Rich Mayfield: Ungodly acts of men |

Rich Mayfield: Ungodly acts of men

Rich Mayfield

Poor Richard’s reminder that “A penny saved is a penny earned” must have millions of mortgage-stretched borrowers nodding their heads in sad agreement these days. And whoever decided “Honesty is the best policy,” somehow never considered political campaigns. Speaking of campaigning, the ancient Chinese curse, “May your every wish come true” seems particularly sinister in this heightened time of political promise-making.

Recent events have put me in mind of another worthy aphorism, this one from that paragon of philosophical wisdom, Groucho Marx, who paradoxically announced, “I wouldn’t join any club that would have me as a member.” I suspect that is small comfort to golfer Randy Brown who was just expelled from the Phoenix Country Club for “multiple violations of club etiquette.” The multiples mainly included his commenting to the press that his club’s policy of excluding women from its well-appointed restaurant was a vestige from the dark ages. And with that rather reasonable and woefully obvious declaration, Mr. Brown got the boot.

Like most of you, I can’t imagine who would even want to eat with such dubious duffers as these, but when you read that the golfing women are relegated to a tacky little room with nothing but a hot plate to heat up their hot dogs, it turns this act of cheesy chauvinism into an unconscionable, if not unconstitutional, display of despicable discrimination. Even as lawsuits are filed and investigations pursued, I suppose most of the boys will go on about their post-duffing business at the plushy bar and grill, but I can’t help but hope that others will join Mr. Brown in joining Mr. Marx.

As far as I know the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, isn’t on the rolls of the Phoenix Country Club, but he certainly is a part of another good old boy club called The Anglican Communion.

Last week, Williams collected his Anglican bishop brothers, along with a few consecrated sisters, at the once-a-decade Lambeth Conference. This gathering of Anglican leaders is intended to be held in a spirit of unity and mutual admiration.

But, as another proverb sadly foretells, the best of intentions got off to a hellacious start when nearly a third of the invited church leaders decided to decline the Archbishop’s request. Their declination was based on the most religious of reasons, of course, with the pious priests deciding that any conference of clerics that included either women or gays could not be willed by God.

So in good Christian fashion and with enormous historical precedent, the not-to-be-sullied saints announced the formation of a new faction dedicated to keeping the faith pure. Employing the rather unwieldy acronym GAFCON (Global Anglican Future Conference), the new crusade marched forth.

Their first action was to make sure everyone understood that they were only acting with the best of biblical intentions. The fact that these intentions were intended to exclude from leadership 50 percent of the world’s population who happen to be women and the 10 percent, women or men, who happen to be homosexual, was, of course, understood as simply following God’s good order. That God’s good order also has included acts of genocide (Joshua 11) and bizarre science (Again with Joshua…this time Chapter 10) seems not to have troubled this devoted assembly of true believers.

Woody Allen’s oft-invoked insight, “If Jesus returned today he wouldn’t stop throwing up” seems particularly appropriate when pondering the sanctimonious pronouncements of religious bigots.

Whether its forcing women to shroud themselves from head to foot or secretly erecting a stained-glass ceiling, be it brazen acts of clerical bullying or self-righteous religious schisms, discrimination in the name of any God should be seen for what it is … decidedly un-godly.

Rich Mayfield is the author of “Reconstructing Christianity: Notes from the New Reformation.” E-mail comments about this column to

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