A Catholic politician and blogger is just oh so very baffled about why non-Catholics might be enthusiastically supporting and pushing for Catholic reform. Hilarity ensues when she uses her out-loud voice to make some wild, misinformed, completely self-serving speculations as to why. The usual Christian right-wing bingo can be found here, including a rather intellectually dishonest insistence that obviously the answer is that non-Catholics are “god-haunted” and “desperately want what the Church offers.” Show of hands? Anybody “god-haunted” here who “desperately wants” misogyny, ignorance, repression, and homophobia? I don’t know about y’all, but I’m pretty sure I don’t feel haunted by any gods and I’m absolutely positive I don’t want anything the Catholic Church offers. Why would I desperately want to be abused and made into a second citizen who doesn’t even own her own body? And what kind of weak or jerky god would “haunt” me instead of just communicating openly with me?
I’m not sure how I feel about the idea that non-Catholics shouldn’t want the Roman Catholic Church to reform itself. One the one hand, I want to be supportive; millions of people want to believe in this stuff, and reform can’t help but make the more fringe and nasty elements of the church a little more neighborly. On the other, its resistance to change highlights how irrelevant it truly is and will only hasten its demise, which would definitely benefit the rest of the world. It feels like we’re trying to move forward but are finding progress slowed by the cranky, shrieking malcontents clinging to our leg as we try to walk.
Remember, I’ve got Catholic family. My mother was a Catholic till the day she died, even though she wasn’t allowed to take Communion because she’d chosen her sanity and her children’s health over her marriage to an unfaithful, abusive, philanderer. I got to see firsthand how the church’s rejection of her played out over the course of her life. She suffered, and I was helpless to make that suffering even a tiny bit lessened. Every single person like me, every person who has loved ones being abused by the Catholic Church, has a stake in what happens with these reforms being pushed.
But even barring just the impact reform would have on my loved ones, I live under the laws that right-wing repressive Catholics keep trying to pass–laws that allow Catholic hospitals to decide my fate under Catholic doctrines I don’t even believe and to force or withhold treatment based on unproven, untested, medically inaccurate ideas that I, as the healthcare consumer who may have no choice about where I end up for care, have no control over or input on whatsoever. Laws that allow Catholic employers to refuse to let me have reproductive products covered by the health insurance which I purchase with my own money and which is not administered or even directly paid for by these selfsame employers. Laws that allow Catholic people to deny marriage rights to American citizens who don’t care what Catholics think about anything they do. Laws that allow Catholics to flex and seize political power when they have so little cultural power (even over their own people–many Catholics support reproductive freedom and equal marriage, and the vast majority of Catholic women use unapproved types of contraception).
It’s impossible for me to escape the idea that exercising a “tyranny of the majority” is the only way they can force the rest of us to abide by their ridiculous, backward, misogynistic, and brutally inhumane rules. I just wonder if this ridiculous blogger is going to take her own medicine; she’s so gung-ho about elections determining human rights? Okay, fine, so she’d better take her losses with a smile when voters in her state approve equal marriage and unfettered reproductive freedom. After all, the voters spoke…This is what I wrote to her, since I’m hearing rumbles of her not allowing some critical responses. The “his” referred to here is a gay man who told her he wanted reform because Catholics are trying to stop him from having an essential liberty that straight couples enjoy without any hindrance; she responded that obviously he was just wrong and that the Church doesn’t really vilify gay people:
I’ll trust his assessment over yours. It’s not very loving to tell someone that his direct experiences and feelings aren’t valid. Nor is it a good way to open the channels of communication with someone who has been marginalized this much. You want honesty, but you’re punishing those who offer their honest truth to you. Don’t ask the question if you don’t want the real answers. I’m actually surprised EdmondWherever took the time to even try to respond to you; I had a feeling your response would look like it did. You’ve already formed an idea of why you think outsiders want reform in your church, an idea blissfully free of facts, and I am hoping that the response you’re getting to this ill-conceived and poorly-thought-out blog piece will give you a little reality check.
And BTW, I totally agree with him. I’m an ex-Catholic and I certainly have no feelings of being “god-haunted” in any way, nor do I want the church’s forgiveness (ha! More like the other way around–the church should be begging for mine as well as his!). But my mother was very injured by the RCC’s treatment of her after her divorce (which she initiated because of infidelity and abuse on my bio-father’s part). I could never understand why she stayed a believer to her death. So yes: I want the RCC to reform itself because my mother was hurt so much by its backward policies and regressive attitudes, and because even now believers are being hurt by those things about it. But really, that’s a minor motivation to support reform. For my part, I want reform because I’m not even part of that wretched group and my rights are being trampled because the RCC thinks I should be forced to live according to its leaders’ whims. They can believe whatever they want and inflict whatever they want on their own people, but they need to remember that this is a secular nation and that non-members are not bound by their weird, backward, science-denying misogyny masquerading as “conscience.”
Oh, and did I mention she’s a politician? Though she doesn’t think attending committee meetings is essential, as in she missed every single one last year, it’s probably no surprise that she’s quite the forced-birther as well as a rabid science-denier; she also seems shockingly unaware of this thing called church/state separation in her quest to use her political power to squash views she thinks are unfriendly to her religious outlook. I hope the Democrats find someone better than her soon to represent the sane people in Oklahoma.