In Barnesville, Minnesota, the Catholic Church has denied the religious sacrament of confirmation to two students who posted their support for gay marriage on Facebook.
The Catholic Church has been barely holding on to a dwindling membership by adopting the strategy of becoming an organized religion for hypocrites. Being a member of any church should mean the full acceptance of its core teachings. The students involved publicly expressed their disagreement with the Catholic Church’s opposition to gay marriage, and the Church was right to deny them confirmation.
Is the Catholic Church dead wrong to oppose same sex marriage as a sin? Of course. The way to make the Church enter the 21st Century is for double-talkers like John Kerry, Joe Biden and Mario Cuomo to show some backbone and integrity, and reject the Church or their upbringing because it doesn’t accept same sex marriage and abortion, while they obviously do. Instead, these and other faux-Catholics absurdly claim in public that they support diametrically opposed positions simultaneously. All three have piously stated that as Catholics they believe that life begins at conception (ergo, abortion is the sinful taking of innocent human life), but that as elected officials they feel it is inappropriate to “impose their beliefs” on the public. Of course, what elected leaders do is to impose their beliefs on the public, wherever those beliefs come from. What Cuomo, Biden and Kerry, as well as many others, have done, is to aggressively and pro-actively support policies, like abortion-on-demand, that they and their Church say they believe are wrong. Liars or hypocrites, take your pick.
The greatest hypocrites of all are churches that inflate their membership numbers (and contributions) by accepting individuals who don’t believe in the tenets that define those churchs. Imagine such a membership policy with other mission-based organizations: the KKK happily accepting members who believe white supremacy is an abomination, and sending out members running for Congress as civil rights advocates, explaining that their loyalty to the Klan and its objectives won’t affect their conduct in office at all. Imagine a PETA member opening a fur emporium while saying that, yes, he believes that killing animals for fashionable coats is an abomination, but he won’t impose his views on the public, and chinchilla stoles are 50% off this week. Meanwhile, PETA puts him in charge of public relations. Do the pacifist Quakers accept blood-soaked mercenaries into their ranks? If so, they would hardly be different from the the regular practice of other religions. Do Lady Gaga fan clubs admit members who think she’s a preening fraud?
The Assumption Church in Barnesville is doing nothing more remarkable insisting on the integrity of its organization, and the fact that this is newsworthy tells us much about the pathetic state of religion—and integrity—in the U.S. today. I cannot fathom why anyone would want to be a member of a philosophically and theologically-defined organization that accepts members who oppose its core teachings. That organization, be it a church, advocacy group or nation, isn’t dedicated to a purpose; it is only interested in continuing its existence. At the same time, accepting members who oppose a church’s most antiquated beliefs also eliminates much of the motivation to re-examine those beliefs, and to change them. When a meeting of the “real” Catholic Church, that is, the members who honestly believe what the Church teaches, can be held in an SUV, the legitimate options are limited; to re-think the mission of the Church so more people can embrace it, or to close up shop and start a cult, perhaps.
If belonging to a church does not mean embracing that church’s beliefs, then it doesn’t mean anything. Indeed, perhaps belonging to a church doesn’t mean anything anymore. This may be why fewer and fewer Americans belong to churches. Integrity is hard; hypocrisy is easy. And for both organized religions and individuals, an unwillingness to accept the limitations to your conduct that flow from your beliefs is an indictment of character.
[Note: On the Legal Ethics Forum, Richard Painter also points out that the Barnesville church’s conduct neither violates the First Amendment not implicates its tax-free status.]
Facts: D-L Online
Source: Legal Ethics Forum