We Don’t Actually Want the Catholic Church to Change Its Teachings…

Blogger and Oklahoma State Representative Rebecca Hamilton doesn’t understand why non-Catholics want the Catholic Church to change its teachings:

There are a few issues in particulate that really rev [non-Christians'] engines. They are:

  • Who gets to take communion in Catholic Churches (which they insist, even while they debate this endlessly, is just a superstition and a wafer.)
  • Why the Church won’t affirm gay marriage.
  • Why the Church won’t say it’s ok for them kill people they want to kill (the unborn, the elderly, disabled, etc.)

It’s as if it offends them that Catholics have the same rights to vote, free assembly and to petition their government as other citizens. I suppose it’s true that it does offend them. Because one takeaway I get from reading the comments from most (not all, there are a couple of clear exceptions) of these people is that they are, at base, bullies.

While the last item on Hamilton’s list is completely over-the-top and uncalled for — she attacks supporters of reproductive rights and euthanasia — I think she actually raises a good point: Why do we fight so hard to get the Church to do things like affirm gay rights and ordain women when it goes against everything Catholics believe?

The simple answer is that the Church’s opposition to common sense policies and basic human decency hurts people who are close to us.

But truth be told, I don’t really want the Church to change its teachings. I want the Church to keep its foot firmly planted in the past, unable to progress to a more enlightened future. The more it sticks to its sexist, bigoted beliefs, the faster people will get the hell out of there. They may not lose their faith entirely, but at least they won’t be supporting an institution that has inflicted so much damage upon the world.

Hamilton, however, thinks she knows the real reason people like us want the Church to change how it operates:

I also think that the core reason [non-Catholics] keep coming around here to drop off their load of insults (most of the truly insulting ones never see the light of day on this blog) is that they are either mental on some level, or, whether they will admit it or not, they are God haunted people who desperately want what the Church offers, which is peace with God, eternal life and a spiritual home.

What they want is to have the Almighty ratify their sins. They are obsessed with finding, not absolution, but vindication, from a Church they claim they believe is a fraud.

Riiiiight. She has no idea what she’s talking about. I don’t need the Church’s approval to live my life and I don’t want anything the Church offers.

I just want the Church to stop getting in the way when the rest of us want to move forward. And I want Catholics who agree with me to stop throwing their support (and money) to an institution that refuses to change for the better. We non-Catholics can’t understand why anyone would want to belong to such a corrupt and unethical place of business even if they think the beliefs are virtuous.

(Image via Shutterstock)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • GubbaBumpkin

    Why the Church won’t affirm gay marriage.

    What they do as a matter of church doctrine is up to them. But the Holy Roman Catholic Church has actively fought to impose its bigotry on society at large.

    • allein

      Exactly. I don’t care if they think it’s wrong, I care that they think that means they get to outlaw it for other people who don’t subscribe to their beliefs.

      • randomfactor

        And if they oppose legalization from the pulpit, they ought to pay the same taxes the rest of us do in order to influence legislation.

  • Art_Vandelay

    Well, since she blocked my comment, I’ll post it here…

    Is that even true? I’m an atheist and I don’t want the RCC to change it’s teachings at all. I’d prefer it if they cling to their stone age morals as tightly as
    possible while humanity leaves them to dwell in their irrelevance. The more
    people that realize that the RCC is an archaic institution with no real say on
    how to behave in the 21st century, the less children they’ll be able to
    indoctrinate (and molest as you may). The less minorities will be oppressed.
    The less scientific progress will be inhibited. The more diseases will be
    eradicated. The more poverty will diminish. Really, the less people that look
    to the RCC as a moral authority, the better off society will be and nobody does
    as good of a job making the RCC look awful as the RCC itself. So really…keep
    on whatever it is you’re doing. We’re all for it. Two thumbs up!

    • David Kopp

      Wait… you’re saying that a highly religious person shut their ears and is ignoring valid points, rather than responding to them, or even worse, thinking about them and possibly changing their mind? Get out of here…

      • WallofSleep

        Indeed. The very notion… I imagine next he’ll begin regaling us with tales of mortal beasts, on this very planet even, that survive in an entirely sub-marine environment, and are capable of extracting oxygen from the very water that surrounds them by means of filtering it through a series of fanciful slits in their throats.

        • The Other Weirdo

          But God knew that they would need them, so he designed them. So, not so fanciful, really.

          • WallofSleep

            This “God”… did he also create unicorns and manticores? No, sir, I know a cryptozoologist scam when I hear one, and I’ll have none of it!

            Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some serious science to engage in… phrenology!

            • The Other Weirdo

              Yes, He did. But, humans were found wanting and unworthy–Unworthy!–and he wiped out all those magnificent creations at the same time.

            • TheG

              Phrenology… Isn’t that when you feel and interpret the size of Walt’s asshole?

        • C.L. Honeycutt

          What, you mean early-stage human fetuses?

          • WallofSleep

            Sir, I think you’ll find that current science agrees that there is no water in a woman’s womb, but bile and foul humors that must be constantly tamed.

            • C.L. Honeycutt

              Um, ew.

              Wait, babies marinate in bile and foul humors? Is that what makes them so tender? Did I say “ew”? I meant, “Yum!”

      • Andy Anderson

        I have attempted multiple times to respectfully and civily discuss articles on that blog, only to find my comments altered or simply blocked. I have attempted again, though I expect the same results.

        The blogger seems intent on micro-managing the discussion in the direction that fits her narrative, which is certainly her prerogative, though it renders her blog useless for anything other than preaching to the choir. I certainly don’t see her as a person with much integrity or intellectual honesty.

        • Art_Vandelay

          It’s not her perrogative to alter your comments. If she’s doing that, well that’s just reprehensible as far as blog moderating goes.

