Barack Obama thinks the new Pope is hustling the opiate of the masses. But it's the opiate that kept him off his cokehead ways so it's okay! Hillary thinks the potential for life begins at conception, and that Obama is an elitist. Is it possible that the second coming of the Messiah is also the reincarnation of Karl Marx? Is it possible that some countries can only subsist on dirt and opiates for so long? Are we talking about Marx when we should be talking about Malthus and stockpiling guns? Barack Obama seems to think so, and guess what? We agree. In Jezebel's deepest spiritual discussion since I wrote about how being a Libra made me believe in God, the inimitable Megan and I discuss the papacy, fave hymns, and how cool it would be if Jesus came back as a Palestinian stand-up comedian.
MEGAN: Whatever we talk about, can we agree that Bittergate is about to be as played-out as Reverend Wright?
MOE: I haven't been watching the news, so I was really confused by that. Like, okay, so...Obama is saying that people cling to religion in times of crisis, and...like hello have we not talked enough about Obama's religion already Jesus Fuck...and Hillary says that's elitist but she won't say when the last time she set foot in church...and the Pope is coming? Peggy Noonan wrote about the Pope coming. I couldn't quite get through the column though. I have always been one of those terrible Catholics who was like, "John Paul II...uh, what's the big deal?"
MEGAN: Nope, it's the new Pope, JPJ bought it a couple years ago. This is the one who used to be a Nazi, loves him the Opus Dei and the Latin masses and hates that you and I have teh sexes.
MOE: Speaking of which, over the weekend, Tracie and our friend Ryan and I went to a gay bar and burst into "On Eagle's Wings" followed by a "Be Not Afraid," "One Bread, One Body" "Make Me A Channel Of Your Peace" medley.
MEGAN: Oh, God, I miss all the fun by being in D.C.
MOE: No I know that there is a new pope DUH. I am just saying, it seems like everyone is comparing him with the old pope, who was so iconic and humanistic and crap; but I never really understood the hype about the old pope, maybe because he presided over an era of officially sanctioned child molestation? I dunno. I'm pondering this now.
MEGAN: I think the hype about the old Pope was that he eschewed the Pope Pius model of appeasing dictators (cough, Hitler, cough) and instead used the power of his office to confront them directly in countries where there were Catholics. Also, it was only once he was infirm and shit that the Church came to a détente with the Chinese about letting the Chinese government decide on Church officials because when JPJ wasn't laid up he mostly told the Chinese to go fuck themselves, but Benedict is fine with it.
MEGAN: Also, I think probably all the eras of the Church involved the sanctioning of inappropriate sexual or ethical behavior. Absolute power corrupts, yadda yadda
MEGAN: Notably, I left the Catholic Church at 16, so I'm not really a "Catholic" so much as an ex-Catholic with major leftover guilt issues.
MOE: Okay, so sure, he's cool. Let's play a game: The Avignon papacy or the Council of Nicea?
MOE: The Gospel of Tom or the Gospel of John?
MOE: Vatican I or Vatican II?
MEGAN: Hmm, was Vatican I the one in the late 19th century that declared that the Pope was infallible?
MOE: Karl Marx or Bill Kristol?
MEGAN: Karl Marx, but I was a German lit major AND a Sociology major. Also, I'd pay significant money to hear/videotape Bill Kristol reading crap in German
MOE: Okay, so Vatican 1 was indeed about papal infallibility. It was a controversial topic since it made Catholics seem like they had some sort of weird foreign allegiance, so everyone did like Barack Obama and didn't show up, then there was the Franco-Prussian war, which is why they had to revisit the issue a hundred years later. Papal infallibility is such a weird idea. How do you come into this world with Original Sin and achieve "infallibility" when you've NEVER EVEN HAD A REAL JOB?
MEGAN: Also, it was retroactive! I love that they went, oh, by the way, the last 1800 years? Those guys were totes infallible too, even the ones who were all Crusade-y and Inquisition-y. And it means that Pius was, like, totes right for making nice-nice with the Nazis and shit.
MOE: John Henry Newman, a fanboy of St. Augustine and the church's famous advocate for not talking about Papal infallibility, just skipping that discussion entirely.
But he made no sign of disapproval when the doctrine was defined, and subsequently, in a letter nominally addressed to the Duke of Norfolk on the occasion of Mr William Ewart Gladstone's accusing the Roman Church of having "equally repudiated modern thought and ancient history," Newman affirmed that he had always believed the doctrine, and had only feared the deterrent effect of its definition on conversions on account of acknowledged historical difficulties. In this letter, and especially in the postscript to the second edition of it, Newman finally silenced all cavillers as to his not being really at ease within the Roman Church.
