David A. Bandel
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Once upon a time I said I refused to discuss religion. Every single time I have to deal with "men of God" I come away wondering how so many folks can so proudly proclaim they are this or that religion. And the louder they proclaim, the more hypocritical they are.
Yesterday, 31 July 2011, a car came into the neighborhood full of teenagers from a local Catholic church. They were very proud to tell me they were Catholics. I wish I could remember which specific church they came from, but I told them they should learn how to read. The didn't live in the neighborhood, and it was very clearly marked at the only entrance/exit that non-residents were prohibited entry.
Guess their God told them they were above everyone else and could come in. They all finally left in the white station wagon that dropped them off, but not before, in front of all the teens in the car, and at the top of his lungs, the loving, tolerant Catholic yelled at me to go back to my own country, I wasn't welcome here in Panama.
The words that come to mind number among: ignorant, hypocritic, xenophobic, hate-monger, and more. Any wonder thousands marched off on the crusades at the whims a mad-man Pope? And those same sentiments remain, apparently. Wonder when the next crusades will start?
Now, if it were in my power, I'd grant this loving Catholic his wish. I'd leave, take all the other foreigners (US, Canadian, Venezuelan, European, etc.,) out with me. I'd also, by the way, remove the Embassy and all other diplomatic personnel, and all the money Panama receives in foreign aid. Then watch as the entire country imploded. Who would care? Panama is a third world nothing. It could easily be reabsorbed by Colombia and no one would care or even notice outside of Panama. I say, give this loving Catholic exactly what he's asked for.
Reminds me of the mandatory indoctrination required by another Catholic church when a dear friend asked me to be a "Godfather" to her daughter. I pointed out this was asking a bit much, but after some insistence on her part, I conceded (what could it hurt, I might even learn something about tolerance after all).
The talk was to be about being a God parent. It was supposed to be 3 sessions of 60 to 90 minutes. I didn't make it through the first session. After listening for about 20 minutes to some deacon (whatever that is) advocate -- no, encourage, child abuse, I stood up and told him what the law had to say about what he was encouraging, told him a prison sentence might do him some good if he really did treat children this way, and walked out.
The next day I saw the priest (I needed time to cool off). He listened but offered little in the way of an apology or anything that sounded like he would actually do anything. In fact, it sounded like this deacon ran the church. While they gave me the certificate to be the child's Godfather, I did not return to more of these lectures, and cannot believe this deacon was allowed to continue giving them.
Religion is something that should have died a horrible, agonizing death centuries ago, but I find it unlikely to happen as long as power-hungry religious icons can find fanatics willing to die or kill to support their point of view. If the intolerant, ignorant, xenophobe who called himself a loving Catholic had a gun yesterday, I'd likely be dead now.
Oh, religion is such a wonderful thing. Anything can be justified in the name of God -- and usually is.
David-Loving Catholics (in a pig's eye).
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