Thursday, March 13, 2008

New Sins to Worry About

I found this highly amusing text on one of the MediaBistro Blogs:

Apparently Ken Courtney won't have to look far for the inspiration for his next Indulgences collection. The Vatican has updated its list of seven deadly sins. Monsignor Gianfranco Girotti, the head of the Apostolic Penitentiary, put a modern spin on sin in his recent interview with a Vatican newspaper, citing new, 21st century-style mortal sins that read like C. Montgomery Burns' (of the Simpsons) to-do list:

The New Mortal Sins

1. Genetic modification

2. Carrying out experiments on humans

3. Polluting the environment

4. Causing social injustice

5. Causing poverty

6. Becoming obscenely wealthy

7. Taking drugs

"I think it's to remind people that sins are not just individual," Father James Martin, acting publisher of the Jesuit magazine America, told NPR yesterday. "There's also social sins...sins that affect the community at large and sins that an institution can engage in." Fair enough, but we'd like to have a look at the Vatican's Netflix queue. This new list of sins makes us suspect a recent papal screening of The Constant Gardener."

It's odd that the Vatican would single out genetic modification, when nearly everything we eat has been genetically enhanced, hybridized, gene-spliced and otherwise changed from its original form about a million times since farming became industrialized. As my friend Renee Stern pointed out, the original corn plants grown by farmers were puny and didn't yield anything edible, so they mixed the corn plants with hardier versions until they got the kinds of corn we have today. Also, becoming wealthy should not be a sin. If you are a successful, visionary person, you have a right to the fruits of your labor. To say otherwise is ridiculous. Granted, it would be nice if, once you become wealthy, that you support those less fortunate, or try to wipe out disease in other parts of the world, like Bill Gates, but you are certainly not required to do so--just look at all those rich oil sheiks in the Middle East who could care less about those less fortunate.
Anyway, I'd like to see the book that some bright author makes of this new would be interesting.

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