Sunday, November 12, 2006

Oh, Ye Of So Many Faiths

On Pandagon, Amanda has noticed that some commentators think that the Religious Right is really reforming and reaching out to the Roman Catholics to bring under the "conservative big tent." Or that the pickup of Catholic voters for Democatic candidates this past week was the result of pandering to that population.

As someone who was raised Roman Catholic, I can certainly attest to the fact that most of the rabid "fundies" see Catholics as saint-worshipping idolaters who will follow the Whore of Rome unthinkingly, and will *really* welcome people of all races into the fold to pray in the same church pews, at the same time as the white folks (yes, I'm pandering to stereotypes here, it's a rhetorical device).

And, to get the full irony, bear in mind that, for all the fundie fringe proclaims about how "oppressed" they are for "their faith," remember that the christian denomination that, in this nation, has suffered the most explicit discrimination and suppression is the Roman Catholics. And that one denomination is, and has been for a *long* time, numerically the denomination that tops the charts in the "self-identified religion" surveys.

Add in that, overall, the Roman Catholics are a lot more "liberal" on social issues than the Fundamentalist base denominations like the current rulership of the Southern Baptists Convention. And any Catholic that votes based on the single hot-button issues like abortion and stem-cell research is ignoring the balance of things that should also be on their minds, like worker's rights, concern for leaving a viable environment, concern about *not* shafting the poor, the use of the death penalty, and separation of Church and State

Any Catholic who thinks that the Religious Right had anything really in common at the core, instead of just a few issues (like BC and abortion) is either being willfully obtuse or knows absolutely no history about the "relations" between Catholic and the myriad other christian denominations, from loudly proclaimed predictions that JFK would be following secret orders from Rome, the expressed fears that the Catholic nannies and housemaids would steal away good protestant babies for secret baptisms, to the equally load proclamations that all these Catholic immigrants would be out-breeding the good Protestants and taking all the good jobs away, and costing the gummint dollars to support 'em.

Believe me, I have issues with the RC hierarchy and current theological climate, but to think that the Religious Right views the Catholics as any but a Dark Days Desperation Denomination-ally as a collaborator is smoking something that will probably net you several years in the gey-bar hotel.

In the interests of full disclosure, even though I was raised Roman Catholic (as opposed to a variety of denominations that call themselves "New Catholic,") I worship these days with an Episcopal congregation that, bless their pointy little heads, has even recruited me to be one of their Sunday School teachers.

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