Syte Reitz

The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world…….

Browsing Posts tagged LGBT

Heckling the Rosary

or

Renaming the Wisconsin State Journal

 

Don’t Diss My Church

One of the prime goals of this cultural values blog is to defend my religion, Catholicism, against the regrettably frequent and unjust attacks we suffer, particularly in Madison, WI.
One of this blog’s first blog categories was “Don’t Diss My Church.”
And in Madison, the Wisconsin State Journal has provided more than it’s fair share of imbalanced reporting on Catholics, frequently fueling my blog.

Why Pray the Rosary at Madison’s Capitol Square?

Catholics praying the rosary at Capitol Rosary Rally

Now that the Obama administration has embarked on restricting the religious freedom of Catholics, Madison Catholics have begun praying the rosary on Thursday evenings on the Madison Capitol steps, to beg God’s help in the restoration of religious freedom to our nation. 

Madison’s Rosary Rally gatherings attract 150-300 quiet, polite people each week.  The crowd includes families with small children, young singles, and many grandparents as well.  The Catholics gather quietly after business hours, do not disrupt Capitol business, leave no litter behind, do no shouting, carry no vuvuzelas, whistles or drums, and don’t even carry signs.  They come, they pray for our nation, and they leave quietly, leaving no damage in their wake.

Who Heckles Children Praying the Rosary?

About 3 to 10 ne’er-do-wells have started showing up at these rosary events, attempting to disrupt them. Their tactics include shouting four letter words from across the street, mocking the rosary, carrying rude signs mentioning private body parts, and all the usual aggressive radical left tactics Wisconsin has witnessed at recent teacher union protests, and at Madison Pro-Life rallies (which radicals have routinely tried to disrupt in recent years, and where they have even been known to get up in pulpits at Library Mall and perform strip-tease dances in front of children with literally only God knows what motivation).
Teacher union protest tactics:

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Is the Wisconsin State Journal Heckling the Rosary?

So, Doug Erickson, the “religion” reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal (WSJ), instead of covering the story from the perspective of the hundreds of Catholics participating in the Capitol Rosary Rally who represent one quarter of America, covered the story instead from the perspective of the handful of rude hecklers.

Doug chose the headline:

Critics: ‘Rosary rallies’ at Capitol thinly disguised GOP pep fests

Hmmm… GOP “pep-fest?”


Better Headlines not considered by WSJ:

  • Catholics Pray for Restoration of Religious Freedom
  • Families Pray for the Coming Election
  • Family Values Defended in Public Prayer
  • Prayer Brought to Madison’s Downtown Capitol
  • New Peaceful Standard Set for Disagreeing With Government
  • Prayer and Civility Replaces Anger and Rage at Madison’s Capitol
  • Contrasting Teacher Union Protests and Capitol Rosary in Madison

I have participated in many of the Rallies, and I can attest to the fact that Doug Erickson’s implication that Rosary Rallies are “pep-fests” could not be further from the truth.

A More Accurate Headline:


WSJ  Rosary Rally Article- Thinly Disguised Radical Dem Propaganda

 

Thinly Disguised Radical Dem Propaganda Headline

The Wisconsin State Journal’s misleading headline was amplified by a factor of 118,000 through its State-wide circulation, and the whole of Wisconsin was misinformed.  Not to mention online readers, or readers of spin-off articles such as those at the LaCrosse Tribune, Yahoo News or the Orlando Sentinel.

The Wisconsin State Journal gave voice to a handful of hecklers and dissidents rather than to hundreds of serious Catholics, who represent the beliefs of 25% of the American population  and 25% of Madison’s population.

Who are These Hecklers Favored by the Wisconsin State Journal?

Rosary Heckler Number One

One individual quoted in Doug Erickson’s article is Craig Spaulding, who presumed to know the motivations of the Catholics and declared the prayer rally to be partisan and to be GOP.
Doug Erickson failed to mention who Craig Spaulding was —  he did not mention that Craig Spaulding is a fringe radical Madison activist who was arrested (more than once) during the teacher’s union protests, who had to be carried out of the Senate gallery by ten officers for violating rules, and who is a member of the anarchist International Workers of the World, which favors “direct action,”  in place of using democratic channels. Craig Spaulding is also involved with Occupy Wisconsin,  participates regularly in the frequent Capitol lunch sing-a-long protests, and used to own the most troublesome drinking establishment on Capitol Square, which was famous for it’s “underwear parties.” It is not clear whether Craig Spaulding is a paid union protester . Craig is listed as a delinquent taxpayer owing over $33,000 in taxes.

Here’s a You Tube showing the Capitol lunch protesters with whom Craig Spaulding participated frequently and which forced Capitol Tour Guides to wear ear plugs; the group whose perspective the Wisconsin State Journal favors over the perspective of Catholics praying the Rosary at the Capitol:

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Second Rosary Critic

Annie Laurie Gaylor of FFRF at Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally, Madison, W

Second Rosary Critic

Another individual quoted by the WSJ article is one of the co-presidents of the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), Annie Laurie Gaylor, who personally protested at the Stand Up For Religious Freedom Rally last June 8th, and who made no objections while her husband and co-President of FFRF Dan Barker repeatedly heckled praying children and scandalized them by shouting sexually suggestive remarks addressed to the children.

Dan Barker (FFRF) at Madison’s Freedom From Religion Rally; and what was Dan Barker doing? Shouting rude things at children.

Annie Laurie Gaylor and FFRF are in a minority not only because they are atheists, but particularly because they are a miniscule minority among atheists themselves.  They constitute only 0.1 of 1% of atheists, or one out of a thousand atheists.  That’s right, 999 out of 1,000 atheists, unlike Gaylor and FFRF, are tolerant of 80% Christian America, of 25% Catholic America, and have no problem with our legally established American right to public prayer which President Obama periodically exercises.  Gaylor and her FFRF, whom the Wisconsin State Journal chose to quote in this article, constitute the angry radical fringe, which represents only one out of 33 thousand people, or 0.003 of 1% of the population of America.

Third Rosary Heckler

Another Rosary heckler (not mentioned by the Wisconsin State Journal article) made herself known to me when her braggadocio arrived in my inbox, through an online discussion in which I had participated.  She belatedly joined a discussion which I had previously viewed as a reasonable and constructive conversation with a Madison LGBT activist, and which started when I objected to the activist’s treatment of the first Capitol Rosary Rally and of Bishop Morlino on his blog.

Aside: Since that time, the LGBT activist has begun censoring comments published on his blog, selecting supportive radical comments for publication, and declining to publish further discussion with me.  I guess there are limits to the “Bluebird’s” willingness to discuss truth, after all, particularly when he and his friends start losing the argument.  Turns out, he’s also a regular at the Lunchtime Solidarity Singers at the Capitol, who drive tour guides to wear ear protection.

Back to the third Rosary heckler: her name is Genie Ogden.  Genie bragged in the online discussion that she heckles the Rosary Rally weekly, boos, and sings “Solidarity Forever” at Catholics who are singing hymns.  Genie, like Craig Spaulding, was also a regular member of the Capitol lunchtime “Sing-a-Longs,” the fringe minority who continues to make noise at the Madison Capitol at lunchtime, despite Governor Walker’s re-election by an even larger majority in Wisconsin than he enjoyed in his first election.

