Someone once said that the last refuge of scoundrels is politics.
Sometimes, religion is that refuge.
Clerical collars, vestments and habits all seem to imbue the wearers with some sort of protection against being called out as the scoundrels they really are.
These people count on the masses fearing God enough to allow them to have their way with us.
We might grumble, but they count on us keeping our mouths shut at their antics because they are "serving God."
Or so they say.
Our country has no "established" religion. Religious practices are permitted to everyone who chooses to observe them.
On the other hand, there is a tacit belief in the separation of church and state, although it is nowhere to be found in the Constitution.
Church properties are tax free. That ranges from majestic cathedrals to store front ministries with very esoteric names. The longer and more elaborate the name, the smaller the congregation.
In return, the clergy is not supposed to interfere in government or politics.
They are not supposed to preach politics from the pulpit.
"Not supposed to."
Plenty of them do, especially during Lovely Warren's campaign for mayor.
Yet nobody threatened those same churches with the loss of their tax exempt status because they were afraid of being branded racist or anti-religious.
It is even more entertaining when the clergy lies through its teeth, or at least refuses to mention the whole truth of a matter.
Enter Sister Grace Miller.
Sister Grace has long been a fixture on the Rochester political scene. She has been a royal pain in the ass to the Republican dominated County Legislature for years.
Well, at least that puts some color into the Republican county legislators' cheeks.
Her antics haven't prevented the Republicans from gaining and keeping control of the County Legislature, which means that they have long learned not to take Sister Grace seriously. Her prayers at the start of each monthly public meeting are seen more as comedy relief than anything approaching a threat.
That might be one reason so many people have stopped going to church.
The minority Democrats, on the other hand, are scared to death of her. Opposing Sister Grace might threaten their bleeding heart liberal credentials.
Lately, Sister Grace has taken up the cause of the homeless in Rochester.
With the advent of Mayor Warren, Sister Grace now seeks to play off the city and the county.
Sister Grace runs "Mercy House" on Hudson Avenue. She has done so for years, with no seeming improvement to the lives of the people who stay there. It is a flop house for alcoholics, drug users and prostitutes. It offers no programs to help those unfortunates to straighten out their lives. They can remain safe under her wing while still indulging in their acts of self-destruction.
Most of them are eligible for treatment programs and housing allowance from the county.
This is what Sister Grace refuses to mention when stirring up sympathy for them. She wants the world to believe that there is no help for these lost souls.
There is, but they have to want to give up drugs, booze and hooking.
This they won't do.
It is the same with "Sanctuary Village" and the county garage at the court house.
Sister Grace wants the city to find a house for the homeless to continue their drug use, their drinking and their turning tricks until they are "ready" to seek help.
In short, allow them to continue doing what the rest of us would be arrested for, with the city and the county turning a blind eye to it.
Apparently "Mercy House" isn't big enough.
But it is odd that the homeless Sister Grace is championing this season have enough money for alcohol, cigarettes and drugs, which the city discovered when the Department of Environmental Services went to clear out "Sanctuary Village."
The homeless were offered hotel rooms, but they preferred to remain free of restrictions.
Apparently, they didn't want to go to "Mercy House," either.
Last week, our local newsrag, the D&C printed an opinion from a suburban reader that Sister Grace should win an award for all of the fine work she is doing.
You've got to be kidding.