Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Golden Finger of Fogg

High above the Summer Palace outside of Beijing, there's a temple housing what is billed as a thousand armed Buddha. After some huffing and heavy breathing, one finds that it doesn't have a thousand arms and it really isn't the Buddha, but even this amazing, arm laden idol doesn't have enough middle fingers to flip the bird to every religious leader arrogant enough to tell us what to do.

I only have two of my own and so, being in the mood this Sunday morning, I'll concentrate on two of my favorites. Let's start with Ted Haggard. Remember Ted, the hypocrite who tried to use tears and maudlin prayers to regain his status as someone fit to tell you how to live your life after he was exposed as having "prayer sessions" with a male prostitute? Well it seems he liked amateurs even more, having had a lengthy affair with a very young male parishioner who cost the Church a good deal of money to pay off. I wonder if the upcoming HBO documentary intended to rebuild his reputation will include this new embarrassment and whether all this money taken from the pockets of pious parishioners and intended for good works will be enough to whitewash the hypocrisy and the impudence of advising other people about the immorality of his own favorite pastime: buggering young men. I'd sooner ask Bernie Madoff for investment advice than listen to this self-appointed con-man. This finger is for you, Ted.

And speaking of flim-flam, what about the fantastically finger-worthy ex-Nazi in a dress from Rome who has the arrogance to condemn the United States for sending aid to sick and impoverished Africans without their strings attached. The Vatican has now condemned the "arrogance of those in power who think they can decide between life and death." I'd briefly summarize the arrogance of the organization that has been doing exactly that for about 1700 years, but even the brief version is far too lengthy for this venue. I'll limit the summation of my discontent to Rome's disregard for the lives of millions and millions of raped African women and the millions of AIDS infected pregnant women and the millions of African women with infected husbands who need protection. Sure, the few bucks taken from widows and orphans elsewhere in the world often go to heal the poorer and needier, or what's left over after paying off the children raped by agents of Rome, that is -- but no mention of birth control and no mention of Abortion. That would be immoral.

The beauty of the Finger lies in its brevity -- and so this finger is for you, Ratzinger -- and I really mean it.

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