Don’t want no church people ’round here. Now that I’ve got your attention, allow me to explain. I don’t want to overstate this, so let me put it this way: Church people are generally the worst people in the world. Catholic, Protestant, Mormon, Scientologist, or the religion whose name I dare not speak, just pick your poison. Look for the people that are overly involved in organized religion and you will find some of the worst scum of the earth in very high places. Marx theorized and Lenin agreed that “religion is the opiate of the masses.” I’m not one to quote communists much, but in this case they may have had a point. I would only add “organized” to the beginning of the quote. Too many higher ups in churches remind me of drug dealers by taking money for the things they want from people who desperately need something; in this case the “high” is replaced by salvation.
I was reminded of how awful some church people were the other day by a customer, a church person, who acted in a most uncharitable nature when they didn’t get what they wanted. They were generally small, petty, and rude. When it happened I had a flashback of sorts to all the other church people I’ve dealt with over the years. I’m no bible scholar myself, but I was quick to think of the parable of the good Samaritan. The priest and Levite (both church people, right?) passed by the downtrodden man on the road, and the non-church person, the Samaritan, helped the injured man by giving of his time and treasure to save his life. He was most charitable, and his charity would save him according to the Big JC. That uncharitable person that I had the misfortune of doing business with recently would do well to read the story and take it to heart. Whether it’s Tom Cruise going around destroying people for not paying enough to his church, or the lowliest deacon at the 14th Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas trying to extort money from his congregants, the habit of people abusing the power of the pulpit to take advantage of well meaning people is getting old. What’s also way past due is a revolution from the people in the pews. My own church has turned into one big, long, never-ending scandal throughout the course of my life; shame on us all for not storming the Vatican with pitchforks years ago to throw the bums out and demand better. When you allow evil to fester, it only comes back stronger the next time. By not lancing the infected Curia, and allowing the criminals to continue to elect their leader time after time, we have allowed dysfunction to spread through all levels of the organization. I can hear the howling already: “It’s just a small percentage. You can’t condemn the whole group for the actions of a few.” Truth is… you can. As Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Too many good men have been doing nothing for too long; covering their own rear ends and allowing evil men to rampage about. As long as the shrapnel doesn’t hit them, they don’t seem to care.
Don’t think me overly pious. I’m a sinner praying for salvation along side of the rest of humanity. I’m just a man who has done a good bit of business with priests and preachers. And I have found most of them to be more like the priest or Levite in the parable above. Most of the ones I’ve known have gotten into the preaching business because it’s good business. Flexible hours, cheap housing, and most all the churches are air conditioned these days. Not many hard working, get ahead types go into the business. It’s more the, “Pay my bills for me and I’ll make you feel guilty about not giving enough of your income away” crowd. I’m not condemning you if you go to church. God Bless You! All I’m saying is that what you do on Sunday probably matters less than what you do the other six days of the week. In my life I’ve also done business with a number of Samaritans who rarely see the inside of a church building; some truly fine people. I’ve never worn one of those amulets that says, “I’m a Catholic, please call a priest.” Instead I am thinking of having one made up special: “I am a person; call a Samaritan.” If it’s a Samaritan priest… so much the better. End of sermon.