Perhaps Genie is looking for new outlets for her anger, now that the recall is over.  The You Tube of “Solidarity” protesters (to which Craig and Genie belonged, the noise of which drove people to wear ear protection) was presented above.

Schoenstatt Sister after the first Capitol Rosary Rally

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Just over a week ago, Genie Ogden was arrested for demonstrating with signs without a permit at the State Capitol.  She routinely protests with her daughter, who publicly approves lawlessness, such as the pouring of beer on conservative legislator’s heads, or throwing rotten fruit at them.

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Do these rosary hecklers/solidarity singers really believe that such actions would be persuasive and would bolster their cause?

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Genie, like Doug Spaulding and FFRF, tried to claim that the Rosary Rallies are political, and that they constitute a violation of separation of Church and State.  What she does not seem to realize is that neither she, nor other liberals, can divine the thoughts of others, and that the mention of Governor Walker and of Paul Ryan once in the course of thirteen Rosary Rallies, in the context of being answers to prayers, reflects a pro-life, not a Republican position.  Democrat Stupak and his 11 Democrat supporters were an equal blessing and an equal answer to prayer when they stood up for the exclusion of abortion from ObamaCare.
The pro-life beliefs of Catholics are not political; they are ethical.

 

.Rosary Hecklers in General

The Rosary Hecklers and critics above exhibit a bigoted and tyrannical attitude, denying to others the rights that the hecklers enjoy themselves.

Madison Teacher’s Union Protesters

Solidarity union activists like Craig and Genie, and LGBT activists like the Bluebird, reserve the right to use Madison’s Capitol Square for themselves to promote their own (minority) views and social agendas, but they seem to miss the hypocrisy in denying the use of the Capitol Square to praying Christians, who represent many more people than they do- a fact ignored by WSJ reporters.

The right to public prayer has actually been constitutionally upheld numerous times. Yet the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) continues to attack public prayer wherever they think they can win, through legal intimidation of groups with small budgets, like the town of Marshfield, WI.

The feeble attempts made by Craig, Annie and Genie to label Rosary Rallies events as political

Progressives Misjudging Catholics?

also reflects a judgmental attitude; they claim to know the motivation of others.  After misjudging their target’s motivation, many “progressives” continue by attacking and violating the rights of those with whom they disagree. The Constitution does not guarantee a Right to Hateful Harassment.  Moreover, the effectiveness of such tactics in promoting one’s cause are highly dubious.

I am proud to say that I have never gone to any Madison Capitol Square event to boo, heckle, curse, scream, disrupt or to counter-protest.  I don’t engage in hateful behavior towards those with whom I disagree.  Prayer is a much more civilized (and more productive) response.  My sentiments are representative of those of Rosary Rally attendees.

Ignoring Two Thirds of America

Doug Erickson missed the boat completely by covering the Rosary Rally story from the perspective of a few radical protesters, and by omitting the concerns of two thirds of America.

The Rosary Rallies actually represent the majority of Wisconsin and of America.
The Catholics at the Rally represent all religions in America, which were recently galvanized and united by the religious freedom violations of the HHS Mandate. Numerous religions joined Catholics in opposing these violations of the First Amendment, an amendment which all religions value.  Orthodox Christian Bishops, Protestant Theological Seminary chancellors, Presbyterian Bishops, Southern Baptists, Lutherans Evangelical Lutherans and the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America have rallied to support the Catholic Church in upholding the Catholic position on the HHS mandate.  This is what Doug Erickson has failed to cover in his reporting.

The Rosary Rallies are large, peaceful, sustained, and they represent the reasonable Judeo-Christian views and the civilized demeanor of at least two thirds of America.

In ignoring the perspective of Catholics at the Rosary Rally in favor of the perspective of a couple fringe radicals, Doug Erickson has ignored 2/3 of America.   He has ignored the majority of America’s opposition to federally funded abortion policy, and he has ignored the social consequences of such abortion policy, which has already resulted in shocking coerced abortion rates of 64% .   Abortion is a much bigger deal than most people think .

Ignoring Religious Leaders:
Evangelical Pastors Join Catholics in the Defense of Religious Liberty

The national Religious Liberty debate has been ignored by WSJ, in favor of reporting speculations by a couple of “progressives” on the motivations of Catholics at prayer.

The Catholic Church is not the only group defending religious liberty in the wake of the HHS Mandate.

“THIS AREA HAS BEEN SET ASIDE FOR NON-PROFIT GROUPS TO EXERCISE THEIR CONSTITUTIONAL 1ST AMENDMENT FREE SPEECH RIGHTS.”

Evangelical Christian pastors have just organized a bold and courageous protest against the muzzling of moral leaders in America, and in support of religious freedom. On October 7, 2012, “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” will be celebrated.  More than 1,000 pastors will preach sermons from the pulpit talking about the candidates running for office and then making a specific recommendation.  The sermons will be recorded and sent to the IRS.  The pastors expect the IRS to try to enforce a 1954 IRS tax code amendment forbidding tax-exempt organizations from participating in discussion of candidates for public office.  When the IRS tries to revoke tax-exempt status and to impose an excise tax on them, the pastors will welcome the court battle.  They claim that the 1954 IRS tax code amendment is blatantly unconstitutional, and they welcome an official evaluation of the amendment in court.
This effort is sponsored by the Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal ministry formed 18 years ago for the defense of religious freedom through strategy, training, funding and litigation.

Not the First Time WSJ Has Slanted the News

Slanted reporting in the Wisconsin State Journal is not new, nor surprising. Their coverage of the 2011 Teacher’s Union Protests was equally misleading and predisposed toward the  “progressive” viewpoint. Lawlessness and misconduct was not reported, both on the part of demonstrators who trashed the Capitol, and on the part of Democrat officials who conspired to block the legal process.  WSJ coverage was so slanted and misleading, that this blogger took to reporting what’s really happening in Wisconsin on my blog.

The WSJ also gives the tiny Freedom From Religion Foundation quite a bit of favorable press.  Again, a fringe radical group (0.003 of 1% of Americans) gets favored coverage over mainstream Wisconsin.

Twisting and Misrepresenting Catholicism

Coverage of Catholicism in the WSJ has frequently been unprofessionally imbalanced.

Just this week, Doug Erickson did a “moral analysis” of the Catholic vote.
He gave equal weight and space to dissident national co-chairman of Catholics for Obama, as he did to Bishop Morlino of Madison, who is a legitimate and accurate representative of the Catholic Church.

Saul Alinsky, author of “Rules for Radicals”

Catholics for Obama is a group established in 2007, with a website hosted at www.barackobama.com .  Membership numbers are not provided, but are probably a few thousand or less, based on petition signatures quoted at Catholic Democrat. According to Breitbart.comCatholics for Obama is dominated by the radical left wing, which promotes Alinsky “social justice” ideology.

