Maxed Out 

Marriage, between Church and State

By G.D. Maxwell

"God is a concept by which we measure our pain."

— John Lennon

In religious terms, a True Believer takes comfort in knowing whatever machinations of Man take place for the three score and ten they’ll be kicking around Earth, the dessert table of Life comes in the Hereafter and they’d better keep their noses as clean as possible ‘cuz St. Peter’ll have their official scorecard come the day of reckoning.

An Atheist says, "Hokum! There ain’t no God and there ain’t no Hereafter." This is not to say atheists lead depraved lives, are bad people or don’t have an intuitive grasp of the Golden Rule. They just don’t buy the hokus-pokus of religion and regardless of how good a life they’ve led will, according to the True Believers, spend eternity burning in Hell. Or at least they would have before the Pope more or less put the kibosh on Hell a few years ago.

An Agnostic, the joke goes, is an Atheist who hopes to God he’s not wrong.

The world of organized religion, spearheaded by the Roman Catholic Church, is coming to blows with Canada’s leaders. This time, inexplicably, over the mortal soul of the Right Honourable Jean Chrétien of all people. Well Big Jean and all the lesser politicians that is. All the elected representatives we sent to Parliament to run the secular government of Canada.

The flashpoint this time is homosexual marriage, husband-husband, wife-wife, partners ‘til death do us part, forsaking all others. You know the drill.

But first, the caveats. You can consider them up-front apologies if it makes you feel better or disclaimers, a writer’s waiver of liability.

I don’t really give a hang whether homosexual men and women get married. I’ve been married and I’ve lived in sin and quite frankly, I prefer sin. As long as you don’t give me any grief about it, I’ll oblige you with the same tolerance.

My only point of contention with the same-sex people is their larceny of the word ‘gay.’ It still pisses me off because it used to be one of my favourite adjectives and now I can’t even begin to describe something I’ve been to as a gay affair without raising eyebrows and/or suspicions. Most of the ‘gay’ folks I know are very kind, accepting, people. They’re enjoyable to be around and I count them as friends. But only sometimes – just like the rest of us – do they approach that rapturous state of gaiety that truly justifies the word.

And while I don’t mean to offend anyone I know who considers themselves Catholic, I’m likely to say some unkind things about some of the men who run their Church and bring up, by way of example, some of its more egregious historical travesties. But like the Bishops say when trying to explain away the wave of paedophilia accusations against priests, you gotta get right with the Lord even though some of his messengers are scalawags.

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