The Lines Have Never Been More Clear

Yesterday, the Internet and news media was abuzz with the latest news from the White House: Obama has publicly stated that he is in favor of gay marriage. This comes a few days after Vice President Biden said he thought gay marriage was okay—clearly testing the waters for Obama’s announcement.

I think this is both very good and very bad.

Let’s start with the good: I’m glad he’s being honest. Though I don’t agree with same-sex unions I don’t automatically think people who do are “evil” or “bad.” What I don’t like is when people say one thing and mean another, which is sadly the way the majority of politics gets done these days (on both sides of the isle.) Obama is for gay marriage and he’s made it public. I’m glad because now his position is crystal clear, as it is also clear in regards to the HHS mandate and pro-choice beliefs.

At this point Obama is not just doubling down but tripling down on his liberal policies. This upcoming election isn’t going to be about subtleties or suggestions. It’s going to be a straight up, bare-fisted, one man left standing brawl.

I know a few Catholics (okay, two) who felt tricked at the last election. They voted for Obama because they thought he would have more of a pro-life impact than McCain would. He talked about a “common ground” that would unite a divided America. But now there is no question about what Obama believes or what he will use his political power to achieve. This means people will either really, really believe in him or really, really disagree. So now you know what you’re voting for, or voting against.

So that’s the good. And that’s also the bad.

Usually elections have both candidates trying to fight to be the “moderate” candidate. But in the next few months I think the left vs. right rhetoric will be crazier than we’ve ever seen. No matter who wins we’re going to be left in an extrememly divided country with a large group of people furious that the other person one. Because this is no longer a fight about economy or foreign policy…

This is a fight about morality.

With a poor economy and a fragile foreign policy that’s always one terrorist act away from becoming another political quagmire, it makes sense that Obama would head into this arena that most politicians would fear to tread. He’s positioning himself to be the leader of the new civil rights: the right to abort, the right to birth control, the right to insurance, and the right for homosexuals to get married. Economic failures and foreign wars, the usual front lines of political debate, will be left behind. This is about right and wrong.

What is insidious is that he’s making himself and the government the Modern Truth and the Church and religion the Out-dated Lie. Have you seen “The Life of Julia” on his webpage? It tells the story of a woman who would grow up under Obama’s policies, and the horrible things that would happen to her if she grew up under Romney. William Bennet made the following comment on it:

Julia’s entire life is defined by her interactions with the state. Government is everywhere and each step of her life is tied to a government program. Notably absent in her story is any relationship with a husband, family, church or community, except a “community” garden where she works post-retirement. Instead, the state has taken their place and is her primary relationship. (You can read the whole thing here.)

That’s Obama’s vision for America. Churchless. Faithless. Religion can be kept inside the Church but has no place in public policy. And people who disagree with is vision aren’t just disagreeing with a political vision, they are morally wrong and hurtful to people like “Julia.”

If all of this is making you reach for your heart pills, then I have a better medication: faith. Remember what Jesus said: “In this world you will have hardship. But be courageous, I have conquered the world.” (John 16:33) I don’t know what the future holds or who will win the next election. But I know that the Gospel has survived (and even thrived) in worse civilizations than this. Many saints are forged in the fires of such persecutions.

And that’s what we need right now: Saints. Men and women who are unafraid to boldly live the gospel message in both word and deed. We need people whose witness of selfless love will confuse those who think we are close-minded or bigoted. We need scholars whose words of moral clarity can cut through the lies of post-modernism and relativism.

“Fear is useless, what is needed is faith.” (Mark 5:36) That’s what Jesus said to Jarius when he was told his daughter was dead. And that’s what He says to us who are afraid that all is lost.

The battle lines are drawn more clearly than they have ever been. This is a good thing. And this is a bad thing. It’s bad because this threatens to divide our country in a way we’ve never seen in our lifetime, no matter who “wins.” It’s bad because people of faith will be the target of constant attack and accused of being hypocrites and uncaring homophobes.

But it’s good because the light shines brighter in darkness. It’s good because it’s never been more important to be a Catholic in this country. It’s good because… God is good. All the time. And His glory is not diminished by what happens here on earth.

