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Back to the Dark Ages


It's a fine time for those who yearn for the good ol' days of religious intolerance, the auto-da-fe and thumbscrews. The Catholic Church, for example, took off the velvet glove before last year's election and backhandedly endorsed George Bush.

John Kerry, the Church pronounced in a roundabout way, was ineligible for communion because he supports a woman's right to choose. It's that "culture of life." Of course, George W. Bush, whose only proven ability is creating death and destruction, is now a valued ally of the Church.

Now the Vatican is screeching "foul" when anyone comments that Supreme Court nominee John Roberts is a Catholic. Since the Church doesn't flinch at interfering in our democratic elections (while still claiming tax exemption on its vast real estate holdings), why should anyone think it wouldn't threaten to refuse communion to, or even excommunicate, a justice who balked at, say, overturning Roe v. Wade?

What is even more worrisome was a vastly underreported statement by a top Vatican theologian, Christoph Cardinal Schonborn of Vienna, who recently said evolution is at odds with Catholicism, and castigated modern biology as "neo-Darwinian dogma." I'll take that dogma any day over the church's universe-swings-around-the-earth dogma that prevailed for centuries.

What's at work here is raw, brutal control, the sort the Church imposed over Europe in the Dark Ages and for which some of its hierarchy still obviously lusts, to the dismay of those Catholics who hoped Pope John XXIII's Second Vatican Council would change things for the longterm. Ignorance by the masses is the best tool of control. That's why rebellion against the Church was founded on intellectual liberation.

Not to be outdone, the Great Purveyor of Ignorance and Falsehoods -- Bush, of course -- declared that "intelligent design" should be taught alongside evolution. ID is merely creationism dressed up with a few scientific sounding phrases. It isn't science by any stretch of the imagination.

The mainstream media, of course, is afraid to point out the emperor's nakedness. None of the daily papers where we circulate -- Charlotte, Atlanta, Tampa, St. Petersburg and Sarasota -- noted that Bush's own science adviser, John Marburger, has declared that "intelligent design is not a scientific theory." But science really isn't the issue. It's so much easier to create tyranny with superstition and fables.

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