Saturday, February 11, 2012

Or why fairness and religion are't compatible concepts when it comes to Cardinal Pell v. Dick Gross ...

(Above: a recent gathering of the frocks in LA).

It seems there are no limits to Dick Gross's perversity.

Take this categorical remark, unveiled in Gayness and Godliness:

Perversely, atheists and fundamentalists treat the Bible in a similar way. We both believe that the straightforward meaning of the words is the only interpretation possible.

Uh huh. Would that he'd only speak for himself, instead of the royal 'we'. Of course we favour the royal 'we' here at the pond but we are never amused when others think that we is being inclusive, rather than presumptuous ...

So it's impossible for an atheist to be a post-modernist, or a relativist who understands that there are no straightforward meanings to words, and especially to the translation of words from long ago. And similarly it seems, fundamentalists who might be on a path seeking textural accuracy and the implications of words will instead be happy to stop short at the straightforward meaning of things, and allow no complexity whatsoever, as if unaware of the contradictions in a text written by many hands over several thousand years.

It's enough to send a sensible reader shrieking from the room, so banal and perverse is the observation.

Is this because, deep down, Gross aches to believe? He's always banging on about belief, and the joys thereof:

Once a progressive thinker liberates the Bible from the most obvious and literal meaning of the biblical words, the religious world quickly becomes a humane and tolerant place.

Oh get thee to a nunnery Dick.

And so the obvious question arises. If the faith has so many flawed practices and practitioners, why on Earth do intelligent people still believe? In Edser's hands it all makes more than a scintilla of sense. He crafts a caring and plausible theology. Who am I to judge?

Um if it makes more than a scintalla of sense to you, go with the flow and get on board. Just include the pond out. And it's not a matter of judging Dick, nor do you have to get out a bowl of water, and wash your paws therein.

Just because a gay man happens to write a book arguing you can be gay and Christian isn't a sound basis for suggesting he's developed a caring and plausible theology. Heck, Michael Kirby is a Christian and a monarchist ... but I guess he has a partner who understands the world a bit better ...

Meanwhile, you can't stop Gross, because not content with rabbiting on about the virtues of liberal Christianity in Fairfax, there he is over at The Drum drumming up support for Islamics in Islam should not be tarnished by honour killings.

I guess if you think about his header, and look through the right rose-coloured glasses, the Catholic church shouldn't be tarnished by the Inquisition, the European world by a couple of world wars and the Holocaust, and atheism by the doings of Stalin and Chairman Mao, but let's see how Gross helps Islam get out of jail in the matter of domestic violence, the abuse of women's rights, and honour killings in particular, most notably the recent murder of four women in Canada:

So what to make of this? Clearly, this event is going to be used, unfairly, to weigh on the reputation of Islam globally. One must be very wary. Australian Muslims complain, justifiably, of feeling prejudiced and marginal. The calls for ban of the burka are evidence of this bigotry.

Unfairly? Yet honour killings and the repression of women go hand in hand with Islam, and whenever it's noted, it's swept under the carpet as some kind of cultural conditioning, as if it's not possible to find enough evidence of the dominance of men in the faith (in much the same way as the Catholics and the Sydney Anglicans keep women out of the temple).

And sticking women in burkas to tame their wild sexual side and stop them inflaming the men isn't some kind of bigotry?

Uh huh. So let's see how Gross proposes to untangle the issue of domestic violence from religion:

Indeed, the advocates of any faith (Jews and Christians included) must show Australia that the Bible and Koran either do not contain calls to domestic violence (difficult in the case of Leviticus which legitimates the stoning of adutlerers -sic) or that those words are now ignored by modern practitioners ...

Uh huh. What was that we were reading about literalists who took the bible at its word? It seems it's now possible to read the bible and Qur'an, and only get half-pregnant or half-religious, because you can ignore what you don't like, and follow what you do. Unless you decide you don't like that either ...

At which point, you might just as well select anything as your religious text of choice, which is why the pond has always adhered to the Holy Church of Alice in Wonderland.

