a new billboard on display sure to tweak the noses of their more conservative brethren. It's part of an initiative to petition those old codgers who wear the funny hats to permit the ordination of openly gay and lesbian priests.
Whatever your views on the merits of such a campaign, the use of the term "white collar crime" is interesting. When did you last see a "man of the cloth" out in public with a dog collar? When did you last hear a functionary of a traditional church obsequiously referred to as "reverend" without flinching?
Back in the "olden days," when I was a kid, dog collared reverends were far more common. In fact, there was a default attitude of respect toward them, even among those who rarely darkened the door of a church. They were, if nothing else, professional gentlemen. They had endured years of training, had more books on their shelves than their parishioners, and were both 'safe' and somewhat worldly-wise. If you wanted a job reference, a clergyman was a sound choice, along with the family doctor and a high school teacher. Need some astute advice? You'd see Pastor/Father/Reverend so and so, particularly if you came from a lower-middle class or working class background.
Times change. Clergypersons are no longer exclusively male. Dog collars are out of fashion when appearing in public. Attendance has plummeted. The church is caught up in its own interminable internal disputes, gay ordination being one hot issue that refuses to be hosed down, while Rome burns all around it.
White collar crime number one, as I see it, is the refusal of the mainline churches to come clean on their complicity in (to use a euphemism) the mushroom farming industry (keep 'em in the dark and pour on the effluent.) Obfuscation reigns in an attempt to offend as few people as possible. The old creeds continue to be recited by worshippers who know that they can't be taken on face value. The unspoken rule is "play the game" and, while you're being sprayed with effluent, whistle loudly to keep your spirits up.
But why bother? There's not much future in that, either with or without an enlightened policy toward the ordination of gay men and women.