The Two Deadly Sins and Freedom of Speech

At one time there were seven deadly sins, which made a lot of sense from an ethical standpoint, but it has to be admitted were pretty poor marketing for the church.  Why poor marketing?   Well, everyone is subject to those seven sins no matter how old you, what gender you are, or whatever.  It is pretty safe to say that we have all committed  some, most or all of them at some point.  Now, while it may be true that most Christians (especially Catholics) see people as such terrible sinners that they need “saving,” this is not a good way to keep people in the church.  You need to keep people riled up about something (as the Republican party has learned), but it really needs to be about someone else.  Us versus Them is a marketing strategy that never seems to go out of style.

So the marketing department of Church, Inc. narrowed things down to TWO deadly sins — homosexuality and abortion.

Ah, now this works much better!  Homosexuals are a small percentage of the population, so if you piss them off and they leave the church, no big deal.  Of course abortion (except for an extremely small minority of people who actually perform them) is pretty much limited to mostly young, mostly vulnerable women.  So you can shout to the rooftops about how evil abortion is, but if someone in your family (or parish, or whatever) actually has one, you can quietly forgive them — and maybe even in forgiving them you make them somehow grateful to the church.

So, with the two “deadly sins” in place you have a wonderful (though of course completely hypocritical) set up for Us versus Them.  Since WE are against those evil sins, WE are morally superior to THEM.  And conveniently forget about the rest of it.  Who says Christians can be smug?  Oh, right, I do.

Even though you probably know this, let’s go through the hypocritical part.  So the Christians hate the “sin” of homosexual sex,  so much so that such sinners should not be able to have the simple civil right of getting married.  BUT they don’t hate the “sinner.”  But I am going call BS on that one.

Let’s look at it this way.  Hetero couples can get married without anyone asking what they will or won’t do in the privacy of their bedroom.  But Church, Inc. simply assumes homosexuals are committing “sins.”  Which maybe they are, maybe they aren’t.  Maybe they don’t even have sex.  See, just BEING homosexual is a sin!  And if gays can’t get married because of their “sins,” who CAN?

Or  next Church, Inc. argues, “it is unnatural.”  Whatever that means.  But no one ever asks hetero couples whether they plan on doing “unnatural” things like have orgies, sleep in separate beds, live on opposite coasts or feed their kids Rice a Roni.   So much for the “unnatural” argument.

And as to the argument that somehow gay couples are going to “ruin” either marriage or society, that one is full of BS as well.  By their own preaching (like on Irrelevant Radio) they already complain that the world has gone “whack-a-doodle” and that we are living in a “pagan nation.”  Seriously, can gay people really screw up marriage any more than hetero people have?  Are they going to invent new forms of spouse or child abuse?  Alcohol or other drug abuse? Divorce?  Hard to imagine it is going to make that much difference to society as a whole.  Of course to make this argument, Church, Inc. would have to provide some actual evidence, and for the most part federal judges have found that there is no such evidence that same sex couple will somehow make society worse.

Which is where we run into the free speech issue.  Yesterday, Irrelevant Radio was going on about some poor fellow that lost his job because of some anti-gay remarks he made.    For the moment I am not going to delve into whether they underplayed what he said or did because it is not really necessary.  Because their philosophy toward free speech is pretty clear and goes like this:

We have a right to not only speak about the issue of gay marriage (or any other issue) but also try and pass laws forcing you to behave as we believe, because of our faith.  You don’t have a right to oppose our faith opinions because god.  Or democracy.  Or something. That is their view of “religious freedom.”  For example, a “faith filled” doctor can refuse to perform an abortion, even if the act results in the death of the mother and should not suffer any consequences.  But they also feel “free” to prevent other people, who do not believe as they do. from terminating a pregnancy.  Apparently god decides who actually has religious freedom.  And of course they speak for god.

Unfortunately Pope Francis said basically this same thing to reporters while flying to the Philippines.   “You cannot insult the faith of others” the Pope was quoted as saying.  What?   Gotta call BS on that one.  Plenty of churches insult my “faith” every day.   The Presidential Prayer Team (who hopes that god will start running our government for us) prays on their website  “That Islam will be seen as the evil it is.”  Churches insult the faith of others ALL THE TIME!  I say, that is their right to do so.  It is my right to insult their faith as well.  And make fun of it too — je suis Charlie!

And then, the Pope GOT IT WRONG AGAIN!  The article also quotes Francis that if someone does insult the faith of others they have to expect a response, which we should.  But they response he said we should expect is a punch in the nose!  Say What??  Here’s the quote: “If my good friend Dr. Gasparri says a curse word against my mother, he can expect a punch,” Francis said jokingly, throwing a pretend punch his way. ‘It’s normal. You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others.'”

From the Pope, this is no joke.  Doesn’t he understand in civilized society his right to throw a punch ends well before the end of my nose?  I hope he does, because I don’t have another nose to turn to him.

Speech is met with speech.  When the Catholic Church™, Inc. says something silly, it is my right to make fun of them.  If they try to force their faith beliefs on me through the political process, it is my right to oppose them.  There is no such thing as the right to “be not offended.”

And religious freedom certainly does not mean “I get to do anything I want and you can’t do what you want because god said so.”

Update

This morning on Irrelevant Radio they clarified what the Pope said yesterday.  True he did say that killing in the name of god is not proper and also a spokesman “clarified” the Pope’s remarks about punching people in the nose upon taking offense to say that, of course, the Pope was not “advocating violence.”  Father Gerald Murray, frequent Irrelevant Radio guest and occasional Fox News pimp, also tried (completely unhelpfully) to clarify the Pope’s remarks on insulting religion.  On the one hand he said that he agreed with the Pope (no surprise there!) in that we should not insult other religions, but also said that people should always “speak the truth.”    As an example he said that while Catholics have theological disagreements with “Moslems” (exactly as he pronounced it) they should still be friendly towards them.

So, remember when you tell someone that their religion is false and that they will be suffering eternal punishment because of their warped, illogical beliefs, you should do it with a smile.  No offense intended — of course.

Father Murray also extolled the faith of the Filipinos (echoing the Pope’s comments) pointing out that god had blessed them — apparently by making them one of the poorest countries on the face of the earth.  Father Murray said that the Catholic Church™, Inc. is the “church of the poor.”  Which turns out statistically to be true as the more religious a country is, the worse off it is in measures of global development.

Sole exception being the United States where Catholics are among the richest religious groups.  Irrelevant Radio is the only religious radio station I know of that features regular appearances by financial advisors and a “success coach.”

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