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Love Actually: The CBC and the Catholic Church


I believe in discovery and technology and innovation and science. My profession -- whether you would call me a journalist or just a human being in the 21st century -- is to question. It's to be skeptical. It's to not believe everything I'm told right away.

I believe this is healthy for all of us, not just myself.

So, on the occasion of the much-covered announcement of a new pope, I'll just come out and say it: I hate the Catholic church.

I don't hate Catholics, of course; but I find it impossible to believe things that we thought of as certainties 2,000 years ago but have since disproven, and I hate the Catholic church itself because its goal seems to be to repress us, oppress and hold us all under its gigantic thumb.

I don't think a talking snake told a naked chick to eat an apple which then corrupted society forever. I don't think Joseph's dad was somehow able to find the resources to knit him a technicolo(u)r dreamcoat in the middle of Ancient Egypt. I don't think Jonah lived inside a whale.

But, most of all, I don't want these stories told as fact. I don't want them institutionalized. I don't want them to be read once and accepted forever.

I don't think Pinocchio lived inside a whale, either. I don't think Hogwarts is real, even though I'd like it to be. I don't think Darth Vader really existed in a galaxy a long time ago and far, far away.

So, where am I going with this?

Well, I'm going straight to the front door of the CBC.

The Corporation is supposed to represent all Canadians and, if you disagree, read its damn mandate. With the resigning of Pope Benedict now in the past -- and with the Catholics having just unveiled their next Palpatine -- the CBC has sucked itself up in the anti-educational turbine that is the Roman Catholic Church.

As with all things religious, they don't question the Church, because to question it would somehow infringe on our right to religion and (probably) our right to free speech. (I don't believe this. I'm just trying to think like an evolution-denying man of the cloth.) They don't dare shine a light on the hypocrisy and the blatant middle finger to common sense that is the Church and all its beliefs and -- worse -- its practices.

The Catholic church has not only committed crimes, but it's also covered them up. I'm not talking about that fluffy "Tobacco companies know they're killing you" stuff. I mean, full-on child sexual abuse. I mean, like, going to Africa and telling the most AIDS-infected continent on the planet that they couldn't use condoms because it wasn't in the Heffe's original plan some 2,000 years ago. (Or, was it a billion years ago? 5,000 years ago? I don't know, I have a hard time keeping track of the Catholic church's most recent revision of history.)

But, for the CBC -- and other news corporations like it -- that's in the past. They turn their hands up and say, "It's not our place."

Right. Lance Armstrong? That jerk was guilty. Let's fry him. The Catholic Church? Can't touch it. Religious freedom.

The CBC is supposed to stand for all of us as Canadians. It's supposed to be a megaphone for the voices of the 35 million or so people in this country, and it's supposed to be different than the United States. It's supposed to reflect our sentiments. It's supposed to have talent. It's supposed to be bold and brave.

That's a tough job, but it has to be.

The CBC is supposed to stand on its own. It should reflect us, but it shouldn't pander to us. It also shouldn't pander to the Catholic church, and it does.

We don't believe the Earth is flat, and we have no problem treating that issue like the case is finally closed. But, the Catholic Church? That archaic, rapidly crumbling tomb of dead ideas with a history of unmatched oppression and violence? Nope. Off limits.

(If it was Scientology, then by all means go nuts. That one is crazy, right?)

Only, this now-concluded quest to find a new Pontiff doesn't sit right with me, or with many Canadians who belong to many communities. And, yes, I'd consider "Non-Religious" to be a community, too.

I got the idea to write this post from a friend of mine, Jesse Brown, who works for YouthCO AIDS Society. He wrote this on Facebook, on Monday night:

"Dear CBC National,

"I'm a 26 year old white male in Vancouver BC and a faithful viewer of The National. The large amount of time you have been consistently spending on the selection of the new Pope and the Catholic Church disturbs me and makes me want to tune out from your news cast -- for good. This is a dark and criminal institution based on the oppression of those it deems unworthy. Its current establishment should be (and is) morally reprehensible to anyone with a critical eye and could be better examined by a reputable news agency such as the CBC.

"Political fluff stories such as the selection of a new benevolent pontiff are pathetically benign and leave the audience, many of whom are consistently abused and discredited by this mafia, undermined. As an openly gay man it greatly disturbs me to see over-coverage of this conclave of closeted old sexually repressed men who cover up pedophilia and engage in clandestine sex rings, all while promoting misogyny and repression. An excellent example of their disgusting hypocrisy is the recent photo-op of Pope Benedict XVI blessing Rebecca Kadaga, the politician behind the Ugandan "Kill the Gays" bill.

"Your news cast is tax payer-funded and should speak to the majority of reasonable and progressive thinking Canadians. The CBC is founded on the principal of social equality of opportunity and should present to young people a reflection of Canadian values that uplift and inspire. We could care less whether or not the anti-women, anti-gay hater Cardinal Ouellet of Quebec is in the running for Pope. Shame on him and shame on you for giving him a platform. I respectfully ask that you please reconsider the air time you spend pandering to no one."

To me, the most shocking part of this is that somebody from Vancouver watches The National.

But, really, the CBC needs to take this kind of letter seriously, because Canadians take it seriously.

Canadians like to say they care about gay rights, and I believe the majority really do. This is a first step, but it only matters to a point.

We can no longer accept our Canadian Broadcast Corporation to stand idly by while its news reports itself. They don't need stenographers. They need reporters who have their own minds and their own voices.

They need to go at the Catholic Church like they went at Graham James. To many Canadians, hockey is a religion, and a hockey coach has as much power over his players as a priest does over his choir boys. Power of any kind corrupts most of the time. Religious power corrupts all of the time.

Canada is a 21st century nation, but the CBC needs to become a 21st century network.

This was originally posted on White Cover Magazine.

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