MOE: To me there's something Obamalike about that. Jeremiah Wright or John Henry Newman?
MEGAN: So, like, it's harder to make people convert to Catholicism if you ake shit up 2000 years in to quell dissent? Honey, it's hard to make people stay Catholic when you do that.
MEGAN: Jeremiah Wright. Newman's got, like, centers and shit on campuses everywhere.
MEGAN: Anyway, so, to get back to Bill Kristol, I have definitive evidence that he's either never read any further into his Marx reader than he had to to get that quote, or he's just misinterpreted the entire point of Marxism.
He's disdainful of small-town America — one might say, of bourgeois America.
No, asshole, Das Volk is the proletariat, not the bourgeois. The bourgeois are the owners of capital, the guys who moved the jobs out of Pennsylvania and to Mexico and then China. The peeps clinging to guns and God because they can't get work anymore are the proletariat. F'idiot.
MOE: Is it wrong that I still consider myself Catholic? It's a culture and a heritage and indeed, an opiate in times of distress. It's more productive than the reverse, which I suppose is doing a lot of blow. I fucking love Barack Obama.
MEGAN: I don't think it's wrong, it's the whole point of confirmation, right? I refused confirmation and left.
MEGAN: I'm a very committed agnostic. I'm so committed to agnosticism that I'm agnostic about atheism.
MOE: Yeah Bill Kristol is a lumpen of shit. Did you watch the Compassion Forum?
MEGAN: No, I read about it afterwards. I don't watch things called stuff like "Compassion Forum" because I'm afraid it might rub off and I'd have to, like, smile all the time and shit.
In response to a question about when life began, Mrs. Clinton replied, "I believe that the potential for life begins at conception."
MEGAN: Oh, for fuck's sake. Way to have it both ways.
MOE: Yeah, it's a shitty answer.
MEGAN: Why not just date it to the moment of a sperm's production? Why not just date it to the moment girls are born because they've got proto-eggs or whatever?
MOE: An embryo is a living thing. So is sperm, so is a staph infection. Is killing it when we know it will grow into a human life wrong? If it is not wrong, then is it desirable? Hillary Clinton herself has said she would like very much to reduce the abortion rate to "almost never" or whatever. And therein lies the awesome awesomeness of Obama: he is not afraid to tell you upfront he questions his faith, that he doesn't abide by all its rules, that Capital made him think in much the way "Love your neighbor as you love yourself" made him feel. I'm projecting, of course, but you knew that. Hillary is a coward.
MEGAN: Also, apparently the head of PA's Democratic Party is a Hillary surrogate who just said that "she's the most vetted candidate in the Democratic Party's history" and that she's "ready to go to work on Day 1." Can we please, please, please stop hearing that bullshit phrase. You know what happens on Day 1? Everyone parties. There are balls upon balls and everyone gets drunk and then on Day 2 everyone hangover brunches. No President really starts Presidenting until Day 3 anyway.
MEGAN: And I agree with you on Hillary. I don't believe life begins at conception, and I think that abortions should only be as rare as the women who want and need them prefer they be and I think a candidate who thinks that s/he can save the world from abortions is being deliberately disingenuous and courting people I don't agree with.
MOE: Anyway I'd say I'm an agnostic who finds comfort in faith. Because — and speaking of cowards, for every Alberto Gonzales not getting a job, there seem to be a hundred men gangraping children in the name of God, a billion people paying for America's nonsense wastefulness in their stomachs.
MEGAN: Although, isn't it some weird turn of fate that the guy calling for more money to feed the world's poor is a former Bushie?
MOE: That's a good point. Ever the optimist. So...Haiti got sick of eating dirt for breakfast.
MEGAN: Well, that should work out well again. Why does Haiti suck so much worse than anywhere else in the Caribbean?
MOE: Here's the dirt cookies post, which has a decent link to a web page called "Why is Haiti so poor?" The answer is just sort of an orgy of miserable circumstances, the type that lead a person to take comfort and solace in absurdity, which is sort of like my faith. Like, when Jesus comes back he will be an existentialist stand up comedian.
MEGAN: Or Muslim. That would be pretty funny.
MOE: OH my god he will sooooooooo be a Muslim and his middle name will be Hussein. Hey, wanna write a screenplay?
MOE: He'll be a Muslim from Yemen.
MEGAN: Wait, wait, no, a Palestinian!
MOE: Okay but can he escape to Yemen?
MOE: Because that would be absurd.
MEGAN: Yeah, he could "cross the desert" of Saudi Arabia in 40 days to get there.
MOE: OMG and at the end he would marry Ashley Alexandra Dupre.