It's hard to know why Gross is always blathering on about the need to be fair to sundry religions, when religionistas feel no need to be fair to him. The bottom line is that as an alleged atheist he's off to hell for all eternity (though you have to wonder if an Oscar Wilde fit might overtake him closer to the final send-off).

And the other bottom line is that those who run the churches feel no need to indulge in touchy feely, wishy washy notions of fairness, when it comes to gay rights, or women's rights, or the right of a woman to control her body, as shown by Cardinal George Pell, getting all Pro-Life in his week old encyclical for the Daily Terror.

As branch CEO of one of the greatest Ponzi schemes of all time, which has always relied on women giving birth to new recruits, and which always insisted women sign over their newly born to the ways of the church (as my Protestant mother was obliged to offer her brood a Catholic education as the only way to get hitched to a tyke), Pell is right up there with the need to keep the church enriched by the new born.

You have to hand it to the Catholic church. It's always been adept at grotesque Disneyland displays, and the mass - a requiem for the unborn - Pell attended in Los Angeles sounded like a ripper:

The Mass was reverent and prayerful but surrounded by considerable pomp and ceremony. A large number of Knights of Columbus, a major donor organisation, were present in their colourful uniforms and white plumed helmets, the music was led by a choir from a local Catholic High School.

And then of course there's the white dress, always with the white. It'll be a familiar indoctrination technqiue to anyone who was ever told that their soul was grey, pock-marked by flecks of carbon that would soon turn it into an evil, black, mis-shapen coal-like thing, only fit to burn in hellfire for all eternity.

Yes, the worship of white, as anyone whose trotted off to first communion after a lengthy bout of indoctrination worthy of a Stalinist thought police camp will remember (ah to hell for all eternity with Godwin's Law). And guilt, always with the guilt, as unnerving as the mizuko kuyo you can see in Japanese cemeteries, as if anyone likes abortion or isn't troubled by the decision:

Teenage girls, dressed in white, brought up the cloths to dress the altar and they returned after Mass to lead the procession carrying the 150 candles which were lit and placed on the sanctuary around the altar. The Church lights were extinguished and 150 seconds of silent prayer followed for those unborn and for their mothers and fathers.

So that's why the pond and Melburnians know that nothing beats a decent basic black outfit, nicely cut, simple, elegant, and never vulgar ...

The stultifying, oppressive, sanctimonious, pompous weight of Pellism weighs down on the guilty:

People in the U.S.A. are more religious, anti-religious and pro-life than Australians, although the tide is running against faith and religious practice there also. But pro-life convictions have strengthened over recent decades due to years of persistent efforts, regular prayer and peaceful and reasonable presentation of the facts about the unborn.

Ah yes, where would we be without the conviction that somehow it's all due to prayer. God gives a toss about the unborn, but somehow she doesn't pay much attention to the prayers of the actually born, since she seems not to have noticed all the calamities that form a routine part of daily life.

One recent poll showed 52% of North Americans as pro-life. Some decades ago pro-life support was only 40%. This is progress.

Actually progress would be the end of superstition, and the spreading of information about contraception, along with a healthy dose of sex education. Thereby avoiding pregnancy, but if in the end a woman - or a girl - needs to make a choice, then the right is hers, and without guilt or a surfeit of white, but with support and understanding ...

But as usual when running a Ponzi scheme, the last thing you need to worry about is actual information and education which considers the needs of women, as opposed to the ordained, divine inspiration of people who never had the courage to marry, nor ostensibly the need or the desire to have a good fuck ...

Meanwhile in unrelated news from Los Angeles, auxiliary Bishop Gabino Zavala has resigned after admitting that he is the father of two teenage children (here).

What a mad institution, making mad those who live within it. Imagine living the lie until your kids become teenagers ...

Which brings us back to Gross, and his bizarre belief that stripped of a few words, progressives (what does that word mean?) can end up in a religious world that's an humane and tolerant place.

Gross can try to be as fair as he likes to Islam and the burqa and the Pellists, and the Sydney Anglicans and all the rest of the tossers, but for the pond, unfairness is just a way of balancing the books when it comes to the cruelty of religion over the years ...

(Below: not Dorothy, but how Dorothy admires her so).

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