What Churches Risk

In the headlong rush into sexual political fights:

It’s too bad U.S. bishops are spending so much political and cultural capital on the religious liberty fight which is now becoming bogged down over contraception. Too bad because while they are engaged in what I suspect will be a losing battle in a rhetorical war, the voice they are raising, rare these days in Washington, against a real war is getting lost in the cultural haze.

AsU.S. Senators have essentially now begun taking orders directly from AIPAC and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu—in a manner that would no doubt generate outrage in Israel were such frank interference attempted by the Obama administration—and as media reports continue to “soften” the American public in preparation for an “inevitable” confrontation with Iran, U.S. bishops have finally stepped into the fray raising a hand of warning.

In aMarch 2 letter from Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, chair of the U.S.C.C.B. Committee on International Justice and Peace, to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, the bishops noted their concern over “an alarming escalation in rhetoric and tensions,” including Iran’s threat to close the Strait of Hormuz to commercial traffic and speculation on the possible use of force against Iran, including an Israeli pre-emptive strike on Iranian nuclear facilities.

That link goes to the US Catholic magazine’s blog, btw, not to some crazy hippie site. Here’sanother entry:

Did you know, for example, that the bishops arepresenting President Obama with a petition to change our country’s policy on nuclear weapons?

The USCCB’s website currently has a petition titled “President Obama, move us closer to a world free of nuclear weapons.” Says the petition: “In the 21st century, nuclear weapons are a global security liability, not an asset. You must act now to reduce the nuclear danger and the role of nuclear weapons.”

Why isn’t this beingpreached from the pulpit?

Um, because wer’e too busy talking about sexy things like gay sex and birth control and who has the right to have the holy sacrament of humping where and for how many cookies? I can’t fault, entirely, the bishops for the relentless focus our national media has on boning, but I can fault them for not realizing that the minute they open their celibate traps about sex that’s all anybody’s going to talk about. After all, it’s only been like 40 years of this now.

I know Holy Mother Church thinks in millennia, and I know being media-savvy isn’t exactly their strong suit, but you’d really think they would have figured this out by now. That they’re acting like they haven’t means they’re either criminally dim or deliberately so, and either way it’s bad news for anybody who’d like anything done that doesn’t involve policing where people put their penises.

When it comes right down to it the Church has made a deliberate choice that sexual intercourse is going to be the hill they want to die on. And absent some massive backlash on the part of the faithful, dying is exactly what they’re going to do.


6 thoughts on “What Churches Risk

  1. Yes I’ve said this a lot, that the Catholics are one of the loudest and most consistent voices for peace and social justice, but they are also one of the loudest and most consistent voices for oppressing women and in the church’s eyes, both are equally important. WE may think the “who’s humping whom” issue trivial compared to war with Iran but THEY think it’s all the same thing. They aren’t going to pick one over the other.
    And the other thing is that there are political forces exploiting the sex thing who really want the church to shut up about the other stuff. The Republican Party has been hammering away at the sex thing for 40 years as you say, and they are going to make damn sure we keep having to talk about that stuff, even though the culture already decided these issues long ago. So they will continue to exploit the Catholic Church’s position on sex regardless of what the Bishops do.

  2. “Criminally Dim” – now my fave new name for a band. 🙂

  3. A, how do you get the massive backlash of the faithful? As a godless heathen atheist, I can decry there obsession with penises and trying to impose their religion on those of us who want nothing to do with it (and I’ll spare you my rant about Bishops engaged in criminal conspiracy to cover up if not outright facilitate child sexual abuse thinking they have any moral standing to dictate to me about morals) but they just ignore me cuz I’m going to hell.
    I know that there are Catholics who are good people who don’t agree with this being a hill to die on, and they have to hate this becoming the face of their Church, but what do they do? Leave the local parish that IS doing good work? Withdraw from an organization and belief system that’s part of them?
    I’m just honestly stumped at how we turn this tide back, but I think that it needs to be thousands of Catholics in the country who are going to have to stand up and say somethng, and I’m not sure how they get the microphone, you know? Because “Jesus wasn’t about that, can we not go to war in Iran, that’s more important” isn’t sending any thrills up Tweetys leg like that condemnation of sexy time will.
    I know, there aren’t any easy answers, and I don’t really expect you to have them, I’m just frustrated and disheartened that it is 2012 and I’m having to fight back a theocracy that wants to refit battles it lost forty years ago. And I fear for my kids, who are going to need contraception if they are going to survive this new world with the shitty jobs and they shitty pay.

  4. Why don’t they preach _______________?
    2 reasons that I can quickly think of.
    First, in trying to lead someone to a better position, you can’t jump all the way. In order not to loose those who need to hear a particular message, you have to take small, incremental steps. As an example, I’m in a Missouri area that is solidly behind the Blunt brothers.
    Probably more chilling, is the little law which says that if a church takes part in political activity, their tax exempt status can be yanked. They can preach the underlying moral message but can’t engage in partisan political activity. This has been actively used by the far right to silence a lot of left-leaning messages on things like peace, preferential option for the poor, etc.

  5. I have no idea how it will shake out, leinie.
    I can tell you that in my cousins Catholic community they are losing their do bees. The women who bust their butts in the constant fund raisers the Church requires.
    When they read that letter from the pulpit a week or so ago some of the church members told the Priest that they should lose their tax exemption if they insisted on preaching politics from the pulpit.
    Then when Father asked a group of them to participate in a pro life demonstration scheduled at PP the women told him in no uncertain terms how important PP is to the community and if they demonstrated it would be in support of PP.
    They are going to lose their do bees. Not their big money boys. The ones who make things work by donating their labor.

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