Saturday, May 15, 2004

Good Catholic Boy

I have a love-hate relationship with the Catholic Church, although most of the time it's more love than hate. I was raised Catholic, and although I don't follow the tenets of the faith as a means to salvation, Catholocism still seems like the "Christianity of Choice" for me.

So it disturbs me when I see trends in the Church I don't like, because it usually gives people who dislike the Church a lot of stones to throw unnecessarily. Today, I drafted a letter to Bishop Michael Sheridan of the Colorado Springs diocese about a recent article he published in his diocese newspaper (Acrobat required for link).

I have no problem with what Sheridan is saying: that Catholics shouldn't vote for politicians who oppose Church teachings, such as teachings on abortion and gay rights. Fine, dandy, whatever. Most Catholics use some form of birth control, so that tells you how many Catholics feel about the more absurdly conservative rules of the Church.

What got me about this article though is that Sheridan didn't mention two other things the Church opposes: the war in Iraq, and the death penalty. See, if parishoners were asked to vote against politicians who believe in either of those things, then old Bushie wouldn't get re-elected. Which is not only hypocritical, it represents one of my largest complaints about religion: buffet-faith, where you choose which parts of a religion you like and then call yourself whatever religion you happen to be eating at the momennt. And as tasty as a buffet sounds at the moment, it's not a good way to practice your faith. Asking voters to oppose a candidate who's pro-choice and pro-gay-rights is fine, that's what the Church teaches, so they are entitled to tell their parishioners to do that. But to blatantly disregard the Church's teachings on war and the death penalty? That's not religion, it's politics disguised as religion, and shoddy religion at that.

I wrote the Bishop an email inviting him to correct this "oversight," and I'll share any response I get with you.

No comments: