Petitions or Open Letters Demanding Public Mass are Political Organizing Tools. Don’t Sign Them.

Petitions or Open Letters Demanding Public Mass are Political Organizing Tools. Don’t Sign Them. April 4, 2020
Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Robert Cheaib https://www.flickr.com/photos/theologhia/

I’ve noticed that several right-wing “Catholic” groups have latched onto the fact that most Catholic bishops have opted to save lives by ceasing public masses for a few weeks. The right-wingers are, predictably, using it as an organizing tool. 

Right wing agitators are like heat-seeking missiles. They are instruments of destruction who do not care who they hurt or the harm they do to people or this country. They have a laser-like focus on tender spots in the public psyche where they can punch and pick and cause a festering sore. They use anything that upsets people. 

They knew right off that stopping public mass for a few weeks would discombobulate a small percentage of Catholics, and that this emotional weak spot was something they could use as an organizing tool. They know that the cessation of public mass is just a short-term inconvenience. They also know it is necessary to save lives. But they don’t care.

These people aren’t overburdened with conscience and the needs of building a just and stable society. Their life’s work is tearing down, ripping apart, then seizing advantage and profiting on the subsequent upheaval. 

Right-wing Catholic publications and “ministries” — most of which are paid operatives of right wing foundations and money pots — have been churning out all manner of invidious nonsense since the bishops shut down public mass. As usual, they’ve larded on lies, exaggerations, conspiracy theories and twisted facts to feed their faithful’s hunger for hate porn. 

The people who fall for this are not innocent, either. The ones who pass around these various conspiracy stories and push this hatred share in the guilt of those who create it and profit from it directly. 

This is a kind of pornography. I used the term “hate porn” advisedly. I meant it. 

There are a lot of people who are addicted to the hate tropes of the right wing. They get pleasure from the feelings of hatred and disgust toward others that this stuff incites. They pass it on to other people because it is evil, and evil is pushing them to do it. 

These right-wing hate purveyors are just using the current situation as an organizing and money-garnering tool. Their “petitions” and “open letters” to the bishops demanding that the bishops re-start public mass right in the middle of a pandemic are simple and obvious tools. They are tools of a type that politicians have been using for a long time. 

If you will notice, most of them contain an appeal for money somewhere. There is that ubiquitous donate button right there if you feel inclined to toss a dollar on the pile for the “cause.” But money isn’t the main thing. 

The most important part is the space where you “sign up.” They ask for your name, email, address, phone number — whatever info you’re foolish enough to give them. 

If you do that, you will be entered into their database. They now know a button they can push to get to you, to motivate you, to twist you and turn you to their ends. It isn’t the issue of the mass that they care about. That’s just a short-lived sensation they’ve used to hook you. What interests them is the mind set you’ve revealed to them. 

They now know that you’re (1) Catholic, (2)  conservative, (3) religious, (4) stupid and gullible. You’ve self-identified as an easily manipulated dummy who will believe just about anything. 

You’ve shown that you are vulnerable to appeals couched in religion, in particular Catholicism, but that you don’t trust the bishops and Church leadership. They can surmise that you’re probably pro life. If you donated a dollar, they know that you’ve got discretionary cash and you can be pried loose from it. What’s more they know your name, address, phone number, email and maybe your credit card number. 

You’ve given them a way into your mind so they can manipulate you. You’re now theirs to use. 

They have you down as someone who will believe just about anything, who is a consumer of their hate porn, someone who will most likely pass along the infection of hate and crazy that they are pushing. 

Not only can they use you, but their friends can use you too. Your name and information is going to be sold and given to other right-wing groups. You’ll start getting all manner of targeted appeals, conspiracy theories and propaganda. 

You are now a mark. You’ve always been someone they want to use. And now you’ve given them an idea of how to get to you.

This sort of connection building along the fault lines of relatively inconsequential issues is an on-going project of the extreme right wing. It is how they have managed to capture the minds of about half the American population. It is how they manage to keep people mesmerized and following a preposterous nut like Donald Trump. 

These folks don’t care about the Holy Mass. They know — as you do, if you’ll just think — that this pandemic will eventually grind itself out. We’ll either stop it with a vaccine, or it will infect so many of us that our own natural immunity will put it down. 

They also know that suspension of public mass has not suspended the mass. It is being said every day by every priest. Before too long, we’ll resume public mass and this whole thing will be history. Given the short attention span of the public, I would guess that they will immediately be consumed by a new sensation and forget this ever happened. 

But the databases will go on. They will be used to manipulate you through the next new sensation, and the one after that and the one after that. You will, without even knowing it’s happening, be shifted and changed by the well-targeted barrage of propaganda that hits you daily. Your stupidity in signing up for that petition or open letter or whatever has laid you open to well-designed manipulation by people who truly do not have your best interests at heart. 

To paraphrase Darth Vader, they have you now. 


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