New York Catholic Archbishop Timothy Dolan, in a letter sent to the Obama Administration on Friday, threatens that if Obama continues to withhold support for DOMA or a federal ban on gay marriage that it could “precipitate a national conflict between church and state of enormous proportions.”
The Archbishop’s veiled threat intrigues me.
Is there some underground movement in the works, stockpiling ammunition and awaiting word from the Archbishop or his General, Pope Benedict? At this moment, are priests and nuns engaged in pike-wielding combat training, supervised by the brightly colored Swiss Guard? Are altar boys and girls being used to courier messages from the pulpit to the budding revolutionaries sitting in the pews every Sunday morning? Are Roman Catholics, and those who have thrown support behind their crusade, merely waiting for the opportune moment to usher in a new holy war?
Archbishop Dolan’s strongly worded letter to Obama definitely indicates that plans are being set in motion to deal with Obama and his future Administration decisions. Most likely, the Catholic Church will simply throw its considerable weight and perhaps even resources behind a Republican presidential nominee who is more amenable to conservative Catholic views.
But what if that’s not the case? What if the Archbishop spilled beans not yet meant to be spilt? What if his slip of the tongue revealed a hidden Catholic agenda? What if right now the nation stands at a precipice of war?
It’s not like the Catholic Church hasn’t declared war before or done some pretty vile things to guarantee the spread of the one true religion. Remember the Crusades? The Spanish Inquisition? (“what a thrill!”)
Whose to say Pope Benedict isn’t sitting on his golden throne, kicking back in his Prada shoes, and plotting the demise of American liberalism? Popes (and those who serve them) have done worse things throughout history, such as commit murder, desecrate the graves of former popes, and engage in acts of simony, licentiousness, and violence.
Still, the image of nuns advancing down streets in their wimples and habits carrying weapons or squads of gun-toting priests and bishops battling the scourge of the “gay agenda” is far too comical to believe. It’s just as ridiculous to imagine as the prospect of gay marriage, which is all about allowing two consenting adults to live in love together, as being the single event that sparked a “conflict between church and state of enormous proportions,” according to Dolan.
Religious people who claim marriage is a religious sacrament only fail to understand that marriage is also a civil right.
Our nation, any nation, has the right, through laws passed by the consent of the majority, to define what the word is, just as they have defined criminal activity, discrimination, and slavery. No one is asking the Catholic Church or any church to change what they believe marriage or anything else to be. Their rituals are theirs alone! We are simply asking that their religious definitions not be applied to those who don’t support them. There is a separation of Church and State for a reason. (Just dig through the history books and look at our humble beginnings if you need to remember why.)
I would like to ask Archbishop Dolan to be just as respectful of what I believe as he wants me, and others, to be respectful of his. Threats, veiled or otherwise, seem counterproductive and a bit childish.
Instead of clinging to anger and hate, I prefer to embrace what Jesus asked me to embrace–faith, hope, and love. I have faith that God’s message will one day be made clear to all of us by God himself. I have hope that a better future will be fashioned by our children, who prove to be far more tolerant and accepting than the generations that preceded them, and I’m confident that in the end, love will be all that matters.