Sunday, May 19, 2013

"Do you need mansions and gold hats to worship god?" -- An Open Letter To Someone I Don't Know

Yes. Yes I do. I need mansions and gold hats in order to worship God. (And Maseratis too! And luxurious chaise lounges and finely-made intricate mechanical pocket watches -- bushels of 'em!) Which is kind of ironic because I don't even believe in God, and I'm not even convinced Jeebus ever existed. And if he did I don't much care what he would do.

Perhaps you can tell that I'm having a hard time taking you seriously. The other day I saw an episode of "Family Guy" in which Peter led a radical libertarian-anarchist movement which succeeded in eliminating all government in Quahog. "And now that we're FREE," Peter said in triumph once the hated shackles of government were gone -- he said: why don't we get organized here in order to optimize out living experience and protect one another and maintain our infrastructure and discourage crime, codifying what we do and do not deem to be acceptable behavior, confining criminals in enclosed places if need be, and collect refuse and so forth, and we can elect representatives to oversee all of these important duties, and we can repeat these elections at regular intervals, so that if the people we elected the first time aren't pleasing us with their job performance, they can be replaced. And we could chip in some money to pay for time and effort of those representatives and that of all of the other people needed to keep it all humming -- little or no money from the poorer folks and more from those who are well-off. And we'll do all of this without government, yaaay!! And all of his anarchist friends cheered wildly at these brilliant suggestions.

Sort of reminds me of all you people insisting that a charitable institution be broken up and sold and the proceeds given to charity. The constant calls for a Vatican art sale are absurd. (I know, you yourself didn't call for a Vatican art sale, you called for some of the Church's "trillions of dollars' worth" of real estate to be sold off. I don't think mentioning you in the same breath is horribly farfetched.) A few wealthy art collectors would get some bargains, the public would have less art, and what would the Vatican do next week? Sell all those manuscripts from the Vatican Library, maybe? Why give any thought to any of us Classicists who benefits from those manuscripts being accessible to the public? History, schmistory! It's a brave new world, what with the RCC being downsized at last! And as far as the art is concerned, the most valuable Vatican artworks are frescos, painted onto the walls -- so they'd literally have to sell the buildings themselves, or bust them up. "Next up for auction we have the chunk of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel containing Michelangelo's beautiful painting of the Delphic Sibyl. What am I bid?"

Gold hats? Silk slippers? Small potatoes! Some of you guys are fixated on teeny-tiny stuff. And unfortunately, Francis is one of you, paying his hotel bills and dressing simply. Well, maybe there's symbolic value to that. Still, I'd rather he outdid Benedict XVI with the bling and always traveled by limousine and private jet and excommunicated a few of the most egregious credit-default-swapping, Malaysian-sweatshop-owning, air-and-water-and-soil-polluting Catholic CEO's. And/or advocated birth control or stem-cell research, or said that being LGBT is as good as being anything else, or that religion is silly ooga-booga from thousands of years ago. Oh well, nobody's perfect. I do like that he's speaking up against corporate greed and sweatshops and mass starvation.

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