Friday, March 27, 2009

Catholics vs. Obama vs. Notre Dame vs. My Sanity

OK, Catholics, I will give you $10 to stop pissing me off. I can't tell you how much I want to bitch about OTHER Christian denominations. But it's always you these days. What the fuck is your problem? I CAN'T BELIEVE I AM ONE OF YOU.

Moving on... Notre Dame has asked President Obama to speak at their commencement ceremony, and will be presenting him with an honorary law degree. True to form, the Catholic wackos take umbrage with this, and have started a petition to the president of the university in the hope of preventing it.


Dear Father Jenkins:

It has come to our attention that the University of Notre Dame will honor President Barack Obama as its commencement speaker on May 17.

It is an outrage and a scandal that “Our Lady’s University,” one of the premier Catholic universities in the United States, would bestow such an honor on President Obama given his clear support for policies and laws that directly contradict fundamental Catholic teachings on life and marriage.

This nation has many thousands of accomplished leaders in the Catholic Church, in business, in law, in education, in politics, in medicine, in social services, and in many other fields who would be far more appropriate choices to receive such an honor from the University of Notre Dame.

Instead Notre Dame has chosen prestige over principles, popularity over morality. Whatever may be President Obama’s admirable qualities, this honor comes on the heels of some of the most anti-life actions of any American president, including expanding federal funding for abortions and inviting taxpayer-funded research on stem cells from human embryos.

The honor also comes amid great concern among Catholics nationwide about President Obama’s future impact on American society, the family, and the Catholic Church on issues such as traditional marriage, conscience protections for Catholic doctors and nurses, and expansion of abortion “rights.”

This honor is clearly a direct violation of the U.S. bishops’ 2004 mandate in “Catholics in Political Life”: “The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.”

We prayerfully implore you to halt this travesty immediately. We do so with the hope that Catholics nationwide will likewise call on you to uphold the sacred mission of your Catholic university. May God grant you the courage and wisdom to do what is right.
Jenkins, in his announcement of the decision to have President Obama speak, made it very clear that "the invitation of President Obama to be our Commencement speaker should in no way be taken as condoning or endorsing his positions on specific issues regarding the protection of life, such as abortion and embryonic stem cell research." That's apparently irrelevant though, as people are still pissed. The hypocrisy here is pretty amazing, but has already been laid out more eloquently than I could probably do it. Check it (from The Observer):
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops 2004 statement, "Catholics and Political Life," states that Catholic institutions, like Notre Dame, "should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental and moral principles," and that those who do "should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions."

On May 17, I will be honored with a Bachelor's Degree from Notre Dame. In my four years attending this university I have been awarded with over $100,000 in scholarships and financial aid from Notre Dame, and have always been offered a platform to speak my mind, as I would in any credible University. On the day that I graduate, President Obama will be presented with an honorary law degree from Notre Dame and have the privilege to be the Class of 2009's Commencement speaker. Both Barack Obama and I have acted in defiance of the Church's fundamental and moral principles in the past, but no one is protesting me receiving my degree.

The idea that by inviting President Obama to deliver the commencement address, Notre Dame is in any way supporting his position on abortion is ludicrous. In presenting him this honor, Notre Dame is rewarding him for his achievements, just as Notre Dame will be rewarding me for mine. There is no Catholic litmus test to decide whether you are fit for this honor. Notre Dame has a long history of presenting this honor to people who have in opposition to the Catholic Church, from General Sherman in 1865, whose total war strategies in his "March to the Sea" clearly violate the Catholic standards of jus in bello, to President George W. Bush, who as governor of Texas presided over 155 executions. I'm willing to bet that the pro-life activists who are turning this event into a scandal were silent when President George W. Bush delivered the commencement speech eight years ago. Which leads to me to believe that this protest movement has nothing to do with "protecting Notre Dame's Catholic identity" and everything to do with politics.

I have no problem with staging a political protest. It's our right as Americans to do so. What I do have a problem with is hypocrisy. If you disagree with Obama's politics, you have the right to stage a political protest, but don't turn it into something it's not. Don't hide behind the Church unless you plan to protest every speaker we have in the future that does not conform to Catholic principles. You are staging a political protest, nothing more.
The American Catholic Church, which is one of the most conservative wings of the Catholic Church (though obviously not as bad as Brazil), really needs to stop seeing abortion as the only issue ever. The Church believes abortion is murder. Fine, whatever. Then they need to treat all murder equally. The problem is, of course, that Pope Nazipants has made it very clear that he believes abortion to be the worst kind of murder, and will allow all sorts of injustices on the part of the Church in support of that crazy claim. It will be interesting to see if the Vatican will have anything to say on this situation, although I think it likely they'll be keeping their mouths shut until everyone forgets how mad they are at them for all the other shit they've already said.

