Thursday, June 22, 2006

Ignoble Catholic Bugaboos

An article in the Rocky Mountain News this past Wednesday, "Catholic Church pushes for ballot measures on abortion, marriage," written by Jean Torkelson, tells us that Chaput's Catholic Church is busy inculcating its 370,000 sheep with an ignoble rhetoric of fear with regard to samesex (let's just make it one word, shall we) marriage and late term abortion, both of which will appear on the Colorado ballot in November.

Archbishop Charles Chaput declares in the article that, "If these important measures do not get on the ballot in November, we will have failed to add to our state laws a strong measure of respect for our families and new life." Chaput's forum: the Denver Catholic Register.

The article also reports that Colorado Springs (Jim Dobson country) Bishop Michael Sheridan is writing a series of articles addressing the ballot measures for the Colorado Catholic Herald.

Last week, Bishop Sheridan's rhetoric instructed his sheep that freedom of religion itself is in jeopardy if the anti-samesex marriage amendment does not appear on the November ballot. Indeed, Sheridan wrote, "If same-sex marriage is legalized here, churches that refuse to perform these 'weddings' could lose their tax-exempt status ... and any religious teaching which condemns homosexual acts (would be) considered hate speech and is punishable by imprisonment. This reduces the Christian view of marriage and sexuality to bigotry."

The Constitution of the United States of America

Amendment 1 - Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The website, U.S. Constitution Online, notes with respect to the First Amendment that, "In my opinion, the single most important part of the Constitution. Some of the first colonists of the nation for which the Constitution was written had been seeking to escape religious persecution. The constitutions of several of the states prohibited public support of religion. And above all, the many varying sects of Christianity in America required that to be fair to all, there could be preference to none. It would have been disgraceful for anyone to wish to leave the United States because of religious persecution. So they decided it best to keep the government out of religion. Now, this is not to say that the United States was not or is not a religious one. Religion plays a big role in the everyday life of Americans, then and now. But what they were striving for is tolerance... something I fear contemporary Americans are lacking."

Bishop Sheridan should be absolutely embarrassed and his sheep, his flock should be outraged with the Bishop's patronization of their intellect. One of the components of the foundation of this great country, a substantial piece of the bedrock of this nation is the concept of the separation of church and state. Granted, Dubya has managed to cross that line in providing federal funding to religious institutions to do "good works." My only problem with that is, of course--and I would challenge anyone to refute this--those federally funded "good works" through religious entities surely, undoubtedly, indubitably (three adjectives should be sufficient) come with, oh, shall we say a little preachifyin', a little "good time" smile toward the altar of Christian redemtion. Certainly, brother, we'll ladle ya'll up some soup and give ya'll a mattress to rest your weariness, but first, well, can I hear an Amen!

If Colorado Catholics believe that churches--regardless of denomination--will lose their tax-exempt status because they won't perform samesex marriages and that their stand against what they consider bibically condemned homosexuality will be considered "hate speech" and punishable by imprisonment; yes, if Colorado Catholics believe this cock and bull bugaboolian (what a great new word!) bullshit from Bishop Sheridan is "gospel" then shame on them. Shame on them for forgetting what country they live in. Shame on them for forgetting the promise of the Constitution. Shame on them for allowing the "princes" of their church to condescend, to raise demons where there are none, to blaspheme the divinely inspired imperative that the human mind should, must think for itself.

I grew up Catholic. I must admit I was never able to wrap my mind around the three persons in one thing: the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. Who is the Holy Ghost, by the way? Believing in these kinds of propositions require blind faith, which, sorry, I've never really been able to succumb to. Yeah, I know. I need no reminder of the essence of Christian belief.

If Tertullian gave voice to fact-in-faith that the, "...blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church...," then let me suggest that the ignoble bugaboos promulgated by the Catholic Church are the stuff of hypocrites and the dull-witted whose egos understand (and long for) the logic of theocracy; whose hearts have turned their backs on the teachings of Jesus Christ.

This is the United States of America, for Christ's sake people. We have a Constitution. We have the First Amendment. Do you really believe Chaput's and Sheridan's fearmongering trump those sacred documents? Do you really?

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