So in Doug Erickson’s world, barakobama.com, Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, and a couple thousand petition signatories carry the same moral authority as a Catholic Bishop and 78 million real American Catholics.  Doug is equating the fringe 0.06 of 1% of Catholics whose theology is steered by Obama, with legitimate Catholic officials and faithful Catholics.  (Bishop Morlino’s education includes a doctorate in Moral Theology from the Gregorian University in Rome, with specialization in fundamental moral theology and bioethics.)

WSJ also recently inflamed a parish conflict with imbalanced reporting, favoring dissidents over the Catholic majority.  The dissident minority was portrayed in a favorable light over the faithful majority.

Doug Erickson: Reporting on the 0.06 of 1% of Madison Diocese  Catholics (Holy Wisdom) – and relegating the 99.94%  (real) Catholics to the last paragraph, entitled “detractors.”

Another Doug Erickson report focused on pair of previously Catholic nuns at Holy Wisdom Monastery, who appear to be recruiting Catholics to join their feminist Sunday services in place of attending the Mass.  These nuns retain the name Benedictines, despite having rescinded their Benedictine vows and having separated themselves from the Catholic Church.  Doug Erickson reported on this fringe minority group of two very favorably, but relegated input from real Catholics, including from the Diocese of Madison, to a last paragraph entitled “detractors,” where he quoted Catholics minimally, and out of context.  A minority of two dissidents was portrayed in a favored light, while real Catholics were again downplayed.

The misrepresentation of Catholics in the Wisconsin State Journal could fill numerous blog posts (and has in the past), but the above three examples will suffice here.

For a Truthful Report on the Capitol Rosary Rally: see You Tube

The Capitol Rosary Rally,  which the Wisconsin State Journal did not bother to portray accurately, and which reflects the Christian views and the civilized demeanor of the majority of Christian America can be seen here:

Come join Catholics in the 14th Capitol Rosary Rally tonight, Thursday, Sept 20, 2012, at the State Street steps of the Madison Capitol at 7 PM.  Come watch what real Americans do (they act civilized and pray), stand in solidarity with Christians for religious freedom in America.  All are welcome to watch, to listen, or to pray.

Discussing the Actual Issue

Something else Doug Erickson failed to do in his Capitol Rosary article was to discuss the question that his progressive friends raised; is it legal for Catholics to pray the rosary at Madison’s Capitol Square?

First Congressional Prayer, 1777

Answer:
Public prayer is legal.
The National Day of Prayer was upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals  and President Obama supported prayer in a Presidential Proclamation on the National Day of Prayer, 2012
Congress has also just taken steps to ensure that prayer is supported at School Board Meetings.   President Obama prays and states that “We stand for religious freedom.”

So public prayer is legal, and public gatherings at the Wisconsin State Capitol are legal.

Public gatherings at Madison’s Capitol have included Farmer’s Markets, restaurant showcase events (Taste of Madison), and Wisconsin Capitol Pride, an event promoting LGBTQA acceptance and rights.
Why would Catholic gatherings be forbidden?  Why would promoting prayer for religious freedom be forbidden?

Discussing the Double Standard

WSJ failed to address this double standard of progressive Rosary critics in the article.
The progressive Rosary Hecklers quoted by WSJ demand freedom of belief and freedom of speech for themselves, but not for others.  They want the right to scream four-letter words at others across Capitol Square in the presence of children, but to forbid the words “Our Father, who art in heaven.”

Further Important Issues Omitted by the WSJ report:

  • Validity of Christian claims regarding the violation of religious freedom by the HHS mandate
  • Evaluation of the position of America’s moral leaders on the religious freedom issue
  • Reporting the obvious differences in behavior, lawfulness and respect for the rights of others between the rosary participants and the heckling critics.

  • Definition of “separation of Church and State.”
  • Discussion of whether a once-in-14-prayer-rallies mention of two pro-life politicians constitutes a “violation of separation of Church and State.”
  • Discussion of the very pertinent 1954 IRS code amendment, which has been used by the IRS to silence Christian pastors, but has not been subject to an examination of constitutionality by the courts.
  • The effect that restrictions on religious freedom would have on the rights of progressives when in the future conservative Presidents are elected, and the effect on this country’s historical role as the safe haven for the world’s émigrés.

Suggestion: if Doug Erickson is to be the WSJ “religion” reporter, he must examine the serious issues affecting religion, rather than using his status at the WSJ to spread progressive propaganda. He should provide some professional and journalisticly ethical analysis of real religious issues.

Shame on the Wisconsin State Journal for Ethics Violations

Shame on Doug Erickson

The Wisconsin State Journal has violated the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics with this misrepresentation of Madison’s Capitol Rosary Rally.

  • WSJ did not seek the truth and report it.
  • WSJ did not minimize harm.
  • WSJ did not act independently.
  • WSJ was not accountable.

Renaming the Wisconsin State Journal

The Wisconsin State Journal should be renamed:

the Wisconsin State Journal Progressive

 

Invitation: Come and Join Us!

Come tonight, and every Thursday night at 7PM through November 1st.

Join Catholics today in the 14th Capitol Rosary Rally –  Thursday, Sept 20, 2012, on the State Street steps of the Madison Capitol at 7 PM.
Come watch what most Americans do (they act civilized and they pray).
Stand in solidarity with Christians for religious freedom in America.
All are welcome to watch, to listen, or to pray.

Agnostics welcome.
Atheists welcome.
Baptists welcome.
Buddhists welcome.
Catholics welcome.
Evangelicals welcome.
Jews welcome.
Lutherans welcome.
Muslims welcome
Presbyterians welcome.
All welcome, including any not mentioned above.
Invitation limited to well-behaved people who respect the rights of others.

All of us need, and will benefit from, freedom of religion (of belief), which is guaranteed to us by the First Amendment.  This freedom has been violated by President Obama’s HHS Mandate, a mandate which must be reversed.

Why Even Atheists Should Stand Against Presidential Mandates

If Presidents of the future will be permitted to issue mandates like the HHS Mandate, without popular vote, without Senate or House vote, and without Supreme Court evaluation, what mandate will the NEXT President of the United States, who may not belong to your favorite political affiliation, decree?

I may not like President Obama’s mandates.
But others, including atheists, would not like President Romney’s mandates
or President Rick Santorum’s mandates
or President Ron Paul’s mandates
or President Michelle Bachmann’s mandates.

The next President could issue a Mandate that imposes tax penalties not on Catholics, but on  International Workers Union Members,  FFRF Members, Solidarity Singers, and Madison LGBT activists-  severe, crippling penalties.  Then were would Craig, Annie, Genie and Bluebird be?  The Mandate could include penalties for Wisconsin Sate Journal reporters, too, Doug.

We all benefit from supporting freedom and democracy.
We have to coexist, so progressives should realize that in 46 days the shoe might be on the other foot.
This is still a democracy, and Presidential mandates are thinly disguised despotic edicts.

These are some of the religious, ethical and cultural issues that Doug Erickson and the WSJ should be discussing, rather than spreading the speculations of fringe progressives on the motivation of Catholics.

