Subject: Catholic Bashing?

   First things first:   love your commentary, love your site.  I check you every morning along with Buzzflash
 and Democratic Underground for my daily fix of fire-breathing reality.  It serves as a political shower
 every morning, washing away the previous day's neocon funk.  Dear God in Heaven, keep it up.

   And so, in the interest of balance, I gotta comment on the wee screed from Stephen D in volume 1094.
 I'm a Catholic.   I can count the number of mean nuns I've met in my life on two fingers, and knew priests
 who were such a positive influence on my life that at one time I seriously considered the priesthood
 (Got pretty close, then met the girl who is now my wife). 

 Dude, I grew up in a Catholic POW camp.  Sure, lots of the nuns were nice, but some were Laura Schlessinger.
 You've only met two mean nuns?  I remember having back-to-back classes with Sister Nancy Grace.

 That's why I've got a lot of trouble swallowing this guy's story.  If I'd heard a priest say that to me,
 I'd be checking the closets for Ashton Kushner, because there's no way I could take that seriously.
 Besides, if that priest was being a putz, I'd just go to another church where the pastor was a
 REAL Catholic Christian.  Sorry, but this story strains credibility.

 I disagree and I'll tell you why:
 He wrote, " but he wouldn't do it unless I went through 6 months of conversion classes and paid the parish $3000."
 I doubt he'd add that caveat if he just wanted Catholics to look bad,   Besides, that makes it a "tuition fee,"
 instead of an outright bribe. Maybe that's how they justify this stuiff to themselves?

 If this kind of thing doesn't happen, explain Ted Kennedy's second wife and Giulinia's then-slut Judith Nathan?
 Did they pay a $20,000 "tuition fee" to get their new wives up to speed?  I'll bet Ted had to pay even more.
 Besides, I've seen the smaller scale stuff a dozen times.  If Grandma is having heart surgery, you slip a twenty to the priest
 before the mass ($50 if it's a High Mass) and he includes her in his prayers.  Would they do it without the $20?
 I don't know - Mom always paid up.

   It has always amazed me when people give one and only one reason for jumping ship on a religion.
"One clergyman or woman did or said something bad to me, so I'm going to reject the entire belief system despite
 the millions of its adherents who are pretty good people."  Usually, there is a way around that one person or a way,
 however hard, to heal the damage that's been done.  There's almost always something else going on behind the curtain,
 and this sounds like it's no exception.

 Well sure, and I don't know Stephen. That could've been the straw that broke it, y'know?

 On the other hand, religion, despite claims to the contrary, ain't for everybody.
 As my desparately Catholic mother once told me, "We all follow a different path to God."

 One could consider nature the true God, so I can agree with that.

   So, I hope you'll accept these comments in the spirit they are offered: from someone who just happens
 to believe in God in a different way, but who still thinks Shrub should be impeached and Bin Laden should
 be trussed up and tossed onto a New York subway platform to receive the stomping he so richly deserves.

 Thanks for everything you do,

 Todd H.

 Todd, I'd always want you to have religious freedom.
 I'd fight, but not die for, your right to believe in anything that doesn't hurt the kids.

 I mean, if you were an Oklahoma snake-handlers or one of those "no doctors" nuts,
 you'd want me to step in before your kid was bitten or in a car accident, right?

 Thanks for the conversation.

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