So today is the first day of Lent in the Roman Catholic Church™, Inc. and I have a modest proposal for one of their mouthpieces here in the US, Irrelevant Radio. How about if you give up lying for Lent?
On Morning Air® today the main topic of discussion seemed to be the barbaric killings of the Coptic Christians in Libya, which was totally appropriate, we cannot decry these kinds of actions enough. But the main point that host John Harper repeated over and over again was that Pope Francis “Is the only world leader” speaking out against ISIS. This is, of course, utter bullshit. Many leaders have condemned their actions and many nations have joined us in military action to try put an end to this sick movement.
To underline his point, Harper played a clip from the Bill O’Reilly show of last night featuring Father Gerald Murray, Irrelevant Radio regular and war pimp, complained that the US was doing nothing while these savages just ran around doing whatever they want. I don’t know what planet these right-wing dittoheads live on, but over 16,000 airstrikes have been carried out against ISIS.
So, you can’t just say “do something.” We are already doing something. If you think we need to do something different, I am sure the world is all ears as to an effective plan. And I don’t think the Pope’s bead rattling is going to make any difference at all. Did we expect he would be in favor of these murderous clowns? Or maybe the Pope should declare a new Holy War, as O’Reilly and Murray are touting. How many soldiers should we send to Libya, guys? All of them? It is all going so swimmingly in Iraq now, so we know your plan will certainly work.
Which actually brings up the next point: these killings were also described on the radio as a violation of religious freedom, which it was said we need more of. Wrong!! Unfortunately, what we have is a group who is doing terrible things in the name of their god. They say their religion trumps everyone else’s and essentially they are exercising their “religious freedom.” And calling for a “Holy War” just makes the problem worse. Holy War” is not decency versus barbarism, but religion against religion. God versus god. And the winner is the god who manages to kill the other side? More Crusades anyone? Holy War is exactly the logic of ISIS, so we are to adopt the logic of barbarians?
And in a sense Irrelevant Radio is agreeing with this logic! Because they argue that for “religious freedom” to be real it has to take place with actions in the public sphere. Which is fine up to a point. But civil society has a right to limit actions, because actions (as we see in extremis with ISIS) can infringe on the rights of others. Their prayers don’t hurt me. Publishing their holy book doesn’t hurt me. Getting on their knees doesn’t hurt me. But their actions, whether killing people or blocking family planning clinics, can hurt me and infringe on my rights. They can decry family planning, heresy and whatever other sins they want, all they want. As soon as they take action in the public realm, we have the right to say, “get back to church!”
And it is not just me saying that. Jesus, always good for a smackdown, also has some advice for the Irrelevant Radio crew: “Shut the fuck up.” OK, that is not exactly what he said, but that captures the gist of it. Here is a few lines of today’s readings for Ash Wednesday:
“When you pray,
do not be like the hypocrites,
who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners
so that others may see them.
Amen, I say to you,
they have received their reward.
But when you pray, go to your inner room,
close the door, and pray to your Father in secret.
And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.”
What part of this is not clear? Drew Hystriani spends a half hour every day praying over the air for “miracles,” and goes on and on about how he prays for all his listeners in his spare time as if his prayers have some special effect on God. Drew, Jesus is on line three for you!
Jesus agrees, the freedom to worship is a right that best practiced with words in private.
And don’t get me wrong, they have a perfect right to say whatever they want about public policy, but you would think that people who want to preach morality to people would make sure first and foremost that when they open their mouths they are not lying.