 

 

What Do a Madison LGBT Leader and a Madison Catholic Blogger Have in Common?

or

My Conversation With the Blue Bird

 

God works in mysterious ways.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB’s) recent call to Fortnight for Freedom (prayer and fasting) engendered Madison’s Capitol Rosary Rally, which caught the attention of a Madison LGBT activist, who wrote a blog article critical of the Rosary Rally, which caused me to post on his blog in defense of my Church, which started a conversation between me and the blogger, Callen Harty.

In ensuing discussions, Callen and I both discovered that people who differ in their ideologies can be civilized, can discourse together, can make much progress toward mutual understanding, and can begin to like each other, despite their ideological disagreements.
A very hopeful and inspiring lesson in our bitterly divided nation today.
Who would think that we would find this source of hope in Madison?

Thanks, Callen, for fueling my hope, and for reminding me that we are truly all made in the image of God.  We discovered together that there is much to like about each other, if we can just get past the surface disagreements.  We who disagree DO have to inhabit the world together, so we might as well make some efforts to communicate, to understand, and to like each other better.  I admire Callen for having the courage to approve my arguments on his blog.  His blog is now one illustration of how reasonable people can discuss issues in a civilized manner, whether they agree with each other or not.  It also illustrates that both of us, despite our intelligence and good intentions, were still guilty of some presumptions and misconceptions regarding each other.  Conversation is a valuable tool for dispelling some of the presumptions and misconceptions that often divide us more than is necessary.

Callen’s article, followed by the exchange of seven communications between us, makes for a longer read.  But if you get comfortable and dig in, you are bound to be surprised, edified, and amused.

Related Posts:

Gay Marriage and Homosexuality

Heckling the Rosary

 

Callen’s Article- Betrayal of the Fathers (click here or on image for Callen’s original post)

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the original post, the sequence of discussion is out of chronological order.
Here is the discussion in chronological order:

Callens’ Article:

Betrayal of the Fathers

Posted on June 21, 2012

Bishop Morlino of the Madison diocese, Photo by Callen Harty

As a young boy I believed in Jesus.  I believed in Santa Claus.  I believed that my mother knew what was true and what was not.  I believed that priests, nuns, and bishops were holy people who had a special connection to God.

I wanted to be a priest.  I had dreams of becoming a martyr–there would be nothing more glorious than dying for one’s religion.  I wanted to be a witness to the truth of the Catholic Church.

And then somewhere along the line I grew up.  I read the Bible critically and found inconsistencies throughout.  I reasoned and questioned, something the Catholic Church of my youth never appreciated.  I listened to the condemnation of others by the Church and I noted the hypocrisy of the Church’s enormous wealth as contrasted with Jesus’ teachings to cast off one’s belongings and follow him, to give to the poor and feed the hungry.  I have no patience with hypocrisy from powerful men.  And so I left the Church.

My departure from the Catholic Church was not easy.  It was like part of an extended family.  There were brothers and sisters and the holy mother, Mary.  Priests were fathers, the Pope was the Holy Father, and God was the father of all.  For a boy whose own father had died of a heart attack when I was two years old I had many father figures in the Church.  Like a teenager realizing his father is not a perfect hero it was difficult to come to the realization that those father figures were no more holy than me, that their answers were dogmatic and inflexible, and that unlike Jesus who welcomed prostitutes and others without judgment the hierarchy of the Church judged everyone’s worthiness and did not welcome all.

I lost my faith in the Church even before I came out, but coming out made it impossible to go back.  I was not welcome.  At one point in my 30′s I tried.  I found a community of believers in Denver who were part of a nationwide LGBT Catholic group called Dignity that held onto their Catholic beliefs and who had mass said for them and received communion from sympathetic priests.  There was certainly more true faith in that small group of believers than I had ever seen in parishes elsewhere.  After all, they were believing in a faith that wouldn’t believe in them.  But I couldn’t help but notice that we didn’t meet in a Catholic Church, as we weren’t welcome, and that the priests who served us did so in secret.  The realization that while these people were filled with spirit and joy in their beliefs they were unwelcome in the arms of the Church caused me to give up trying to return to my religious upbringing.

It is said that “once a Catholic, always a Catholic” and there is truth to that in several ways.  Many fallen-away Catholics will return to the fold after some time and those of us who don’t are so inculcated with Church doctrine and religious training that our lives are lived as if we are still part of the Church in many ways.

Yet because it is so much a part of my history and shaped who I am in so many ways it feels like a greater betrayal when I hear representatives of the Church do their best to make me feel less than worthy of their acceptance.

Today I happened upon a gathering called Capitol Rosary Rally 2012.  It was called by Madison’s Bishop Morlino, a conservative man whose values contrast sharply with the historical Jesus.  Morlino has pushed the Madison diocese in a very right-wing direction, much to the dismay of many of the churchgoers in the area.  In Platteville there has been an incredible resistance to his placement of ultra-conservative priests there and he has more or less demanded that people stop complaining or they may face punishment, including the taking away of sacraments, the lifeblood of a true believer’s faith.  In parishes around southern Wisconsin congregants walked out of a mass at which he forced priests to play a tape condemning the idea of marriage equality, among other things.  There was a threat of punishment for any priest who did not follow his orders.  He has angered many with his intractable views.  This is also a man who was involved on a Board at the School of the Americas, a U. S. Army training ground for Latin American military leaders, many of whom have been involved in bloodthirsty actions and human rights abuses in their native countries.  Jesus would more likely have been among those arrested protesting the school.

The event today was ostensibly a rosary circle against abortion.  As it started the Bishop stood in front of the crowd at the State Capitol–not a cathedral–with dozens of people waving American flags, and stated that it was not a political rally, but a prayer rally.  One of his toadies then took the microphone and talked about how they would be praying to end abortion and birth control–yes, ending birth control–and praying for the traditional family structure.  Queers are not welcome in the Catholic Church.  So clearly it was not a political rally as these are clearly not political issues, right?

I couldn’t stay.  I wanted to take pictures and document it and any possible counter rally, but to hear representatives of the Church in which I was raised show again how unwelcome I really am in their midst was too much for me to bear.  I had to leave.

I know I will never again be a part of the Church.  I feel like a prodigal son who was not welcomed back home and who, in fact, was kicked out and told never to return.  I have respect for people like my mother who are true believers in the core messages of the Church.  I have respect for the teachings of the historical Jesus.  But I cannot respect leaders like Bishop Morlino and the Pope whose fealty is to their own power and not to the God of their own religion.  If there is any truth to the faith, then they are the moneylenders in the temple, they are the Pharisees, and they are the ones who worship the golden calf, the hypocrites who need to remove the beam from their own eyes before casting the mote out of the eyes of their followers.

