNG!] [sCHWing!]

“Goddamn, George Walker Bush took one in the ass! Jesus Christ, where’s that whizz of a head-shot, Dick, when you really need the fucker? Probably tweaking that goddamned pacemaker again deep in the caverns of his bombraid bunkers while he gnaws on a cellar-aged chub of salami.”

I don’t know what’s making me laugh so hard I wanna cry more — the religious fanaticism about this war (a war that even has me concerned, I’ll admit) or fucking Mel “Fuck the Jews!” Gibson. I’ll tell you What Women Really Want — an anti-semetic drunk millionaire with seven kids who looks fucking incredible in a pair of Levis. Oh, wait, I guess he’s more a Strauss man. He’d go for the Kraut half of them jeans before he’d settle for the Jew bit, no?

Ah, fuckin’ hell. Who needs amusement parks when we’ve got CNN, where real news goes to die, eh?

Is it the end of times? Is it the end of the world? Oh, probably. The only question now is, what advertising agency is Jesus gonna go with to get the good word out, huh? And does he really decide to smite the Jews after they smote him? A little eye-for-an-eye action?

Hell, I should hope we get something watchable — a little eternal damnation, rivers of blood, skies going black. It’s another month until the fall season of telly reappears, for Pete’s sake! I guess there’s always watching my Ghostbusters DVD for the end-of-times shit, at least.

Be like Tricky Dick. Do whatcha gotta do to get your rocks off before the good lord turns into the big bad judge and our eternities are decided for once and for all. Just don’t get caught.

Remember: Jesus is coming. Look busy. (And don’t get caught!)

How Much Trouble’s Too Much?

Oy vey. Here’s a doozy. The short of this reader’s question is:

“How much trouble is one guy worth?”

The long of the question is, she’s your typical non-religious “Christian” whose religious extent is the putting up of a Christmas tree. It doesn’t matter much to her at all. She’s educated, though, and knows a little about world faiths and is a polisci kinda gal. She’s hip.

And she’s fallen for a Jew. This isn’t your standard-edition Jew, either, who likes bagels and matzoh balls. He’s a lived-in-Jerusalem, goes-to-temple-on-Sabbaths, I-can’t-marry-a-Gentile kind of Jew.

SPLAT. Hear that? That’s the sound of our non-religious girl falling painfully for this Yiddish Loverman.

So let’s get back to her question. See, she’s thinking she could convert to Judaism. As a religion, she thinks it’s beautiful. (As do I.) It’s their politics that bother her. An independent Israel? Never shoulda happened. (I agree. Yeah, here’s an idea: Let’s take a bunch of Westerners who have always misunderstood the “Islamic infidels” and have THEM divvy up the land. Fuckin’ brilliant. Oh, hey, just add water! Instant ongoing war! SMART-like. “Paradise Now” is a movie that’ll make you think twice about this whole Israel issue. In every situation there are two sides. Pity we only hear one.)

So, can she swallow her politics, digest a new relationship, and keep this man she’s head-over-heels for? Sure she can. But should she?

Like she says, How much trouble is one guy worth?

Let’s visit my friends at Websters for that one, okay?

trouble
Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): trou`bled; trou`bling /’trou-b(le-)li[ng]/
Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French trubler, from Vulgar Latin *turbulare, from *turbulus agitated, alteration of Latin turbulentus — more at TURBULENT
transitive verb
1 a : to agitate mentally or spiritually : WORRY, DISTURB; b (1) archaic : MISTREAT, OPPRESS (2) : to produce physical disorder in : AFFLICT; c : to put to exertion or inconvenience eg: I’m sorry to trouble you

2 : to put into confused motion eg: the wind troubled the sea
intransitive verb
1 : to become mentally agitated : WORRY eg: refused to trouble over trifles
2 : to make an effort : be at pains eg: did not trouble to come

Oh, hey, trouble. That sounds like a bitch. Something like adversity, then, is it? Or (gasp) grief? How do you measure trouble? Does it come with a specially-marked cup? Is it metric or imperial? Is it the same in any language?

Trouble is not fun. This we know. It’s filled with challenges, adversity, and more. That’s not the question. We know what trouble is. What none of us wants to admit is, it’s a standard add-on feature in each of our lives. Okay, so the question is, how much trouble is too much?

Depends on the trouble, then, I’d say. And the guy.

What’s the “trouble?”

Well, here it’s accepting a religion you need to buy into as an adult, with all those lifelong skepticisms and questions and moments of doubt. You need to put aside your logician’s mind and swallow a bunch of beliefs for the man you love. Not that hard to do, but it might be difficult to make your peace with down the line. Does it involve compromising who you are?

If not, great. If so, then proceed with caution.

Two, it’s ignoring your strong politics about something you feel is being unfairly portrayed in the media and misunderstood by the common man. Can you do that? Hell, I do that every time I go to my dad’s house. Not too hard. Politics aren’t a conversation one should ever enter into lightly. I generally try to avoid discussions about politics. Everyone’s a pundit, man.

