Sunday, November 29, 2009


I'm often asked why I'm so relentlessly critical of religion. On the air and on this page, it's a theme to which I return (not least because of the continuous fodder it provides). Like most Catholic school survivors, I've earned the right to scrutinize the dogma of my youth (as well as the purveyors of it) and my thoughts on the subject have become more critical and secular as I've gotten older. I have no problem with faith- it's a just and valuable element to anyone's life- but faith is an idea and when ideas become institutionalized, they become a business. Every business has its rules, the primary of which essentially being: do whatever is necessary to keep bringing in new business. I draw a parallel to the investment houses and mortgage brokers who bequeathed us this new great recession. Organized religion will leverage its very system of values to protect the institution, creating whatever reality it sees fit to circumvent culpability. Now comes a marketing push by dioceses around the country in the form of television commercials for "Catholics Come Home", an appeal to lapsed sheep to rejoin the flock. (The Holy See would have been wise to subtitle the campaign, "Let's Forget About All The Boy-Fingering", since the exodus of the faithful over the last decade has been due in no small part to that diabolical footnote). Initial response to the commercials has reportedly been positive, though any PR advances the church makes might be nullified by stories like this. Overall, it remains a zero-sum game; as institutions of all kinds falter, faith becomes a more powerful device, while our ancient forms of organizing it become increasingly irrelevant.

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