Monday, July 31, 2006

Apparently, Grandma was a whore

Growing up in a huge German Catholic family, I would hear the stories my parents and grandparents would tell about the mistrust and prejudice they saw in their small town neighbors. The Lutheran ministers would tell their parishoners to cross the street if they saw a Catholic coming (to be fair, the priests did the same thing and extended the hate to Bohemian Catholics). My grandfather's family found a cross burning on their lawn because they were the only Catholics in their small Iowa town. The same grandfather's platoon buddies in WWII asked what he would do if the pope said to support the Axis. Mormons wanted to know where my dad's family kept their bunker full of weapons for when the pope ordered them to take over the country. I had never experienced any bigotry myself. Then the fundies felt confident enough to blather on continuously.

I linked to Jack Chick's fundie cartoon site through fark. A good portion of the tracts rehash the same bullshit about the Roman Catholic church being the whore of Babylon and the pope being the anti-christ. My favorite is this one. What a surprise to find that Catholics worship angry Jesus, dead Jesus and baby Jesus as entirely separate deities. Once again, a fundie is pulling history out of his ass. Last year's Justice Sunday was held at R. Albert Mohler, Jr's church. Mohler has told Larry King that Catholicism is a false religion. That didn't stop William Donahue of the Catholic League from jumping on the "government and liberals and gays and the ACLU are persecuting us" bandwagon. Does he really think Catholics will get a hefty piece of the theocracy pie? My guess is the Catholics will be #5 on the "not real Americans" list.

From reading this blog, most would rightly assume that Julie and I are not religious. I stopped short of Confirmation because I got to the moody teen years and didn't want to commit to anything. As an adult I won't disrespect those of faith by committing to something I don't entirely believe. I see a sadness in my mom because we don't belong to the church and my dad will ask me where the closest Catholic church is to every new home we've moved. I've learned to find the church and get mass times but we all know I haven't been inside. I think they worry this has made them bad parents. I have tried to explain that they raised me to be a man of conviction and not live my life going through the motions but their religious conditioning runs deep. However, mom has made it clear that even though I don't consider myself a Catholic, God does. It's human nature to feel oppressed and antipathy toward authority and my reluctant Catholicism feeds this beast. A blond, blue-eyed teutonic six-footer has to look long and hard for "the Man."

Having a B.A. in European History, I understand the Catholics have a lot to answer for themselves. The Crusades and the many inquisitions were nasty bits of business indeed. Queen Mary really enjoyed lighting up the new English protestants but that could be considered revenge for her little brother Edward VI sparking up the Catholics who survived their father, Henry VIII. Of course, the protestants had the upper hand in England and Ireland with Cromwell and Catholic exclusion that lasted well into the 20th century. Yes, the Catholics have siezed and maintained power in the ugliest ways throughout history but when they have lost power, its has been to other faiths that only seek the same ugly power. Protestants, Muslims, Athiests (Communism) all have blood on their hands from ruling the multitudes.

I still have major problems with the dogma of the Catholic church: birth control, celibacy for priests, exclusion of women from the clergy, but I have a great deal of respect for a religion that refuses to change overnight for the flavor of the day. Therefore, I feel justly annoyed when fundies like Chick and Mohler claim superiority of their equally faulty faith and douchebags like Donahue point their fingers the wrong way.

BTW, Grandpa would have switched religions before switching sides and dad turned the weapons bunker into a swinging bachelor pad with a conversation pit where a bloke named Kierkegaard would bite the heads off whippets.

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