          • Andy Anderson

            I disagree. It’s her space, and she can control what happens there as she sees fit. Clearly the comments section is not for actual discussion, it’s for furthering the narrative she wishes to construct. Being aware of this means that I and others will be less likely to take her seriously and attempt discussion there, and more likely to discuss her articles in spaces she cannot control.

            Hopefully her own readership that isn’t too far into Tribal Catholicism will come to see the dishonesty of what she is doing.

            • Art_Vandelay

              I agree with all that and she can control it by blocking them but editing someone else’s words and leaving them attributed to that person? That’s just pathologically dishonest.

              • Andy Anderson

                Alright, *that* I agree with. The owner of the Public Catholic blog doesn’t seem to have any compunctions about being dishonest.

        • ReverendRobbie

          I was really surprised how happy her trigger finger is when it comes to blocking comments. I was so surprised when my comment was blocked that I sent it again, honestly believing it must have been a mistake. Nope.

          • http://nomadwarriormonk.blogspot.com/ Cyrus Palmer

            It’s pretty standard on Catholic blogs. Trying to keep their dwindling supporters in their bubbles of reinforcement. I don’t even try anymore.

          • Andy Anderson

            I probably responded to 8 or so comments there. All my replies were civil and polite, even the one where I pointed out somebody’s incredibly dishonest rebuttal to another’s comment made it difficult to take them seriously – only later did I notice the ‘mod’ tag next to their username and realized I was replying to the blogger!

            Needless to say, none of my attempted comments made it out of moderation. It’s kind of pathetic, really — I’ve been to many an atheist blog that has a very liberal moderation policy, sometimes even going out of their way to allow free and open discussion even if it includes trolls and general asshats (looking at you, Dr. Myers – and thank you!), but it always seems to be the Christian blogs that feel compelled to exercise such tight control.

            I’ve never understood why people who feel they have the truth on their side try so hard to control the dialogue..

    • allein

      Guess yours was one of those “truly insulting” ones…

      • Art_Vandelay

        I even tamed it down!

        • katiehippie

          Last time I commented over there, she let the snarky comment go through. (Capital letters means you’re RIGHT.) and deleted my actual question. I asked why a previous commenter was treating the declaration of independence like it was a holy document that could only be interpreted his way. Well, I guess that was a little snarky. But that’s what he was doing.

          • katiehippie

            Makes me wonder if the US survives another 500 years, is it possible the declaration of independence and other similar documents will be believed to be written by a diety?

            • WallofSleep

              There’s a Star Trek for that, sort of:

              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3b56e0u0EgQ

              • katiehippie

                The person that uploaded that says that Star Trek can be pretty absurd at times. I don’t think it’s absurd at all. It might be scary accurate.

                • WallofSleep

                  The brilliance of Gene Roddenberry and Rod Serling both was their ability to address modern social issues that were forbidden to even be touched by television shows of the time, by sneakily couching them in sci-fi/paranormal stories.

                  This brilliance can be difficult to recognize by those who were raised in an environment where no such television taboos existed.

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  Oh yes. I have trouble “getting” The Catcher In The Rye or On The Road because they spoke of things that are now basically just cultural background noise or completely faded away, and have to appreciate them academically by reading analyses of them. But ST:TOS and The Twilight Zone manage to transcend that.

                  It’s like the original Night of the Living Dead. It’s slow as hell and intensely boring for about 80% of the movie, but somehow even my 21yo philistine nephew can see the genius that went into it at the time, and it’s further removed from him than On The Road is from me.

                • WallofSleep

                  Aw jeez. Just call me a fuckin’ agist and get it over with.

                  Then, GIT AWF ME FUCKIN’ LAWN!!!

                • islandbrewer

                  *whispers* Quick! Shake your rake at ‘em! ‘At’ll show ‘em!

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  I’m sorry, the best response I can come up with is to laugh myself silly saying “AWF ME FUCKIN LAWN” in as bad an accent as I can manage.

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                  That’s one of my favorite movies. Pissed me off, though — black dude survives the whole thing, and the rescuers fucking killed him.

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  And that is the top of a long list of genius genre subversions in that movie. And yeah, it is unsettling as hell, ain’t it?

                  It’s even better than the fact that the last survivor stayed alive by doing exactly what he had argued against for the entire movie. But the fact he argued against it helped get everyone else killed, even though, at the time, he was obviously right. And then it didn’t help him in the end anyway, and probably is what ultimately got him shot. Magnificent.

                • Deus Otiosus

                  Yo, spoiler alert! Jeez.

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                  Sorry.

                • Deus Otiosus

                  I was kidding. I’ve seen it a hundred times. As a matter of fact, it’s Halloween. I may have to pull out the DVD tonight.

              • Matt D

                There’s also a video game where a chunk of the “Founding Fathers” are worshipped as dieties (minus some, such as Abe Lincoln, since their religion supported racism and bigotry), called Bioshock Infinite.

                • 3lemenope

                  Heck, in Fallout 3 you could find and use Lincoln’s trusty repeating rifle (and his stovepipe hat).

            • Gus

              If? 500 years? I think we’re already there.

              • katiehippie

                Well, for the moment they seem to be admitting that these documents were written by men. But they are already insisting how godly these men were. So it may be a short hop to having them divinely inspired.

          • Darren

            She does that – reasonable, polite, engaging atheists get deleted, (some) contentious atheists are posted so that she can maintain her narrative of being the persecuted Catholic (I ran a test and everything!).

    • invivoMark

      You’re such a bully!

    • Pseudonym

      It speaks volumes about the current state of the atheist community that it’s willing to sell out humanism in the cause of atheism. This story, and this comment, are perfect examples.

      I’m not Catholic. I am a Christian from up the ultra-liberal end of the spectrum, and always have been. And I want the atheist community to get rid of its misogyny.

      This is not because I want to interfere in the atheist movement. This is not because I want more people to be atheists, except to the extent that I believe that some people in certain churches would be better off as atheists than remaining in those churches. It is because I want less misogyny in the world. It is because I want people to be able to be safe in whatever community they feel is best for them.

