If it isn't the TV newscasters' glib and shallow personalities, it is the news that is getting my underwear all in a knot. My shorts started getting twisted several weeks ago when the Church of England got on their religious high-horse over the consecration of Bishop Robinson, the first openly gay bishop of that denomination. The Anglican authorities had their clerical collars a skewed over Robinson's becoming the bishop of New Hampshire. I personally don't have a problem with the gays or women being ordained in any religious denomination whether Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, or Hindu. What upset me was the outrage and brouhaha among the Anglicans in England over what was happening in America. They see the elevation of Bishop Robinson as an attack on the faith, a threat to family values, and a moral outrage.

What is this religious ruckus all about? We have an unassuming clergy who happens to be gay and whom the Episcopal Church in America (a part of the larger Anglican fellowship) elected to be a bishop of New Hampshire. The mother church in England needs to be reminded about how it came into existence. Henry VIII, a Catholic, never seemed content with his multiple marriages. So, Henry went about divorcing the first, beheading the second, burying the third, divorcing the fourth, beheading the fifth, and the sixth just got lucky and survived Henry and his family values.

Obviously, the Catholic Church wasn't happy with Henry's family and religious values and told him that his attempts at impregnating anyone that looked fertile had to stop. Henry decided to ignore the Catholic Church in his attempt to get an heir and created a church that would agree with him. That was a relatively easy task, since he was the head of his church. Thus was the naissance of the Church of England. That was hardly an auspicious perch or pulpit from which to pontificate about morality and family values.

I think that I could have handled the hypocrisy (Greek word referring to acting a part in a play) of the Anglican religious ruckus had it not been for the flap over McJob entering Webster's Dictionary hitting the press about the same time. I don't really care whether the word is included or not. However, what gets my undergarments all balled up is that they allowed the word, McJob, and still look askance at a couple of my favorite words: learnings and proactive. What is wrong with saying, "These learnings allow me to be proactive"? Those same dilettantes of dictionary purity have included in the past the word feminazis, a word coined by Rush Limbaugh. If that sexist and derogatory word can creep into the dictionary, learnings and proactive ought not to raise any intellectual eyebrows.

Speaking of Rush Limbaugh, who claims that his "talent (is) on loan from God," is another issue that has me and my underwear all messed up. He blusters and pontificates about family values, law and order, and the evils of drug use all the while allegedly having taken tens of thousands of pills. If some nobody without money had done the same thing as Rush is said to have done, that druggy would be facing a class C-felony and prison time. Apparently, Rush's minions of lawyers will get him off and all the while his ratings go up.

I actually thought that while in treatment he would have learned to be human and get straight with others and himself. Well, Rush's resurrection will have to wait a while longer. Recovery from substance abuse for Rush or anyone else will not occur without that person getting their head clean along with their body. Apparently, Rush is still in denial regardless of whether he quits using pills like OxyContin, Lorcet, and hydrocodone.

Finally, the Confederate flag controversy is driving me up the flagpole. Those that contend that the flag is merely a symbol of Southern culture stretch the credulity of all of us. Does anyone really believe that cultural heritage nonsense? What would survivors or children of survivors of the Nazi death camps think if someone maintained that flag of the Third Reich that contains the swastika is merely a German cultural icon?

It is about time that we work as hard on honesty as we often work on hypocrisy.

This article appeared in the Dixon Telegraph on 12/23/03.