Monday, April 04, 2005

US sucks up to pope's death

What the heck is this? This morning I asked myself why are all these flags half mast?

I looked up today and saw flags at half mast all over town, even at several post offices, the county courthouse, and city hall (in a smallish Texas town far from Warsaw and Rome but maybe too close to those bastions of backwardness, San Antonio and Mexico). I assumed the worst - that the flags were flying thusly for a recently deceased religious figure. So I marched in to City Hall to ask if indeed the flags were flying at half mast for the pope. Yes, indeed, the receptionist said resolutely and with a little glimmer of disdain, and my friends and I rolled our eyes and walked out revelling in the absurdity of it all.

Since when does this country, as a nation, cling to the robe tails of the Catholic church or any other religion? Are we so flimsy as a species, so sentimental, or at odds in this discouragingly fragile world that we need showings of such unity, orchestrated by a supposedly secular government? Are we mistaking what's best for our future with sentiment for the smoke and mirrors of the past?

Do Mr. Bush and the Washington God hounds really feel such a need to close ranks with the Vatican? Choir boys all around? Smarmy hypocricy loves company? Old time religion's right, and We the Modern Rule of Law and Reason People are wrong?

Are the ruling elites feigning such mourning really so eager to play more to the sentiment of "salvation" than the substance of, say, science? Seems the elegant notion of seperation between church and state is tossed out with the sacremental wafers and bathwater. This is a big planet of nations and billions we're trying to make better here, not an Edenish cartoon garden of good and evil. Pulpiteers, grow up.

When is the last time the United States flew its flags in such unison for a foreigner, for a person not a statesman, not a public servant? (Or have we confused the definition of what a public servant is? Not sure? Try to get your own say so heard at the Vatican - its one of the ultimate secret societies - like the Elks and the Moose, wrought with holy this and thats, antiquated and downright silly ceremonies, smoke and mirrors. It's not like the pope was an FDR, a Churchill, an Eisenhower or a Mao. No, he was starched and pressed and nearly deified to serve a very particular and apparently opionated "God," the guy upstairs who might feel even more inclined to smight us all down were it not for the rarified delicacies and eccentricities of the uppity ups ensconced in guilted rooms around St. Peter's square, proclaiming some decent human compassion along with some very backward tirads against the wisdom of our better angels - like family planning, reason, religious and political transparency, even common sense (not common among the priests so many suffer to admire).

Is the pope - pardon me - WAS the pope American?

Is/WAS he a secular figure, a leader of state?

No, he was (and the next one will surely be) a sentimental leader of glamorously celebrated yet washed up rituals and superstitions. He was an elegant hack of pre-rational thought - which shows how easily hundreds of millions, if not billions, can be fooled - into mistaking elegance and pomp and circumstance and "high office" for objective, long term wisdom. I can respect some aspects of John Paul II's life and message, absolutely. He was in some ways a "modern" pope, a progressive pope. But overall, the regressiveness of Catholicism would hold any power player back from participating in the 20th or 21st centuries.

Why are we (the flag masters) showing such reverence and sentiment for the passing of a dinosaur, no matter how elegant or seemingly heroic or even amiable? Catholicism is not about being "of" the people; it is about being above the people. It is an unctious umbrella meant to shield ignorant cowards from the bright and shining rays of the secular Sun, around which, by the way, the Earth revolves - not the other way around.

It is as if all those flags are glorifying a cheerleader of the Adam and Eve Flat Earth theory.

I was sort of ok with this passing of an era until the flags seemed to mock the shallow veil of secular rule in my own country (extending the buffoonish "born again" antics and hypocritical (and selfishly short-sighted)veil of "faith" of our own president). The more secular, the better, I say. We need to reinforce the secular to protect freedom. I'm not sure that such strong sentiment for heavenly sent smoke and mirrors is a good thing, much less the most humane thing. But it seems such sentiment is, woe is me, very human.


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