Discussion

Syte says
June 24, 2012

You jumped to conclusions, including misunderstanding the purpose of the rosary rally you “happened upon.” You also claim to know the mind of God (of Jesus).
You misrepresent the Catholic Church, as well as her teachings on the HHS Mandate, as well as on homosexuality. For those who are interested in a more accurate portrayal of the Capitol Rosary event, see https://sytereitz.com/2012/06/americans-pray-for-freedom-across-the-nation-or-fortnight-for-freedom-or-come-and-join-us/.
You may disagree with Catholic Church teaching, but don’t blame Bishop Morlino for doing his job well. Don’t single out one faithful Catholic with your attacks, when your disagreement is with the teachings of the entire Church, not with the leadership of one individual.
A number of common modern misrepresentations of Catholic teaching are discussed at my blog, http://SyteReitz.com; including discussion of homosexual issues.
Most Catholics would say that it is you, and not Bishop Morlino, who is the one who has departed from Christ’s teaching.
Do not attack the Church for your own change of heart and change of priorities. One day you may realize that the Church was a far wiser mother than you realized.
May you find the peace you are seeking.

Callen says
June 24, 2012

Thank you for your mostly thoughtful response. I encourage others to explore the links you posted. I would like to clarify a couple of your errors and assumptions, though.

First, I’m not sure why you put “happened upon” in quotes. It’s as if you are making an assumption that I intended to be there when in fact I was at a coffee shop on State Street and noticed people gathering and was curious. I had heard something about it beforehand, but did not realize that’s what it was until I got there. So if you are thinking that I was lying and didnt’ “happen upon” the gathering and that’s why you put it in quotes you are presuming dishonesty and mistrust from the beginning, which isn’t very fair.

Second, I have no clue why you presume I think I know the mind of God. Nobody can, though plenty do say things that make it seem that they do, particularly God’s representatives on earth in the form of Popes and other religious leaders. I have never in my life pretended to even understand God, let alone presume to know what he/she/it may be thinking or desire. There is absolutely nothing in my post that indicates I think I know the mind of God. I have no clue where you got that idea. If you can point it out to me I’d welcome that.

Third, I disagree with the teachings of the church, but I even more strongly disagree with Morlino’s and the Pope’s interpretations of Church doctrine. So I am not singling him out or blaming him for the Church’s teachings. I blame him for his right-wing interpretations of doctrine. I would never have said the same about Bishop Cletus O’Donnell or other previous bishops, Pope Paul VI, or any of the previous Popes.

Fourth, I am at peace. Ask anyone who knows me. Just because I don’t believe what you believe or what I used to believe does not mean I am not at peace.

Syte says
June 25, 2012

Callen-

Thank you for your invitation to dialogue.

You misinterpret. “Happened upon” was in quotes for the simple reason that I was quoting from your text. There was no judgment involved regarding your intention to be at the Rosary rally. Your presumption of my mistrust was incorrect.

You question my presumption that you claim to know the mind of God. I concluded that you claim to know the mind of God because statements in your text indicate that you know what Jesus would think or say. For example, your statement “Bishop Morlino, a conservative man whose values contrast sharply with the historical Jesus” implies that you know the mind of the historical Jesus. The converse presumption could also be made – that Bishop Morlino’s values do not contrast with those of the historical Jesus, but reflect Jesus’ values better than your values do. It could also be presumed that Bishop Morlino would never call you and your friends “toadies.” (Calling the Bishop of Madison’s assistant a “toadie” is something that could generate distrust in a faithful Catholic.)

Your accusations against the Church betray a double standard. You clearly own a computer and a camera, have a website, sit in coffee shops, and appear to have no problem with Madison’s Capitol building. Why, then, do you apply a different standard of judgment to the Catholic Church? How can you accuse the Church of hypocrisy for enormous wealth, when you don’t accuse Madison of hypocrisy for the Capitol building, the Overture Center and Monona Terrace? Would you have the Pope living in and celebrating Mass in a tent while you sit in a coffee shop in beautiful downtown Madison, possibly using a MacBook Pro and an iPhone?

Your accusations are also inconsistent; you say you have no problem with Pope Paul VI and all the previous Popes and Bishops, yet you have a problem with Pope Benedict XVI and Bishop Morlino. Yet the teachings of the Catholic Church have not changed since Pope Paul VI, so how can you have no problem with him, but have a problem with Pope Benedict? What you call the “enormous wealth” of the Catholic Church has also not changed since Pope Paul VI.

In fact, the “wealth” of the Church consists of historically and religiously significant buildings and art treasures, which are an expense to maintain. As someone who is involved in the arts, and is the recipient of awards from the Wisconsin Historical Society, you should appreciate the historical and philosophical value of what the Catholic Church is preserving, and what every human institution and government strive to preserve for future generations.

You state that the Catholic Church does not welcome homosexuals. The Catholic Church does welcome people who are homosexual, under the same terms that she welcomes heterosexuals: she demands chaste behavior from both groups. The “sexual revolution” of the 1960’s has left both homosexuals and heterosexuals wounded and dysfunctional as a result of irresponsible sexual behavior. The rules of sexual behavior taught by the Catholic Church also have not changed since Pope Paul VI, of whom you approve.

Your text includes some very tender and beautiful descriptions of the Catholic Church, as well as some bitter statements about her present leadership. This is why I concluded that you are not at peace.

I would like to suggest that you are misinformed about the Catholic Church, which is routinely misrepresented by the media. As is Bishop Morlino by Madison’s media (understatement of the year)!
You should read your opposition’s arguments in greater depth before condemning them.

Many of these issues are addressed at my website, SyteReitz.com, which was actually established to clarify the logic and the reasoning behind my conservative reasoning. In Madison, with a few exceptions, there is a virtual media blackout on any form of conservative thought. I am not the best Catholic or conservative spokesman (Madison’s Cathedral Parish is a much better source – http://www.isthmuscatholic.org/ ), but many enjoy my casual, user-friendly approach to cultural issues.

Although I do not expect to win you over to a conservative philosophy, I do wish to invite you to presuming good will in the conservatives with whom you disagree. That would include not only me, but also Bishop Morlino and Pope Benedict.

Thank you for presuming good will in me, and inviting me to this dialogue.

 

Callen says
June 26, 2012

I want to say up front that I appreciate individuals with faith. I gather from your writing that you are a faithful Catholic who is doing your best to live life the way your religion teaches you and I admire that. I love how strong my mother is in her faith and I know what comfort it has brought her throughout her life and even now in her old age. It is not for me, but if it gives others fulfillment and meaning that is wonderful.

My blog was created for me to speak my beliefs and my truth to the world. Nobody else has to read it or agree with it. It consists of my opinions (not always facts), usually well-reasoned, but perhaps occasionally misinformed. I try to accept corrections with graciousness, though I don’t necessarily always do that with differences of opinion, particularly political opinion. I try, though, to behave in a respectful manner to all those with whom I interact, though I’ll admit I am not always respectful of those in positions of power with whom I disagree or that I perceive as being hypocritical. I tend to get a little angrier with them, like Jesus with the moneylenders in the temple. Throughout my years I have had countless Christians (mostly born-again, not Roman Catholic) proselytize me and try to convince me that they are the ones who hold truth. I choose not to listen to them most of the time because almost all of them end up repeating the same things and I am honestly tired of recycled theological debates at this point in my life. So I have no intention or desire to go that route with you, but feel I do need to respond to certain aspects of your most recent comment.

First, I apologize if I misinterpreted the quotation marks, but it felt like mistrust to me. I may have been wrong about that, but those are the feelings that were brought up. It seems like an odd thing to quote and emphasize, so I hope you can understand why it made me feel that way.

