Sunday, March 14, 2004

Today's writings cover the events of the weekend - both secular and religious. This is the first time I have written about religion and probably won't be the last. It won't be a regular topic either so you can relax and quit worrying that I was going to preach to you on a regular basis. NOT... MY... STYLE...

The weekend began as normal as usual. Seeing a remake of a 70's TV show. Now some may think that I am not qualified to pass judgement on anything from that particular decade. However, I was born in the 70's so sit back and listen. I read a certain jackass of a columnist in the local fishwrap product which described this particular movie, a movie which he hadn't even seen. Now in my world, most people who pass judgement on ANYTHING have at least tried or seen what they are passing judgement on.

This half-assed attempt at writing assumed that since it was set in the 70's, the characters MUST HAVE smoked at least somewhere in the movie. WRONG. This writer also assumed that it should have received a stricter rating than the PG-13 due to it containg said non-existent smoking scenes. That assumption is in relation to some who would like a film's rating raised due to it containing smoking which is seen as morally objectionable or something close to that.

What really boils my blood is the last paragraph in this uninformed writer's column...
According to one review, the "Starsky and Hutch" movie has a scene where Hutch snorts up some coke by mistake, and Starsky romps with two prostitutes. It's PG-13. Bring the kids!
He's got the characters mixed for one thing. Hutch (Owen Wilson) is the character who, offscreen, sleeps with two cheerleaders - not prostitutes. It is Starsky (Ben Stiller) who ends up accidentally taking cocaine but not by snorting, instead he takes it based on the information given to him by the captain of his precinct that the bag og alleged cocaine is nothing more than artificial sweetener. My advice to newspaper columnists everywhere is to check your facts. If you have checked your facts, check the source those facts came from. We call this process double checking. Say it with me now, DOUBLE CHECKING. After working in newspapers for nearly six years, I can profess the importance of getting your facts straight. Not doing so can land one in a heap of trouble. But what do I know, I am just a graphic artist, not a writer, reporter, editor, or columnist. I just make stuff look pretty.

Oh, by the way, I do ALOT of writing for my designing on the fly and I also have to be sure any facts are correct. Try it, you might enjoy getting stuff correct too, Mr. Lileks. I apologize if your facts you relied on for that particular paragraph were incorrect and the error was not in your writing, however, read above for my lesson on double checking facts.

The weekend also brought myself attending mass for the first time in nearly a month. Due to a busy month's worth of weekends it found me away from my humble bedroom community of a home but still relatively close to the Twin Cities. The sermon portion of Sunday's mass began with the priest's opinions of terrorism and how it is a good thing we are fighting a couple of wars which are getting our weeeknd warriors killed on a regular basis. Of course, he chose to spin his sermon a tad more positively but nonetheless it boiled down to him supporting everything which is wrong with how our president began the wars in the first place.

I am unsure if this priest was standing in front of the congregation spewing forth his own opinions on why the wars were justified or if he was relaying the beliefs of the Catholic church as a whole. Either way, I feel that in matters such as war which has essentially brought our country to its knees in terms of the economy, job market, our constitutional freedoms and has also returned racial prejudices and racial profiling, the church is best to steer away from sensitive matters such as this one. I know it is impossible to ignore something this large but when the conservative views of the Catholic church are placed along side the views of nearly any other religion, the Catholic view point seems barbaric in comparison. It is ridiculous in a time when women have the right (and the other rights that men have - GASP!) to vote that the Catholic church still has yet to ordain a female priest. They oppress their nuns who are sworn to a vow of poverty when the priests - all males - are allowed to own houses and vehicles and are also subject to a comfortable retirement when that time rolls around.

Now I am aware that the number of Catholics in the world as a whole is a rather large number but I feel that I am not alone in thinking, at the least, that the views of the Catholic church are about a century behind the views of many other somewhat similar religions. Maybe it comes from their heritage of being the religion which has been seen as "overly conservative" and those who thought so started the "protestant" religion AKA Lutheran.

The similarities are many but the differences are huge. Their priests can marry, and I feel that is especially important when members of that particular church are leading down the road to marriage. I am part of that particular group. I have a wedding in the near future to look forward to and especially after hearing the general gripes of a good friend of mine who was married in a Catholic church this past year, I can relate. Exactly how can a man who has never had intimate relations with a woman and is expressly forbidden to marry guide a couple towards marriage? That is like a blind man as a photographer. He can be told what he is seeing but it is advice from someone else who has never experienced the same thing. I would like my marriage advice from someone with both a knowledge of religion AND marriage and married life in general. Someone who can relate to the ins and outs of married life and can relate to what problems may be looming on the horizon. After all, two people will ALWAYS have times when they disagree but solving those disagreements in a civil way will lead to a happier life. It's that kind of information which a Catholic priest is truly not qualified to hand out. He has never experienced a relationship leading to marriage.

It's time for things to change somewhat. I know not everyone will agree to what I have said and I know many will gasp at what I have written tonight but it is a free world and having been a member of the Catholic religion since birth, I have seen the beliefs which the members of the church are supposed to believe in but when it comes to a priest taking sides on a political matter which, to the best of my knowledge, the church has no written beliefs on... that just gets my blood boiling that much more than usual.

I'll write more if I am not nailed to a cross tomorrow.

Tomorrow will recount the importance that bagpipes play in our lives.

Stay tuned.

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