by Bob Wickizer

Cherry Picking Our Demons
Bob Wickizer
Esther 7:1-6, 9-10, 9:20-22; Psalm 124; James 5:13-20; Mark 9:38-50

Living in the Washington DC area as international news about Roman Catholic pedophile priests was breaking, I found that wearing a black shirt and clergy collar in Washington on a day when the news hit the public made me feel like Hester Prynne wearing her scarlet letter. Wearing a collar, I could readily sense the contempt and scorn of people for any person who remotely looked like a Roman Catholic priest. One day I recall having that experience in Washington and then I drove to Baltimore later in the day. I stopped in the Italian section to pick up some dessert for dinner. The people on the street there warmly welcomed me, smiling, nodding and saying ''Hello Father'' as I passed by. These two cities are thirty miles apart but they might as well be on different planets on this issue.

Even in Muskogee I find that there is a substantial anti-Catholic bias and that if I wear my collar on the street there are many people here who will not even talk to me. They have been taught by their churches and sub-culture that Roman Catholics are evil devil-worshippers because they worship the pope. If you talk to one of them or a priest, some of that evil might wear off on you.

Isn't that just human nature? To cherry pick our demons

Episcopalians are strongly formed around including all kinds of people but the funny thing is we will exclude those who like to exclude others for various reasons. We like to exclude the excluders or we are intolerant of the intolerant.

Other denominations may condemn consumption of alcohol, dancing and gambling yet they will preach against immigration and abortion while supporting terrible foreign wars.

Still other denominations emphasize a purely personal relationship with Jesus Christ and yet they will condemn programs that try to bring people out of poverty or rehabilitate those in prison.

And the Sunni Muslims hate t ...

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