© 2003  Karen Selick
Socialized Medicine--One Size Fits None
An edited version of this article first appeared in the November/December, 2003  issue of Canadian Lawyer.  If you wish to reproduce this article, click here for copyright info.

Karen to God—Come In, Please


The justices of the Supreme Court of Canada must be among the few people remaining in the country—or indeed, the world—who haven’t yet expressed their opinions publicly on the subject of same-sex marriages.  The opinion pages and letters sections of the newspapers and the talk shows just never seem to let up on the subject. 

Eventually, the court too will get around to saying its piece, and then the exercise will be complete—with one significant exception.  The most important person of all, the one whose pronouncement would undoubtedly settle the issue once and for all, is virtually certain to maintain silence on this subject.  He has developed the unfortunate practice of remaining silent on every crucial issue of our day.  I’m referring, of course, to God. 

I myself don’t believe He exists, and I get exasperated at times with people who do.  But since theists comprise an overwhelming percentage of humanity, I’ve pretty well resigned myself to the fact that billions of people are not likely to give up their make-believe friend as merely another Santa-like childhood fantasy within my lifetime.  But sometimes I can’t resist pointing out a few absurdities.  

All over the world, there are people who believe God has spoken to them personally.  Some of them we treat like the psychotics they are and send to mental institutions.  Others we give important titles to, like “pope”, and treat their pronouncements with grave deference.  Meanwhile, the people of some third world countries are convinced that God has been chatting with guys like Osama Bin Laden and told them that the ways of the western countries are evil.  We don’t give any credence at all to these purported missives from above.  Instead, we try to bomb the shit out of the messengers. 

Why doesn’t God just make a public announcement to all of us at the same time and set the record straight?   Surely with all His powers He could make an all-embracing broadcast from heaven.  He needn’t set fire to all the world’s bushes.  He could take a page out of Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged in which the hero John Galt, a scientific genius, commandeers all the world’s radio and television stations to broadcast a message simultaneously to the entire globe. 

Sure, lots of people would be pissed off if God chose to pre-empt Hockey Night in Canada or Jerry Springer, but it need only be a one-time thing.  He should be articulate enough to make himself understood with only one broadcast every couple of thousand years. 

I mean, this is the guy who’s supposed to be merciful, right?  Why doesn’t He put us all out of our misery and just tell us what He really thinks about same-sex marriage and similar—if you’ll pardon the expression—burning issues? 

No doubt someone will write in and tell me that God made man with free will and He expects us to figure out right from wrong on our own, blah, blah, blah.  When you do, dear reader, please explain why was God so forthright about signifying His displeasure back in the old days.  The expulsion from Eden, Noah’s flood, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorra—those weren’t exactly subtle hints that mankind had goofed up.  Why all the coyness these past few millennia?

Theists always have some bromide handy for why tragedies that should be intolerable to a merciful god still keep happening under God’s very nose.  My favourite is, “God works in mysterious ways.”  Yes, so do gremlins and leprechauns.

Can’t theists get their minds around the notion that maybe, just maybe, those guys that wrote the bible a couple of thousand years ago got it wrong, or made it up?  Haven’t they seen the movie Inherit the Wind, where Clarence Darrow points out that little inconsistency in Genesis?  You know, the part about Cain settling down in the land of Nod and taking a wife, when so far the only people who had ever existed were his parents Adam and Eve and brother Abel.  Did someone else hold another Creation over there in Nod, or what?

While theists in general are unfathomable to me, there’s one subset who mystify me even more than most.  They’re the ones who think that if they don’t like the rules of the particular church they belong to, it should be the church that changes, not them.  I remember reading a few years ago about some nun who was suing her church to prevent it from excommunicating her following an abortion.  Geez, lady, if you don’t like the rules of the organization well enough to abide by them, why are you so desperate to continue belonging? 

Equally mystifying are people who claim to be Catholics, yet think the church should agree to marry homosexual couples.  If they don’t like the rules of the club they belong to, why don’t they find a club to join that has rules they like, or start a new one?  Why try to force everyone else in the club to change their minds? 

I guess we’re just supposed to accept that theists--like God, gremlins and leprechauns--work in mysterious ways.


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January 1, 2004