The Catholic Church Doesn’t Understand the First Amendment
I was not sure what I was going to write about today. I scanned a few newspapers and nothing really jumped out at me. I then looked at some religious websites and found that I was getting angrier the more I read. I was angered over the numerous examples of religion being used as a crutch for hate and to oppress the First Amendment. Let me start off by stating that the bible is not an excuse for bigotry and hate. Religious bigotry and hate is still bigotry and hate. It really does not matter what the source is. Second, the actions of the Catholic Church show its true colors as a theocratic absolute monarchy.
I read a story on msnbc.com this morning about a young man in Iowa, Keaton Fuller, who is an openly gay student in a small Catholic high school. Keaton is graduating this year and has been awarded a $40,000 scholarship by the Eychaner Foundation. This is a foundation that was founded to fight bullying in the wake of the Matthew Shepard torture and murder in 1998. The group is opposed to all bullying, but does focus on LGBT issues the most. A little research will show you that Fuller has largely been accepted at his school, though it was not always easy. It would appear that his 69 classmates and the school are excited that he has won this award. By now you are probably wondering where the problem is. Here is the rub…the scholarship was to be presented by a representative of the Eychaner Foundation at the school’s graduation. The key word in that sentence is “was”. Local Bishop Martin Amos has banned the group from presenting the scholarship to Fuller. The gist of the situation is that the Church will not allow a representative from a group that supports same-sex marriage to speak at the graduation. They will allow Fuller to receive the award at graduation but insist that it be awarded to him by a school representative.
This is causing quite the uproar. Fuller feels like his award has been cheapened, the school supports him, his classmates support him, and they Eychaner Foundation feels that is absurd to demand that someone else give away their money. Bishop Amos will not budge. The archdiocese’s policy on bullying is:
“The Diocese of Davenport encourages programs that promote anti-bullying and anti-harassment for all students. The diocese has taken a strong stance against the bullying and/or harassment of any student including on the basis of sexual orientation.” (Catholic News Service)
That is an interesting policy. They support the anti-bullying stuff, but not the freedom of speech. They can play the role of bully when it comes to letting homosexuals talk. In effect, the Church’s stance is: We do not want our gay students bullied, but they cannot speak at any of our functions. This is nothing more that Church sponsored bigotry. Like most absolute monarchies, the Church will not entertain discussion on this issue. Their word is final. How very American and Constitutional of them…
The second story I read dealt with the North Carolina same-sex marriage Amendment. I read this article on the Catholic News Service website. You can read it here. In this article Bishops Jugis and Burbidge of NC stated that they are defending, “something so beautiful and foundational to society” when opposing same-sex marriage. They were told by other Bishops to wear their opposition “as a badge of honor”. Bishop Gregory of Atlanta stated, “Marriage is by God’s design, by human nature, the union of a man and a woman for the procreation of the human race and for the sanctification and augmentation of the partners. That doesn’t pass out of vogue.” The article goes on to say that the bishops feel that morality has been abandoned in the name of promoting tolerance.
This is insanity. The Catholic Church, has no moral authority. I am sorry if that offends you, but it is the truth. We cannot go more than a few days without hearing about a priest scandal—let alone the Church’s immoral policies around the world that have led to the spread of AIDS and promoted poverty. Church leaders cannot be seen as a valid source of moral truth. Second, opposing same-sex marriage is nothing more than denying a civil right to a group of human beings…the idea that this injustice in any way “a badge of honor” should be horrifying to any clear thinking person. Lastly, the idea that marriage is solely for procreation is so out of touch with reality it is almost not worth discussing. I suppose that the Church’s next move is to attempt to invalidate marriages that do not produce children… With all their faults and bigotry you would think they might have some shame…however “shame” is not known to absolute monarchies.
After reading those two stories I stumbled upon an article at the Catholic News Agency regarding Dan Savage. It seems that Savage criticized the Pope while speaking at Elmhurst College. In what is becoming a recent trend Bill Donohue was all over this. Donohue stated, ““They had to have known about Dan Savage’s history of offering obscene anti-Catholic rants when they asked him to speak…” Donohue also sent letters to all the local Catholic schools, churches, and political leaders because, “They should know how this college, which boasts of its commitment to diversity and tolerance, treats Catholics…” Donohue has demanded that the school issue a public apology for their choice in inviting Savage to speak. The problem with this is really quite simple. Donohue is one of the most hate-filled people in the country. He constantly tweets snarky comments directed at homosexuals. He preaches hate on a daily basis. Yet, he cannot tolerate anyone criticizing him or the Catholic Church. He does not value the freedom of speech unless he is the one speaking.
There is a silver lining to this story. Rev. Bob Ullman, who is a member of board of trustees at Elmhurst, responded to the Catholic league stating that Donohue’s comments were nothing more than a “rant against Dan Savage and his inflammatory remarks.” He stated that it was:
“inexcusable” for Donohue to attack the character of the college president and to criticize Elmhurst College for “allowing free and open conversation about very difficult issues facing gay and lesbian people.”Rev. Ullman said his college and church are “willing to walk into the murky waters of human sexuality and Christian morality.”
Good for you Elmhurst. Good for you. Ullman does a great job in stating what so many Catholic commentators fail to understand—the concept that free and open conversation is not only available to them, but to everyone. Then again absolute monarchies often do not recognize the freedom of speech…
The last story that I want to mention also involves Donohue and the Catholic League. It seems that they have been successful in lobbying Delta Airlines to remove their sponsorship of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. This protest started after Stewart aired a clip regarding the “war on Christmas” that featured a manger scene placed between the legs of a woman. The Catholic League finds this to be a direct attack on Catholicism that should not be allowed. In short, I am no longer flying Delta…please join me…
Those four stories really put me in a foul mood. People need to realize something…the Catholic Church is not a democracy. It is quite literally an Absolute Theocracy. The Pope is the equivalent to the Monarchs of old. They do not compromise. They believe that they are above the law. They believe that their views are superior to any other. They believe that any criticism of the Church demands to be punished. So much of the discussion revolving around RCC seems to ignore this fact. We treat them like an equal democratic partner. They are not. To be sure, they try to play that part at times, but do not be fooled. If Catholic leaders had their way, the U.S. would be a theocracy—following the dogma and doctrines of the Church and the utterances of the Pope.
News Flash to Catholic Leaders and Fundamentalists—this is the U.S. We have a right to criticize you and it will continue. Second, as I stated at the start of this post, bigotry is bigotry. The fact that Catholic dogma/doctrine states something as true does not make it true. It does not make it something that we all must follow. It does not excuse it as bigotry. Their stance towards homosexuals is bigoted. Their bulldogs such as Donohue are bigoted. Their attack on the First Amendment, be it in the form of Birth Control or as an attack on people like Savage and Stewart is un-American and illustrates their true nature as an absolute monarchy—an idea that has been out of vogue for quite some time. In short, The Catholic Church is an embarrassment to the 21st century and the freedoms of the First Amendment. To all the moderate Catholics out there…it is time to “wake-up” and start speaking out against your Church or walk away all together…they are embarrassing you.
Thanks for Reading. I look forward to your comments.
If you have a blog please feel free to promote it on my “Promote Your Blog” page above.
If you would like to share your story of how you became an atheist, please do that on my “Share your Atheism Story” forum. Our stories may help to encourage others with similar feelings to know that life is more than just okay without god(s).
If you have not yet checked out Alltop.com’s Atheism Blogs….what are you waiting for?