Three, it’s the guy. Does he treat you with respect? Is he honest with you? Is he a shoulder for you when you need one? Does he know how to make you smile? Can you trust him? Do you want to wake up by his side? Can you see a future with him? Is he the first person you want to share good news with? Sounds like a catch.

If he treats you like shit or lies to you or makes you cry and not smile, well, then your answer’s pretty simple: Worth no trouble. Ever. At all.

I’ll go through a lot of grief for a good man. If he’s having troubles, and things are challenging, or things need to be overcome, I’ll try my hardest to ride them out. Good people are hard to find. Good lovers are even harder. I’ve been through hurts, I’ve had my heart broken, and I’ll still do everything I can to make sure a relationship’s not being thrown away for insignificant reasons… like my being too weak to stick out a difficult time. Sometimes it gets real fucking hard, too, having that patience, but I find having regrets a harder load to bear down the road.

We live in a society where everything is instant, and everything is easy.

Need to go to France? That’s an eight-hour plane trip! See you for wine and dessert this evening! Craving a some supper? Two minutes and twenty seconds on high heat in your microwave. Oh, don’t wash your dishes, just throw them out! Here’s new Royal Chinette! You’ll save three minutes of your precious life!

We don’t like adversity. We do fucking speed-dating, for god’s sake, as if 2 minutes is all you need to find the love of your life. We don’t want to go through challenges. We don’t want to take the hard road. When it comes to love and relationships, it’s too easy to walk away and not be there for someone.

The reader asked me about my relationship and said she assumed things have worked out and I’ve decided to stay private about things. Guess what? There’s still some things we’re working on together. Know why? We’re two people on PLANET EARTH, and we don’t live in a fairy tale. Adversities happen. Good relationships can overcome them. And yes, I’m being more private about things. I’m preferring to keep a lid on it these days, but at least the balls are in the air for the moment.

I think girlie, if she’s really in it for this man, needs to decide if she can live with the faith and can handle stifling her politics. I think the price we pay for regrets is too high, and I’d say take a chance and follow your heart.

But I’m a romantic pragmatist, and I’m constantly in conflict with myself. Kinda like the Middle East, I guess.

Politics As Usual? You Gotta Be Kidding Me

Don’t look now, but the fuckers are coming out of the woodwork.

I make a point of not judging people. Or trying not to. I speak my mind, I say what I really feel, and I let it fall where it may. On this, I can’t pretend to be openminded.

In the Netherlands, a political party has decided to fight for their right to be pedophiles. They want child pornography legalized, they want sex with animals legalized, and they want the legal age for sex to be lowered to 12 years old.

Most 12-year-old girls don’t even own a fucking training bra, all right?

Every now and then I hear about someone who was 11 or 12 when they had their first sexual encounter with an adult, and they go on and on about how it was so great and how wonderful it was to be christened in such a way, and yada, yada, yada. Personally, I shake my head and wonder what the fuck they’re thinking. I know they’re all well and good about their past, but I wonder sometimes if they really didn’t miss out. I wonder, too, if their take on sex is as healthy as they want to believe it is.

There’s the awkwardness most of us go through as we fumble our ways to ecstasy, as we learn about the boys and girls who sit across from us in school, get teased and taunted into sexuality, and so forth. It’s not always pleasant, but it’s a way of life and it’s how we grow.

For an adult to take that away from a child is just wrong, in my books. It’s unfair.

The one thing these “Yeah, I lost it when I was 11” types tend to report is just how long it took to find someone that didn’t disappoint them after all that time. They don’t talk about the confusion that must have ensued when this adult who was interested in them for a fleeting time just up and disappeared. They don’t talk about the strangeness of trying to account for what their daily life really was as opposed to what that surreal encounter must have been like.

Most kids can’t handle the oddness of that mix. Once in a while, someone comes along who truly does grow from a Mrs. Robinson encounter, but it’s not often.

A political party trying to pass all this shit off as moralistic, trying to label the rest of society as behind the times strikes me as laughable, and even as dangerous.

It’s not as if kids aren’t being exposed to enough sex as it is. It’s not as if teen pregnancies haven’t been a problem. It’s not as if the suicide rate for teens isn’t high enough without throwing more complications into their mix.

These laws they’re proposing are not for the good of the kids. They’re for the party members’ benefits, so they can fuck whoever they want, so they can look at pictures of kids looking terrified and scared and exploited. It’s so they can enjoy fucking a goat or sheep.

Who’s speaking for the kids? How do kids even have the emotional makeup to admit that they’re uncomfortable having these photos taken? How do we judge where the line is, who’s mentally stable enough to decide he or she wants this for the right reasons?

We can’t judge it. The kids aren’t emotionally prepared for it. And these fuckers sure as shit aren’t speaking for the kids. If kids want to explore sex, let them play doctor like we did, or have a round of “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours” like I did in the forests behind our homes when I was 10. That’s how we learn.

I deplore child pornography. I loathe people who seduce children. I’m not much of an animal rights’ activist, but I sure as fuck bet a sheep would rather have a say in whether some guy’s cock enters its ass.

Yeah, I believe in free speech, but there are some people I sure wish would shut the fuck up.