      It may help that I’ve always had a soft spot for reformers. My reading of history is that more change, and more significant change, has been effected over the millennia by reformers than by revolutionaries.

      • Msironen

        Sadly, as we don’t have a pope or dogma (certain bloggers / blog networks notwithstanding), we can’t simply excommunicate/purge the “misogynists” (recent attempts notwithstanding) from our ranks since it’s not atheism that leads people to misogyny nor vice versa (in another words, it’s pretty hard to argue that you can’t be both an atheist and a misogynist since there’s no logical connection either way).

      • Art_Vandelay

        Ah, yes…you must be referring to our third commandment – “Thou shalt practice misogyny in the name of atheism.”

        Oh wait…that’s not a thing and atheism has absolutely no moral code attached to it whatsoever and is simply the rejection of a claim and you’re completely full of shit?

        • Pseudonym

          Ah, yes…you must be referring to our third commandment – “Thou shalt practice misogyny in the name of atheism.”

          Fair point. Jesus did say, “very truly I say unto you, thou shalt be a fiscal conservative gun nut and campaign for unequal rights for same-sex couples”.

      • Kevin A

        Bull. All change in the modern world can be attributed to scientific breakthrough. All religion does is hinder progress and reason via false paradigms of existence.

  • C Peterson

    Spot on. It is the Catholic Church’s inability to change with the times that is driving people away from it, and marginalizing its social and political power. Why would I have a problem with that?

    • Emmet

      People are being driven away from the Catholic Church? Much evidence suggests that’s just not true:
      Just a few links among the many that suggests you’re burping in the wind:

      http://www.romereports.com/palio/church-statistics-catholic-population-growing-in-africa-and-asia-english-10059.html#.UnIHq_mmgeo

      Photos on this page showing many young sisters http://nashvilledominican.org/Vocations/The_Vocation_Director

      And in my small corner of the world:
      http://www.catholic.org.nz/our-story/dsp-default.cfm?loadref=45

      So what’s your evidence for otherwise?

      • C.L. Honeycutt

        You know perfectly well that he’s talking about Western First World nations, whose increasing rejection of Catholicism is a major reason why the RCC has to push hard into nations with less access to education and information and great reliance on superstition. Why the dishonesty?

        Or maybe you don’t know, in which case, why aren’t you educating yourself about the overall issues before complaining?

        • Emmet

          What “hard push”? Where’s your evidence for that?

          Did you read the link about Catholics in New Zealand? Or do you consider that NZ is not a “Western First World” nation?

          Your writing off of people in Africa and Asia as superstitious and ignorant speaks volumes!

          Why, why, why the dishonesty, Honeycutt?

      • KRKBAB

        The Vatican targets areas of the world for their proselytizing where there are poor, under-educated and desperate populations. They know that those areas have a super high birth rate (breed like rabbits) so they literally are farming Catholics. The POINT you miss, is that the more information is available around the world, the more people abandon their faiths when they mature.

        • Emmet

          Again – your writing off of Asia and Africa as full of only desperate and ignorant people who can’t make a reasoned decision about Catholicism is completely off the mark.

          I’m guessing you’ve never been to anywhere in Africa or Asia – would that be right?

          • Emmet

            And again – what’s your evidence for “the Vatican” targeting these areas for proselytising? Got any?

          • KRKBAB

            Emmet, what do you mean, exactly, by “writing off”? And just because there are people who aren’t desperate and “ignorant” (you chose that word- I chose “under-educated”), doesn’t mean there aren’t many millions of people in those areas you mentioned who are. No, I haven’t been to Africa or Asia- why do you ask? I don’t care if you live in either Africa or Asia,.my point still stands.

            • Emmet

              I linked to an references about the growth of the Church in Africa and Asia. You’re saying that “the Vatican” aims to proselytse in Africa and Asia because the people there are “poor, desperate and under-educated” (therefore you’re implying they’re ignorant of what us clever first-worlders know – ie, that contraception and fornication = freedom, baby!)

              I ask if you’ve been to those places because if you had you would have met plenty of people who aren’t poor, desperate or under-educated and are yet – the shock! – comitted Catholics.

              To make the statement that people in these areas are Catholic because they’re poor, under-educated and desperate smacks of ignorant white blinkered cloth-eared privilege. It’s a ridiculous statement and a reason-loving, free-thinking atheist should be ashamed of it.

              • 3lemenope

                Curious, what’s your hypothesis why Catholicism is on the upswing in Asia and Africa and disintegrating everywhere else? What is the x-factor that they have (or lack) that the rest lack (or have) that makes the story there one other than the familiar one of diminishing returns among ever more weary audiences (who have been jumping the ship for all sorts of greener pastures, from different flavors of Christianity all the way to atheism)?

                • Emmet

                  Is it disintegrating everywhere else?

                • 3lemenope

                  The collapse is nothing short of startling. In places like South America, the primary move is from Catholicism to Evangelical Protestantism; for example in Brazil from 1970-2010, Catholicism as a percent of population declined from 92% all the way down to 65%. Over the same period, Evangelicals recorded an astounding jump from 5% to 22%, with secularists of various stripes showing gains more modest in raw numbers (but still reflecting a five- to seven-fold increase). In Europe, newly ex-Catholics are more likely to end up in a mainline Protestant church or abandon Christianity completely.

                • Emmet

                  I’m not sure your take on it is correct.

                  Here’s Catholic Voices Comment:

                  http://cvcomment.org/2013/03/04/challenging-the-myth-of-catholic-decline/

                  And HuffPo disagrees with you: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-briggs/counting-us-catholics-signs-of-growth-and-decline-on-the-road-to-100-million_b_2315142.html

                  And my link above about the growth in the Church in NZ.

