Sunday, May 1, 2011

Virgin Bees

I know what you're thinking. "Kate," you're saying, "those two things have nothing to do with each other. Virgin bees. It's nonsense!"

And until last weekend, I would have agreed with you. I would have done the Stewie head-tilt  and then immediately disregarded everything after "virgin bees". Because bees are, well, bees. They buzz, and they dance to give directions, and they make honey, but I'm fairly certain that for all their complexity, they do not subscribe to human standards of sexual discourse.

I was wrong.

And here I need to give a little background. I know that over on the right there, it describes me as "Roman Catholic". Up until recently, that was true. Mostly true. I had my issues with the Church, because who doesn't, but I was willing to put up with them because the faith still resonated with me. I believe in Christ, in the True Presence of the Eucharist, in the celebration of the Mass as a recreation of the Last Supper. I like the Latin, the pomp and circumstance, the tradition.

What I don't like, and what's driven me away from the Church, is the relentless sexism and obsessive focus on sexuality. For a few months, we got a sermon on "deviant" sexuality and sexual "sins" every. single. Sunday at the Cathedral Basilica. You'd think after a while, priests would get tired of thinking about who's sticking his junk in whoever else's junk drawer, but you'd be wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. We got everything from "not kissing on dates is awesome because you're totally saving yourself from sin" to "give up birth control for Lent!"

I'm not even joking. While Rome was changing the translations of the Gospels to make Mary a "young girl" instead of a virgin, our priests were hammering home the fact that being gay makes baby Jesus cry and girls better keep those skirts below the knee and collars above the clavicle!

It was relentless and ridiculous, and I stopped listening. It was either that, or stroke out in the choir loft.

Last weekend was Easter. The Archbishop celebrates the Easter Vigil Mass every year, and he usually gives great sermons. I generally look forward to Christmas and Easter, when I get to hear him preach.

He started off normally enough, discussing the symbols of Easter. He discussed candles, and how Christ is the light of the world, and how the Vatican has very specific requirements for the candles we use in the Mass. They must be at least 51% beeswax, and for special candles - like the Paschal candle - the percentage is usually much higher. This is because beeswax is natural and especially fine, and we glorify God in part by using the materials He gave us in building His churches and all the things therein.

Beautiful, right? An interesting fact about candles, a Catholic rule explained, a nice little sermon about light and truth.

Except that I guess he thought Easter - unlike Christmas - just doesn't have enough talk about junk drawers, because he went on to include the fact that the beeswax is made by "female" drone bees. Bees who will never be queens, and will never have children.

Virgin bees. 

I was amazed my eyeballs stayed in my head and didn't fall out of the loft and onto unsuspecting parishioners, they were rolling so hard. Virgin bees. VIRGIN BEES, people. Not even the non-sentient, non-soul-bearing creatures put on the earth to help us live are exempt from being slutty slutty slutbags! That dirty queen bee, fucking all those drones just to perpetuate the species! It's a good thing she's not involved in making the wax, or we couldn't use it in church, could we? It would be no-good slutwax, and we couldn't have that!

I'm just - I'm done. I'm finishing out this choir season, and then it's over. I can't listen to another sermon like this. I certainly can't instruct my daughter in a religion that thinks she's a second-class citizen simply for having a vagina, and a nothing-class citizen if she ever decides to treat her body as if she owns it. I don't know where I'll be going - I know the Episcopalian cathedral has been hiring vocalists recently, so I may start there. I'll probably check out ELCA Lutherans if that doesn't pan out.

But honestly, I'll just settle for anywhere I won't have to hear about virgin motherfucking bees.

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