I have my first criticism of the new president. He said the Republican governors of Mississippi and Texas showed “Neanderthal thinking” when they dropped mask mandates in their states. Immediately Republicans attacked Biden for declaring Republicans Neanderthals, and Biden’s spokespeople had to come to his defense, saying, no, the governors were not being said to be Neanderthals, Biden was only saying they were behaving Neanderthalish.
The defense is worse than the charge. Exactly what is “behaving like a Neanderthal” supposed to mean? Is behaving like a Neanderthal being driven to extinction by representatives of Homo sapiens? Is it being good at painting walls of caves? Come on; we now have evidence they could talk. So, they probably weren’t all named Og after all. The time has come for us to all stop stereotyping Neanderthals.
The suggestion is that it is Neanderthal thinking to ignore the danger of the pandemic and fail to protect against it by wearing masks. The notion that Neanderthals were ever that stupid is totally unsupported. We don’t have any evidence that Neanderthals refused to wear cloth masks. They may even have double-masked. They probably invented safe-distancing, way back in 40,000 BC. I think Biden owes them an apology.
Another news story this week that caught my eye has the title: “SpaceX Starlink factory in Texas will speed up production of Dishy McFlatface.” The article says “Dishy McFlatface” is what they are calling the dishes for receiving Wi-Fi signals from Starlink satellites. This is what I’ve come to expect from a company created by Elon Musk. He wants to colonize Mars. Is the first city on Mars going to be City McCityface? I can’t wait.
The two major news stories this week, in my opinion, were stories in the category of religious news — even mainstream U.S. religious news. I am really unqualified to comment, since my religious views are probably closer to those of the cave-painting Neanderthals than to U.S. Christians.
Although, I don’t know. I’ll bet the Neanderthals didn’t believe in evolution, so maybe they weren’t that far from the mainstream as all that.
Well, anyway, diving right in, one story in The Seattle Times deals with a Christian bisexual lawyer, Matt Woods, who applied to work at the Union Gospel Mission’s legal clinic, but was not hired after they found out he had a same-sex partner. Woods filed a 2017 lawsuit against UGM, which was dismissed in King County Superior Court because UGM is a religion-based organization, exempt from laws preventing LGBTQ-discrimination in hiring. The Washington Supreme Court has now reversed this, directing the lower court to address whether the job Woods would have been hired for could really be regarded as religious in nature.
UGM has said legal aid workers are expected to be ministers. Complicating the issue is that Woods identifies as a Christian. So, he may have no objection to ministering in general.
I am of the opinion that all religious organizations should have two distinct compartments: a religious compartment and a secular compartment. There should be firewalls between the two. It just makes good practical sense.
The Catholic Church does this well, and I give them full credit for perfecting the concept. You’ve got a church side of the organization that tithes and uses the money to buy wine and wafers, bells and incense, brick-and-mortar-churches themselves, of course. Then you’ve got such things as Catholic Community Services and the Archdiocesan Housing Authority, which pretty much run on their own steam and hire anyone they want. I support this model. UGM should emulate it.
Speaking of Catholicism, the Roman Catholic Dioceses of Spokane and Boise are advising parishioners to avoid the Johnson & Johnson covid-19 vaccine because human fetal cells were involved in its development. Because to take the vaccine supports abortion.
I’ve saved this for last because I’m completely flummoxed by it. I have been flummoxified.
Spokane and Boise have Catholics? Well. Like I say, this is outside my range.
Note: In the interest of full disclosure, I am actually on the rolls of the Archdiocese of Seattle, or should be, unless they lost my paperwork. But I haven’t paid my dues for over 35 years. I am also a lapsed member of Netflix (not enough Neanderthal programming).
Dr. Wes Browning is a one time math professor who has experienced homelessness several times. He supplied the art for the first cover of Real Change in November of 1994 and has been involved with the organization ever since. This is his weekly column, Adventures in Irony, a dry verbal romp of the absurd. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more in the Mar. 10-16, 2021 issue.