                  Add to that the growth in religious orders, with young men and women flocking to join up to the consecrated life, numbers of men in seminaries growing (again, here in NZ, our seminary is the fullest it’s been for many years), and the “new media” aiding in dissemination of information about and aids for the growth of faith and prayer.

                  Hardly a picture of disintegration, as much as internet atheists wish to propagate that meme.

              • KRKBAB

                Your last paragraph is just a knee jerk reaction by you.

                But this by you: ” (therefore you’re implying they’re ignorant of what us clever
                first-worlders know – ie, that contraception and fornication = freedom, baby!)” surely is religion’s biggest coup- SEX-SEX-SEX ad nauseum. Be ashamed! Good. Now we can begin to control you. By the way, erm…, ahem… we need money. lots of $$$. let the tithing begin.
                Emmet, this is my last response to you, but feel free to get in the last word, or several.

  • GubbaBumpkin

    Because one takeaway I get from reading the comments from most … of these people is that
    they are, at base, bullies.

    Project much?

    • Art_Vandelay

      Meanwhile, these are her commenters…

      I think they want to be god. It infuriated Satan enough to make him who he is and I think many men/women believe that our God isn’t fair, needs to wise up to the current times, needs to give them what they want. The interesting part of all of this is how extraordinarily unhappy they are
      with getting what they want. As they pass laws against humanity, they
      are only more angry for getting what they want. In the end, they create
      and live in their own hell.

      • Stev84

        Speaking of mental…

      • The Other Weirdo

        It’s interesting to me that she only thinks what we atheists believe and want, yet she speaks with assuredness of what drove Satan into rebelling.

      • baal

        “As they pass laws against humanity”
        Yeah, about that. My current biggest federal legislative concern is literally the taking of food out of the mouths of the poor. The (R) want 40 billion of food aid to poor kids taken away. The (D) are everso graciously saying only 4 billion!. Damn me and my anti-humanity laws.

      • Gus

        Man, I love when they actually believe in Satan. They’ve got so much more mythology about him than is actually supported by the Bible. They’ve made him into such a sympathetic character. It really makes me want to delve into the fictional genre of stories where Satan is the good guy and God is an unhinged authoritarian tyrant on par with the Kims of North Korea. I’m still not sure this has been done quite the way I’d like to see it, but I haven’t read enough of it to really know.

        • Gerry Mooney

          Dude, you should write it!

          • randomfactor

            “Job: a Comedy of Justice,” by Robert Heinlein.

            • Gus

              Oh, that sounds like a good one!

        • Kodie

          My idea was where Satan was throwing an awesome party, and God tried to invite people to his party the same night but nobody wanted to go, and he gets really pathetic and needy about wanting people to come to his party.

          • islandbrewer

            *thinks for a minute*

            Holy crap! I was God in high school! And Satan was that girl Rebecca! I’m so glad I’ve matured since then.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

        Dafuq did I just read?

  • http://www.holytape.etsy.com Holytape

    How about this as a explanation:

    Although the Catholic Church is a truly despicable organization, it has a great influence over a large portion of the world and society. So even if a gay man isn’t a part of the church, he still will have to deal with the homophobia grown by the church. Or even if a woman seeking an abortion isn’t a Catholic, she still has to deal with the laws, restrictions and shit that the catholic church is throwing her way. We want the your church to change, not because we really want your god’s blessing, but because we are really sick of having to deal with homophobia, misogyny and so much other bullshit that the Catholic church promotes and spreads.

    • David Kopp

      The woman who wants an abortion has to deal with a Catholic hospital. It’s not even just laws, it’s simple lack of services because they control the services in many areas.

      • Gus

        Like Ohio where Republicans slipped some stealthy abortion provisions into a last minute budget amendment, including blocking public hospitals from entering into agreements with abortion providers (abortion providers are already required to have an agreement with a hospital). Which leaves private hospitals, the vast majority of which are Catholic, making it now almost impossible to get an abortion in the state of Ohio.

    • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

      If it were just mild homophobia that wouldn’t bother me that much. I’d rather not be friends with bigots. I don’t like spending time around racist or sexist people either. It’s more than people are so terrified that they might be gay themselves (and that’s what’s really at the core of this crap) that they commit acts of violence and deny rights to gay people that scares me. Look at the leadership of the RCC. Have you ever seen such a bunch of queens in all your life? Everyone knew Ratzinger was gay and kept his lover in the Vatican and yet there he was denouncing homosexuality. How can people support this nonsense?

      • Emmet

        I know, everyone knew, right?

        Except, you know, no evidence. So all you’ve got is assumptions and “I think so”. What about reason and rationality?

    • Kevin A

      I don’t want the church to change…i’d like it to burn down.

  • invivoMark

    “There are a few issues in particulate that really rev [non-Christians'] engines.”

    Actually, my main issue with particulates is that breathing them increases one’s risk of lung cancer. I don’t see how particulates relate to Christianity, though.

    • allein

      I don’t know…all that burning incense and candles can’t be good for you over the long term…

  • L.Long

    Of all the many comments and blogs I read there is only one group that want the RCC to change…RCC members!!!!
    I don’t want them or any other religion to change their teachings, they and the actual buyBull drive more people away the way they are…GREAT!!!
    In fact when I comment on RCC stuff I usually support the RCC position and cheer! And then tell people if they don’t like the RCC position…THEN GET THE HELL OUT!!! Grow up and be a thinking adult!!!

  • Gus

    To the extent that I want the Catholic Church to change its teachings, it is because they are hurting people, Catholic and not, by the way those teachings affect public policy. But it’s not even the teachings mentioned here. I don’t care who they let take communion. I don’t want them to affirm gay marriage, I just want them to get out of the business of telling people who aren’t Catholic who they can and cannot marry. Don’t want to solemnize gay weddings? Who cares, gay Catholics can go elsewhere. Don’t want to teach that gay marriages are equal? Fine, don’t teach it. But don’t get your religion in my government. Stop advocating against laws that allow others to marry the people they love and to solemnize gay weddings.

