One hates to start sounding paranoid (although you know what they say about it not being paranoia if they're really out to get you), but I was once again stunned by yet another fairly blatant anti-Catholic jab, this one in yesterday's edition of the local rag. The item in question was about pastors who feel "pressured" if they express an opinion on the various social issues that we will confront at the polls next week. Here's the pertinent bit, in re the upcoming vote on this state's now-infamous total ban on abortion:
"My denomination says abortion is OK in certain limited circumstances," Tarver [a retired United Methodist pastor] said. "Now, if (the ban) passes, it means the Catholic Church and the evangelical right has trumped our position, and that of Jews, Muslims and others. That's not a very happy thing to contemplate."
Yow. Even though I will break ranks and vote against the ban next week, this character's bigoted remark about those Catholics who might "trump" his vote is truly appalling. Yes, yes, I see that he also swipes the "evangelical right": you will note, however, that he doesn't single out any other church or religious organization. Just Catholics.
How likely is it that he would express outrage at the possibility that, say, the Presbyterian Church might "trump" his vote? Or the Congregationalists? How about the Rotary Club?
Then, the very next paragraph after he trashes members of the Catholic Church who might vote differently than him, comes this:
What bothers Tarver most is the strain he thinks has developed in ecumenical relations between denominations. The spirit of ecumenism he once saw as a young pastor has largely dissipated, he thinks.
Geez. Almost hard to believe, huh? Wonder what could possibly have happened to that "spirit of ecumenism"?
If this is the sort of fat-headed commentary that these so-called pastors are spewing, then they should feel pressured to shut up, at least until such time as their brains have had a chance to catch up to their tongues.
As my latest foray into time-wasting, I last night penned this letter to the editor of the aforementioned rag:
In an election year in which some forces would take us back to the nineteenth century, and in which various players feel free to use large quantities of mud in their undertaking, it was just a matter of time before good old-fashioned Catholic-bashing would emerge.
Thursday's Argus Leader quotes a retired United Methodist pastor thus: "Now, if (the ban) passes, it means the Catholic Church and the evangelical right has trumped our position, and that of Jews, Muslims and others. That's not a very happy thing to contemplate."
What a hateful and bigoted thing to say! I can hardly imagine anyone complaining that a particular outcome would mean that the United Methodist Church has "trumped" the election. Yet this man considers it acceptable to condemn members of another church--and specifically the Catholic Church--because they might vote differently than him, and thus "trump" his vote.
In an election, we generally see opposing sides on every issue. The side that generates the most votes prevails. We call that democracy.
Ironically, the man in question next laments the dissipation of "the spirit of ecumenism he once saw as a young pastor."
The sad thing is, the man who made these insensitive, bigoted remarks probably would not consider himself the least bit bigoted or insensitive. Sad, and dangerous. For that kind of bigot usually insists (and porbably believes) that he was misunderstood, and the aggrieved party is over-sensitive. And so we let that kind of attitude slide unchallenged--I am often guilty of that myself--which implies that it is acceptable.