Archives for category: Therapy

First, here is a copy of a letter I just wrote to editor of the Washington Post:


I recently read a report by an Arlington Wiccan priestess who was denied clergy status by the clerk of the court for the 17th Judicial District (primarily the city of Falls Church, VA).

I am a Roman Catholic, and do not share Ms. Literata Hurley’s faith, however I find the incident disturbing.

Ms. Hurley was denied Clergy status by Paul Ferguson, Clerk of the Court, primarily because her congregation does not have a physical church. They meet at member’s houses and outside. I suspect he may have had other motives (he indicated there were other, unnamed reasons), but that is the only concrete reason he provided.

I immediately thought of Saint Francis, whose order owns nothing worldly. Even the churches and monasteries they use today are not theirs, and I thought, “This man would have denied Saint Francis clergy status.”

I sheepishly admit that it took me a bit to remember that Saint Francis struggled every day to emulate someone else, and in my opinion serves as a the greatest example of walking in Christ’s path.

It is with tears in my eyes that I write to you and point out that in Virginia, perhaps the birthplace of true religious freedom (thank you Mr. Jefferson) a government official denied clergy status to a woman for supplying the same answers to his questions that Jesus might have.

I encourage Mr. Ferguson to reconsider his decision, and I encourage the Post to ask him if he will.

Semper Fi,

 Terry Mahoney


Here is a link to Ms. Hurley’s account of the situation

There are three reasons I can think of for you, dear reader, to be unmoved by Ms. Hurley’s problem.

1) Apathy towards religion in general – I use apathy here, but I might include antipathy. I get it. I have faith, but my path was circuitous to get here, and while I won’t try to convert you, I would point out that this is an issue of basic rights. This one government offiicial is making an arbitrary decision that will impact many people’s lives. I can’t know his thoughts or feelings, but I am disturbed by theprima facieevidence indicating a judgment dismissing the validity of her religion. What if said arbitrary decision impacted you, in the form of a building permit, or some other secular issue?

2) Not particularly inclined to respect Wicca – I do not believe in Wicca. I struggle with the mutually exclusive nature of religions, and have a more nuanced position than my church, but I don’t spend time trying to work Wicca into my life. If there was no Wicca, it wouldn’t negatively impact me that I can tell. But that is beside the point; we are a secular society and we have a law that respects all faiths. Thomas Jefferson probably didn’t have Wicca in mind when he wrote Virginia’s statute on religious freedom, but that is immaterial. Religious freedom is a fundamental right enshrined in our society. I know the 1st Amendment’s wording refers only to Congress making laws impacting religion, but our courts have wisely chosen to infer the implied protection down to all levels of government, and all kinds of religions.

3) You are a wise-ass who likes to respond to passion with sarcasm – Guilty as charged. I welcome your snark. But consider simultaneously emailing the editor of the Post at Letters@WashPost.Com . They are the most influential regional paper and can make a difference. So snark away, but send this:

Dear Editor,

I read about Literata Hurley’s rejection of Clergy Status by the Clerk of the Court in Arlington County. I think it is disturbing and hypocritical that she would be rejected on essentially the same grounds that Jesus would be, particularly in Virginia, the birthplace of religious freedom.

Very Truly Yours,

Snarky McSnark

Amen, Tom


I am SO looking forward to VEEP, coming up this Sunday. First, it stars Elaine.

Elaine got elected

I know her name is Julia-Louise Dreyfus, but when I talk to my friends and family, I say Elaine. Just like Wallace Shawn is Vezinni and Ray Romano is Ray. And if you’re reading this, you’re my friend, because I like everybody.

Click on her picture for the USA Today review.

I recommend it as therapy because we are about to enter an extremely vicious election cycle. To paraphrase Winston Zeddemore, you will see $#!+ that will turn you white. I feel it is my duty as a civic-minded American to protect the political process from a complete collapse into illegitimacy.

To that end, I recommend you watch VEEP as a form of inoculation. It is not partisan, that I can tell; it’s more about farce and exposing the underlying humanity (read vulnerability) of those in Washington.

My hope is that this farce will carry you through the week, and instead of wanting to punch the television when a report or an ad comes on, you will laugh, because you know the main characters in Washington and beyond don’t really know what the hell they’re doing anyway, and they are insecure, and they think their butt is fat, or whatever.

Here’s a really thoughtful review by Dave Zurawik of the Baltimore Sun, which speaks to the credentials of the director, which is one of the main reasons why I’m watching. You should check it out here. 

And if you, like my friend Dan O’Connor, don’t have TV and haven’t figured out how to use someone else”s HBOGO.COM yet, check out Dan’s web comic at or his cool artwork at his blog at Studio Gulag. It has nothing to do with VEEP, but I feel sorry for Dan, because he can’t watch it, so I’ll drive a few clicks in his direction.

Semper Fi.