Latest Anti-Catholic Theory on Catholic Converts: Filthy Lucre

Latest Anti-Catholic Theory on Catholic Converts: Filthy Lucre March 3, 2019

Scott Hahn and Steve Ray Supposedly Were Motivated Primarily or Solely by Financial Gain, to Become Catholics?

[all material below is public Internet material]

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One “Binky Brown” [a former Catholic] writes [on the anti-Catholic CARM discussion forum] (7-10-04):

“Observations About ‘Clergy Converts To Catholicism’ “

You know the people I’m talking about: Scott Hahn, David Currie, etc..

My observation is that, if you study these men, sooner or later it becomes obvious that they were in a position where likely ulterior economic motives may have been the motivation for their “crossing the Tiber”.

Hahn (Rome Sweet Rome), for example, was never “an ordained Presbyterian minister”, as claimed: he was an associate pastor for some now-defunct independent congregation that averaged about 30 attendees on a Sunday. Then, he got a free ride for a Ph.D. at Catholic Marquette University, and voila!- He became a Catholic.

Currie (Born Fundamentalist- Born Again Catholic)was never even a minister at all: he spent 5 years in a three year M. Div. program without graduating.

There is even a “Coming Home Network” organization that holds forth new career opportunities as an enticement for those who become Roman Catholic. Conversion becomes the bargained for exchange in a contract for career enhancement.

The point here is: don’t take these individuals at face value. More than likely, their “conversion” was little more than a career move. When they claim to be “a former Protestant minister”, determine if they were ever successful as ministers of the gospel: Did they ever really pastor a church? How many people did they actually lead to Christ? Most won’t actually say where they pastored, or name elders of the congregations they served (lest too many details of their purported pre-catholic existence come to life), so you may have to dig deeply.

Moreover, many of them play the “Saul before the road to Damascus” card to the hilt: they will claim to have been “anti-Catholic” before their conversion, but were “won over by the truth”. Now, if you think you’ll ever find a single arguably “anti-Catholic” book , article, or sermon by them before they turned to Romanism, good luck. Chances are their “anti-Catholicism” is but one more legend in their own minds.

“Hilasterion” added (7-10-04):

The phenomenon being described is hard to deny. . . . they crave attention. Being controversial is certainly a way of doing that. The books are more akin to tabloid trash than scholarship.

And again, Binky, the reader of hearts and minds, speaks (7-12-04; 6:53 AM):

Stephen Ray was a business owner both before, and after, his conversion to the RCC. As he and his business are located in a region with a significant Roman Catholic population (southeast Michigan), one has to ask if his conversion did anything but improve his business opportunities.

Well, seeing that Steve’s business is a janitorial service for businesses, I highly doubt that Catholic businesses have more dust and dirt than Protestant ones. But what do I know? Maybe Catholics do more dirty business than Protestants????

As a matter of fact, from polling data (Pew Research Center), metro Detroit has only 16% Catholic population, compared to 49% Protestant. So we are to believe that Steve’s business opportunities greatly increased (thus, this was a motive for his conversion), in an area that has three times more Protestants than Catholics? The same study shows that no metro area in the US has much more than a mere third, of Catholic population (Chicago: 34%, New York: 33%, LA and San Diego: 32%, Boston: 29%, Miami: 27%, Philadelphia: 26%). Anti-Catholics apparently forget that this has always been a Protestant-dominated country.

Steve and Janet Ray both came from staunch Protestant families: they certainly paid a personal price.

All in a day’s work of apologetics! This is the sort of juvenile nonsense that made me give up trying to debate with anti-Catholics three years later, in 2007: one of the best decisions I ever made. I still have many scores of online papers refuting them, for anyone interested.

Steve Ray himself chimed in:

Love it Dave! Thanks for sharing. Yeah, being a Catholic janitor was so much better than being a Protestant janitor. I used to work on Sundays because there were no Protestant rules about “obligation.” Rats, now I actually am forced to go to Church on Sunday and can’t work even in the afternoon or evening. Yea, great to be Catholic.

Moreover, as regards his history before coming to the RCC as an “anti-Catholic” (as another poster has claimed) : do we have any record of books written by him prior to his conversion that dealt with Roman Catholicism within this supposedly pejorative context?

I’ve known fellow southeast Michigander Steve since 1983. In fact, the first time I met him I heard him speak at our singles group, and what did I talk to him about afterwards?: the anti-Catholic sub-theme of his presentation, which was derived in part from Francis Schaeffer, with whom he had studied in Switzerland. I was not anti-Catholic as a Protestant (as I was in 1983); but Steve definitely was. But then I am one of those lying, devious, money-hungry Catholic converts, too, so why trust my eyewitness report, huh?

If we have only the word of Stephen Ray (or as previously noted, Scott Hahn, as to his pre-Catholic existence), and the individual has an obvious interest in playing this angle to the hilt in order to gain credibility among his new-found fold, we have every right to question, as would any cross-examiner of a witness, the issues of motive, bias, and interest. It’s what I identified in my original post as the “Paul before the road to Damascus” card: often played, but rarely substantiated, except from the declarant (or his allies) himself.

Finally, it’s not just about “selling books”: look at Hahn’s website, and see what he charges for a speaking engagement- my recollection is $2 grand a pop “plus expenses”. Not an earth shattering amount when it comes to honorariums, but more that he’d ever earn in a week as an associate pastor for a small (thirty attendees a Sunday) independent congregation. Hahn also has a tenured professorship at a small Catholic university. So one can conclude that “crossing the Tiber” has paid off well for Hahn. And remember that one of his undergraduate majors was in economics. I submit that this honor grad has learned and applied lessons in determining market demand well.

Scott Hahn couldn’t have become a professor at a Protestant university or seminary??!! He was offered a job as a dean at one such seminary, for heaven’s sake, while he was still in his 20s. He finished at the top of his class in seminary. This is such ridiculous and stupid stuff, one wonders if Binky is doing this as a joke; poking fun at anti-Catholic credulity and ignorance and readiness to believe any asinine thing about Catholics.

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(originally from 7-15-04, with additional material added on 1-27-17)

Photo credit: Nicolas Raymond (4-29-13): “Custom Grunge Emblem – Almighty Dollar” [Flickr / CC BY 2.o license]

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