Recently on the popular television program, Saturday Night Live, a comedian made a rather colourful wisecrack in response to an answer that Nancy Pelosi had given to a journalist who had accused her of hating the President. Pelosi had stated that, as a Roman Catholic, she hates no one — and this prompted the comedian to make this quip: “As a Catholic, I know there’s always one person you hate — yourself.”

I’m not someone who’s easily upset by religious jokes. Humour is supposed to have an edge and comedians play an important archetypal role here, that of the “Court Jester” whose task it is to deflate whatever’s pompous. Religion is often fair game. Indeed, I appreciated the wit in this wisecrack. Still, something bothers me about this particular wisecrack because it plays into a certain stereotype that’s, unfortunately, very common today wherein people from all kinds of religious backgrounds (this is not specific to Roman Catholics) blame their religious upbringing for the struggles they have with self-hatred and guilt feelings.

How true is this? Is our religious upbringing the root cause of our struggles with self-hatred and guilt feelings?

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