It's March Madness eve, and all is well with the world. So, naturally, my thoughts turn to...organized religion?
I'm a simple man. A short, simple man. I seek not to reap a whirlwind or tug on Superman's cape. Just tilt at a windmill every now and again, and usually an inconsequential one. Today, though, my teapot is atempest.
I grew up a Christian, attending church every Sunday with my family. I still consider myself one, at least in spirit, though I long ago parted with the organized church in a one-sided protest against the confluence of religion and politics. My youngest daughter attends an Episcopal preschool like her sister before her, and I value the lessons both were taught about the Golden Rule and the deep value of love and mercy.
There's a reason, though, friends, that Americans are running from religion in droves and that reason lies squarely in the hypocritical, self-preserving heart of the organized church. No less an authority than Pope Benedict XVI this week told the world's Catholics that condoms are not a solution to the AIDS crisis in Africa; rather, they promote the spread of disease. This is a far more complicated issue than I have the time or understanding to address completely (and you have the interest in reading from this blog), but the Cliff's Notes version is easy. Dogma trumps compassion. Power is more important than progress. This, sadly, is the story of organized religion for a lot longer than I've been ranting ineffectually against it.
If you don't hear much from me after this, you'll know that the Swiss Guards found me and I'm deep in the bowels of the Vatican being reeducated. Send Teejay after me - he looks really Irish-Catholic. Enjoy the tournament.
That feels soooo much better.