To conclude with the words of St. Paul to St. Timothy:

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingly power: proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching. For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity, will accumulate teachers and will stop listening to the truth and will be diverted to myths. But you, be self-possessed in all circumstances; put up with hardship; perform the work of an evangelist; fulfill your ministry. (2 Timothy 4:1-5)

9 Comments

  1. There are no lines. They are just illusions of division. I don’t think Christ’s intent was to turn the world Catholic. In my opinion it was about being loving. Being loving to God and to fellow men. There is no need for a “fight against morality.” There is no need to fight at all. We need to be tolerant of one another and differing views. I respect Catholic views but its sad to see lines being drawn where there is no need.
    Just my opinion. PAX

    1. Google the phrase “dictatorship of relativism”, or better yet buy the super inexpensive “Absolute Relativism” by Chris Stefanick and you will find with crystal clarity what’s wrong with Anthony’s comment. Note: Not what’s wrong with Anthony, a person being honest, but with that line of reasoning.

    2. Catholics aren’t drawing lines. We are simply being faithful to the teachings of Christ which never change, and unfortunately where the government is going right now is against our moral beliefs. I completely agree with you about loving God and man, but love is not about conforming to what everyone else is doing. Love is about standing up for the good of people and for what is right.

  2. ” Economic failures and foreign wars, the usual front lines of political debate, will be left behind. This is about right and wrong.”

    Bob, I disagree with this statement. Obama is steering clear of speaking about our economic state and foreign policy and covering it up with garbage like his stance on gay-marriage, which for the record has never really changed he just hasn’t stated it clearly as this before, and blaming the GOP for voting against the freeze on interest rates on student loans, which again is not truthful in whole, since the GOP wants a freeze on interest, they just do not want to raise taxes, and want to take the funds from other places. And to even go on a whole other tangent the only reason the interest rates were set to rise is because of poor legislation supported by Obama. Obama knows for him to win this election he needs to keep subject off his poor economic decisions. To me, this election can be an easy win for Romney if he can turn the subject matter off the things that quite honestly do not matter in the overall scope of our country right now, and show the United States the bad policies Obama has crafted, and the promises he made that he has clearly broken. The Catholic Church knows all about Obama breaking promises.

  3. I want the same rights afforded to me that straight couples are afforded by the United States government.

  4. As Catholics, we don’t believe marriage is “a right afforded by the United States government.” We believe it is a sacrament, instituted by Christ to confer grace. To reduce marriage to simply, “I love this person and want to be with them forever” is demeaning to the institution of marriage. Marriage, again, according to the church, is about love AND life: about sharing God’s love and life with the world, with your spouse, and with your children. And, maybe most importantly, it is about working to get your family to heaven. Some (or many) people may disagree with this definition of marriage. They are entitled to their belief. But those who are faithful to the church can’t and won’t compromise on something so core to who we are as Christians. I think Mr. Rice is correct, there will be a fight because neither side is able to compromise.
    My worry is that through this fight, more people will walk away from their faith because of what they see as a “civil rights” issue.

    1. I think it’s funny that you write civil rights in quotations. Gay marriage is definitely a civil right. Civil rights ensure the protection of people from discrimination based on things like gender, race, religion, and yes, SEXUAL ORIENTATION. If you are against gay marriage performed by the state, you are, in fact, against a civil right. Gay marriage performed by churches is a completely different animal. I don’t think Obama is forcing churches to marry gay people, is he? If he is, then I think you have a reason to argue.

      There are many definitions of marriage. For you to choose to follow the Christian definition of marriage is your right. But to say that the state, which represents many people of different religions, and some without any religion, must support and follow only the Christian definition of marriage is just ridiculous. People elect presidents to office, not priests.

      1. Kay, thank you for your comment. I think it touches on the key issue of same-sex marriage: the definition of “rights.” The bigger question is, is marriage something instituted by God that the government affirms or is marriage something instated by the government that religion must affirm? I think the debate on same-sex marriage occurs when you have people representing those two different sides.
        Unfortunately, we have seen that Churches in the US have been “forced” on this issue. For example, Catholic Charities (which was once the largest adoption provider in Massachusetts) was sued by a same-sex couple because they refused to provide adoption services for them. The state said they had to, so Catholic Charities stopped providing adoption services there.
        Just to clarify though, I don’t think it’s accurate to call it the “Christian definition of marriage” when Jews, Muslims, and Mormons (just to name a few) also believe that marriage should be exclusively between an man and a woman. But I’d hate to call it a “religious definition of marriage” because there are some religions, though in the minority, that support it.
        It’s an understatement to say that this is a difficult issue in America today and looks to be a key issue in the upcoming elections.

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