Monday, March 13, 2006

FORGIVENESS

No one’s perfect. Most of us have done things that we regret, that we’re even ashamed of, that we’d rather not talk about.

Many criminals refer to their crimes as “mistakes,” like making a wrong turn on their way to church, or buying diet when they wanted real cola. It’s probably true that even with the best intentions we innocently do things that have bad consequences for others. Would that were the problem. Failure to resist bad impulses: that’s the problem.

We can’t forgive mistakes. Nothing to forgive. Mistakes just happen.

One friend of mine can’t forgive Maya Angelou for being a madam.

I question how appropriate it is for a Hitler Youth to be pope.

I definitely don’t feel like forgiving (Vietnam-war architect) Robert McNamara. Poor guy, he was using the publication of his new book, Wilson’s Ghost, to further his vain attempt to rehabilitate his bloodstained reputation. The book was beginning to get some public discussion in September, 2001. What a dagger in his heart when his puling self-concern was swept from the talk shows by the 9/11 attacks and subsequent war on terror. How sweet that he missed perhaps his last chance to defend himself. We have new crimes against humanity to think about now.




If McNamara admitted to being a war criminal and mass murderer and turned himself over to the Hague and offered his complete net worth for reparations to his victims, I would definitely consider “forgiving” him. But he says that based on what was known at the time, his decisions were correct, and he would do the same things given the same set of circumstances. This is pretty much the definition of a guy who should be locked up. Noam Chomsky has an amusing TAKE on McNamara's apologia.

There’s a sense that true remorse and worldly success are incompatible. There was that swindler Milkin who was hired to teach college courses. Charles Colson turns up on TV in nice suits talking about his successful prison ministry inc.com. Obviously Maya and the pope are undeterred.

Name some powerful criminals with true remorse? You can’t, because they go away and don’t bother people any more. Kissinger won’t go away. He still pretends he’s not a mass murderer. We’ll be seeing that fucker Colson once or twice a year until he dies. And Tookie? He was a leader. That’s why we even know his name. Powerful people want to stay that way, by any means necessary.

Particularly uncool is the religious rehab scam. If Jesus gives you power, then praise Jesus. And rehabbing for money? “As my virulent atheist friend, Pudinhand Wilson, always says, “Professional preaching's just a tax on being afraid of the dark.”

So now we have a thrill killer going to be preaching in Berkeley, some Episcopal preaching. I guess he’s got a lot to preach and teach. It’s not every day you get to meet a thrill killer. (Pudinhand thinks some parishioners might be getting a little vicarious tingle.) And his eighteen years in prison give him street creds with the congregation’s youth, showing them that thrill killing or gang banging or whatever are all just opportunities to cozy up to God.

The story says he was the ringleader of kids that killed at least one homeless person in Santa Barbara, for the thrill. So now he’s a ringleader for Jesus. I wonder if he ever even considered a monastery. If you read the ARTICLE you’ll note that while incarcerated he obtained a degree in business before starting his divinity studies.



With business skills, religious cover, and a compelling story, heck, the sky’s the limit! He’s not exactly starting at the bottom in his first grown-up job. According to the Chronicle he’ll be assistant pastor of the “Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, an exquisitely refurbished Victorian structure in West Berkeley.” He’s got a fiancee and everything. Way to go!

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