Much Ado About Nothing
My local catholics are playing dress-up again, walking the streets chanting and carrying candles. I left my window open for just a minute too long, and now my whole fucking room stinks of fucking incense. I am seething. Just what gives them the right to rub their silly rituals in my face like that?
If I’d run through public streets at this hour being as loud and producing as much smell, I’d be arrested within minutes. From noise pollution to disturbance of public peace, scandalization and what-not, I’d be charged with a variety of stuff and it’d end up being a very expensive prank. Plus, if I was wearing as silly a costume and a funny hat while annoying the shit out of people for no reason, I’d probably be put straight into the mental ward. And rightfully so, because that is where people who engage in this kind of activity belong.
There are literally hundreds of churches in Cologne – more than enough space for all of our deluded morons to play dress-up as much as they like without disturbing anybody. But of course that’s not enough for them. It’s also not enough that our supposedly secular state stops me from buying stuff on Sundays, and forces me to stay quiet and largely indoors on every so-called “silent” christian holiday, on which all clubs and bars stay closed so as to not disturb the – what, 10%? – of our population who still actually take their Catholicism seriously. I’d rather be working or at school, thanks. But what is my desire to have a life on that particular day compared to a tradition that hardly anybody follows anymore?
Now I almost wish our muslim population would get their way and be allowed to build their bloody minarets, calling for prayer-time 5 times a day, just so the christians would see how annoying it is to be fucking spammed with the rubbish of a faith that isn’t yours.
More importantly than annoying the shit our of me though, this procession made it painfully obvious how out-of-proportion the significance of religion in Germany’s politics and law-making is compared to the significance of it as a part of the real life among the population. The procession that just passed under my window was a pathetic display. About 30 clergy in their ridiculous robes, marching in formation, carrying banners or candles, plus a band of 10 playing brass instruments. This mob was followed by not even 20 “civilian” believers, also carrying candles. A total of 60 people. apparently, that’s enough to close the streets for car traffic until they crept past, and put four policemen on active duty just to be there in case something horrible happens, like one of the clergy setting his silly costume alight with his candle. Or something like that.
Let’s take a second to dwell on that: A ritual in the middle of a city with over a million inhabitants, a city that has been the seat of the catholic arch-bishop for centuries, a city with a church on every corner, a city with a supposedly high religiosity. And less than 60 participants. On paper, the churches all still have hundreds of members. In reality, there are very few people who still attend any services at all, even less who actually believe rather than just being there for tradition’s sake, and even among those few left who would describe themselves as devout catholics, I wonder how many there are who have even read the catechism, much less agree with what is written in it.
It’s time for the state to focus on its secular duties, and stop treating the churches like they’d still represent 80% of the population. They don’t. In germany, the nonreligious have already outnumbered any particular faith, and taken the place of the fastest-growing group. And do bear in mind that those are statistics that already count anybody who has ever been baptized as “christian” and any immigrant from a “muslim country” as a muslim – absolutely regardless of their actual beliefs – while only including those who officially defected from their faiths in the “nonreligious” section. I think it’s time we collectively acknowledge reality: Religion is a dying phenomenon.