    Don’t want to say abortion or euthanasia are OK? Fine, don’t say it. But stop trying so damned hard to get the law of the land subverted and for the love of all that is not holy, stop killing women in your hospitals because you don’t want to let doctors terminate a doomed pregnancy.

    And they didn’t even mention the teachings I most want stopped:
    Stop teaching that homosexuality is equivalent to pedophilia or bestiality.
    Stop teaching that condoms spread AIDS.
    Stop teaching that people shouldn’t use birth control.
    Stop telling people birth control pills and morning after pills cause abortions when they don’t.
    Stop telling lies in general.
    Stop teaching that wanton, repeat sexual offenders with children can be redeemed while still being trusted with children and continuing to abuse that rust, while people who approve abortions to save a mother’s life are excommunicated and nuns who argue for the ordination of women, or put social justice above homophobia and anti-choice activism must be viewed with suspicion.

    While in some respects I would rather the Church remain in the past to be a forgotten relic as society moves beyond it, I cannot ignore the real harm these teachings do. I certainly don’t give up the right to criticize an organization with that much wealth and influence just because I don’t believe in it.

  • invivoMark

    Is there really anyone who isn’t a Catholic who gives a damn about who gets to take communion? I didn’t realize that was ever an issue.

    • GCT

      To be fair, there’s generally an uproar about it in the press every time a pro-choice politician is denied communion.

      • GubbaBumpkin

        That is about the only time I would take notice. And once again, it is not for what the politician does in his/her own personal life, or what they do within their faith community, but in legislation and policy for the society at large. This is the means by which the Holy Roman Catholic Church attempts to impose their doctrine on others.

        Also, they are inconsistent about it. When is the last time you heard of a Holy Roman Catholic Church refusing communion to a politician for supporting the death penalty? Or for that matter, for killing 6 million Jews?

        • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

          Or even expelling a priest who was caught raping children? It’s just unbelievable that the Church still thinks of itself as a moral authority. it’s kind of a sick joke every time I hear a bishop or the pope weighing in on a moral issue. If you can’t even protect children from rapists, what kind of moral high ground can you claim?

      • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

        There was also an uproar quite a few years ago about the Clintons taking communion in a Catholic church. They aren’t Catholic and therefore shouldn’t have according to the rules of the RCC (which are published in the missalet available in every pew of every Catholic church I’ve ever been to.

        I worked for a couple of years in an RCC church. Good gig other than the asshole priest who glared at me as I and the other tenor section leader had to walk past the communion table because I wasn’t Catholic. (The choir took communion and then sang a motet from behind the altar. We sang most of the service from a loft at the back of the church.) One Sunday my tenor cohort (and good friend) who was Lutheran took communion and he was fired after the service. So basically we were treated like shit either way. I still regret not quitting in protest when that happened. I’m a tenor who can sight-read. I’d have had another job by the next Thursday night rehearsal.

    • Erp

      Some other christians are concerned. Joint communion signifies that each side recognizes the other as full-fledged Christians. The Catholic Church generally recognizes baptism by other Christian churches (except Mormons and Unitarians) but does not allow members of them to take communion in Catholic churches (with the exception I think of the Orthodox).

      • alfaretta

        I checked and it looks like you’re right (although there also may be other exceptions). Evidently the Orthodox, according to catholic.com, “share the same faith concerning the nature of the sacraments.” This is interesting to me since, as I understand it, the Orthodox don’t believe in the Trinity.

        And it’s amusing to me that Hamilton can’t tell the difference between Protestants and atheists.

        • Emmet

          The Orthodox do believe in the Trinity.
          The Catholic and Orthodox Churches have been described as two halves of a pair of lungs. The aim of the Catholic Church is to heal the schism and become one again.

          Not going to happen any time soon.

  • Gus

    The ones who really want the Catholic Church to change their teachings are Catholics. And there are many of them. Like the majority of Catholic women who use birth control. Like the nuns and other Catholic women who want significant changes to the Church’s treatment of women. Like the gay Catholics who want the Church to stop treating them like second class citizens.

    I support all of those people in that struggle.

    But I’d rather they left the Church. And I’d rather the Church closed it’s doors and turned everything over to be run as a museum.

    • Pofarmer

      Something like 90-95% of catholic women have used birth control, and they are now preaching really hard to try to reverse that.

      • Kodie

        But who are we to make up new rules when god established the old rules?

        I am not really joking. I don’t understand what goes through a person’s mind who wants their church to find some loophole in their god’s rules, and still feels secure that their religion is deep down correct that they won’t follow their whim and find another church that’s lenient. They want to be Catholics for some reason, then they should suffer the strict rules. If salvation is really at stake, these things would have to be non-negotiable.

        • Pofarmer

          It’s a cultural thing, mainly. Te Church is very good at guilt, and guilt is very powerful. Well, that, and they are good at indoctrination.

      • islandbrewer

        I can only assume that’d be a US or European statistic.

        • Pofarmer

          U.S.

  • Rain

    whether they will admit it or not, they are God haunted people who desperately want what the Church offers

    You know what they say. Projection is the greatest form of self-flattery. What a ham. That reminds me it’s almost dinner time over here.

    • Ron

      Bon appétit! Canaanite babies are an exceptionally rare delicacy these days.

  • http://skepticsplay.blogspot.com/ trivialknot

    You have the issues right. On the one hand, the Church’s teachings cause real harm to Catholics and those around them, and changing them would lead to a better world. On the other hand, the Church’s regressiveness pushes people away from the church, which also leads to a better world.

    Although, I personally believe it would be better if the Church changed. I tend to think that the rate at which people leave Catholicism is not really proportionate to the irrationality of Catholicism. So if the Church takes a more irrational position, that’s a net loss.

  • Sven2547

    As usual, my comment on her blog disappeared to “moderation”.

