By Manifesto Joe
I don't know how many Roman Catholic "followers" Herr Rush Lardbaugh has, but he risks alienating many of them when he trashes the new pontiff, Pope Francis.
Quoting recent e-mail alerts, on his radio "show" Herr Lardbaugh apparently referred to the pope as a "Marxist" and implied that Francis was bribed into urging the church toward more tolerant, more charitable (perhaps more CHRISTIAN) views about gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people.
I confess to having a lot of blue-collar attitudes. When it comes to LGBT causes, I can't say that I've ever had a dog in that fight. I had a friend in graduate school who was bi, and we both knew a rather attractive young woman named Lucy. During a candid conversation, he told me that if he shaved very closely and put a blindfold on me, I wouldn't be able to tell whether it was him or Lucy who was doing sexual-type things to me.
I thought for a moment, and then replied, "Yes, but I'd be thinking of Lucy." The conversation didn't grow any more candid after that.
Anyway, despite ill treatment by multiple women before I met my wife, I always knew that I was hetero. The idea of homosexuality didn't repulse me, but guys just never did anything for my libido. I'm just not into body hair or 5 o'clock shadow.
But I learned along the way that LGBT attractions can affect up to 10 percent of any given population. Some "traditionalists" may dispute that Kinsey-esque percentage, but there's no longer doubt that LGBT folks are a significant minority. And even Catholics who are themselves hetero have probably either known someone who was LGBT or have a close relative who is.
And they listen to the radio. And that, for better or for worse, means that they have probably been exposed to the demented, dope-fueled, right-wing rants of Herr Lardbaugh.
It's my understanding that Herr Lardbaugh is already pissing off and/or frightening advertisers and being relegated to lower-frequency radio stations. Many Catholics are social conservatives, and hearing Herr Lardbaugh picking on Pope Francis for suggesting more merciful attitudes toward LGBT people may not sit that well with some of them. He'd better start choosing his rant victims more carefully.
I really don't have a dog in the fight when it comes to Catholics, either. When I hear conservatives defend their ideology by pointing to the battle-tested, venerable institutions for which they fight, that silly, archaic institution called the Roman Catholic Church immediately comes to mind. It's an institution that should have been discredited as far back as the Middle Ages, when it was common knowledge that popes had fathered children. More recently the scandals involving scores and scores of pedophile priests across the globe should certainly have created a lot of ex-Catholics.
Yet the faithful not only keep going to Mass, they keep laboring under the sad misconception that this foolish, Medieval institution can be reformed. Pope Ratzo should have been enough to persuade them that this can't be done. There are always going to be plastic men and women who think ritual is more important than people, that hollow liturgy is more important than real-life experience.
Francis represents a slightly hopeful sign in the church. Despite his having devoted his life to an institution that is, at best, mired in low-caste superstitions, and at worst a haven for twisted, evil charlatans, he tries to "walk the walk." I understand that from time to time he flees his ivory tower in disguise and walks among the poor, as Jesus reportedly did. His childish obsession with this obsolete institution aside, it's hard not to admire this fellow just a wee bit.
Herr Lardbaugh, never one loath to cut off his nose to spite his face, has chosen a giant of sorts to ridicule. He doesn't have the gadfly, iconoclastic following that, say, Christopher Hitchens had when he took on an icon like Mother Teresa. He risks pissing off a large bloc of people, and he may not be able to go on snacking on $100-a-plate Beluga caviar if he keeps that up.
Manifesto Joe Is An Underground Writer Living In Texas.