• The Pope’s Magical Germs

    bob-bradyOver the weekend, the news coverage in the Philadelphia suburbs has been all Pope all the time. I seriously thought my local news station was EWTN. Some of the news stories I heard were so superstitious it was embarrassing.

    At one point the news was interviewing a woman who met Pope John Paul when he was in Philadelphia in 1979. The woman was a little girl at the time and was deaf. She claims that her deafness was cured though a miracle. Apparently it was a big deal since her “miracle” was the justification for someone becoming a saint. I can’t really remember the details, but in the current interview she said that it doesn’t matter that her miracle had a scientific explanation, it was still a miracle.

    Really? I thought the whole point of miracles was that they can’t have a scientific explanation. So the very fact that she now admits that her “miracle” has a scientific explanation should be justification to un-saint someone. Of course, we would have to un-saint all the saints shortly thereafter because miracles don’t exist. It’s all superstitious nonsense.

    Another story featured a boy who had lost the use of his legs. His family was excited to take him to see the Pope because they hoped that Pope Francis would touch his leg and his leg would magically begin to work again. This is televangelist shit. I mean this is the time of stuff you usually see at 3am as paid programing and yet now it is on during the primetime news broadcast over the public airwaves. It’s just embarrassing. Watching that kind of stuff made me embarrassed to be a human being.

    But it gets worse… much worse. The Pope’s magic powers apparently go beyond touch; his germs are magical too! My Congressman, Bob Brady actually stole Pope Francis’s cup of water and plans to use it to give him and his family magical luck.

    Last week, after the Pope addressed Congress, most of the congressmen and congresswomen rushed to the Pope… but not my congressman. No, Rep. Bob Brady rushed to the podium to steal the Pope’s used water cup. Pope Francis isn’t as thirsty a guy as Marco Rubio and so the cup still was half full of water. The Congressman took the cup back to his office and sipped it. He offered sips to family and a couple of staffers and colleagues in the hopes of a magic blessing. After telling the Pope about it on Sunday, Congressman Brady took it to sick people and had them sip from the “holy water” in the hopes that they would be magically cured. According to PhillyNews, the Pope instructed him to, “Give it to the people who are sick and the babies.”

    I expect this level of superstition from the Republicans, but to have it come from a Democrat is infuriating. To hear it from my own Democratic Congressman just can’t go without challenge. So I wrote to my congressman about it:

    Dear Congressman Brady,
    I am one of your constituents and one of your supporters. However, I am deeply embarrassed by your recent superstitious act of stealing the Pope’s water and drinking from it in the hopes of gaining some sort of magic powers of something. For one thing, the Pope is just a human being like anyone else and he has germs. I know germs aren’t really mentioned in the Bible, but I assure you that they do exist.

    Normally, I would just laugh this off as stupid superstition on your part, but an anti-science pattern is starting to emerge. Last year at the Delco Democratic Party Nomination Convention I spoke with you briefly about supporting the Darwin Day Resolution that was in the House at the time. You never signed on to that Resolution that would have honored Charles Darwin and science. I should point out that the Pope is a supporter of evolution and I would like to think that he would support that resolution if he were in your position. I hope this message will inspire you to support the Darwin Day resolution next year.

    My hope is that with this letter, I can at least let my congressman know that there are people in his district who support science and reason. We should all let our elected representatives know that we exist and that we are vocal. Even if we have right-wing representatives, they have to know that we are out there and that we will no longer allow them to get away with such ridiculous superstitions unchecked.

    In this case, Brady didn’t do anything illegal and his superstitious actions are largely inconsequential. However, by letting him know that his constituents find such actions embarrassing, it is my hope that he will think again next time he has the impulse to act on his superstitions. If enough people complain when their elected officials act on their superstitions in ridiculous ways, maybe they will start to consider their actions more carefully.

    Category: AtheismAtheist ActivismCatholicfeaturedPoliticsPopesecularismSeparation of Church and State


    Article by: Staks Rosch

    Staks Rosch is a writer for the Skeptic Ink Network & Huffington Post, and is also a freelance writer for Publishers Weekly. Currently he serves as the head of the Philadelphia Coalition of Reason and is a stay-at-home dad.