    • DoctorDJ

      Yes, none of those Patheos catholic bloggers tolerate dissension.

      • Sven2547

        To be fair, some of them do not employ the “moderation” screen.

    • Art_Vandelay

      Cool. Mine needed company anyway. Maybe our heathen comments can hang out and have some gay sex or an abortion.

      • flyb

        AND an abortion. You know those silly commercials, “Sweet OR sour chicken…”

        • Art_Vandelay

          But if they were just having gay sex, they wouldn’t need an abortion!

          • flyb

            So what you’re saying is you found a ‘cure’ for abortion! Hallelujah!

            High five!

            • Art_Vandelay

              It was right under their noses the whole time!

              • C.L. Honeycutt

                It was right under their noses

                I can’t decide if that imagery is hot or gross.

                Okay, it’s both.

              • Gus

                The mustache?

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        Maybe they could do both. Now that’s a miracle!

    • Spectrall

      My experience with Rebecca Hamilton’s blog is that all my comments make it through moderation. While I personally wouldn’t be inclined to send comments to moderation, it’s not my blog, and I don’t think she just outright stifles dissent.

      • Sven2547

        She used to let about half of mine through, but I’ve been batting 0.000 for the last few months. She has even deleted a comment of mine, then responded by typing a long tirade completely lying about what I said simply to call me names and slander me. Nothing she does or says surprises me anymore.

        • Spectrall

          Hmmm… I guess it’s been awhile since I’ve bothered. I wondered if the standard has changed.

          • The Other Weirdo

            But isn’t Christian morality rock-solid and never changes because it’s based on something higher than ourselves? Only atheists should be changing commenting policy, not Christians.

          • C.L. Honeycutt

            Things like her always go downhill once they start experiencing challenges.

    • Pepe

      I just compared her to a brick wall. Don’t think I should be hoping that’s gonna pass through moderation, should I?

  • EdmondWherever

    I’ve attempted to post an explanation, and I tried to remain as civil and reasonable as I could. Comment awaiting moderation, so we’ll see.

  • Cat’s Staff

    Not only do I want religion to stay as medieval as it is, I’d love it if it exercised its right kick people out if they don’t follow the rules. If you don’t excommunicate people, what are the rules good for. Women should be required to submit to testing and if they are found to be using birth control without a medical reason(verified by a good Catholic doctor), kick the couple out. If you’re not enforcing the rules then why have them. That will empty the pews out.

    • Anna

      The fundie Catholic answer to this is that the church is like a “hospital for sinners,” and that it doesn’t make sense to kick sick people out. But what about the people who don’t agree that they’re sick? What about the ones who know what they’re supposed to believe and follow their own conscience anyway? They should at least kick out the people who aren’t sorry for breaking the rules.

      • Kodie

        From what I heard, they also make it difficult to be let out voluntarily.

        • Pofarmer

          You’re never out in the eyes ofthe church.

          • islandbrewer

            Not unlike the mafia.

            • C.L. Honeycutt

              Every time I start to think that it might be inaccurate of me to say that the RCC and the Mafia succeed for the same reasons…

              • islandbrewer

                [Jersey mook accent] Hey! I thought yous might want to invest in a little protection for your soul, dere. It would be really unfortunately-like if something were to happen to it. *knocks a vase over* Whoops! See? Never know what could happen.[/Overdone mafioso stereotype]

        • Anna

          True. That’s why I have more respect for JWs and Mormons. Try that nonsense with them, and they’ll kick you out. The Catholics don’t let anyone out, ever. Even people who never made any personal profession of faith, who were simply baptized as babies.

          I hate that the Catholic church is so hypocritical on so many isssues. They’ll expel the clergy, but let the laity (even famous ones) get away with being public dissenters. And they routinely overlook “sins” of a heterosexual nature, while coming down hard against homosexual ones. See: Catholic schools and divorced/remarried parents vs. same-sex parents.

  • Rationalist1

    The actions that affect other people, especially non Catholics I want them to stop. They can be against abortion, contraception, women priest, gat marriage all they want butr as long as they don’t seek to make those beliefs normative on everyone, I don’t care.
    We can challenge them on their belief that Jesus was born of a virgin, that hell exists, that the creator of the entire universe is a piece of tasteless bread. Those are enough to question them on. Keep the regressive sexual beliefs is you must, but that’s only for Catholics, not for the rest of us.

  • Oranje

    If the Catholic Church would stay out of government, then they can do as they please. But this mock indignation that we’re somehow over the line in combating their dominion over the way we live our lives—despite the fact we think they’re full of antiquated, superstitious nonsense—is really quite nauseating. We don’t want affirmation, or the Oprah lecture that we aren’t really atheists. We want you to stop using the government to tell us what we can and can’t do.

    Also, not being corrupt and doing real harm to many communities would be nice, but I’ll take down this gold-and-real-estate-loving tax shelter down one step at a time.

    • randomfactor

      Their recent meddling in the government shutdown fiasco is a classic example of the harm they do.

  • Katarn

    As an ex-catholic who is now a mostly closeted atheist I can eat jesus’ body whenever I want without anyone batting an eye. I have no desire to do this (he tastes like styrofoam). I think its sad that they do exclude other people who may want to partake in the cracker fest, for instance non-catholic Christians at a funeral mass for a loved one. That’s awful and tribalistic. It can be really hurtful, especially if you were informed of this rule in the middle of a funeral. I don’t want to be part of that tribe anymore but the exclusionary tribalism can still hurt people I care about. If out group folks were really jealous of the magic cracker they could just go to some silly classes, If they are heart broken after being burned by the Church, they are hurt not jealous.

    • http://yogscast.wikia.com/wiki/User:Supertoastfairy Supertoastfairy

      Am I the only one who finds the substance they use as the Eucharist to be strangely delicious? I could eat that stuff all day.

      • Katarn

        meh, plain rice cakes are way better.