I must state again with as much emphasis as I can that I have never claimed to act as if I know the mind of God (or Jesus, whom I don’t consider God even though you do). You drew conclusions about that, but once again there is nothing in my essay that makes that point or conveys that idea. The reason I specified the “historical Jesus” is that I was referring to the living historical person of Jesus the man. As I’m sure you know there are actually scant few quotes attributed to Jesus himself in the New Testament. Much of what is there is from the gospel writers. If you read Matthew 19:21 Jesus says that if people want to be perfect (or complete, depending on the Bible version) then they should sell all their possessions, give the money to the poor, and follow him. This is why I said that Bishop Morlino’s point-of-view does not match Jesus’, not because I was acting as if I had some special knowledge. So yes, I think the Pope living in a tent would be appropriate. It’s not realistic, but the point is that in my opinion the riches of the Church do not fit the teachings of the historical Jesus.

Comparing the Church’s wealth to the state owning the Capitol and the city owning the Overture Center is not the same. I was talking about the hypocrisy of a Church which purports to believe in Jesus’ teachings, such as Matthew 19:21 above, but accumulates massive wealth and property over a couple thousand years. First of all, the state does not ask its citizens to give up their wealth and become submissive to the state (though with the amount of taxation and the number of laws it sometimes feels like it, probably even more so from a conservative viewpoint). My problem is not with wealth or people owning computers or cameras or anything else, but hypocrisy. If I were running around lecturing people that they should give up all their belongings and donate the money to the poor but I lived in mansion, then you could make the comparison, but neither of those are true.

In addition the idea that I approve of the buildings you mentioned is another assumption that is wrong. I was against both the Overture Center and Monona Terrace when they were first considered because I saw them both as boondoggles and wastes of taxpayers’ money that could have been better spent in other ways. I love the Capitol building, but I have written about how much it pains me whenever I see the homeless in it or surrounding it and contemplate those people struggling to eat against the backdrop of the opulence of the Capitol. Expecting the state to give it up to feed, clothe, and house those people is as realistic as expecting the Pope to live in a tent. I’m not naïve enough to believe it could happen, but that doesn’t mean I don’t believe it should.

As a person who is involved in the arts I absolutely appreciate the aesthetic value of the church’s holdings. I just don’t necessarily believe that it is the right repository for such things and I don’t believe—for the reasons mentioned above—that the Church should own so much when there are so many starving people in the world. Please note, I am very well aware of Catholic Charities, missionary work, and other great works being done by the Church and by individual Catholics and I think that is awesome, though Bishop Morlino choosing to close the Catholic Multicultural Center is one of the things that makes me believe he does live contrary to Jesus’ teachings.

You are absolutely correct about the inconsistency of me not having an issue with previous popes and bishops. Perhaps I should have been more critical of them. The reason I wasn’t is because I remember them as people being concerned about the poor and about making the Church more inclusive, particularly Pope Paul VI through Vatican II. The reality that you pointed out to me is that those are merely cosmetic surface changes and that in fact they were ultimately representatives of a hierarchy in which I don’t believe.

I will not get into a debate about the gay issue. Like the tiresome theological debates noted at the beginning I have heard every argument there is against who I am. I understand the Church’s official position on gays and lesbians and disagree with it. I have heard the old “hate the sin and love the sinner” routine way too many times. The reality is that in my initial essay I described a very specific experience of feeling unwelcome in the Catholic Church. You may say the Church is welcoming, but I say I felt unwelcome. The bishop in Denver prohibited the Dignity group from meeting in Catholic churches and forbade priests from saying Mass for the group, even though he could have no way of knowing whether any of the members were or were not sexually active. It would be like presuming that teenagers shouldn’t receive Communion because they are at their sexual peak and so they must be having sex outside of marriage. It so happens that I was in a period of abstinence when this happened.

Finally, again, presuming anything about my state of peace when you don’t know me is just not appropriate. Yes, I have some bitterness toward the Church because its teachings hurt my growth as a human being. I have mostly let it go, but there are some times when something triggers the old resentments. In this case it was the bishop’s assistant at the rosary gathering and the hypocrisy of pretending it was not a political gathering—yes, it may have been primarily religious, but to deny it was political is simply to try to fool others.

Syte says
June 27, 2012

Callen –

The dialogue that we are having is encouraging; two people with considerably different views have been able to talk respectfully, weighing issues together, and respecting each other’s right to disagree. Our nation is in dire need of such civilized and respectful dialogue today.

I have no intention of proselytizing you; your blog came to my attention because of your initial harsh attitude towards leaders of my Church whom I respect, and whom I wished to defend. My goal was to suggest that Catholic Church leaders are as well meaning and devoted to their philosophy as you are to yours. You were gracious enough to admit that your opinions or actions are not always consistent or well reasoned; that is true of all human beings, including me. We are all guilty of some degree of apparent hypocrisy, unintentional as it might be. So when you see something you perceive as an inconsistency in the Catholic Church, in Bishop Morlino or in Pope Benedict, I hope to suggest that you cut them some slack, too, and presume their good will, as you do for me and for others.

Since you seem to be fair-minded, I will correct a few more misconceptions you seem to have about the Capitol Rosary Rally and about Madison’s Catholics.

Your assumption the Fortnight for Freedom rally was anything other than prayer rally is incorrect and unfair. You do not seem to realize that serious Catholics not only believe in prayer, they also RELY on prayer. We are very disturbed by the idea that President Obama feels that he can mandate anything he wants, contrary to the Constitution of the United States, forcing Catholics to do something that is against their religious beliefs. I was as the rally, I was there for the sole purpose of prayer, and so were many of my friends, fellow parishioners, and fellow Diocese of Madison Catholics.

I realize that it is hard for someone who does not pray regularly to understand the value of prayer, particularly the value of the rosary, and the added value of praying the rosary in groups. Catholics believe that battles can and have been won by prayer, and that miracles happen through prayer. That includes highly educated Madisonian Catholics. I know many who attended the rally, and there were numerous doctors, lawyers, UW professors, and my humble self, who has a Ph.D. in biochemistry and who did my post-doc at Princeton University. My husband, a UW Wisconsin Distinguished Professor who is giving a series of power lectures in engineering at Princeton University this week, and whose research was described in the Wisconsin State Journal yesterday, although not a Catholic, was there at the rally in support. To correct one myth that seems to be popular in Madison, there is little correlation between education and faith and belief in prayer. Some very highly educated people were at the rally to pray very seriously.

If the Capitol Rosary Rally had been for political purposes, the press would have been invited and signs and placards would have been used. You may be unaware that Catholics DO pray and process publicly and regularly, and that just a few weeks ago on the feast of Corpus Christi the downtown Catholic parishes had a Corpus Christi procession (which has been occurring every year for years) during which the Blessed Sacrament was carried to the Capitol building for prayer and blessings for our government. The downtown parishes also hold regular rosary marches during which the rosary is prayed while processing through Madison. Many Madisonians are sleeping on Sunday morning and miss these Sunday morning events. Madison’s press never covers these events. This Capitol Rosary Rally is just one more example of Catholics turning to God for help when they are in a tight spot.

