Most "professional" occupations, at least in the United States, require some sort of formalized training that is acknowledged with the awarding of a diploma, certificate, or license of some sort. As an example, during my decades in the work force I have been educated and licensed as a school teacher, principal, and superintendent, a real-estate sales person and broker, and a clinical social worker. Each of those licenses to practice were based on extensive classroom training, supervised internships, and rigorous examinations. Some also required continuing education classes and periodic license renewal fees. All told, becoming a "professional" at anything is a mentally-challenging, time-consuming, and expensive process.
There is one professional title in America, however, that is not so difficult to acquire - and that is the title of "pastor" or "reverend." Many American ministers, to be sure, are highly educated and very knowledgeable in their field. Others, however, are not. I am old enough to remember when some matchbooks contained a form on their inside cover that one could fill out for information on how to become a minister quickly. Recently, in fact, I was asked if I would mind becoming a minister so that I could officiate at a wedding. (I passed on that opportunity to fluff-up my resume.)
At one time in my illustrious past I worked as a substitute mailman, delivering mail on a rural route whenever the regular carrier decided to spend the day fishing. (That was a job that did not require a license - except for a driver's license - but did require a rigorous test.) Several people on my route who did not appear to be employed at anything, received mail with the appellation "Reverend," something that one of my co-workers reasoned had to do with trying to cheat the government at tax time.
With all of that as background, it behooves one to be a bit skeptical when one of those showboat "reverends" does something outrageous to grab a cheesy internet headline or get his fifteen minutes of fame on Fox News. Chances are the fundamentalist blowhard who publicly burns a Koran or gives away automatic weapons in a church service did not attend four years at a respected seminary. In fact, chances are that the goober did not even finish high school.
But yet he is a minister, leading a "flock" of sad souls who are just as ignorant of the actual teachings of Christ as he is.
There has been a buzz on the internet this week regarding a "minister" who is trying to gain some notoriety by proposing an asinine amendment to the United States Constitution. Reverend Michael V. Wilson has drafted an amendment that would automatically send gays to prison - or a gay gulag. His proposed addition to the document that is fundamental to the rights of all Americans reads as follows:
- The United States of America is a Christian nation with Judeo-Christian ethics, morals, principles, and values.
- The practice of homosexuality in the United States of America and in all its territories and possessions, and in all its states, counties, and cities shall be a felony punishable by ten years in prison at hard labor.
- This amendment shall take effect the first Sunday after ratification.