      • Aloboy

        Here in my country they sell the leftovers to be eaten as snacks… Obviously I’m talking about what remains after the circular shapes are cut out and before anything gets “transubstantiated”…

        • C.L. Honeycutt

          Atheists just have a Jesus-shaped hole in their heart cookie.

      • Art_Vandelay

        The place that makes that shit is right across the street from my tennis club. I know the owners. I say ‘the place” because it’s about as close to a monopoly as you get. Go to any Catholic church in the world and the chances are that their communion wafers were made here…

        http://www.cavanaghco.com/

      • Stev84

        It’s so dry. Always sticks to the roof of the mouth.

        • Mairianna

          LOL! I remember many times, piously returning to my pew and secretly scraping my finger on the roof of my mouth to pry it off! LOL!

      • allein

        I loved communion Sundays…we got real bread and grape juice shots.

    • Anna

      What’s to stop them from going up anyway? If it’s a funeral, the priest who’s presiding doesn’t know half the people there and will have no idea who’s Catholic and who isn’t. Heck, I’d probably go up just to be contrary, except that I wouldn’t want anyone to think I was Catholic even for the five minutes it took to head to the altar and get communion.

    • Pofarmer

      Well, before my current bout with Atheism here, the problem I had with the classes was being honest with myself. I would rather be true to what I beleive, and I can’t beleive a cracker turns into the flesh of a 2000 year old Jewish Rabbi. That’s a bridge too far. Well, now it’s a coupke of bridges too far.

  • Damon Icke

    I like how she conveniently leaves out how we want them to change their teaching on reporting child abuse to the police. The church could be a role model for parishioners like Joe Paterno. Catholics don’t like talking about that.

  • Oranje

    Also, is the stock image there what’s in Timothy Dolan’s pockets? Somehow I wouldn’t expect them to be singles.

  • Gerry Mooney

    I don’t think they ask for ID when you go up for Communion, anyone can go as far as I know. The *real*problem, especially at Halloween, is…vampire nuns! http://www.amazon.com/Sister-Mary-Dracula-Gerard-Mooney/dp/1493543164/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1383165123&sr=8-1&keywords=sister+mary+dracula

  • Raising_Rlyeh

    “Why the Church won’t say it’s ok for them kill people they want to kill (the unborn, the elderly, disabled, etc.)”

    I do not want to kill anyone. I want women to have the right to choose whether to carry the fetus to term or not. I want those that are in severe pain to have the ability to end their life if they choose so. I do not want to kill the disabled, but again if they want to end their life that is their choice. If I became disabled, say paralyzed from the waist down, I would want to end my life.

  • James Skorpanich

    …Big issue: Allowing priests and nuns to take HETEROSEXUAL spouses….Simple biology, if I may be so bold….The need for LOVE if not intimacy…

  • Carmen

    Because this:

  • Carmen

    As a lawyer I often represent sex abuse victims of the Catholic Church. It is entirely an uphill battle, even where it is uncontested that 1) the person was sexually abused as a child; and 2) the local diocese (or higher up) knew that the priest or whoever had molested others, concealed that fact, and made no effort to keep the person away from children. The Catholic Church has done everything it can to enact laws that shorten the time period to sue and has fought efforts to extend that time period. Moreover, the standard game plan is to place all blame on the victim and his or her parents, because they should have done something to stop it. Victim blaming is the standard legal strategy if they ever have to even fight the merits of a lawsuit. The Catholic Church spends millions and millions on legal counsel while refusing to settle with victims.

    The Church is a vast, organized criminal organized that has done more damage to more people than any gang I know of.

    • Carmen

      *criminal organization

  • lmern

    I think this stand has some merit.
    It seems more likely every day that humans are on the cusp, or have been on the cusp of great Religious enlightenment. That is to say, mankind and our understanding of the natural world, of ourselves, and life as we know it, is vastly improving and expanding.
    Religion, almost all or near all of it, simply cannot evolve and change it’s ideologies to fit every new discovery without putting at risk the foundations of it’s legacy and teachings.
    We are moving fast towards a future where people will have no choice but to put down those holy books because they are simply too radicalized and irrelevant to our current existence. There could actually be a day when someone reads the Bible for a college class, and thinks it really, really weird that people ever thought gay love was forbidden.

    That is what I foresee… Jeebus I hope that’s where we’re headed.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    Gee, I want a powerful and rich entity with a ridiculous amount of social and political power to stop telling people I don’t deserve equal rights and to stop fighting for laws that enshrine a second-class status for multiple people?

    Who’d a’thunk it?

    • GCBill

      Obviously you’re just a god-haunted bully…

      …or maybe the Principle of Charity is dead.

    • islandbrewer

      Stop oppressing the poor poor Catholics! What are you, some tyrannical dictator?!?!?!

  • Paula M Marshall

    So don’t join the Catholic church? Or get out. Then they don’t get the money.

  • Gordon Duffy

    Given that the Catholic Church doesn’t even represent the views of most Catholics I suppose the question is, who does it represent?

  • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

    Wow, that’s a lot of projection on the author’s part. I’m not Catholic and it is therefore none of my concern what the church teaches. I don’t take jobs that require me to sit through Catholic nonsense either. Besides I want to puke every time a priest touches an altar boy in any way. It’s just not worth it.

    I do care when the church injects itself into our legal system. I care when they donate millions to promote horrible laws and constitutional amendments (almost all the funding to promote Prop 8 in California came from groups and individuals who were in some way connected to the LDS and Catholic churches). Other than that, it’s none of my concern. Yes, in an ideal world I’d like for people to shake off the chains of bronze age superstition and join the reality-based community, but I don’t have the power to make that happen. I’m happy to talk to people about faith-related and other issues, but I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about nonsensical teachings of the RCC. Honestly, people who can believe in transubstantiation will fall for anything. #facepalm

    • Pofarmer

      well, you’re not a true Catholic if you don’t beleive in transubstantiation. They only want the really devoted ones.