For people who are more secular, who pray less or do not pray publicly, it is easy to assume that you know the motives of others. But, as our discussions here on your blog have revealed, we do NOT know each other’s thoughts and motives, and that is why respectful discussion is so useful to defuse resentment and correct presumptions.

If I can insert some humor here, I will soon have you liking and admiring Bishop Morlino and Pope Benedict!

You have made it clear that you disapprove institutions amassing property and wealth; that is one of your criticisms of the Catholic Church. However, that is a personal standard of yours, and is not a commonly held value. As long as human beings build monuments, paint paintings, and wear formal attire to show respect and high regard to government/education/the arts, it would be hypocrisy of sorts to deny the right of Catholics to show equal respect and regard for our God. If Catholic holdings were to be criticized, then the Taj Mahal, the White House, the Statue of Liberty, the Mall of the Americas, and the Smithsonian Museums should all be under equal attack. Incidentally, the historical Jesus DID worship at the Temple of Jerusalem, the most imposing religious monument of His time. So we cannot be sure that He would favor the Pope celebrating Mass in a tent.

The treasures of the Church are not simply piles of marble adorned with gold; they are holy gathering places, precious historical places, and places which could not be bulldozed and replaced without extravagant expense.
Precious Church art works are not just baubles representing cash; they represent a record of precious history and of ancestors whom we love. If nobody suggests selling Mount Rushmore or my great-grandmother’s portrait to feed the poor, they should not suggest the Church selling her artwork.

Your resentment over the almost-closing of the Multicultural Center again reflects the misinformation supplied to you by Madison’s media, which reports on Catholic matters with a double standard. How can Madison, which does NOT provide the equivalent of a Multicultural Center from Madison’s $500 million annual budget, criticize the Diocese of Madison, which DID maintain the Multicultural Center on a $4 million annual budget to serve all of Madison for many years, but struggled to maintain it after the recession hit? How can Madison, which prioritizes the building of Monona Centers, Overture Centers and public swimming pools over Multicultural Centers, criticize the Diocese of Madison?

Your resentment of the Church over its reluctance to welcome the organization “Dignity” is unrealistic as well. “Dignity” tries to dictate the rules of sexual morality to the Catholic Church. That’s like students dictating some alternate rules of mathematics to the professor. The Catholic Church DOES welcome “Courage International,” an organization for homosexuals which is the Catholic-Church sanctioned counterpart of “Dignity.” The Catholic Church does not welcome anybody, heterosexual or homosexual, who does not respect Catholic teaching. That is true of any human educational organization, secular or spiritual. Try telling our profs at UW what they must teach in their fields!

Another clarification: the Catholic Church does not ask Catholics to be submissive any more than any other human organization with rules. Remember, too, that membership is optional.

Finally, I think you read more into my wishing you peace of mind than was intended. It was meant to signal my good intentions towards you, akin to “shalom.”

So, Callen-
Thanks for your time and for the space on your blog.
I welcome the opportunity to show Madisonians that Catholics are nice. Even their leaders are nice.
If you or anybody else wishes to discuss the faithful Catholic’s perspective on various issues, or to ask about other myths about Catholics, I welcome questions through the contact form on my blog at SyteReitz.com.

Shalom and God bless!
May we continue to strive towards not only respecting, but also liking those with whom we disagree.

Callen says
June 27, 2012

Here were are again. I’m enjoying our communication.

I also believe that those on opposing sides of issues need to be willing to listen and to talk, to accept differences, and to treat each other with respect. I do my best to do that and I appreciate your willingness to engage in a respectul way as well.

With that said, you have probably noticed that I seem to show less respect for power/authority figures. They are public figures and are open to more criticism because their public pronouncements affect so many more people. For a Catholic to disagree with a bishop or the Pope there could be a big moral dillemma. To read my blog post and disagree doesn’t bring the same kind of ethical quandry. This is part of why I hold officials, church or government, to a higher level on my moral compass (and I understand it is my moral compass, not theirs, but I have to live my life by my conscience). I expect that Bishop Morlino is genuine in his beliefs and committed to others believing the same or he wouldn’t be in the position he has been placed, and I would not be surprised to find that he is a genuinely nice and well-meaning person. But that doesn’t excuse him from public scrutiny and it doesn’t shield him from those with differing opinions.

I must admit that I have a difficult time with authority figures in general, and Bishop Morlino seems to me to be more authoritarian than any other bishop in my memory (I’m 55). Threatening to withhold sacraments from parishioners who disagree with his placement of conservative priests in their parish does not seem like the way to win over the opposition. One of the issues I had with the Catholic Church even as a child was the intolerance for differing opinions. Others may be fine with that, but it is one of the reasons I left.

I don’t mean to be disrectful about this, but I must disagree with your assessment of the Rosary Rally as being religious and not political. Whlie the saying of a rosary is, of course, incredibly religious, the event was political. Choosing to hold it on the Capitol steps was a poltiical choice. It makes a statement. Calling it a rally seems to indicate political motivations, though I understand rallies can be any gathering of people. There were buttons and political signs there. I believe you may have said there weren’t but I have photos that I took of at least two. I would be surprised if you didn’t see as many American flags as I did. To me that is a political act, not a religious one. So the rally may have been primarily for prayer (although even you said it was prayer about Obama’s mandates), but it was also political. You cannot convince me otherwise on that given the evidence. I appreciate that you and many of your friends were there for the sole purpose of prayer, but others were not. Bishop Morlino specifically stated that the rally was not political, so there would be no speeches, but speeches are not all that define political action.

Now, there is one comment you made that I have to take exception to, and that is when you said, “I realize that it is hard for someon who does not pray regularly to undestand the value of prayer . . . ” Maybe you meant this generally and not specifically about me, but it felt like it was about me. So I have to tell you that just because I am no longer a Catholic or a Christian does not mean that I don’t pray. In fact, I do, a lot. I am not a religous person but I am a spiritual person who comes from a deep place of spirituality and compassion. If you have read any of my other blog posts you may get a feel for that. I believe in the power of prayer, positive energy, whatever you want to call it, and I believe that we pray to the same God, though we may have different perceptions of what that means. And don’t forget that about half of my life was spent as a Catholic–I am not ignorant of the Church and its teachings. I was an altar boy and as noted in my original post wanted to be a priest, and even thought about it as an adult, not just as a child.

I have to agree with you again about wasteful spending on opulent buildings. As noted before I did not appreciate the building of the Overture Center or Monona Terrace. If the Taj Mahal were proposed here I would oppose it and fight for the government to build an apartment building for homeless people instead of another monument to Madison’s elite. I believe that there is a social compact for us as a community to take care of the least of our brethren, and I believe that it is the duty of both religious institutions (especially ones that preach it) and of government. I would like to see churches and government work together to maintain things like the Multicultural Center. It may be a personal standard of mine but it is one I do believe in strongly and will work toward wherever possible.

