Sunday, August 19, 2012

'But They Started It?'

A man was struggling up the side of a mountain, in an editorial cartoon I saw about a half-century back.

'Everyone I Don't Like is a - - -'

A rope tethered him to another man, farther down the slope. The other man was lying down, getting dragged up while holding a sign that said something like 'EVERYONE I DON'T LIKE IS A COMMIE!'

Times change. If someone drew that cartoon today, the sign might read "everyone I don't like is a is a racist!" Or maybe " a homophobe!"

Hate Groups, Real and Imagined

I don't think calling some group a "communist conspiracy" would whip up much support these days.

Today, the term is "hate group."

Some outfits really do seem to deserve that label. Some of them are churches. (November 8, 2010)

Reuters. Nov. 11, 2010: Members of the Westboro Baptist Church hold anti-gay signs at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia on Veterans Day.
(Reuters photo, via, used w/o permission)
Westboro (Kansas) Baptist Church: at Arlington Cemetery

Like I've said before, I don't think Fred Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church is a typical example of American Protestant denominations. And it's certainly not Catholic.

the WBC's stated beliefs are not what the Catholic Church has been teaching for two millennia: love God; love your neighbor; everyone's your neighbor. (June 18, 2010)

Anger: Use With Caution

Someone said "all men have secret thoughts that would shame hell."1 That quote, and what my Lord said to men who wanted to stone a woman,2 help keep me from indulging in the sort of self-righteous rage I keep running into.

It's easy to get angry. Easy for me, anyway. But that doesn't mean anger is necessarily a good idea:
"ANGER: An emotion which is not in itself wrong, but which, when it is not controlled by reason or hardens into resentment and hate, becomes one of the seven capital sins. Christ taught that anger is an offense against the fifth commandment (1765, 1866, 2262)."
(Glossary, Catechism of the Catholic Church)

(Self-) Righteous Sound and Fury

I get angry when someone
  • Calls a Catholic institution that's following Church teaching an "army of oppression"
  • Claims that saying marriage is a union of a man and a woman is "hate speech"
  • Labels organizations trying to restore common sense to American law as "hate groups."
But being angry is not a good reason for claiming that the American president is the antichrist. And it certainly doesn't mean that anyone who doesn't agree with me should be cast into the lowest pit of Hell.

I wrote about hate, homosexuals, and getting a grip, last night. (August 18, 2012)

Giving a Good Impression: Or Not

Throwing insults and unsupported accusations at people I don't like is a bad idea. Some folks might be favorably impressed at my 'defense' of old-fashioned values, but I don't like the probable consequences:
  • Short term
    • Reinforcing establishment notions that
      • Religious people are unreasonable
      • Christianity fosters hate
  • Long term
    • More trouble at my particular judgment
      (Catechism, 1020-1022, 1051)
I have enough on my plate now,without adding more trouble:
"1 2 'Stop judging, that you may not be judged.

"For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you."
(Matthew 7:1-2)

"1 Therefore, you are without excuse, every one of you who passes judgment. 2 For by the standard by which you judge another you condemn yourself, since you, the judge, do the very same things. ... There is no partiality with God."
(Romans 2:1-11)
That doesn't mean I should ignore the difference between right and wrong actions. I am, however, quite willing to let God handle the judgment of people. (October 12, 2011, September 11, 2010)

Words, Actions, Consequences

I haven't heard "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me" for years. It's one of those folks sayings that make sense in one way, and not so much in another.

I think it's important to learn restraint. Having a temper tantrum or bursting into tears because someone insults me isn't likely to change the other person's mind, and is even less likely to help me.

I also think that people can be hurt, emotionally and otherwise, by insults. That's not the same as making a virtue out of being perpetually affronted. (November 28, 2011)

Labeled as a "Hate Group:" So What?

America has a long, if spotty, tradition of supporting freedom of speech. I think that's a good idea.

I also think that calling political enemies 'communist conspirators' is a bad idea. So is calling organizations "hate groups" because they don't agree with fashionable ideas.

The fellow who shot a guard at the Family Research Council, a Christian advocacy organization, may or may not have been inspired by the FRC being called a "hate group."3

The FRC says that marriage is for people of the same species, but opposite sex. I don't think that's 'hateful,' but I'm a Catholic: and in some circles 'everybody knows' what Catholics are like.

Happily, no one was killed this time

Authorities are treating this shooting as domestic terrorism.

"Antichrist Obama:" So What?

Maybe 'they started it,' with name-calling, but that's probably not an excuse to do the same.

I'm part of a few online groups where Catholics discuss ideas and events. I've run into some - colorful - assertions. At least one person seems to think that a spawn of Satan works for the American government.

I don't think so: and I think that remarkable claims like that do very little good.

Enough folks are convinced that Catholics are unreasonable, hate-driven, self-righteous hypocrites. I don't see much point in supporting that belief.

Related posts:
In the news:

1 Robert Lewis Stevenson: or maybe someone else.

2 John 8:1-11. The famous quote:
"4 But when they continued asking him, he straightened up and said to them, 'Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.' "
(John 8:7)
My Lord's intriguing action in John 8:8, writing in the ground, seems to be a reference to Jeremiah 17:13 (Footnote 3, John 8)

3Excerpt from the news:
"Tony Perkins says 'hate group' label may have motivated shooter"
Michelle Bauman, CNA/EWTN News (August 16, 2012)

"Family Research Council president Tony Perkins called for an end to the 'reckless rhetoric' that may have motivated a gunman to open fire on a security guard at the organization's headquarters.

"At an Aug. 16 press conference, Perkins said that alleged shooter Floyd Lee Corkins II may have felt justified in his actions because several gay advocacy groups - including the Southern Poverty Law Center - have designated Family Research Council as a 'hate group.'

"He warned of a dangerous increase in the use of the term over the last two years against anyone who disagrees with 'gay marriage.'

"Perkins has rejected the label, arguing that his organization should be free to express its beliefs in favor of marriage without being accused of hatred. ..."

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Marian Apparition: Champion, Wisconsin

Background:Posts in this blog: In the news:

What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.