    • Derrik Pates

      It makes me a little sick when Catholics try to claim fetuses and zygotes are people – right up until they might have to pay out a bunch of money over their “belief”, at which point, it’s “oh no, that’s not what we believe at all. Nope.”

  • Guest

    I want the Catholic church and every other church and temple in the world to cease to exist, because the entire congregation realises that the teachings they’ve been following are total bollocks.

    I want the pope and all his cardinals stripped of all their power and influence. Not violently, but simply because his followers wake up to the fact that he’s a human being, just like them, entirely fallible and not an actual authority on anything.

    Churches which accept gay marriage and female leaders are nice and an improvement, but they’re still filling people’s heads with unscientific nonsense based on nothing but fantasy. Same goes for mosques, temples, pagan sacred groves, etc. I hope one day all of humanity will decide we don’t need lies to sustain us, and that reality is enough.

  • Anna

    whether they will admit it or not, they are God haunted people who desperately want what the Church offers, which is peace with God, eternal life and a spiritual home.

    Keep projecting there, Rebecca! I can’t believe she actually thinks we’re jealous. I’m repulsed by most parts of Catholic theology. I certainly have no desire to join her religion. The only reason I bother to condemn the doctrine is because I think the beliefs are harmful. Not just harmful to people in the church, but to society as a whole. This is particularly relevant because they won’t stop trying to interfere with the lives of non-Catholics. If they didn’t constantly try to meddle in our secular laws, I’d have a lot less to say about them.

    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke, TOWAN

      Anna Johnson is correct.

      /blazing saddles

  • islandbrewer

    I think they should also rescind their pardon of Galileo, too.

    It’s not like it’s doing anyone any good. And it would show them in a more accurate light.

  • Rob P

    Wait! Non-Catholics are clamoring to take communion???

  • islandbrewer

    Get this! Her retort to any criticism or rebuttal, when she does let select ones through (none of mine has, yet) is that those who disagree with her “want to stifle the right to vote of those with whom they disagree.” Uh-huh, because wanting equal rights is just a form of dictatorship.

    Gah!

  • Stuart M.

    I’m an ex-Catholic and so happy I left. Do I yearn for wafers? Ha, ha, ha. Oh, yeah, the Catholic church is big into sin ratification. Remember those indulgences? How about annulments of marriages? That’s where some Catholic man has sex with a woman for years and years and even has children, and then for a few bucks the Catholic church will just say it never happened! Don’t get me started on the child molestation scandal. I can’t think of a sicker institution.

  • Rosbif

    I don’t want them to change their “teachings”, I would just like them to only be allowed to “teach” in church and not be allowed anywhere near children.
    I have never understood how people can consider an institution credible that says it is preaching/killing for/protecting the absolute truth of god when they then go and “modernise”, changing the absolute true word of god to something else.

    I’ve never seen the addenda god must have sent them so they can change their moral stance on things, so it appears very much like they’re making it up as they go along. Would I really want to put my entire life, thoughts and opinions in the hands of an institution that pretends everything it says is correct until it changes it’s mind under social pressure?

  • Nunbeliever

    “But truth be told, I don’t really want the Church to change its teachings. I want the Church to keep its foot firmly planted in the past, unable to progress to a more enlightened future. The more it sticks to its sexist, bigoted beliefs, the faster people will get the hell out of there.”

    This is so cynical and arrogant, that it really upsets me. This author seems to be the typical arrogant person who lives in his own little comfortable bubble. Millions of people die every year in Africa due to the Catholic church refusal to promote condoms, family planning, abortions, etc etc. Millions of others are being harassed, persecuted or in other ways harmed by Catholics all over the world. Yes, I also would like people to leave the Catholic church and their ridiculous faith all together. But, the Vatican has real power over a lot of people! Hence, they should be fiercely criticized for their actions and we should try all we can to change their policies. Because real people get harmed by their policies. This attitude that we should sacrifice all these people on the altar of promoting atheism is so cynical and cruel in my opinion! Shame on you Mr. Mehta!

  • Chris

    I am not against religion as such. I am against faith in general, when defined as ‘knowing something you actually don’t’. But I suppose it does seem, when actively leaving a vapid comment like this, for example, as though one ‘protests too much’. If the point is maintaining a faith then such actions are going to come off the way the original writer described. Certainly, nothing more than personal satisfaction is actually gained on the part of the commenter. I do agree that people who don’t want to be in a gang because of the rules should probably sack up and take the beat-out rather than arguing with what is, in the gang myth, the will of an infallible being. But if they were really interested in the rational life… well, you get the idea.

  • cyb pauli

    “they are God haunted people who desperately want what the Church offers, which is peace with God, eternal life and a spiritual home.” God doesn’t exist, eternal life as Catholics describe it doesn’t exist and spirits don’t exist, so they don’t need homes. What the Catholic Church does offer is shame, guilt, repression, untruths, brainwashing and heaps of child (and lesser discussed adult) abuse. They also offer to take your money. None of which I need.

    • Kodie

      I’ll take your money if you don’t need it.

  • Olive Markus

    When the Catholic Church stops hurting people, people will stop giving a flying fuck about the Catholic Church.

    Easy enough, right?

    Catholics: I don’t hate your church because I’m jealous and just really want what you have, I hate your church because it continuously, systemically and systematically does vile, horrible and hateful things while claiming to be the only true moral, good, loving authority on earth – all while singling people like ME out as the destructors of our societies. That makes your church a collective asshole with the self-awareness of… well, an asshole.

    Oh, and if you think that non-Catholics stop by Catholic sites to give their two-cents only because of communion-envy, what does it say about Catholics who stop by non-Catholic sites to give theirs? Care to extend your “logic” the whole way, or does it only work when you say it does?

    By the way, I’ve had what you have; it sucked. Life is so much better once you escape the mind-wringing nonsense.


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