Finally, I realize it is unrealistic to expect the Church to welcome Dignity, just as it is unrealistic to expect me or others like me to accept an organization like Courage International which would have me deny the fullness of my being. I’m willing to bet you will not agree with this, but I believe that like all others I was created in God’s image and that includes my sexuality and my expression of it. As a side note, while I had my wild youth (as most young men do) I have been in a committed, monogamous relationship for 21 years now, longer than most sacred marriages last these days.

And I do know that membership is optional–that is why I am no longer a member, as there are too many things with which I disagree.

I look forward to your next missive (I think). It feels like we are coming closer and closer to a good understanding and based on our few exchanges so far I do like you. Peace be with you also.

Syte says
June 30, 2012

Yes, Callen. We’ve had a good chat and I’m beginning to like you too.
The ability to discuss important issues in a civilized and respectful manner is an essential tool for defusing resentments and towards finding fair solutions between those who disagree.

You explain that much of your disagreement with the Catholic Church stems from a dislike of authority figures, and a dislike for the lack of tolerance for differing opinions in the Catholic Church. That’s a common feeling towards authority. Particularly if one disagrees with the authority.

I feel that way towards President Obama and his recent exercise of authority. However, there are some differences between the Catholic Church and President Obama;
• the Church does not pretend to be a democracy
• membership in the Church is optional
• monetary contributions to the Church are voluntary; no incarceration for failure to pay
• the Church’s teachings are unchanging with each change of personnel

Our common frustrations with authority with which we disagree might help you appreciate our Catholic desperation over the “Contraception Mandate,” which is the subject of the Rosary Rally we have been discussing.

President Obama has just decreed (mandated) that Catholics must provide pills that kill unborn infants to their employees. For Catholics, this is a mortal sin. The President is demanding that they commit mortal sins. He is demanding that they do something new, which was never before required in our nation’s history.
• President Obama’s decree was not approved by American voters (in fact, most Americans oppose abortion, particularly federally funded abortion, which involves forcing all citizens to pay for the abortions of others).
• Congress did not vote on this decree; in fact, Stupak and his 11 Democrats practically killed the ObamaCare bill before President Obama promised them that ObamaCare would not include abortion.
• The ObamaCare bill was passed under false pretenses, and after passage, the President broke all of his promises.

Bottom line: Catholics are now ordered to perform what they believe to be murder.
The Amish and Muslims get an exemption from ObamaCare. Some Native Americans get other religious exemptions to federal laws on the killing of Eagles. Many people get religious exemptions – only, however, at President Obama’s discretion. And President Obama decides that Catholics get no exemption. No input from the American people, the legislature, from Catholic leaders, or from any religious leaders whatsoever, including the Jewish and Baptist leaders who jumped to testify before Congress on behalf of Catholics, defending their right to conscience, as guaranteed by the First Amendment.

That is what we are praying about. We are asking God to intervene.
I would like to suggest that Madison’s liberal media focus an equal amount of energy on President Obama’s abuse of authority as they do on the Catholic Church’s abuse of authority, and abandon the double standard.

Regarding whether the Rosary Rally was political, we can agree to disagree, but I will float a few more points: American flags are not political. Presence at the Capitol is not political. Otherwise, farmer’s markets, marathons, bicycle events, Taste of Madison, Wisconsin Capitol Gay Pride, Art on the Square, and Concerts on the Square would be political. Catholic groups have the same rights as any other groups to gather in our public places. We gathered in the evening, after business had been concluded at the Capitol and its doors were closed. We made no speeches, invited no media, and brought no vuvuzelas. To me, that’s not political.

President Obama’s tactics in his Contraception Mandate are wickedly clever. Knowing that Americans oppose federally funded abortion, he has diverted the discussion to something Americans approve of, contraception. Contraception is the Trojan Horse in which President Obama is delivering not only federally funded abortion, but also the right of American Presidents to decree mandates without consulting the American people, the legislature, or moral and ethical experts. So far, few have seen through his tactics, and many support his Contraception Mandate, which is actually a Presidential Power Mandate and a Federally Funded Abortion Mandate.

If President Obama succeeds in getting this mandate through, his power will be established. He can then proceed to any mandate at all. The One-Child Policy Mandate. The Jewish Delis Must Serve Pork Mandate. The President who follows Obama, if a radical conservative, could continue with the Let’s Incarcerate All LGBT People Mandate, and the All Citizens Must Contribute To A Religious Fund Mandate, etc. etc.

It is in the interest of ALL Americans to stop the issuance of mandates by Presidents, because the next President might not be one of your choosing.

What mandates would Romney favor, I wonder?

Callen, any chance you will be joining me in prayer at the next Capitol Rosary Rally, the way Jews and Baptists have recently joined Catholics in Alabama in prayer during the Fortnight for Freedom?

(Sorry I implied you might not pray!)

 

Gay Marriage and Homosexuality

 

Homosexuality is a hot topic that was bound to make it onto this cultural values blog at some point.
The Catholic Church’s position on homosexuality (which I support) is not popular in Madison, where I live. Madison is a very liberal– no, radical place. Home of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, and numerous other radical groups.

I have delayed discussing homosexuality on my blog in the past.  Primarily because I would rather focus on the “wooden beam in my own eye” before pointing out “the splinter in my brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:3   In other words, I am in no rush to discuss the sins of others.  I am also no expert on this subject.

Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye?
How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove that splinter from your eye,’ while the wooden beam is in your eye?
You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye. – Matthew 7:3  

 However, recent events in the news have brought the subject of homosexuality to the forefront of public discussion again, and perhaps it is time for me to weigh in with some thoughts.  I will defer to experts on the subject and provide some useful references below for those who are interested in understanding why the preservation of traditional morality and of traditional marriage is so important to so many Americans.

Recent events:

Vice President Biden announced five days ago that he was ‘absolutely comfortable” with homosexual marriage, thus putting President Obama on the spot regarding Obama’s position on homosexuality.

Obama "evolving"

Most recently, President Obama had said that his position on homosexual marriage , although he was opposed a few years ago, is “evolving.”  So now President Obama was placed on the hot seat regarding this issue.
Three days ago, North Carolina approved and amendment banning gay marriage, and banning same-sex civil unions as well.

Yesterday, President Obama announced his personal support of gay marriage, after statements in the past opposing gay marriage.  He attributed this change to his “evolving stance” on gay marriage.

The other two Presidential candidates (Mitt Romney and Ron Paul), mirroring the values of the majority of Americans, still stick to the traditional definition of marriage as one man- one woman.  And no, the Republican primary is not yet over!  (Updated post coming soon.)

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Where Does America Stand on Gay Marriage?

Some data indicates majority support of gay marriage

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Gallup results indicate that half of Americans support legal gay marriage.
The results seem to be hovering right around 50/50, within the margin of error, within the last two years.

CNN polls indicate that a slight majority of Americans support gay marriage (50% support, 48% oppose).

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Some data indicates majority opposition to gay marriage

North Carolina’s passage of a state constitutional amendment legally preventing gay matrimony yesterday makes North Carolina the 30th state to implement a ban on same-sex marriage.  30 States out of 50 is 60%.  This implies that 60% of America opposes gay marriage. continue reading…

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