Thursday, April 30, 2009

I hate Iowa Nazis

What the hell do you do when the Nazis are on your "side"?

I don't know. But here's what I do know: If you're a Catholic bishop, and the subject is same-sex marriage and all other manner of hot-button social issues, you don't run around saying things like "We are at war."

"We are at war" + the Catholic Church + Nazis co-opting your natural-law arguments = We are so screwed.

In Pottawattamie County, 31 same-sex couples applied for marriage licenses earlier in the week, but only seven couples had picked them up as of 10:30 a.m. Thursday.

About a dozen black-shirted protesters, who described themselves as members of the National Socialist movement, stood outside the courthouse. The demonstrators chanted slogans and carried a flag with a swastika.

Police monitored the demonstrators, who late in the morning exchanged remarks with some passersby.
ONE NAZI-ETTE, crudely but somewhat correctly, told Omaha's KETV television that "Gay marriage does not secure the existence for any people. You can't procreate with homosexuality. It's genocide to the entire human race."

Well, it would be if more than 5-or-so percent of the human race were homosexuals. But what I wish the reporter had asked the Nazi chick after hearing her scientific musings, however, was whether she was sexually active and using contraceptives.

As Forrest Gump said, "I'm not a smart man." But some things are just "winning hearts and minds" no-brainers. I think the first item on that PR "to-don't list" is Catholics like Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo., rolling out the martial rhetoric when blind Nazis may have just found themselves an acorn and muddied it up with hate.

But nooooooooooo. . . .
“Harsh as this may sound, it is true — but it is not new. This war to which I refer did not begin in just the last several months, although new battles are underway — and they bring an intensity and urgency to our efforts that may rival any time in the past.”

“[It]is correct to acknowledge that you and I are warriors — members of the Church on earth — often called the Church Militant. Those who have gone ahead of us have already completed their earthly battles. Some make up the Church Triumphant — Saints in heaven who surround and support us still — tremendous allies in the battle for our eternal salvation; and the Church Suffering (souls in purgatory who depend on our prayers and meritorious works and suffrages).

“But we are the Church on Earth — The Church Militant. We are engaged in a constant warfare with Satan, with the glamour of evil, and the lure of false truths and empty promises. If we fail to realize how constantly these forces work against us, we are more likely to fall, and even chance forfeiting God’s gift of eternal life.”

YES, THE CHURCH on Earth is the Church Militant. Being that militant, in this sense, means something closer to "struggling" and, modern ears being what they are, by the end of the Second Vatican Council the preferred term had become "the Pilgrim Church."

We are not Taliban . . . though one could understand how some unchurched eyes might widen when they see what some folks have done with loose episcopal rhetoric in the never-ending quest for cash in the world of Catholic non-profits.

It should be a no-brainer for every public Catholic -- for every Catholic who professes evangelism as his business -- that the language of traditional Catholicism . . . traditional Christianity is utterly alien not only to the expanding universe of secularism, but also to many within the church. Especially the young.

And we're losing the young. Fast.

We've been fighting the "culture war" for a long time now. We've been fighting the culture war so long and so hard that we've come to justify all manner of "enhanced" methods in its prosecution. Well, except for going out and preaching the gospel of Christ crucified, buried and risen on its own terms.

Then again, it's so much easier to pretend that "gay marriage" is the enemy -- that gays are the enemy -- instead of Satan.

Listen, as even Bishop Finn himself noted above, "We are engaged in a constant warfare with Satan, with the glamour of evil, and the lure of false truths and empty promises.” That is the war we fight, and no other.

For that matter, most of that war rages in our own wicked little hearts. We shouldn't pretend otherwise.

SO WHEN WE TALK about being "at war" with gay marriage (among a host of postmodern social maladies), it just might pay to be trite and ask oneself "What Would Jesus Do?" One thing He didn't do was baptize a thrice-married ex-officeholder and send him out to kvetch about how the Roman Empire "has been the active instrument of breaking down traditional marriage."

Another thing He didn't do was hang out with the most prominent culture warriors of His day. That might be one of the reasons they had Him crucified.

So . . . am I saying we ought to be OK with same-sex marriage? No. While it's really none of my business what consenting adults do in the privacy of their own homes, it is my business when activists try to remake a millennia-old cultural and sacred institution into something it isn't.

History and my faith tradition tell me that is not going to end well. And all of us, gay and straight, have a vested interest in things "ending well."

CATHOLICS and other Christians have powerful arguments to make concerning same-sex marriage. But those arguments are worthless if we keep incinerating what we have to say in the fiery furnace of our "culture war" rhetoric.

When the most notable difference between Christians and Iowa Nazis on an issue is protesters with crosses vs. protesters with swastikas . . . Rome, we have a problem. As in, "What will the teen-agers say when they realize the Nazis on TV just said what mom, dad and Father say all the time?"

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