This question was posed to a Humanist-sponsored opinion forum during a period when The Holy See enjoyed an unprecedented spate of coverage in the secular press. My response follows:
The Pope’s message has no real relevance outside of Catholicism; however, the Pope and the Ayatollah and Jerry Foul-well and the others certainly influence and affect my life in very profound ways. From the time I was disciplined in public school for refusing to recite the class prayer (San Diego, California, 1966) to the time I was held in the County Jail a few extra weeks beyond the completion of my sentence simply for refusing, on religious grounds, to attend Alcoholics Anonymous (Portland, Oregon, 1988), the theists have insisted that I do things that are uniquely religious, that have absolutely no relevance outside of religious faith.
Leave us alone, John Paul II! Okay? Just let us live our lives! “God” knows your predecessors killed off most of my ancestors, and you would probably still be doing it today if you could get away with it. Fortunately, three of my ancestors (Charles Pinckney, SC; Charles C Pinckney, SC; John Witherspoon, NY) survived long enough to help establish a nation where coming under the influence of the Pope or the Ayatollah or JR “Bob” Dobbs is optional — not mandatory. This revolutionary idea caught on, and now we are powerful enough as a World power to keep you and your kind at bay — for the most part.
Ode To My Father
Thanks, Dad, for showing me that religion is not what it’s cracked up to be. And thanks again for later allowing me the dignity of finding out for myself, through firsthand experience, that you were right all along! I love you!
aka Cliff Walker