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Monday, October 4, 2010

Religion, sweet and innocuous

Yesterday I read about the blessing of the animals. In honor of St. Francis of Assisi (who spent much time showing kindness to animals) there is an annual blessing of the animals. Bring your horse to church, and he will never throw you again. What self-respecting atheist could find objection to something so innocent as blessing the animals? Surely this is not the religious activity that makes activists scream about separation of church and state. The event was held at Marine Stadium in Marine Vista Park, and no less than eleven clergy persons from various churches were on hand to convey those blessings. Cats, rabbits, dogs, a boa, a miniature horse, a bobcat, and a chinchilla all were there to benefit from religious silliness at the expense of the belittling image of religion that was thereby reinforced. Can you imagine the offense and outrage if a real Christian stood up to quote the apostle Peter who referred to "natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed"?

I thought I was finished shaking my head in disgust at the embarrassing things that are done in the name of "religion" when I picked up this morning's paper to see an article about the hundreds of people who gathered in Huntington Beach for the "Blessing of the Waves"! The surfing priest was quoted as saying, "We find that the ocean can bring people of all faiths together." How sweet is that? This ecumenism casts a very wide net. There were representatives there from the Roman Catholic, Jewish, Mormon, Islamic and (get this) Zoroastrian faiths present. The estimate was that this event attracted 3,000 people.

While this was happening at the beach just a little south of us, we sat in church, hearing a simple message of how God is calling us to buy wine and milk without money in 55th chapter of Isaiah, and how Jesus fulfilled that promise. He said "If any man is thirsty, let him come to me and drink." The rich blessing that Jesus alone can convey is not for animals or waves, but for poor lost sinners who repent and look to Him for grace. How sad that there were only a couple hundred there instead of the 3 thousand who are attracted to the surf and the tomfoolery that took place.

God always blesses his animals and gives His surf for the pleasure of the just and the unjust alike. Clergymen add nothing to the wonder of His creation by "blessing" it.

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