This goes beyond the commonly-made claim that the Catholic Church only cares about you until you are born. The fact is that the Catholic Church as an institution does not value women. Birth control, access to abortion - these things are good for women, and these things are banned within the Church. Furthermore, the Vatican all too recently proclaimed that anyone involved in the ordination of a female priest would be excommunicated. So female ordination = excommunication, abortion = excommunication. Mark my words, friends, it won't be long before going on the pill = excommunication. This is not about the Bible. It is not about Christ. It's not about dogma or the sacraments or Tradition with a capital 'T'. This is about women and a bunch of old, sexually frustrated men's effort to keep us from being relevant as anything but chalices into which for that oh-so-sacred sperm can be poured.

John 20:10-18 says:
Then the disciples went back to their homes, but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus' body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.

They asked her, "Woman, why are you crying?"

"They have taken my Lord away," she said, "and I don't know where they have put him." At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

"Woman," he said, "why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?"
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him."

Jesus said to her, "Mary."
She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, "Rabboni!" (which means Teacher).

Jesus said, "Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, 'I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'"

Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: "I have seen the Lord!" And she told them that he had said these things to her.

Could women really be so insignificant if Jesus chose to reveal Himself to one upon His return from the dead? Are we really so naive that we do not count Mary Magdalene among the Apostles? This is the 21st century. Patriarchy is dead in the west. It's about time the Catholic Church caught up. WTFWJD?


Reverend Killjoy said...

Maximum awesomeness, Jocelyn. The whole women-sex-bodies-as-source-and-site-of-all-sin thing drives me up the wall and back down and up again. It seems to me that all churches are, to varying degrees, messed up with regard to sex. I'm happy to have found a church body willing to struggle deeply and publicly with the difficult sex questions, flawed though we are. But I still love so much about the Catholic tradition, and it makes me sad to have gone from living in perhaps its most open, decent period to living through one of its most repressive, creepy regimes.

LiturgyGeek said...

Jocelyn, never fear. Stuff like this comes in waves. Right now it's the RCC, but a couple of years ago you couldn't sneeze without getting some snot on some evangelical Christian scandal.

Soon Ted Haggard or James Dobson will do something ridiculous and you can mock them.

Or...maybe ... like, say, on April 17 or some Friday thereafter, I will do something marvelous and you can report on that as a nice change of pace. (Because in the REAL hierarchy of Christianity, I am definitely as important as the Pope or Focus on the Family. I just have a much smaller following!)

Anonymous said...

F.Y.I. On Saturday Newt Gingrich is to offically become a Catholic. I guess they deserve each other.

ESI said...

Take heart! It was the Catholics at Notre Dame inviting President Obama that got all this started in the first place.

Jocelyn said...

You're absolutely right, ESI. It was Catholics (a priest, no less) who invited Obama to speak at Notre Dame. Much like it is a Catholic who writes this blog. The majority of the Catholics in Congress are Democrats as well. This is important to remember.

What sucks, though, is that the Pope is on the side of the conservative Catholics going around being douches. Because he is also a douche. I can only hold out hope that the next pope will be a liberal to tip the scales back, and then we'll have a good long line of moderates who can keep the liberal Catholics and the conservative Catholics from killing each other.

LiturgyGeek - Are you planning something? A nonviolent takeover of the entire Lutheran Church, perhaps? And really, you are (arguably) WAY more important than Pope Nazipants.

Reverend Killjoy - To be fair, the Catholic Church has been much worse than it is now. Rememeber when they were actively killing people instead of just passively allowing people to die? I feel like that was worse.

Hannah said...

Perhaps President Obama was invited in order to honor all the things he does that are in line with Catholic teaching - caring for children, caring for the poor, fighting injustice and oppression, opposition to the death penalty, providing health care and education to people who can't afford it, etc. Oh that's right, none of that counts if you support a woman's right to insist that the damn government refrain from telling her what to do regarding her own health care. too many of these people have their heads for far up their own asses they could probably do their own dental exams.

LiturgyGeek said...

hahahaha! If I could orchestrate a non-violent takeover of the Lutheran Church, that would be amazing! Not least because I'm a UCC pastor!

Nope. It's about marriage equality in my great state, and a rally at which I'll be speaking. In clergy drag.

Jocelyn said...

You are so awesome.

Hannah said...

LiturgyGeek, I've been told that your great state is next. A friend of my husband's is a (gay) state senator in Iowa and he has assured us that it will be so. We are rallying with you in our hearts!

LiturgyGeek said...

Tomorrow, tomorrow, we'll know for sure!!!! I'll be speaking at a rally tomorrow night, and I could sure use all your love/prayers/good thoughts then. But until tomorrow, I shamelessly ask that we pray it be God's will that marriage equality come to the great state of Iowa.

Jocelyn said...

I'm quite certain it's God's will. Let's just hope it's the congress' as well.

I'll be praying for you guys, for sure.

Hannah said...

It's in the hands of the Supreme Court, i believe. My friend the senator was just very confident that marriage equality shall come to Iowa. I am definitely praying for God to grant wisdom to the justices.

LiturgyGeek said...

Thanks. Yep, Hannah, the Iowa Supreme Court will issue its ruling tomorrow at 8:30am CST. Hannah, I think I can guess who your friend is, and he's a GEM. I hope to meet him someday. I know the long-term prognosis for marriage equality is excellent, but I really hope, hope, hope that marriage equality comes to Iowa TOMORROW!!

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