The young lady, I’ll call her Stephanie, has been cutting my hair for a few months now, and is friendly and gregarious; reasonably articulate; normal in every way. I thought.
In casual conversation I mentioned my book. She was stunned momentarily, announced that she was a “devout catholic”, and told me light heartedly that I’m going to Hell. “Hey, no problemo here”, I said…” I hope Anne Frank knows how to play poker.’
Blank stare from Stephanie: “Who’s Anne Frank?” she asked.
Curious, I asked her exactly what she means by “devout Catholic” -- how exactly does it differentiate her from “regular Catholic”? She replied “Well, I go to mass every Sunday, don’t practice birth control, oppose abortion for any reason, and am a Conservative Republican.” The last one struck me as particularly weird since I don’t recall anything in Catholic dogma that demanded a particular political position or specific party affiliation as a prerequisite for being Catholic, devout or otherwise.
Being careful not to provoke anything that would cause her to carve a cross into the back of my head, I asked how often she read the Bible? She said she’s never read it.
I asked: “Well, you believe in transubstantiation I assume.” She said she never heard that term, but she follows the teaching of Jesus. So I ask what teachings of Jesus in particular she admires. Stephanie’s reply: “The Ten Commandments.” (!)
When I explain that the Ten Commandments preceded Jesus by a few thousand years, and were attributed to Moses she said “Oh, yeah, that’s right. But Jesus followed the Ten Commandments because he was Jewish.”
So I ask does she follow the same Jewish laws that Jesus did, as he told everyone they must, the ones in Leviticus, Deuteronomy, etc., like stoning unruly children to death, keeping kosher, not wearing mixed fiber clothes, not suffering witches to live…?
“Some kids sure could use a stoning.” She laughed “But I don’t believe in witches.”
I could tell she had no idea WTF I was talking about. But then she volunteered that she’d rather die in child birth, and leave her other three kids all under the age of 9, without a mother, than terminate the pregnancy of a severely ill malformed fetus that would likely not live more than a few hours. That was enough for me. There was a copy of a trashy celebrity magazine on her counter plastered with Michael Jackson’s face (yes, he’s STILL dead) which all of a sudden I found very interesting. I got a damn good haircut; I left her a 25% tip; set up the next appointment; and we said our goodbyes
So I had my answer. A devout catholic is one who goes to church every week; has no concept of a foundational element of her religion- transubstantiation; doesn’t practice birth control; never read the bible; doesn’t know who is credited with handing down Ten Commandments; hasn’t a clue what Jesus taught; and would kill herself and leave her three children motherless to give a defective fetus an hours worth of life.
Ok, got it. Thanks. Sorry I asked.