You may have noticed many people walking around with dirt on their foreheads yesterday. This is because it was what members of the Cult of Catholicism call 'Ash Wednesday'. Although why rubbing dirt on your face makes you a good person is something I have never figured out. I rubbed dirt on my face many times during my childhood and it caused me nothing but grief from my parents.
What's so special about that dirt?
I arrive home last night and, before my coat is even off, am greeted with both my mother in law and wife chastising me for making turkey sandwiches for the boy's lunches.
I stare blankly at them.
'It's Ash Wednesday! We weren't supposed to eat meat!'
See there are other rules that come along with the dirt. Rules I often forget or, more likely, ignore completely. Supposedly nobody is supposed to eat meat. It used to be a fasting day, but when the health consequences of practicing starvation came to light the Catholic powers decided eliminating meat was a stringent enough substitute. God fearing members can safely gorge themselves on as many Twinkies as they please.
Although I'm pretty sure gluttony is one of the deadly sins. Kevin Spacey taught me that.
Catholics are also supposed to sacrifice something until Easter rolls around. 40 days and nights I believe is the timing of this. Funny how 40 seems to be the magic number for this religion. Was it Moses that led his people around the desert for 40 years. Noah built his ark when it rained for 40 days and 40 nights. Is there some symbolism for the number 40 I'm unaware of?
Usually Catholics will give up cookies or candy bars or (insanely) alcohol during this time. My son told me he was going to give up the XBox which made me laugh and laugh and laugh. He was playing the next day and said 'I'll think of something else'.
I have long taken the view that if there is a God - and I have serious doubts about that - she has a very good sense of humor and will certainly over look us violating one of mankind's stupid, made up, half assed rules.
Up until junior high my parents would make me go to church with them every Sunday. It was the type of boredom that can never be fully described. When I was old enough, I told them that I would go to a later mass and head to the arcades to worship 'Punch Out', air hockey, and 'Galaga' instead.
Eventually I got caught and when confronted I asked 'Why would God care if I go to a man made building on a day man picked to show appreciation for him. Can't I just do that any way I want?'
'And going to the arcade is your way of worshipping God?'
'Hey, if God loves us, wouldn't doing what makes us happy make Him happy?'
It didn't work. I was forced to go to the earlier mass with them for the next three months with my mind wandering and trying not to groan out loud with annoyance. When the hand held gaming systems first came out I immediately thought of those days in church; tapping my toes, fiddling my fingers, trying everything I could not to fall asleep. If I had one of those mofos, I would haven't minded half as much.
Eventually I faded away from the church, briefly returning at the insistence of my wife.
But it was no use. I find the rituals ridiculous, the sermons insulting, the preachings to be the exact opposite of what a man like Jesus was supposed to stand for.
Organized religion is supposed to foster peace, love and acceptance. That's the idea anyway.
It instead provokes intolerance, abuse and anger.
I can't claim to know what Jesus would do in any given situation, but I know what he would not do: He would not attend the very organization that claims to be based on his life.
Today's distraction: You are an angry God. Take it out on the innocent cows and sheep and children. Strike them down with your WRATH!!!