October 15, 2010

When Does the Fall Begin? The Decline's Nearly Complete.

Category: Religion — Cranky @

The Catholic Church has been through a lot in its 1700 years. It was created under Constantine’s “Edict of Milan”, and it took a scant 67 years to become the state religion of the Roman Empire. That’s impressive.

From that point began an evolution that would play out across centuries. The Church has worn a lot of hats, and wielded terrible power, often in terrible ways. To be sure, they’ve done good as well, but we’re talking about the body in charge of the Episcopal, Papal, and Spanish Inquisitions. In 1252, Pope Innocent IV issued Ad Exstirpanda, which specifically authorized the use of torture to extract confessions. Imagine that – an organization that can simply publicly declare that torture is okay. Now that’s power. The Church has owned governments, and declared war.

The 17th century brought the Age of Enlightenment, and things began to change. The French Revolution brought the Cult of Reason, moving power from the Church to the state. The Spanish Inquisition was finally brought to an end in 1834, after 356 years of horror. The power of the Church was becoming more abstract.

The 20th century was particularly hard for Catholic Church. With the power to punish essentially gone, they’ve endured scandal after scandal. The state exercised its power over the Church (and continues to do so) by trying some of the 4,392 clergymen accused of abuse. The ability of the state to apply this power is a significant milestone in the decline of the Church. Rewind the clock a few centuries and there’s no way the Vatican would have permitted such interference.

Today I read that Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, former model and pop singer, and current First Lady of France, is not welcome at the Vatican. This decree comes straight from the pope. Apparently it would be bad p.r. to be associated in any way with somebody with a racy past. Perhaps he should have thought about that before covering up Juan Carlos Patino-Arango’s molestation of little boys. Jesus said, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” Apparently it’s okay to close the door on a sinner if you’d rather not be seen with them.

Here in the 21st century, the Church has lost its identity, and is searching for a new one. Even though their population holds strong at over a billion people, I’m calling it. At 12:45 p.m., mountain daylight time, on October 15, 2010, the Catholic Church has become…



October 4, 2010

Let's Get Ready to Rumble!

Category: Political — Cranky @

November is right around the corner, which means we’re knee-deep in American election fever! The ads are coming fast and furious, each one telling you why a particular candidate is evil, and how many puppies they’ve killed, recently and lifetime. It’s all about the Elephant and the Donkey, so let’s meet our contestants!

In the red corner, sporting immaculate suits and representing affluent, old, and primarily white men, are the Republicans. They’re politically adept, vote as a block, and are all about power. Even as the minority they’ve managed to stymie the current administration, using filibusters against bill after bill, grinding much of the Senate to a halt. They would be perfectly willing to let the entire country burn to the ground if it meant they could regain the presidency. They don’t seem to understand that the current no-win economic situation was primarily facilitated by the republican party.

In the blue corner, hip and current, are the democrats. They don’t seem to “get” politics, and they don’t vote as a group, which hands control right back to the republicans. Anything they’ve managed to push through since gaining power has been watered down and impotent. They don’t understand the wielding of power, and they have no concept of fiscal reality. They’re destroying the economic future of their country by adding trillions to their debt to avoid short term pain. When Obama took office I said there was nothing he could do to fix the crash – and I think that’s true. What I didn’t expect is that he would make it worse. He actually believes you can spend your way out of debt. The democrats are disorganized and divided.

And so, as the mid-term elections run their course, I think we can look at this match-up and come away with one conclusion:

America… is… screwed.