From the Guardian:
Vatican orthodoxy does not represent all American Catholics
Conservatives in the Catholic Church are pushing back against reformers, but progressives can find allies: it’s a broad church
“Quit the church … Put women’s rights over bishops’ wrongs,” proclaim the large billboards recently erected in Times Square, St Louis, and Arlington, Texas. Cleverly printed in patriotic red, white, and blue, the provocative slogan urges American Roman Catholics to prioritize women’s equality over their loyalties to the institutional church.
In the Los Angeles Times of 4 July, a full-page advertisement similarly announces that “It’s Time to Quit the Catholic Church” and urges liberal and nominal Catholics to vote with their feet and “please, exit en masse.” In March, a similar ad also appeared in the New York Times, and in May, it appeared in USA Today and the Washington Post.
The controversial billboards and advertisements are directed against the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ recent “Fortnight for Freedom” and Catholic dioceses that are currently suing the US Department of Health and Human Services over its ruling that US women be offered birth control as part of their insurance plans. [Here is the trap. The issue is mainly the government’s attempt to force the Church and other groups to do something that violates 1st Amendment freedom of religion. It is not mainly about contraception.] This campaign to leave the Church appears on the heels of the Vatican crackdown against [Note the choice of words. I don’t any longer have a problem with “crackdown”. That is what it is. But it is not “against” unless the LCWR makes it so.] the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, an organization that represents most of America’s approximately 57,000 sisters. [and a subsidiarity of the Magisterium of Nuns… and here is another misrepresentation, for the LCWR doesn’t represent “sisters”, but rather the leaders of the communities of sisters.] In April, the group of sisters [leaders of sisters] was reprimanded for reportedly [in case, actually] supporting women’s ordination to the priesthood and the rights of homosexuals. [Another trap. Watch for attempts to reframe what homosexual activists want as “rights”. People don’t want to violate the “rights” of others. Thus, the word is a manipulation when so placed in an article like this.] The nuns also were accused of not taking strong enough stances against abortion and euthanasia. [And, in fact, it is true: the LCWR hasn’t done anything in those matters.]
The billboards and newspaper ads are sponsored by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a watchdog group [Another trap: we are supposed to like “watchdog groups”.] founded in 1976 by Annie Nicol Gaylor and her daughter, Annie Laurie Gaylor, who is the Foundation’s current co-president and author of Women Without Superstition: No Gods, No Masters. The Foundation and its 18,500 members should be applauded [and thus endeth any pretense of objectivity] for promoting women’s rights to access contraception apart from religious interference. The group should also be commended for its nearly 35-year commitment to erecting a higher wall separating the church and the state: it seeks to end government funding for religious activities and works to halt illegal religious instruction in secular institutions.
Moreover, it isn’t hard to understand why many Americans are leaving the Roman Catholic Church and other conservative religious institutions. In fact, this decision is often a painful act of courage, and is quite laudable. As President Jimmy Carter stated when he left the Southern Baptist Convention:
“Male religious leaders have had – and still have – an option to interpret holy teachings either to exalt or subjugate women. They have, for their own selfish ends, overwhelmingly chosen the latter. Their continuing choice provides the foundation or justification for much of the pervasive persecution and abuse of women throughout the world.”
Like other conservative religious institutions, the Roman Catholic Church not only forbids the use of contraception and seeks to outlaw access to abortion, but also denies women’s right to become priests and to preach from the pulpit. These restrictions, coupled with the condemnation of same-sex relationships, have naturally and rightfully led increasing numbers to abandon the church.
[So, we now know that the writer hates the Catholic Church. But now we get to the point.] So, love it or leave it! But are these the only options? Must supporters of women’s equality leave the Roman Catholic Church and other conservative religious institutions, as the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s billboards advocate?
No excuses should be made for Christianity’s subjugation of women and violations of human rights. [At this point, if you are completely stupid, you have accepted the writer’s premise. But watch…] Yet, there are individuals and groups within Christianity who are working to change those things from within. Freethinkers and non-religious progressives need to acknowledge and respect the dedicated work of countless nuns, clergy, and Christian educators who labor for justice. [Not holiness… not salvation.. but “justice”.] This week, a group of bold nuns, who envision economic justice as God’s will, is concluding its nine-state bus tour to protest the budget proposal of Congressman Paul Ryan (Republican, Wisconsin) that would cut social services like Head Start, food stamps, and housing subsidies. Organizations like the Women’s Ordination Conference are denouncing the church’s sexism, while working for women’s right to become priests, deacons, and bishops in the Catholic Church. Catholics for Choice, as well as the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, an association of diverse faith-based groups, are promoting reproductive justice and women’s sexual health. [You get by now what sort of person the writer is.]
[What is it that the writer and these feminist nuns she is praising actually want? We get into that here:] Too frequently, the power of religion has been used to alienate and oppress women, gays and lesbians, and the vulnerable. [Don’t for the vulnerable!] However, the power of religion can also be transformed into a vehicle for justice and used on behalf of human welfare. [Forget salvation. It’s all about power. The Church has nothing to do with salvation and God, but worldly pursuits, such as the catch all excuse “justice”.] At its best, religion inspires reverence for the sacredness of life, [The writer doesn’t know what religion is. Religion is about giving God what is due to God.] evokes a sense of existential purpose, and motivates us to work for the good of other humans and the planet. [Nothing about God in there, is there.] As feminist philosopher Sheila Ruth declares in Take Back the Light: A Feminist Reclamation of Religion and Spirituality, “we must not allow the assumption that patriarchy‘s treatment of religion is the only possible treatment.” Christians who are dissatisfied with church leaders and rigid dogmas do have the option of quitting the church, [HERE IT IS] but they also have the option of working to transform the church and using the power of religion for the empowerment of others. [Thus, stay in the Church and subvert it from within.]
If progressive organizations, be they atheist or religious, want to make progress in the struggle for women’s reproductive health [That is code language for abortion.] and to advance human and environmental welfare, [We have to “save the planet”. Thus we see the fusion of feminism and environmentalism into a new “religion” and their sacrament is abortion.] they need to forge alliances rather than alienating each other. Authentic and enduring social change is not derived from a rigid “either-you’re-for-us-or-against-us” mentality.
Religious institutions need to be held accountable for the injustices and abuses they perpetuate. [You are supposed just to accept the premise behind this.] But “freethinking” organizations like the Freedom From Religion Foundation must join with religious organizations like the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Justice to promote women’s reproductive choices and access to reproductive services. [Do you think the writer would be in favor of partial-birth abortion? I do. I think the writer would be in favor of infanticide. HEY! If she can shove absurd premises at you, so can I.] Lasting change will only occur through collaborations and coalition-building: together, we are stronger than we could ever be alone.
Thus endeth the lesson.
Look where the article begins: “Vatican orthodoxy”. Look where it ends: the “right” to abortion.
It starts with nod to objectivity and it ends with a bald feminist jeremiad. Oooops, “jeremiad” is too patriarchal. How ’bout “screed”?
Watch for more of this in different mainstream media sources.
I suspect few will actually persuaded by her “argument”.
In other words: Take care that the door doesn’t nail you in the backside when you leave.