Friday, October 31, 2008

Why I Am Not a Catholic (Political Issue)

A recent story on NPR's Morning Edition encapsulates many of my reasons for leaving the Roman Catholic Church. It is an oppressive, anti-progress religion whose hierarchy has a vested interest in suppressing social and spiritual development.

The story recounts the experiences of several anti-abortion Catholics who have experienced harrassment in various forms from their more fanatical brethren. For example, Rick Gebhard, a member of the Knights of Columbus who set up a pro-Obama website after the organization took out an anti-Obama advertisement in several major newspapers, has been threatened with expulsion from the organization and even legal action because of his stand. Similarly, Douglas Kmiec, a Pepperdine University law professor, has experienced harrassment from certain portions of the laity and public condemnation by a Bishop due to his pro-Obama stance.

Particularly disturbing to me is the hypocrisy displayed by some anti-Obama Catholics quoted in the article. For example, Catholic theologian George Weigel boasts that the Supreme Court is gradually chipping away at the right to abortion. Doesn't that contradict the usual conservative / pro-life argument that the Supreme Court shouldn't be making law?

What dissident Catholics need to realize is that the problem is not just a few fanatical right-wing Catholics. They are just one symptom, one outgrowth of a far larger problem within the Catholic Church-a stultifying hierarchy bent on imposing its will on all Catholics. The only solution is to make the leap to Protestantism, which at least has an emphasis on the free will of the believer. I, for one, have joined the Unitarian Universalists.


Christopher Schwartz said...
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Christopher Schwartz said...

Hmmm Just elaborating on my original comment. I want to mull over what you said regarding the old problem of Democratic Catholics. For now, let me respond specifically to your last paragraph.

It's been a long assumption of Protestants that the high degree of institutional organization a great part of what defines Catholicism. According to this logic, a "Catholic rebel" or "Catholic reformer" is a contradiction in terms (much less a "Catholic anarchist"). Yet, this denies the day-to-day reality of lived Catholic existence. Most Catholics do not follow the Church's edicts blindly; heck, most don't follow the Church's edicts at all. It seems to me more like the hiearcharcy is merely a rock outcropping in the middle of a pond, rather than the water itself. Perhaps if the Catholic church -- and its discontents, such as yourself -- re-conceived of the position of the hiearchy in this manner, perhaps there would be no need for to "make the leap to Protestantism." Just a thought from a half-Jew, semi-Christian Muslim (which I will probably re-post on my blog). ;)