Thursday, November 18, 2010

Crawling farther under rocks

Our base of knowledge as humans has grown exponentially over the past 2,000 years, but some organized religions are doing their best to continue living in the dark ages. A few recent examples:

– The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, when it comes time to choose a new leader, typically selects the fellow who had been vice president of the group. But not this year. Why? According to church observers, Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson, who held the No. 2 post, was thought to represent the more liberal “social justice” wing of the church. Kicanas, according to a story in the New York Times, has favored dialogue between Catholic liberals and conservatives. The bishops weren't going to have any of that. They broke with tradition and instead chose New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan, who is much more reliably old-old-old-school.

– Southern Baptists in South Carolina voted to approve a resolution this week calling on pastors to do more preaching against homosexuality, while also urging Christians to be compassionate toward gay people. I'm guessing a sermon might go something like this: “The lives you gay people are leading are vile, sickening and horrifying in the eyes of the Lord ... but do join us for punch and cookies in the social hall after today's service."

– This is my favorite one, and I swear that I'm NOT making this up. Those forward-thinking Catholic bishops I mentioned earlier held a conference on how to conduct exorcisms because there just aren't enough priests who know how to perform the rite. Seeing as how this is 2010, not the Middle Ages, I was a bit taken aback by this. Leaders in the Catholic Church, in the 21st freakin' century, still believe that people can be possessed by the devil or some other assorted demon. How 1452 of them. My first inclination is to laugh at them, if this weren't so sad.

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