Friday, April 13, 2012

The Catholics are attacking

Or at least some of their bishops are. According to the New York Times piece,
The nation’s Roman Catholic bishops issued a proclamation on Thursday calling for every priest, parish and layperson to participate in a “great national campaign” to defend religious liberty, which they said is “under attack, both at home and abroad.”
Oh, please.

What the bishops seem to be upset about are recent governmental pushbacks against Catholic institutions' strict adherence to Vatican policy prohibiting support for abortions and birth control.

Hey, bishops, I have a solution for you: if you don't like government policy, stop taking its money.

The vast majority of us aren't thrilled with your church's stance on managing human reproduction. Specifically, we think your heads are up your supposedly celibate asses when it comes to birth control. A lot of us are also unhappy that you give moral cover to extremist Protestants in the anti-abortion camp: you prate of the preciousness of life while they shoot doctors trying to give poor and underprivileged women the choice you fail to see is necessary in the real world. We're trying not to judge you by the company you keep, but when the company is that despicable, it's hard not to think your moral compasses are way, way the hell off course.

Your implicit assertion that Catholic morality is the only kind worth defending is arrogant, to say the least. The doctrine of papal infallibility doesn't carry a lot of weight outside conservative Catholic circles, and the sooner you come to terms with that fact, the happier we all will be. What's that business about rendering unto Caesar?

If you want Catholic strictures to be more widely respected, try not shoving them down everyone else's throat. Protesting governmental actions that seek explicitly to fulfill the promise of religious freedom by ensuring that no religion's principles are elevated to a place of privilege in the nation's laws just antagonizes the rest of us.

Do I really have to point out the disturbingly close parallel between your ill-advised campaign demanding greater freedom to exercise your faith's doctrines in the public sphere, and the sustained movements elsewhere in the world to make Sharia law the law of the land? Are you really that clueless, or do you think we are?

The bishops doth protest too much.

(The title of this post refers to a ditty by Pop-o-Pies from 1981. You can hear the song on YouTube.)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Sometimes listening is enough

I have smart friends. And I love that they're smart.

The thing is, smart people not only listen when you talk to them, they respond. And being smart, they have comments and suggestions and ideas and they're eager to share them.

Most of the time, that's great. Most of the time, that's what you want. (Most of the time, that's what I want, anyway.)

Sometimes, though ... sometimes you just want to say something and not get feedback. You don't want analysis. You don't need analysis. You also don't need advice, or probing questions, or amusement, or horror, or really any reaction. You just want them to know something, something about yourself.

For instance, I'd love to tell a few of them that I have been getting way too involved reading a certain pop culture creation's fan fiction of late. In particular, I've gotten hung up on the more tragic stories, ones that revolve around the deaths of one or more of the main characters. I don't know why, though a few hypotheses are swirling around my head.

What I do know is, the emotion these stories are stirring up, while not "happiness", is not unwelcome. The stories are filling a need I didn't know I had. They're making me think about my life in ways I haven't before. (Perhaps I'm experiencing catharsis. I wouldn't know.)

Yet if I were to bring this up with my friends, they'd become concerned for me. They'd assume this minor obsession was a symptom of something worse. They'd feel it was incumbent on them to help, to analyze, to advise, to investigate further.

Maybe I'll want just those things, too, somewhere down the line.

But not right now.

Right now, I'd just like to be able to put the information out there, just so they know a little more about me, without them trying to solve me like a malfunctioning car.

Sometimes, I'd just like them to listen.