Monday, August 10, 2015

Not to mock - but to contrast (with a cure for cancer no less)

What you are looking at, in the above photo, is the wax statue of Saint Maria Goretti which contains her skeletal remains. The skeleton is complete except for some small amounts of bone that went into reliquaries and her right arm that her mother Assunta donated to the Church of St. Nicholas.

We Jews have very nutty Hasidim who seem to be confused about what century they live in — not to mention the schmuck who murdered a young woman at Jerusalem Pride. Baptists have their snake handlers and Catholics have their ultra-orthodox who are not only ultra-religious but see themselves as subjects of the Vatican monarchy. They also believe in the mystical power of saints; different saints for different troubles.

As you read further consider what these folks are willing to believe in contrast to evidence that forms the overwhelming conclusion of science with respect to sexual orientation and gender identity. Desperate for science to conform to their religious beliefs they'll find a crackpot, someone on the fringe who just happens to be another Defender of the Faith. If that's not enough they will remind us of the things that science got wrong. But I digress.

Getting back to Maria Goretti, she is the Patroness of Mercy because she was murdered and forgave her murderer as she was dying at the age of 11 in 1902. According to the National Catholic Register they are going to schlep this thing around “on tour:”
When she arrives from Italy, the first public appearance will be on Sept. 21 at Sacred Heart Basilica in Newark, N.J. — public because she will initially be visiting a prison before that. As of the latest scheduling she will tour through 25 Catholic dioceses spanning 18 states in parishes, schools, and prisons, including New York, Boston, Newark, Philadelphia, Detroit, Chicago, Atlanta, Houston, Orlando, and Oklahoma City.
The display is in the care of Father Carlos Martins of the Companions of the Cross.
One question Father Martins knows will be answered. “I’ve been teaching about Maria Goretti and am familiar with her story for a long time,” he said. “I see many miracles before my eyes. Limbs scheduled for amputation hours away are healed. Cancer is cured.”
Call me a cynical skeptic but I don't believe a word of that. I am not a bigot. If people want to spend money on this stuff (the tour is extremely expensive) that's up to them. If they want to believe that this dead girl has some supernatural powers, I could not care less. I will not discriminate against them in any way whatsoever.

However, these same people believe that being gay is just a bad habit and that gay people should be subjected to a 12-step program like a drug addict. Moreover, in this world transgender people simply don't exist. They are just confused. Because of beliefs like this they are perfectly comfortable in discriminating against gay people.

That discrimination is real. Over the past year over 50 gay people have been terminated from non-ministerial positions in Catholic schools solely because they are gay. They insist on having Bronze Age scribes (who knew very little about the natural world around them) influence 21st century public policy.

Apparently someone who subscribes to the belief that a partial corpse under glass can cure cancer requires the legal ability to discriminate in public accommodations in order to reinforce other illogical beliefs. This manufactured need is transformed into intense political lobbying and piles of money. The definition of the practice of religion seems to include blatant discrimination and bigotry.

Neither the worship of this century-old corpse (what is left of it) nor the notion that the practice of religion requires judgments for acceptance in public accommodations makes much sense to me. Yet it is a virtue for most of the Republican Party. We have our work clearly defined with respect to Election 2016 and who gets to nominate justices to the Supreme Court.

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