So today I came across an interesting comment which read:
Isn’t it ironic how Christians/Catholics are “pro-life” in the sense that life is important to them, but if that life happens to be gay, like me, it’s suddently worthless. So you’ll fight for fetuses but applaud Russian men who beat homosexuals?
This certainly reeks of a bad experience with the Church and I actually feel compassion for this guy because while he may be believing a lie it doesn’t mean the lie doesn’t give him genuine sadness. And in light of that revelation it bothers me that I get accused of hating things all the time, whether directly or indirectly, not based on my actions but as a “natural” result of my beliefs.
I would not deny being pro-life after writing so many pieces about the topic but I reject the notion that because I believe in something I must by default hate everything else that is not that something. This is an absolutely baseless assumption because the nature of choice implies exclusion. By choosing to wear my cute gray sweater from Kohls to work today I rejected every other top in my closet not because I’m anti t-shirt or against my navy blue sweaters or because I hate cardigans (I love them), but because I had to pick a top for work today and this one is pretty, weather appropriate, and convenient as I had a limited window to make my choice since I overslept.
But there are more important choices in this world than which top to wear and when it comes to religion I’m never sure whether I chose Catholicism (I did) or it chose me (also true). But to be Catholic is to believe it’s teaching to be the truth revealed to man through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. And I do. Call it mindless submission to authority if you like, but it is my free choice to be Catholic and that decision binds me to its teaching because if I profess it as my faith but don’t believe or practice its teachings then I am a hypocrite.
And with Catholicism, it is often explained to me that because I follow Church teaching which upholds traditional marriage I automatically hate all gay people. False. That because I follow Church teachings on chastity I’m a prude who looks down on everyone and has “unrealistic” expectations about life and men. False (and rather jaded). And that because I follow Church teaching on contraception I’m against women’s rights. Also false. The list goes on. I’m thinking you get the idea. The ironic part is those I have argued with and who bring such claims forward are using their own bias to condemn my perceived bias and demanding I apologize for their incorrect perceptions.
I can tell you I’m not against the individuals of the LGBT community, women, etc. but I have no control as to whether or not you believe it. I would hope my words and actions demonstrate as much to you but that’s the tricky part about bias, if people are looking to hate or denounce you they can certainly find a way and once the claim is out there our shallow world cares very little about whether or not it’s actually true so long as it fits the narrative of Christians as bigoted, oppressive, ignorant etc. And to use such a narrative to justify hating me because of my religion, to use that ill will as the basis for assuming that I would do something so callous as to cheer one man beating another solely because of his sexual preference is perhaps the most ironic of all because in that moment this anonymous man becomes the very type of person he is condemning, one who chooses to hate others based on nothing but their life choices.
And that is an irony of the worst kind.
I really miss authentic debate. And no, I’m not being wistfully nostalgic for my high school debate team (never joined, don’t even remember if we even had one). But the more I write and the more I get published (and I admit, the more I tackle controversial topics) the more comments I get from readers. This is good. I welcome feedback. But I get really annoyed at people’s lack of debating skills. If you caught my article about the Pope meeting with Kim Davis, I had a guy tell me essentially that I sounded bitter and that I needed to remember that gay people have souls too.
There are several problems with his critique, the first being that I haven’t forgotten that the members of the LGBT community have souls. The second being that the only mention that the LGBT community gets in that particular article is that the Pope loves them the same way he loves everyone else. That is not an issue with me, and I strive to do the same. Loving people by degrees requires judgment, which I try to avoid like the plague because it’s that deadly for my soul (in that my personality is easily susceptible to it if I don’t remain vigilant.)
Anyway, it’s not the fact that the guy completely misunderstood my article to the point where I wonder if he actually read it that gets to me. I don’t even mind being insulted (between my religion and the way I choose to live my life I’m used to being insulted to my face all the time). It’s the larger issue that bothers me, the observation that people can’t debate to save their lives anymore. Perhaps that’s a bit of an overgeneralization, but it certainly feels that way to me. If people disagree with me it usually goes something like this:
- read about 2 sentences of actual article
- make assumptions about me as a writer/person in general
- (optional) begin to read rest of article with self-righteous indignation
- decide that they are superior to me in one or more ways
- insult the article/me in some condescending way
- feel smugly superior at “teaching me a lesson”/be proud of their attempt to enlighten me to their superiority and the shared superiority of those who also think like them.
This argumentative arrogance strikes me as particularly foolish because their actions demonstrate a low opinion of me that in turn makes them feel justified in not caring about me at all. What would possibly compel me to join a bunch that thinks and lives like that? Elitism is more than a superiority complex, it’s subtle hatred with public approval. You can’t judge someone without loving yourself a little more and the other person a little less. It makes me miss authentic debate that was based in reason and mutual respect, a desire to reveal to the other the truth that defines your life and your choices as an act of love (because real truth brings happiness and fulfilment, which is something at least I want for the people I love). It makes me miss being able to have a rational discussion about where differences of opinion occur, as opposed to the irrelevant emotionalism I described above.
And to respond to that particular stranger- no, it doesn’t make me bitter, this rise in elitism and this process of ineffectual “debating” that I see repeated over and over again. It simply makes me sad, because I respect God’s design of free will, where His love is constantly offered, but not forced on any person. It causes me suffering to see a soul not living in that love, because the alternative is usually some varying degree of a worldly attachment (such as pride) that will never truly satisfy no matter how much you chase it.
Because while the world may be an enticing place, there is so much more to the heavens.
So the Pope met with Kim Davis.
And everybody is freaking out about it.
And quite honestly, I love the sentiment from non and anti-Catholics who feel betrayed. “Omg I thought Pope Francis was cool and it turns out he’s going to stand with Catholic Church doctrine that unequivocally states that marriage is between a man and a woman. Boo! Hiss! How can he stand in the way of equality like that? What gives him the right to hinder progress?”
It’s humorous to me because I enjoy irony. It shows how they don’t actually believe in their own man-made doctrine of tolerance and acceptance of people who disagree with them. Pope Francis is an extremely authentic and humble person. He lives the gospel on a global scale and has managed to transcend the politics and peer pressure of the world for something higher. He points us all to Heaven by his witness, and that’s a great legacy. He baffles the world because he will not condone gay marriage, but he loves the LGBT community in the same Christ-like way he loves everyone else. He is living the doctrine these progressives envision for the world, tolerance of people whom you disagree with, and they won’t have it. They see him sticking to his principles not as something to be admired but as a sign of hatred for the LGBT community that negates his love and proves he’s a sham- just like they knew all along!
Because what progressives want isn’t really love or tolerance. They want everybody to be on the same side: theirs. You only tolerate those who deserve to be tolerated, people who are “enlightened” like you and share your “enlightened” beliefs. The religionless religion, that measures not in love but equality. Made by the people, for the people. And God has no place in it.
All I can do is wish them luck. Because this new religion will be a very bad social experiment. I know because it is based on a lie, the lie that we don’t need God.
And I think Pope Francis recognizes that for the lie that it is, whether or not the world will stand by him.