Friday, October 31, 2008

A Witness to History: Our nation is on the brink of history. For so many years I yearned for a better nation. For years I wondered where the era from which I was politically born, had gone. I wondered what happened to those values which promised the eternal flame of justice, truth, humanitarian ideals and no more war. I worried and even cried that our nation could be so divided and thought it eternally doomed so that I would never see what my parents loved about the FDR of their time. I worried that I would never again be inspired with hope and never again see the inherent humanity of our nation which I knew I saw once in America. I began to think we were eternally relegated to never-ending fear, never ending anger, never ending division, and never ending conflict.

It has been a long hard road traveled and we are not quite there yet, but, finally, if my suspicion is correct, those of us who care about the welfare of the many, the humanitarian rights of the powerless and the inherent decency of this nation, will be on the precipice of greatness once again. We are at the doorstep of hope just when I thought all hope was lost. Over the past, seemingly eternal, eight years, our country fell precipitously from its heights. Its principles were shattered, its Constitutional genius wasted, and an isolated America dug itself deeper in the hole of injustice every minute it could not shake off this tyranny.

A possibility, though, of renewal and reverse-course is at hand. The genius of America still exists and this is the moment I have lived for all of my life. The book of centuries of the cruelest and saddest moments in American history is turning a page into a new era. It is a new New Deal, a new New Frontier and a new Great Society. We are, indeed, a new nation of Americans united and standing up for and in love with our great American experiment.

Our nation, plagued by a stubborn racism which digs its heels into our DNA and contaminates our body politic by forces which pander to hatred and by ideologues who take advantage of its festering sore for their own enrichment, is rising from its simmering embers once again.

I believe Barack Obama will be our nation’s first black president and the 44th president of these United States. It is about time. I hope he stays safe and I hope his policies are wise for, I believe, he is not the great BLACK hope, he is not the great WHITE hope but he is the hope of ALL of us. We are, I believe, on the brink of history, the world is watching and I am ever so thankful I am witness to it.
Questioning Power: I offer two criticisms of the Catholic Church. It is not Catholicism itself I criticize. I criticize always the policies and tyranny of the few who are given power over the lives of many. There are two church policy issues with which I take exception today:

First: Today Pope Benedict suggested that a "test" should be given to future prospects for the priesthood which would look for any psychopathology before priests are accepted for ordination. The worrisome psychopathology about which the church ruminates since the costly sex scandals has to do with, obviously, sex. The church wants to see how intrinsic is a prospective priest's sexuality and, of course, most importantly, it wants to know if he harbors any homosexual inclinations. It especially wants to know if he has exhibited homosexual behavior within the past three years. Three is the magic number. If one can hold off on one's homosexual appetites for three years from when an application for the priesthood is received then the all clear whistle apparently sounds.

The utter ridiculousness of this prospect staggers the imagination. One would think, obviously enough, the very nature of sexuality IS intrinsic i.e. once one has determined one is homosexual he will be homosexual all of his life. Conversely, when one determines one is heterosexual one is heterosexual all of his life as well. One cannot pray homosexuality away as study after study shows and after legions of testimony exist from homosexuals to that fact. One can cover it up and one can overrule it but one cannot never erase it. Many have tried to overrule their bodily inclinations and failed. What is sexuality if it is not intrinsic to the core one's being? It is by its very nature intrinsic. The church's thought processes are disturbing. Sexual proclivity is SO strong and so all encompassing that it is inconceivable to expect a human being would deny its overwhelming and undeniable call. To do so, I submit, is difficult and, indeed, rare. A unisex institution with no opportunity for the adult male to appropriately channel his desires with other adults I submit fosters aberrant behavior sometimes of the most heinous and illegal kind.

Second: The beatification of Pius the XII, the pope who during World War II failed to shout out vociferously his opposition to the Nazi perpetration of its genocidal policies which would implement murderous remedies for the so called "Jewish question," has now been suspended. The Vatican today said it is putting on hold attempts to make Pius the XII (Giovanni Pacelli) a saint until it has enough time to "study" the papers relating to his era as Pope during the Nazi period. It does, however, still refuse to open up for public scrutiny ALL documents of that era it holds in its archives.

I become suspicious when a government, a church or any other institution of great power fails in transparency. I believe there is a right of its populous or -- in the case of a religious institution -- its parishioners to view its machinations as its adherents give it strong belief and mountains of money in support. When an institution hides documents, I believe, the institution has something to hide. If there is nothing to hide then why would the Vatican not want to show the papers for all to see reinforcing the Vatican's desire to make Pius XII a saint? I also wonder IF that institution would plod through those very documents with its own biased staff in order to dispose, shred or burn evidence which could be harmful to it. The many should harbor much suspicion of power as those in power have much control over the many.