So I have an acquaintance who has one of those attitudes where she’s overly political in the sense that she sort of hates everyone (with the exception of a few oppressed minority groups). I know this might sound like a mean observation but it is not inaccurate and she is not the only person I’ve met who falls into that category. Ironically, she doesn’t know that I too qualify as a protected minority. My legal protections stem from something that is not visibly obvious and I don’t broadcast it to the world. In fact, I don’t mention it at all unless the situation warrants it, and this one doesn’t, so I’ll get back to the story.
This acquaintance of mine was running her mouth (never, in my experience, one to shy away from a chance to be argumentative and confrontational) and in the process of running her mouth she presented this opinion “well the Catholic Church and Christians deserve no (legal) protections.” And the foundation for the argument she proceeded to make was basically that the authority of God has no bearing on the authority of the state. That religious people shouldn’t get any protections because Satanism is a religion and we wouldn’t want to legally protect those people, therefore we should protect none of them at all. She grouped me (a practicing Catholic) in the same boat with a Satanist under the banner of religion and argued that because a Satanist should have no legal protections I should not either. This is like saying that I don’t like Taco Bell (sorry) therefore Chipotle should be shut down because the lousy Taco Bell is Mexican food and Chipotle is Mexican food and therefore must be lousy as well. It is unsound logic, and highly discriminatory. But the sad part is that some days I feel like more young people would rally around Chipotle than they would around the Catholic Church.
Because no matter how much good the Church does, bias is bias and hatred is hatred. You can’t have logical arguments with people who insist on hating you. Because I don’t know if this acquaintance of mine knew whether I was Catholic or not, or even if she knew that it is solely responsible for every good thing I’ve done in my life. (I’m a mess on my own. I’m well aware of who I am without God’s grace) But she subscribes to this narrative so fiercely that it has taken the place reserved in each human soul for a religious dogma. We all have to have something to believe in. Even believing in nothing is a belief, because instead of believing in a truth you are believing in its negation. And this particular acquaintance believes in the new atheism. Biased histories laden with narratives of oppression and woe (now before you get all excited I’m not one of those people who insists the holocaust never happened, I’m merely picky about what I qualify as authentic oppression. For further clarification click this link) man-made notions of progress, enlightenment, and tolerance. In short, a religion made by humankind who are so capable of progressively striving towards worldly perfection that they do not need God and have no interest in hearing or understanding His ways.
And I have one request for these progressive new atheists, because if they won’t listen to me as a Catholic perhaps they will listen to me as a member of a protected class, who has faced her fair share of adversity. If you are going to strive for logic and truth, then actually strive for it and do not settle for these fallacies that will transform you into nothing more than an angry hypocrite. I say that not with condescension, but with a genuine sisterly affection. Because I have known many people who live that way, and it is not the life I would wish for you. It is the path of pride. Because truth would make us friends, not enemies. The only thing that would make us something comparable to enemies would be if one side accepts hatred and attempts to tear down the truth of the other out of spite. Because the Catholic Church is the only institution, say whatever else you will about it, that has never been torn down in a history that spans over 2,000 years, and it was not for lack of trying from her numerous, self-declared enemies. And that says something. At least it does to me. Not because I am Catholic, but because I choose to be Catholic every single day. (or at least I try to- my imperfections make some days harder than others!)
And I bring it up because with the next breath this girl entirely negated her already weak argument, saying that the Catholic Church/Christians oppressed Muslims. Which is a very CNN (and by that I mean inaccurate) thing to say- but that’s a separate article. Because here’s the thing. If no religions of any kind should get any special treatment or legal protections, then by that same logic anything anyone (regardless of religion) does to any religious group, Muslims included because Islam is a religion, is not a crime/sin/moral offense/anything punishable by civil law. The only protections religious people would get would be the ones extended to all citizens, discriminating by religion would no longer be a hate crime whether the targets were Catholic or Muslim. It can’t be a crime to discriminate against a Muslim but not a crime to discriminate against a Catholic. Just like if I say I hate all Mexican food because I think Taco Bell is bad then I have to hate ALL Mexcian foods, from Chipotle, to Qdoba, to the place by my house called Acapulco. I can’t say I hate all Mexican foods but like Qdoba without negating the original premise.
Because you can’t selectively apply logic like that and call it truth. Because in this instance what my acquaintance really did was not speak the truth. Instead, she offered a logically dubious justification of her own hatred and a rationalization for her reverse discrimination. And the truth is, in that moment she did the exact same thing she criticized my Church for supposedly doing. She let her prejudice blind her, she discriminated against me and those who practice my religion or any other form of Christianity, and she did it in the name of what she believes to be a supreme authority, except rather than God hers is the highly secularized new atheist state. And she became just another angry hypocrite.