Dear Gordon Gee,
I understand you are still under fire for referring to Catholics as “those damn Catholics.” The Huffington Post, in particular, is indignant that you did not apologize sooner. The Huffington Post is, of course, full of shit, and thus, in contrast to that constantly feigned indignation which exists for the sole purpose of garnering pageviews, I would like to extend my whole-hearted gratitude for your reference to Catholics as “those damn Catholics.”
I live in a world — and you have the misfortune of doing the same — that insults and abuses religion with kindness. The press — bless them — is consistently about the task of subsuming Catholicism into a sphere where the only homage due to its beautiful bulk is a vague and vapid politeness. The religious must be called the right names, referred to in unoffensive tones, and treated with all the dignity of an over-sensitive middle-schooler with trumped-up body-image issues and an affinity for running to the teacher with the alarm-bell whine of “he called me a name.” The irony here is unbearable, for the same Huffington Post that so lovingly defends Catholicism in regards to name-calling simultaneously promotes her substantial destruction by advocating for government policies that would force Catholics in the pharmaceutical and medical sphere to disobey the edicts of their conscience and the Church who is their salvation.
News is never news. It arrives already whored out to a particular ideology. The Catholic Church is defended insofar as it is viewed in the ideological manner of the news station. In the case of The Huffington Post, it is to be defended insofar as it represents a part of a pluralistic society, as an object of acceptance and tolerance. As a religion making absolute, ethical demands on the human person, it is to be destroyed. In the case of conservative media, the objects of defense and the destruction are shifted, but the principle remains the same. As goes the news, so goes our culture. Religion is rarely confronted, rarely even rejected, so busy are we subsuming it into pre-existing ideological schemata.
You said “those damn Catholics,” and I thought it was hilarious. By well-worded opposition, your restored my Church to the only place that matters, that of a sign that shall be contradicted, an offense and an indecency. The response demanded by the Church is neither politeness nor respect but an infinite decision of either/or — conversion or rejection. The Church is either damned or divine, but she sure as hell is neither respectable, tolerable, nor part-of-a-diverse-pluralistic-society-in-which-we-should-all-just-get-along. I laughed at your remark because I was ennobled by your remark, reminded of my infinite separateness from this godawful, abysmal excuse for a culture. I’m under no illusions that you have any fondness for the Catholic Church, but nevertheless, your insult sounded an awful lot like love, their compliments a terrible lot like hate.
I hope your retirement goes swimmingly, and with all due respect — you twice-damned Mormon — I refuse your apology.